Most diecasts are made from a compound alloy known as Zamak or Mazak which is virtually unbreakable.The alloy consists of 96% zinc and smaller quantities of magnesium, copper and aluminium. Diecasting is a process whereby molten metal is forced into an extremely accurate die or mould; when the casting has cooled it is trimmed, cleaned and enamelled.
Most models leave their respective factories in mint condition, in the appropriate packaging. Some seen through the blister packs are not perfect and like with faulty stamps these can fetch a premium, I haven’t found any yet but have seen many posted in forums like Pinoy Hot Wheels Collectors Club (PHWCC) where the model has the wrong wheels or the wrong picture on the packaging.
Brand new Hot Wheels Mustang Mach 1. I don’t usually leave my models in the blister packs. I want to touch them, I want to photograph them and even occasionally play with them. I keep the cards with the artwork but throw away the plastic blister. Some like my Treasure Hunt Ferraris I have left in their blister packs.
Many of my models I buy secondhand at markets in varying states.
These two Matchbox Dodge Challengers I found loose and secondhand. The one on the left I bought in a Boot Sale in England in very good condition, the one on the right was bought earlier at Drybridge Market in Tbilisi in the rough condition you see here. Without a roof, windscreen, steering wheel and quite chipped. I got the model on the right first hoping to find a better model later, which I did. I love Matchbox and finding them here in Tbilisi even in bad condition, I find them difficult to resist. None of my Matchbox cars have Matchbox boxes 😦 I would like to have at least one old car in a box.
This Matchbox Fire Chief car is one of the oldest in my collection, I bought it at the Wigginton Boot Sale in August 2012 for 20 pence. I bought about twenty models at the time mostly Matchbox, in varying states. As boot sales go Wigginton isn’t any different from others I ve been to in England, it is just convenient because it is near where my mother lives in York. I visit England once a year and always manage to pickup a few diecasts. This car is missing its roof light and stickers and is quite chipped but the wheels are fine and it reminds me of my childhood. I had both the fire and the police versions of this casting. I remember pushing them around the carpet or on a piece of hardboard I’d drawn some roads on, chasing imaginary fires and robbers.
These cars are far from mint. The Matchbox Ford Zodiac is missing a bonnet, I hear in the UK there is someone who has supplies of missing parts like bonnets, crane hooks, truck canopies etc…but I don’t live in the UK and I am not skilled at restoration. The Matchbox Ford RS200 has been repainted by a previous owner, I got it because it is the first RS200 I’ve come across and racing on Playstation’s Gran Turismo 4 it is my favourite ride. The Matchbox Audi Quattro is badly chipped probably from being played with outside a lot. The Alfa also has seen better days. The Solido Renault 17TS, I picked up last week from Drybridge Market in Tbilisi for 5 lari. It’s condition might just qualify as fair.
The steering wheel is missing the paint is chipped and the stickers are damaged, also someone seems to have glued the doors shut. But it is a model of a car I lusted after in the seventies and this model is “Made in France”.
These three American cars are missing a lot of paint, they were all picked up cheaply at Drybridge Market for one or two lari. The Matchbox Pontiac is showing more bare metal than the white paint it once sported, it also is missing its windows, but the wheels are sound and it was “Made in England”.
This Corgi Porsche Carrera 6 from the late sixties is missing a light and is a little chipped but I was thrilled to find it at Drybridge Market for just 20 lari.
My collection isn’t accumulated with the thought of resale. Having no boxes for the Matchbox cars instantly halves their potential value. I prefer to have the cars in as good condition as possible but will happily settle for a few paint chips on a model I especially want. I don’t like buckled wheels and most of my cars have sound wheels, Early Matchbox Superfast and Hot Wheels with thin axles were especially prone to buckling. I am also not keen on models that have been repainted.
I recently bought some Hot Wheels track but the only cars I use on that are ones I don’t mind getting chipped: the excess Hot Wheels in three packs, some rough Chinese diecasts and even the very chipped Pontiac above.