OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) – Collectors in the metro and around the country are intrigued by one man’s massive private collection of a popular toy that has passed the test of time.
A Hot Wheels collector from Kearny recently passed away, and his fleet of nearly 100,000 Hot Wheels will soon be up for sale.
While his family did not want to share his name, his passion for collecting was evident.
Employees at Lily's Estate Sales have carefully sorted through 1,000 totes filled with Hot Wheels. The collector was meticulously organized, even going so far as to sort totes by keeping a Hot Wheel on the outside to show what was inside.
“There is no dust,” Lily’s owner Andrew Rowland said. “He had the bug and the bug is collecting and he took it to another level.
It’s hard to see just how many Hot Wheels were kept in pristine condition, many of which were not even in the collector’s home.
“He had his own personal collection at home that he would look at on a daily basis, but then he had the rest of this stuff that was in storage,” Rowland explained. “You've got some really rare Bugatti's. You've got the classic collection.”
Those rare and vintage cars are what have other fans, like Mo-Kan Hot Wheelers Collectors Club member Kenny Bates excited to see the tiny treasures.
Bates has been collecting Hot Wheels for around 20 years and knew the collector. Both were members of the collectors club for years and spoke of the massive stockpile, but Bates said seeing it all in one place was impressive.
“That's a lot of cars,” he explained. “Until you actually see it, it's hard to imagine it.”
Rowland said the collector went on treasure hunts, buying case after case after case to find factory sealed, first editions and rare models, including Hot Wheels made in the 1960s through this year and even “import” models.
“Oh, I think the ones from India, the Leo Mattel’s. They are very rare,” he said of a particular find in the collection. “They were made only in a certain time and they weren't exported.”
The more common cars in this Hot Wheels collection could be sold for $1 while other unique cars could go for several hundred dollars apiece.
“There was a car that was sold from here in the Kansas City area that was worth probably close to $100,000,” Bates explained. “It was a rare prototype that they made 50 years ago.”
While Rowland said it would be tough to answer just how much the whole collection was worth, it is clear that the collector thoroughly enjoyed finding and protecting these tiny pieces of many childhoods.
Most kids ripped the packages right open, but he didn’t, something for which many of his fellow collectors will be thankful.
“That's new old stock,” Rowland said. “They didn't play with it. They got it as a present it was tucked away for 30 to 40 years.”
The staff at Lily’s is still sorting through thousands of cars. The sale begins at noon on Thursday, July 18, and runs through July 20 at their location at 9034 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.