Edward Cooley stands in front of one of the display cases he has for his Hot Wheels collection.
by Dave Warner
If you told me there was someone in Little Falls who had a collection of 10,000 Hot Wheels toys in their house, I wouldn’t have believed it. But, Edward Cooley has such a collection, and he says it’s probably the biggest in the state.
Cooley is a permanent resident of Little Falls, graduating in 1977. He started collecting at age 12 and can’t remember why he started collecting, but said, “I think my mother trained me. She bought me matchboxes that came out in 1954, and I started collecting in 1967 or 68.”
He’s been collecting for 53 years now, and when he’s been collecting Hot Wheels and toys like that stuff, he died in the ’70s, he never skipped a beat. “It’s a passion. I like miniature things and I like cars. Take a Lamborghini – I’ll never have a real one, so I have plenty of little ones.
Cooley also said he liked the colors and detailing they made the cars in. He used to put up an exhibition during the canal celebration and sell some of the extra copies he collected. “I have many more in packs that I sell. I don’t do it as a business, just a hobby.
“At one point we had four to six tables with 900 different cars in packages. I had it installed so that if you took one out, another would automatically slide in and take its place,” he said. “Before, we were doing pretty well.”
He says that to date, there are thousands and thousands of people interested in collecting the cars. “You can go online and there are 20 to 25,000 for sale.”
Much of what he collects comes from his purchases on eBay and The Toy Peddler where he searches for the ones he wants.
Cooley has a database of his collection, which he took four years to assemble. “In addition to the 10,000, I have almost 5,000 Matchboxes.”
It also has other marks, as well as “ramp walkers” that wobble on their own on an incline.
His favorite is the Circus Skyshow he received from Canada. “They do a purple and an aqua and I have both. They are now worth around $2,200-2,300 each.
The most elusive for him was the Super Fine Turbine in pink. “It costs about $3,000 and it takes me a while to accumulate money in my hobby to buy one.”
A Beach Bum is the one he thinks he will never be able to afford because the cheapest ones cost between $20-30,000.
He says everyone in his family tries to buy him Hot Wheels for birthdays and holidays, but he says, “They realize I have most of them because I’ve been doing it for so many years.”
His wife loves it and “she knows quite a bit because we used to set up at Canal Celebration and she learned the names and colors I had.”
Cooley says there are probably 35,000 to 40,000 different models, but he has a full collection of the “red line” ones. They have a red circle on the tires.
He doesn’t think anyone in the world has a complete collection, at least not to his knowledge. “I think I’m one of the greatest in the state. It’s a constant thing and I think I’ll never stop collecting them.
Right now, he’s working on categorizing everything in his spreadsheets while still looking for the ones he really wants.
When he’s ready to hand over the collection, he has someone in mind. “I will leave the only grandson of Hot Wheels and Matchbox.”
If you are interested in speaking with Cooley about his collection or purchasing one he has for sale, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315-867-6068.