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Collecting Scale Model Cars Is A Growing Passion For Adults

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


Collecting Scale Model Cars Is A Growing Passion For Adults

Adriana Noton
July 22, 2011

Adults can easily become addicted to collecting scale model cars. These realistic models of cherished brands give car lovers the chance to own a more affordable example of their valued autos. These miniature samples are available without need for fabrication or offered in kits that require the purchaser to put the replica together.

Normally, these models are produced at a particular scale to the normal size of the original. They length is about ten to twelve inches. This size makes it easy to keep them in a book shelf or a display case. Limited or vintage editions have become investments with appreciating value.

These replicas have a long pedigree that goes back to the beginnings of the era when automobiles emerged. German manufacturers began production of tinplate samples at the start of the 20th century. The Tinplate car was larger then what is currently offered and could be moved using different mechanisms. Their intended market was offspring of well heeled parents. Europeans manufacturers continued to make this variant after the first World War.

Less costly, smaller toy vehicles also began to be sold in the early 20th century. Smaller scaled cars were sold in America during this period by 1911. In the period from the 1960s on, smaller models became predominant. Mature collectors also became a very active part of this market.

From this period onwards, more costly and realistic models of finer quality became an established part of this industry. The most popular sizes for adults became the 1.43 and1.18 scales. In the former size, of course, there is far greater variety that is available. But, the larger variant also appeals due to its realistic level of detail.

Vintage older cars that were intended as toys for children can fetch a high price today, as they are rare in a mint condition. For this reason, a van from the prewar era originally costing 4 shillings sold for almost 20,000 pounds in 2008. This was the highest for a single toy. But, a set of 6 vans sold for more than 15,000 pounds above that price. As experts have pointed out, the coveted models have gone for 2 or 3 time the price estimated at their auction. The vintages fetch the highest prices, as only a few exist without blemish. Distinctive models can also be of investment value.

With a multitude of available offerings, a guidebook is a handy helper that can help sort through confusion. Magazines are a handy resource and collectors associations are another source of available guidance. Expert guidance is of critical help for novice collectors who can become victims of unscrupulous sellers offering outright frauds and hard to tell restorations.

A restored item has a lower value. These items and frauds need expertise that the inexperienced lack. Novices should seek guidance, until they become experts in evaluation themselves. For them it is also safer to acquire an item in unblemished condition that comes with its original packaging. By relying on a seller with a trusted record they have insurance against risk. It is wise to avoid a risky alternative. Novice should avoid items that have no documentation and are said to be rare offerings. Knowledgeable experts would not fall for such a ploy. By collecting scale model cars, a collector understands why so many find enjoyment in the keeping of a treasured item.

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