Treasures & Trends
Question: I began collecting Hot Wheels during the early 1970s. When my son first saw them several years ago, he immediately began adding to my original collection. Can you tell me when Hot Wheels were introduced and recommend a good reference book for us? – Steve and Josh, Tucson
Answer: Collecting Hot Wheels is one of America’s favorite hobbies.
Elliot Handler, co-founder of the Mattel toy company, was one of the first to realize that there was room in the marketplace for pocket-sized, die-cast toy cars. He was convinced that products from his company could compete with the highly successful toy cars from the British Matchbox brand. In 1968, the first 16 Hot Wheels were introduced and they were an immediate hit. What set them apart was the attention to detail. Even after 40 years, it is almost impossible to imagine an American toy box without at least three or four Hot Wheels cars.
Although there are several excellent reference books, a new one is exceptional. “Hot Wheels: 40 Years” by Angelo Van Bogart (Krause, $30) celebrates the miniature marvels from Mattel that revolutionized both playtime and collecting. This wonderful book features spectacular color photography and, like the toy cars themselves, is very, very cool. You can order a copy at 888-457-2873 or krausebooks.com.
Tom Tumbusch is an expert and author of “Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels.” His contact information is Tomart Publications, 3300 Encrete Lane, Dayton, OH 45439, firstname.lastname@example.org and tomart.com.
Bernie Resnick is a local toy expert and may be contacted at 885-6307 and email@example.com.
Q: I have about a dozen citrus labels from the 1930s. They represent mostly California companies that no longer exist. Are they collectible? – Rachel, Tucson
A: Noel Gilbert is president of The Citrus Label Society and he has agreed to help you. His address is 131 Miramonte Drive, Fullerton, CA 92635.
In addition to his work for the Tucson Citizen, Larry Cox writes book reviews and a weekly collectibles column that are syndicated by King Features and distributed throughout the United States and Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Q: I have an old Victrola and need new steel needles but can’t seem to find any locally. Any suggestions? – Paul, Green Valley
A: Dave Vaughn of Dave’s Antiques repairs older spring-wound record players and always has a good stock of the steel needles. His address is 449 W. 29th St., or call him at 790-2618.