Hi this is Saran, a toy collector who collects diecast scale model and action figures. I been collecting toys since my childhood days and I love going on toy shop run to find cool toys in store all around the world… What can I say I like toy hunting! Ever since I started collecting Hot Wheels/Matchbox like long long time ago, I could hardly find anything in stores that says Hotwheels or Matchbox, so I have to work harder. Then came a time where Hotwheels are everywhere begging you to grab! Toy store, Super/Hyper markets, grocery stores and even street vendors had it on display/sale. Huge discounts were given sell off excess stock and sale like “buy 1, get 1”, “buy 2 get 1” were all everyday scene. Then Covid 19 stuck and import of toys took a huge hit and import duties are increased 2, 3, 4times made this hobby an expensive affair!
I mean to say “I have seen good days and bad days”. After Covid effects subsided the HotWheels collectors scene had exploded and I see collectors coming from every part of the world even from remotest parts of the world. This seems like a good thing but as per Newton’s Third Law, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, we started see some new trends that brought in some brand new challenges! We all know scalper are a menace to this beautiful hobby but this new inflow of young collector brought in some new challenges along, which are far worse than scalpers.
So I thought I will put up list of new and old tricks of Hotwheels hunting, its pros and cons. You can use some or all of it no matter you are newbies and seasoned collectors. This is souly my view and my views of my fellow collectors not a scientific finding, so take it as an informational source not definitive list. Also these are pattern that I have seen Asian (mostly Indian) collectors practice, so that may or may not work for you. Let’s kick start this shall we?
1. Go organic and hit as many stores as possible: First and the most used technic is this… yeah you go “organic” and hit as many stores! This is easy and super simple so you can use this technic either in your home city or in a totally different country, that you hardly know. This is my favourite of this list as I like going out like a zombie. You don’t have to plan anything so you can totally enjoy what you doing.
- This will be the most entertaining and engaging of all, so for a beginner this keeps you excited for as long as your body can take the abuse of jumping from one store to other.
- If you are a Hotwheels hunter, who don’t sticks onto a single geography and comfortable peg hunting anywhere in the world, this may be your only option.
- No homework needed for this type of peg hunting, so if you are a casual or weekend hunter this is the most rewarding.
- All that you need is lot of time to burn and mindset to walk or drive around all day.
- There is no guarantee with this technic, you may end up with 5-20 supers (STH) on a great day (I have never seen one like this ever) or come back home empty handed as well.
- You will spend more on commute and refreshment than on actual Hotwheels.
2. Peg hunt along with other chores: I like this technic because, this got me lot of good cars including some supers and rare cars. Yeah I got my first super from a big box store called “Big Bazar”, which sell groceries and stuff. And that too under a sports equipment shelf… so you look everywhere! When you go on a hunt or casual shopping, always check out their kids/toys section maybe you will get lucky. This is also a smart technic than anything as scalper and other seasoned hunter will skip non obvious target due to low chance of success, making you the very few hitting this place.
- This is not a technic but a sub-technic so no dedicated effort needed. Giving you flexibility to hunt practically everyday.
- This is for keen eyed hunter or a beginner who would like to multitask and accomplish more. I always try and flick one or more mainline when go for grocery shopping, I also pick a store that has Hotwheels so my wifey won’t suspect me hunting for cool Hotwheels.
- Your chances of finding rare car in odd places (like grocery store) is far higher than in a well known toy store. Also this technique gives you peace of mind as you can never feel upset.
- You get balanced reward vs excitement with this technic. I prefer to eat in malls nearby to accomplish lunch and peg hunting satisfaction.
- Just like previous technic your pitch vs hit ratio is very low! In fact this is far lower than the previous technique so be ready for some disappoint.
- You may try and multi-task, then fail them both miserably!
- This is not techically considered as peg hunting as you are not dedicating yourself to the greater good as seasoned collectors would agree.
3. Look everywhere even the unlikely spots: This again is a sub-technique that you can perform along with other mainline tricks. This basically means when you go shopping, you look everywhere in stores… like checking the baby products area, near billing section, under shelving and separators (if allowed!) and if the food section is closer to toys section check there as well as most of the time products gets misplaced and Hotwheels end up somewhere else… Sometimes its accidentally but sometimes it could be intentional or hidden intentional later forgotten! So your chance of finding some great old cards is high. This is also a great technique for beginners but a very useful one for seasoned collectors too. As mentioned earlier, I got my first super treasure hunt from a supermarket (Big Bazaar) that too from a sport equipment section, which was nicely hidden by somebody for later pick and I got lucky.
- You may end up with some crazy cool cars from your grandpa’s time and you play next to nothing for a legacy piece. This may be a super treasure hunt or ultra rare car from the past, which you may not get it even in eBay.
- You don’t spend dedicated time on this… But end up with some cool cars from your past.
- One and only way to find forgotten or classic Hotwheels from pegs.
- You may find some cool current generation cars also that are reserved by someone by bribing a store employee.
- There is no way you could confidently use this technique and find something for sure. This is more like wining a slot machine jackpot but we all love winning and I never stopped trying.
- Most of time the Hotwheels you find in here are not mint but beaten and trashed, so don’t even try doing this if you are looking for mint cars.
- You may get some look (weird ones) as you may be looking in odd places. You may find some rat poop or even a full grown rat.
- Return on investment on this is next to nothing!
4. Create a connection with store owner/employees: “Humans are social animals”, so use your social skills and create some connection with shop keeper, owner, store employees. This will help you pass time in a organic manner when the hunt dint go as planned but also gets you back door access to their valuable stock schedule. Now I see many store owners ready to take your number and give you a call when the new stock shows up. This is a double edged sword but if you use it well could yield some great results. Even bigger toy chains like ToysRUs, Hamleys are encourage this as they could get-rid of their old/new stock at faster pace they can with conventional techniques.
- This is a great technique to branch out your skills as you create personal connect, you get better with your communication, find a friend who shares same interest and who you may even get a totally stranger into this hobby.
- This is kind of sure shot techniques so your return on investment is relatively high! But be ready to answer so many call from so many shop owners as they all get their stocks around the same time.
- If your contact is strong, you could even ask the shop owners to keep some good ones aside for you to pick at your convenience!
- From the outside, this looks like a walk in a park… But this is one tricky technique and wears out too soon as most vendors/sellers don’t mind connection but to sell stuff soon. So they may act nice and all when you are prompt and all but later you have to make tough call which leaves bad impression.
- It’s not a technique that needs lot of dedication nor special skills… So if you can create a connection then so as many other collectors out there. So this creates competition, which could take away the fun factor of this novel hobby.
- As mentioned before, this gets boring too soon as its easy and has not fun involved other than thinking of yourself as Hotwheels hunting ninja.
- You will end up creating a bad relation or regret as you will have to make tough choice when you hear about new stuff but could not go pick for any reasons.
- If the store owner don’t approve and you find a employee who is willing to share details, you could put his job at risk and jeopardise his livelihood. This has happened in Walmart(US) and few of their store’s employee got fired for leaking information.
5. Buy in bulk and sell the unwanted online: I been collecting diecast models for over 15years and never heard of it till recent times. This seem to be a newest technique that many young collectors indulge in. Yeah young collector in their early days use it, which both gets them what they wanted and also create you very own client-base for some side cash. You will presented with brand new stock every time, you get to unbox sealed case and your chances of finding SHT, TH or chase is super high. But this could take away the fun of collecting sooner than later.
- You will be treated with almost respect by shop owner and your client (online or offline) as they both get what they want with almost no effort. Shop keepers gets to sell off his stock fast, you get all the latest and the greatest hotties and when you sell (at a reasonable price) you could make some extra cash if done right.
- You get to open sealed boxes of newest Hotwheels, so your chance of finding STH, TH or chases is high and you will enjoying it.
- If you are young and have all the time in the world, you could become a Hotwheels sub seller and make some big bucks. You can a learn a lot about doing business online, packing skills, negating skill for bargain and more, which all gets you some valuable real life skills.
- You may find a business man in you and make it your full-time career.
- You feel good inside as you clients get nice cars by putting less to no effort.
- Lot of money is involved in this technique as you put quite an investment to start. And they keep rolling in out so drifting away is quite a possibility as most young collectors lack discipline wit money.
- Just like the previous technique, this could get boring soon as you no longer enjoy collecting but selling… Yeah that’s what money does to people.
- You could also have some sore interaction as you cannot always make it on time and store owner want to get rid of their stock ASAP.
- As this kindles a business man/woman in you, you soon want to do big transaction, which brings in big risk that could end either ways.
- If you are keeping track of money, they could slip away without you noticing and you end up in debts, even though you see money coming in!
6. Use Social Network to your favour: Now a days everything is online and why not hunt for Hotwheels online too! Yes we have Facebook/Whatsapp groups who’s sole purpose is to sell cars… But don’t go this route if you can get out and hunt physically as that is more refreshing and its fun. But I take on the virtual world with a pinch of salt and use them to read patterns of restocking and what to expect in the upcoming cases. Yeah you can use Youtube to know which case has which and what I want and what is an absolute musthaves!! Use Facebook group to know restock pattern and know if some cases have made it to my location or not! WhatsApp group in my opinion is the best source of information for anything local! No two humans are same so use whichever works for you!
- Hunting online is simple in comparison to real world hunting as they may keep you going longer and get better results without getting sweating.
- You get more information online than offline as gossip is wild online and that is a good thing for Hotwheels hunt.
- WhatsApp group are very good and the data coming out of is like lightning strict! And you can use it to track local stock movement and restocking status in shops near you.
- I use YouTube channels like lamleygroup, MinistryofDiecast etc. gives you inside access to upcoming models so that you can see trough a pile of Hotwheels in the pegs. I personally use these channels to create my Wishlist before I head out for a hunt.
- You can also use online stores and groups to buy good Hotwheels, if the Hotwheels you looking for is either old or stocked out in your local stores. But this technically is not hunting though this is one of the preferred model with younger generation who cannot put lot of time into hunting.
- As this is a virtual activity you technically don’t get the satisfaction of a real hunt, so this gets a bit boring sooner than normal hunting activity.
- Using online medium is good but also puts so much pressure on you if you don’t use it as intended. You will be forced to buy cars that you don’t like but pick them just because the online community claims it to be a rare one!
- As you are open to a wider collector base, you tend to lose track and follow someone else’s footsteps. What’s cool in US may not be considered cool in your head so just follow your hear not the trend online.
- As the saying goes… “Nothing on Social Network is True”, so don’t believe everything you see online so take what you want and leave the rest.
- I used to post location of my hunting ground (in my Instagram page @hotwheelsbangalore of location in and around Bangalore, India) but not many share their location as its their holy hunting spot, so don’t ask! And don’t be offended if they say no!
I created a list of tips and tricks that I used in the past and also some my friends used to get some beautiful cars! These are not hard and fast rule but some basics that could help anybody starting Hotwheels hunt or some seasoned hunter planning to up their game! There could be more tips and trick that you use or suggest for others to successful Hotwheels hunt, do in a note in the comment section and I may create a part-2 featuring your trick too. Till next time… Happy Hunting.