Monday - 01 September 2014

Hotwheels stand on the podium for Pippa

01 January 2011Written by Roland Arkell

A recent sale conducted by Astons of Dudley included a collection of merchandise belonging to a former Palitoy UK sales representative.

The items were entered for the sale on November 6 by his daughter, Pippa, who was born just prior to the release of the Pippa series of products and is thought to have given her name to a popular fashion doll.

The star lots were two Mattel Hotwheels shop display stands mounted with 50 fi rst-type Hotwheels cars with 'redline' wheels. 

Measuring 15in x 2ft 3in (38 x 69cm), the stands each comprised a six-tier wooden shelf unit with a card backing sign reading Here they are! Original Hot Wheels Mattel for Miniature Racing Realism, Here's why more boys prefer Hot Wheels.

Hotwheels was introduced by American toymaker Mattel as a competitor to Lesney's Matchbox toys in 1968. The original range comprised 16 recognisable road cars designed to run on orange plastic track - sometimes called the 'Sweet 16' by collectors.

These displays probably dated from around 1970 when the series was widened to include the first of the original in-house designs that came to define the range. The early years of Hotwheels are known as the Redline Era as, until 1977, the wheels had a red line etched around the tyre rim, popular on muscle cars at the time.

Some of the cars at Dudley were suffering from slight corrosion, but this did not seem to matter: the only other known example of one of these stands was a mint example sold at Christie's South Kensington more than ten years ago.

The pre-sale estimates of £200- 300 were seriously tempting. Several telephone lines were booked and collectors in the US (where prices for individual Hotwheels rarities have exceeded $50,000) were waiting online.

However, after bidding opened at £1500 none of them got a look-in as a collector in the room bid against many a commission bid to secure the first lot at £4000.     

A round of applause in the saleroom was followed by the appearance of the second lot, ultimately purchased for £3800 by an American collector.

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