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F. A. Q.* Page
(*Frequently Asked Questions)


last updated 1 February 2012

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS PAGE:
CONDITION RATING CHART
SCALE CHART

FIRST, A SPELLING LESSON
There are many words, some associated with die-cast toys, that are commonly misspelled.  Here are the most common mistakes seen on rec.toys.cars newsgroup and other places on the internet.  For more examples of common grammar and spelling errors and their corrections, visit http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html#errors.

Bburago - A brand of die-cast cars made in Italy, The double "B" at the beginning is the company's trademark brand name.  Burago is the name of a city in Italy, but is incorrect when applied to the brand name.

My bookkeeper is the keeper of the books; while a bookeeper is only capable of being the keeper of the boo.  Just remember that bookkeeper is a compound word made of two other words:  book and keeper.

By and large or by enlarge - This is a nonsense phrase, as indicated by the fact that nobody agrees on how to spell it.  Preferable words or phrases would be "for the most part,...", "generally,..." or "primarily,..."

Camaro, not Camero.  Perhaps you're confusing it with Cameo, or Camera.

Diecast, die-cast, or die cast - All forms are acceptable, although "diecast" has only come into use since the 1980s and the rise in popularity of die cast toys.

Ertl - As in Fred J. Ertl Sr., founder of The Ertl Company, Dyersville, Iowa - not to be confused with F. F. Ertl III, grandson of Fred Sr. and founder of Diecast Promotions / Trademark Models / Highway 61 Collectibles of Dubuque, Iowa.

Gauge, not Guage - Regardless of how wrong it appears, "gauge" (rhymes with "age" although phonetically it should rhyme with "Dodge") not "guage" (which looks like "garage" with a speech impediment) is the correct spelling of the word that refers to model railroad scale.  No wonder the English language is so difficult to learn!
Perilous ponderings:  "Guage" might be a word, perhaps if spelled "gooage," as in "Now look what you've done, you've gotten some sort of gooage all over it."

Hot Wheels is a registered trademark, always plural, always two words, always capitalized, not "hotwheel", not "Hotwheel", not "Hot Wheel".  A good example: "I have a Hot Wheels toy."

Irregardless - Regardless of how you use it in a sentence, irregardless is a double negative and a misspelled word.

It's and its - As an exception to the rule, it's is not possessive, but is the contraction of it isIts is the possessive form of it.  Example: "It's not the price of the toy.  I liked its charm."

Jada Toys - Pronounced "JAY-duh" according to company representatives.  Makers of Dub City, Homierollerz, Road Ratz, Initial D and other diecast cars in various scales.

Johnny Lightning - There is no "e" in "lightning" (unless someone is bleaching Johnny's hair.)

Maisto - Yes, I've seen an "r" inserted in there, but then it would have to be spelled "Maestro" as in "Maestro, strike up the band."  Also, I found out from a company representative that Maisto is pronounced "MAY-sto" as in "I may stow all my toys in the attic so no one will steal them."

Matchbox - Can you believe how many people say "Matchbock cars" as if "Matchbox" is plural?

The most commonly misspelled word in the English language, believe it or not, is Misspelled.  Just remember that the prefix mis + the word spelled = mis spelled.

Regardless of circumstances, there is no such word as "irregardless."

There, they're and their - These are three words that sound the same but are often incorrectly interchanged in writing. So, to set the record straight:
There is as opposed to here, as in "There you go."
They're is a contraction of they are, as in "They're here."
Their is the possessive form of they or them, as in "Their appearance at the toy show created quite a stir."

To or too - You, too, might be one of too many people who are apt to misuse these words, proof that the simplest words are sometimes the hardest ones to catch.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DIE-CAST TOYS:
This page is intended to provide answers to the majority of often-asked questions as they relate to toy cars, rec.toys.cars newsgroup and internet protocol in general, with a little humor thrown in occasionally just for fun.

A Question of Scale:
Maisto's 1:12 scale replica of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible measures about 18 inches long. The full-sized car was among the longest production cars ever made - a whopping 18 feet long! Using this model as a basis for comparison, (since Racing Champions, Hot Wheels and others have reproduced this car in various scales,) I'll try to extrapolate the relative size for this model as it would be reproduced in various scales. Most common die-cast toys are produced in a scale that renders them 3" long. This usually translates to about 1:55-1:64 scale for cars, 1:87-1:100 scale for commercial trucks. The "gauge" refers to rough standards set for model railroad sets.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, 1:1, around 18 feet long
Scale Gauge Approx. Length  Comments
1:1                 18 feet           Full-sized automobile
1:12               18 inches       1 inch equals 1 foot
1:18               12 inches
1:24                9 inches
1:32     L         6.75 inches
1:43     O        5 inches        O gauge is based on a ratio of 7mm : 1 foot
1:48                4.5 inches     modified O gauge based on a scale of 1/4 inch : 1 foot
1:55                4 inches        The common scale used for most Siku toys and other German die-cast
1:64     S         3.4 inches     Longer than most models that usually measure 3 inches in this scale
1:76     OO     2.84 inches   "Double O" is a common gauge used on UK models produced by Hornby and Dinky
1:87     HO     2.5 inches      Derived from half "O" gauge
1:144              1.5 inches      A new scale created by Racing Champions
1:160   N        1.35 inches
1:220   Z         1 inch            This scale represents the smallest scale train sets on the market
1:250 & 1:500  These are scales reserved for commercial and large military airplanes produced by Herpa and Schabak in order to render them 3-6 inches long.

Q: What should I collect?
A: Collect whatever you like, but don't try to collect solely on what's the most valuable. Collectibles market prices fluctuate, and supply and demand is often artificially enhanced, resulting in temporarily increased values. Follow this rule: Collect only what you like, because if you can't sell it, you're stuck with it.

Q. What newsgroup especially deals with die-cast toys and slot cars?
A. The most appropriate newsgroup is rec.toys.cars. The newsgroup was first established in 1995 in order to provide a forum for discussion on collectible toy cars. While the majority of posts refer to Hot Wheels, posts regarding any toy car (or truck) are welcomed. Besides the die-cast varieties such as Matchbox, Dinky, Corgi, Majorette, Tomica, Road Champs, Racing Champions and others, discussions are also encouraged regarding Tonka toys, Brooklins, Buddy L, Marx, Franklin and Danbury Mints, battery-operated toys, windup toys, tin toys, cast iron, white metal, plastic, slot cars, and any other toy or precision scale model cars and trucks.  Two binary newsgroups allow images of toys and models to be posted along with text. alt.binaries.models.scale focuses mostly on plastic model kits, but often showcases diecast models. The more appropriate newsgroup for diecast toys is alt.binaries.toy-cars

Q. How do I access these services?
A. Both may be accessed on Netscape by opening the Window menu at the top of your Netscape browser, selecting Netscape News, then opening the File menu and selecting Add Newsgroup. When prompted, type in the name of the newsgroup or browse the list of groups.

Q. What's a "majordomo" list, and are there any especially devoted to diecast toys?
A majordomo list is a shared e-mail list to which you may subscribe in order to receive and reply to messages from other subscribers to the list.  toynutz.com hosts one such list concerning die-cast and other automotive toys and models.  One is
toy-car-collectors@yahoogroups.com
.  To subscribe, send e-mail to
toy-car-collectors-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Q. What does it mean to be an affiliate?
A. To be an affiliate means that when someone clicks on the link icon to that business, the owner of the originating link receives a commission from any sales made from the destination business.  It also means that your customer has just navigated away from your website.

Q. Should I take my cars out of the packaging or not?
A. Arguments go both ways on this question. It depends on whether you like the feel of holding them in your hand, of opening the doors and hood, of rolling them along on the floor or table. Realistically, most models are depreciated up to 50 percent of resale value when removed from the package. But true collectors don't care. They would rather put them in an attractive display case than leave them in those ugly blister packs. (I think you get the idea which I prefer.)

Q. What is a good book for Hot Wheels?
A. Tomart's Price Guide to Hot Wheels covers almost every Hot Wheels car issued from 1968 to 2002. Retail is $32.95. There are many other books on Hot Wheels, as well. Visit www.toynutz.com to order this and other books on die-cast and related automotive toys.

Q. What is a good book for Matchbox?
A. My own book Collector's Guide to Matchbox Toys 1947 to 2007 is the easiest-to-use single-volume book on Matchbox 3-inch toys and lists 2008 1-100 series models. It retails for $24.95.
Charlie Mack, Matchbox USA collectors club president, has the most comprehensive single-volume book, The Encyclopedia of Matchbox Toys, which includes every product ever sold under the Matchbox brand name from 1947 to 2002. It retails for $29.95.   Meanwhile, his four-volume series of books chronicle the four distinct eras in Matchbox toys - the Regular Wheels Years from 1947 to 1968, the Superfast Years from 1968 to 1982, the Universal Years from 1982 to 1992, and the Tyco Years, from 1992 to 1994. Visit www.toynutz.com to order these and other books on die-cast and related automotive toys.

Q. What other books are available on die-cast toys?
A. There is a surprising number of books currently available on die-cast toys, plastic and metal promos (dealer issues) and white metal models of every kind. Visit www.toynutz.com and view the online catalog for a complete list.

Q. What do all those abbreviations mean?
A. There are many abbreviations and acronyms used on rec.toys.cars newsgroup in particular, and all newsgroups and bulletin boards in general.  Here are just a few of the more common ones:
DM - Danbury Mint, one of the best-known and best made precision scale models on the market
FE - First Editions is a series of new castings from Hot Wheels. From 1995 through 1997, the line featured 12 new castings each year. 1998 offered 40 new models.
FM - Usually refers to Franklin Mint, foremost producer of precision scale models, although it could also stand for Fairfield Mint, a new company specializing in medium priced 1:18 scale models.
FS/FT/WTB - For Sale/ For Trade/Wanted To Buy, the latter is often abbreviated WTD (WanTeD)
FYI - For Your Information
HW - Hot Wheels, brand of toys owned by Mattel, who also purchased Corgi in 1995.
IMHO - In My Humble Opinion, usually applied to comments that often don't seem to reflect that much humility. (Compare to IMNSHO - In My Not So Humble Opinion.)
ISO - In Search Of, as in ISO Matchbox Gold Challenge Viper (could also stand for I Saw One)
JL - Johnny Lightning, originally produced by Topper Toys (1969-1971), but now manufactured by Playing Mantis
LE - Limited Edition
LMK - Let Me Know
MB - Matchbox, originally produced by Lesney Products of London, England. Later purchased by Universal Holdings of Hong Kong (Matchbox International Inc.1982-1992), then purchased by Tyco (1992-1997). Buyout of Tyco by Mattel in mid-1997 will mean Matchbox and Dinky toys will be owned by the same company as Hot Wheels and Corgi.
MBCC - Matchbox Challenge Cars, gold finish is applied to regular Matchbox cars and packaged on a limited basis in a case of regular issues. Challenge Cars are produced in limited quantities, making them a prize when they are found. Similar cars are marketed by Mattel as Hot Wheels "Treasure Hunts", while Racing Champions issues "Chase Cars" in a similar way.
MBRW - Matchbox Regular Wheels, small black, grey or silver plastic wheels or metal wheels typified Matchbox toys until 1969 when Superfast (see SF) wheels were introduced.
MBSF - Matchbox Superfast (see SF)
MBX - Matchbox, more commonly abbreviated MB.
MBYY - Matchbox Models of Yesteryear, also abbreviated MOY.
MOMC - Mint On Mint Card, referring to the condition of a model still in its blisterpack.
MOY - Matchbox Models of Yesteryear, more commonly abbreviated MBYY.
PM - Playing Mantis, see JL
RC - Most often refers to Racing Champions, but is also confused with Road Champs, Radio Controlled, and less often with Royal Crown (remember RC Cola?)
RC2 - The corporate name for the business created by the merger between Racing Champions and Ertl, now also owner of Johnny Lightning.
RCME - Racing Champions Mint Editions, a critically acclaimed series of classic cars in approximately 1:60 scale from Racing Champions selling for about $4 each at many retail stores.
RL - Red Lines, Hot Wheels issued from 1968 to around 1973 had red stripes around the wheels, a telltale sign of their age and value.
ROW - Rest Of World, most often referring to Matchbox toys sold internationally but not in the U.S.
RR - Real Riders, Hot Wheels toys with realistic Goodyear rubber tires on separate wheel hubs.
SF - Superfast, indicating Matchbox toys produced after 1968 with new faster wheels on thinner low friction axles to compete with Hot Wheels on their own track.
TH - Treasure Hunt, a highly popular line of limited production Hot Wheels packed one or two to a 144 car case. Hard to find and highly desirable.
TRU - Toys 'R' Us, America's foremost toy store, unless you count FAO Schwarz.
WTB - Wanted To Buy
WTD - WanTeD.

Here are a few more for your amusement:
BTW - By The Way,...
LOL- laughing out loud or lots of laughs, usually in response to a humorous post.
ROFLMAO - Rolling on the floor laughing my *** off
WTHAYTA - What the heck are you talking about?
GAL - Get a life
AYOOYM - Are you out of your mind?
HSBGFDOT! - Hey stock boy, get first dibs on this!
LC4S - Loose cars for sale
LG4S - Loose girl for sale
YIS - Your ignorance shows

Q. What does "C1", "c-5" or "C-10" mean?
A. "C" in every example above, whether capitalized or not, means "condition". Most die-cast toy collectors generally accept that a C-10 model is one in new condition in original package, while a C-1 is fairly worthless due to extensive damage, wear or missing parts. At least one collector suggests the 10-point rating system be scrapped in favor of a simpler one in which the model is either in 1. new condition (mint) or 2. not new condition with flaws described.

A numerical value from 0 to 10 has been most commonly used to define an item's condition.  The chart
below is intended to assist in determining value on less-than-mint-condition toys.  Note that “mint
condition” denotes a model with no wear, no chips, no flaws.  Models in a sealed blisterpack, for instance,
may sometimes suffer wear from rubbing on the insides of the plastic blister and are therefore considered
less-than-mint condition.  So not everything still in the package should automatically be considered “mint.”
 
Rating  Percent of Book Value  Evaluation
C10 100% Mint condition in original container
C9 80 - 90% Mint condition without container
C8 60 - 70% Near mint condition, close inspection reveals minor wear
C7 40 - 50% Excellent condition, visible minor wear
C6 20 - 30% Very good condition, visible wear, all parts intact
C5 10 - 15% Good condition, excessive wear, paint chipped or heavily worn
C4 5 - 8% Fair condition, parts broken or missing
C1-3 2 - 4% Poor condition, paint worn off, parts broken or missing
C0 ½ -1% Salvage for parts only

Q. What are Chase Cars? Gold Challenge? Treasure Hunts?
A. Chase Cars are limited production cars from Racing Champions, while Challenge cars are similarly limited from Matchbox. While Matchbox Challenge models are gold, they are not the same as Matchbox Gold Coin models which are highly-detailed versions of regular issue models specially packaged in a special display box with an accompanying commemorative coin. Treasure Hunts are limited production run issues from Hot Wheels. Each is easily and unmistakably identifiable by the name on the package.

Q. What are White Lightnings, and how do you identify them?
A. Johnny Lightning White Lightnings are variations of the more realistic commemoratives such as Custom El Camino, Custom GTO, Custom XKE, '32 Roadster, Custom Continental, Custom Toronado, Custom Thunderbird and Custom Mustang. They are typically metallic white in color, usually with white tires and a clearly marked package denoting "White Lightning."  Some collectors would have you think that ANY Johnny Lightning that happens to be a pearl white color is a White Lightning.  It isn't.

Q. What's a Spammer?
A. By definition, a Spammer is one who spams, meaning that they cross-post or "global-post" a message to multiple newsgroups or e-mail addresses. It also refers to people who post ads to your e-mail that you didn't request, or newsgroup posts advertising merchandise or services that are off the general subject of the newsgroup. The expression, like so many cyber-expressions, is derived from an early Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch in which a gentleman and his wife are at a restaurant in which everything on the menu has spam in it and he loves spam but his wife hates it. Eventually, a chorus of men break out into song, singing "Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam..." in four-part harmony, drowning out the sketch.

Q. What's a Scalper?
A. By most definitions, a scalper is one who buys a lot of something, then sells them for an outrageously higher price because he has established a corner on the market for desirable goods.  While it originally referred to tickets to popular events, (it is always better to buy concert tickets from a reputable source,) it now encompasses the buying and reselling of diecast toys, particularly Hot Wheels. While it is not illegal, it does raise questions of ethics.

Q. Are get-rich-quick schemes on the internet legitimate?
A. No. Any time a post says "this is perfectly and completely legal," it is your first clue that it is probably illegal. Pyramid clubs, where you are required to respond to a number of addresses on a mailing list, and chain letters, where you are told if you break the chain something terrible will happen to you, are both bogus and illegal. There is NO proven get-rich-quick scheme. The only one who gets rich is the one who thought it up in the first place. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Interstate Commerce regulate such practices.  In addition, most Internet Service Providers have regulations against such practices and will terminate the service of such individuals who promote such scams.  As so many have said before, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."  Remember the words of P. T. Barnum:  "There's a sucker born every minute."  Don't be one.


To submit your own questions, answers or retorts, email the Toy Car Collectors Association.

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