Since Mattel introduced Hot Wheels in 1968, the company has produced more than four billion of the tiny vehicles. Collectors are willing to pay a premium for certain models, demonstrated by the sale of a 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb for £46,800 in 2000.
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Hot Wheels are available in most toy and department stores, though some models are only sold by specific retailers and others have low production runs. Collectors can find rare and older models through online auction sites and dealers, as well as at toy shows and Hot Wheels conventions.
Collectors and dealers assign grades to indicate a car's condition which range from mint, reserved for a flawless car, to beater, indicating a car with multiple serious defects. Physical defects that affect a car's value include paint chips or scratches, dents, cracked windshields and missing tires.
Redlines are Hot Wheels cars produced between 1968 and 1972, which all had red lines painted along each tyre's circumference. Redlines are prized by collectors and occasionally counterfeited by unethical dealers who alter Hot Wheels to replicate genuine redlines.
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