Recapturing that lost childhood

Matchbox Mustang No. 8During the summer, I saw an amazing toy car collection worth thousands of dollars. It was not in a museum — but in a home office. Few people beyond the collector, his wife and daughter ever see these cars.

So why would he invest so many hours and and so much money in that? (One small set alone is worth about $1,000.) My theory is that he is trying to recapture some of his lost childhood. He remembers when he saved up and bought those cars when he was a kid. As a proportion of his income, the little cars might be similar in what they cost him today, maybe.

I collect little cars (in spite of my primary emphasis on collecting digitally). I don’t pay very much for them. I don’t collect very many. But to anyone who visits my home office, they will see probably 6 or 7 little cars lined up, looking at me. Am I trying to recapture some of my lost childhood? Maybe. Mostly I just like cars and it’s fun to see those little cars every day.

What’s the difference between the previously mentioned collector and me? He goes to great lengths to find specific models. He’s willing to pay a ton when he finds the pearl of great price. I just randomly pick up a Trabant when I see it at Walgreens. Or a friend will give me a Mini.

By the way, the model shown is from the amazing collection. (He very kindly let me take several pictures — which are in now my digital collection.) That white Matchbox Mustang is one that I owned when I was a boy. Today on eBay with the box it costs $100. Sadly it won’t regain a place of honor in my collection.

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4 Replies to “Recapturing that lost childhood”

  1. Brings back fond memories of my Matchbox collection I had as a kid…if only I’d known their future value my Mom would not have had to nag me to ‘pick them up’ after leaving them out in the yard where I created roads and whole cities. On another vein…I have a growing collection of Hot Wheel Ferrari’s. I pick them up at Walmart whenever I see a model I don’t have. Makes me wonder how many other grown men live out their ‘car fantasies’ via Hot Wheels, Matchbox or Tonka.

  2. Do you ever watch the TV show Pawn Stars? One recent episode featured a guy who pawned his huge collection of Matchbox cars for $20,000. The guys at the pawn shop figure he won’t be able to repay them in the 120 days they require and then he’ll lose all his cars to them. What will he recapture then?

  3. Michael: I love the low-cost option. It’s fun to fantasize in this small way.

    Tim: Never saw the show. Sad that he lost money via the pawn shop method. If he had time & energy, he could have made a lot more via eBay. And probably kept a few of them for memories’ sake.

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