In Drybridge Market in Tbilisi, I find many interesting models at a variety of prices. Karo has lovely models but often the asking price for a model can be 50 lari, 70 lari or even 100 lari. My nominative collecting budget for the month is 100 lari. So, when I see a stall with cars at just one lari, I am attracted by the price.
1 lari at today’s exchange (6 March 2016) is $0.41 (US) or £0.29 (UK).
At first glance the models themselves don’t seem too appealing, just some rough Chinese models, a little playworn. On closer inspection I find more to catch my attention. There are models of cars which I haven’t seen in the ranges of Hot Wheels or Matchbox.
The bases have scant information about either the model or the manufacturer, so some research on the internet may be in order.
The Honda CR-X is by Zee Models, there is a CR-X in the new Hot Wheels line up but I have yet to see it in the shops. The Maserati Merak SS has little information on the base just “Made in China ” and a number 8805. I love Maseratis and recognised it by its shape, the modelling is cruder than would be an equivalent Hot Wheels or Matchbox model. Some research reveals it to be a model made by Summer in Hong Kong in the mid 1990s. The Chevette has opening doors, a rarity on such models, it doesn’t name the manufacturer on the base but I find it is made by Welly. The Hot Wheels Heavyweight is just a shell, and the seller sold it to me for just 50 tetri (half a lari), the wheels are unbuckled and the patent Hot Wheels suspension still works. It is also a relic from the early years of Hot Wheels, the Heavyweights were made in 1970. Here is my shell of a Heavyweight next to a picture of the complete Dump Truck taken from Hot Wheels Wikia. Hot Wheels Wikia Link
These four models cost me just 3.50 lari, in a toy shop a new Matchbox or Hot Wheels car is 6.90 lari. I think I got good value for money. On my last visit to Drybridge Market, I spent 26 lari…25 lari on a Matchbox Yesteryear Model T Ford and 1 lari on the Summer Maserati Merak SS.