Many people are drawn to collecting things from their childhood for nostalgia's sake. Some procure vinyl records, comic books, or trading cards, while others are into toys from their earliest years. The latter is the case with Bruce Pascal, a 59-year-old commercial real estate executive who spends his nights searching for the rarest Hot Wheels cars.
According to The Hustle, Pascal is responsible for the most valuable Hot Wheels collection in the world. His assortment of 7,000 cars is insured for a staggering $1.5 million.
His affinity for Hot Wheels began at the age of seven, although it wasn't until some 30 years later that he dusted off his small childhood collection and was so overcome with nostalgia that he quickly began studying the market and familiarizing himself with price points for older Hot Wheels cars. Pascal's renewed Hot Wheels obsession soon led him to seek out other vintage collections for 50 percent to 70 percent of market value.
The Hustle points out that after just six months of collecting, Pascal secured one of the most sought-after Hot Wheels, a pink 1969 Rear-Loading Beach Bomb, which he paid $70,000 for. At the time, this was unprecedented, but it opened the door for other five-figure deals.
More recently, Pascal focuses on unreleased prototypes that he generally tracks down from former Mattel employees. It's been said that the Hot Wheels enthusiast has doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for these vintage cars, sometimes surprising sellers by paying far more than what they're aware the vehicles are worth.
Pascal admits the most valuable Hot Wheels are the Rear-Loading Beach Bombs, which never made it to market. There are just 48 in existence, and they generally sell for between $20,000 and $50,000. Next up are the “Over-Chrome” Hot Wheels, a series of roughly 30 cars produced in 1968. These typically go for $20,000 to $30,000.
“The value often comes down to a magical mix of condition, casting, and color,” Pascal shared. “In the Hot Wheels world, there are endless variations of paint, interiors, and wheels. You really have to know what you’re looking at.”
Because most people aren't aware of the value of vintage Hot Wheels, Pascal has been working on a spreadsheet that details the value of each of his cars. “There might only be 10 people in the world who know the value of what I have, so if I drop dead without documenting everything, I’m screwed,” he said.
For more on Bruce Pascal's $1.5 million collection, and the secondary Hot Wheels market in general, visit The Hustle.