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Hot Wheels became a sensation in America in 1968, as soon as they were first introduced. Even today they continue to receive the same admiration they received over five decades ago.
The impression that this car had on the kids back then was so strong that many of the kids of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond became ardent collectors of this toy car. Today you can find many Hot wheels collectors all across the globe and while there are many collectors who will buy models no matter their condition, virtually all collectors prefer that the Hot Wheels be in their original packaging.
Collectible Hot Wheels are certainly more valuable in the original packaging than they are if they have been opened and used. However, if the Hot Wheels car isn’t a collectible already then having it in the package won’t raise the value of it since there simply isn’t a demand for that model.
For example, if I had a never driven 1962 Ford Fairlane in my garage it would certainly be worth more than a Fairlane in a junk yard is, however, if instead I had a new 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO it would be worth millions more than the Fairlane!
When it comes to collectibles the condition does affect the value but the majority of the value comes from the demand and rarity of the item!
Toy packaging is an important aspect of the collectible’s value although some collectors prefer the nostalgia or stories behind a played with toy rather than an unopened one.
Other collectors care so much about the packaging of their Hot Wheels that it would be impossible to find loose Hot Wheels cars among their collection.
To see some current Hot Wheels cars that might become more valuable or collectible in the future you can click here.
How did Hot Wheels packaging become so valuable?
Hot Wheels being in the package from the last couple of decades isn’t that abnormal however prior to that it definitely was incredibly rare. Unless some of the old versions from the 60s, 70s, and 80s had gotten misplaced somewhere in a store’s inventory or the buyer had misplaced it and forgotten about it for decades it’s incredibly rare to find old Hot Wheels like that still in the package.
This is because kids (not adults) didn’t used to think about the possibility of simple toys like Hot Wheels becoming valuable. Back then toys were made solely for the purpose of playing and virtually no one saw them as a collectible. So the older Hot Wheels like that with intact packaging are hard to come by.
Why does packaging matters to collectors
There are 5 basic reasons why collectors prefer to get Hot Wheels (and virtually all other collectibles) inside of the packaging instead of being opened/loose. I will detail those main reasons below.
Packaging protects and preserves the toy
Imagine trying to maintain the quality of a toy without its packaging. It is virtually impossible! Even the sturdiest toy is bound to get some damage and imperfections from sitting in the sun or from being handled, whereas when it is kept in a blister card and untouched it stays in the best condition possible.
Even some of the toys inside of a package are prone to the scars of time which can be caused inside the protective cocoon; sometimes the parts fall off, the paint fades or even the chrome could start to come off.
However, the damage is comparatively less when the toy is intact in its package rather than being loose and played with.
It is a proof of authenticity
There are many duplicates and fake toys on the market especially for the most valuable collectibles. It is very easy to reproduce Hot Wheel cars and often the fake ones look so close to being authentic that even a diehard fan of Hot Wheels can get duped.
This is why collectors are willing to spend more money on a Hot Wheels model that comes with its original packaging. When you get the car sealed on its blister not only will you be able to tell that it’s authentic you can also check some additional things that might not look as good if it’s a fake.
The packaging looks as good as the toy
It’s often the packaging of an item that catches our attention before we even take a look at the actual toy. Hot Wheels are known for their vibrant and distinctive packaging as it is so good that it makes them stand out from their competition.
When most toy manufacturers treat the packages as a by-product of the toy, Hot Wheels went all out to design the best packaging possible (for being on a piece of cardboard)!
Having the amazing designs of the packaging often makes the collection look for better which is why collectors are willing to pay more for it.
Some packages are also rare
The earlier type of packages had many variations; such as it might include different kinds of information, a different style of font, multilingual packaging, etc. Some of the changes would have also been made for legal reasons.
For instance the Johnny Lightning caption had to be re-captioned from “Beats them all” to “Beat them all”, for legal reasons. So these mistakes and variations can make the packaging rare, which adds to the value of a Hot Wheel toy.
This is a good enough reason to not rip open the package if you are a collector.
Older packages are incredibly rare
Kids are not collectors. Often as soon as they get a toy, they pull out the car and throw away the package.
Although the words “Collector’s Button” were on the package, very few kids would have made the choice to keep the packaging on the vehicle. Little did they know the future value of these toys.
So getting a still packaged Hot Wheel car from the late 60’s through the 80s is quite rare. If you however, get one, you should do your best to keep it just the same way because it might fetch you a good deal of money since the older packaging is rare.
Should you take your Hot Wheels out of the package or not?
This is indeed a serious debate in the Hot Wheels collectors’ community as well as in all of the toy collector communities. Some people strongly believe that toys are meant to be played with and enjoyed. Whereas some others love the idea of keeping them protected inside their shells.
Ultimately it really is entirely your choice; what do you want? If you are collecting to sell them in the future then keeping them in their packages will definitely fetch you more value on the market in the future. However, if you like collecting them for their beauty and to spread out your collection somewhere in your house then removing the package is not an issue.
There is a third category of people who are not sure if they might entertain the idea of selling their Hot Wheels one day in future. If you belong to this category of collectors’ then it’s a good idea to keep the packaging on so if you do happen to decide to sell them you are able to do so for the highest price possible.
Tips For Aspiring Hot Wheels Collectors
If you are thinking about starting your own collection of Hot Wheel cars here are a few tips that you might want to consider –
Do your research: Read up on the history of Hot Wheels and its evolution over the years. This will give you an idea about the various series and their historical and cultural relevance as well as how rare a specific series might become in the future.
Learn about the various Hot Wheels Themes: Every series of toys comes with a unique style, personality and themes. For instance if you have an affinity for a specific color you can build a collection based on that color.
Similarly if you are interested in a particular series then you can design your collection based on that particular series as well. Mattel has many several different series available that you can choose from so collecting all of the cars in a series is a great way to get started.
Another theme that you can focus on are the errors.
Though errors are not celebrated much, it is different in the case of collectibles. Errors are a rare occurrence and if you can create a collection of Hot Wheels with errors it would likely fetch you a great deal in the future. However, remember errors are difficult to come by and therefore it might take a while for you to build a collection.