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A moving send-off to 25 years of collecting 15,000 Hot Wheels

Hill City, SD (KEVN) – Dan Kulbel, 73 and living outside of Hill City, fell in love with collecting toy cars in the 90s and has collected thousands since then.

After 25 years, it’s finally time to say goodbye.

While a standard house might have a two-car garage…the Kulbels have way more cars than that. Dan says people often ask him, “Do you collect hot wheels? “No, I say, I accumulate them! ‘That was my toy box right here,’ Dan says, surrounded by a huge collection of Hot Wheels and on the verge of tears, ‘and you were saying, ‘come on, look at my toy box,’ and they were like, ‘ you are crazy!”

His collection tops the charts with nearly 15,000. H calls it “an accomplishment.” One 25 years in the making, “and the wife has supported me for 49 years.”

Dan’s wife, Deb, says “after 49 years…yeah, you pretty much have to accept what the other person likes to collect, and actually I just stopped going down in the basement to look at them , so he can do his thing.”

“A lot of these toys that you can drive around,” Dan says smiling, “they have batteries and you push them on. You can ask me and I can probably tell you if I have that vehicle.

Dan says Hot Wheels produces about 250 vehicles a year, and for the past few years he’s had almost all of them. His real estate agent asked for a split-window corvette, and Dan said, “Man, that’s tough!” I do not remember. But, I found one for him and now he got it.

He says they’re selling the house because their kids are in Florida. “So we’re moving there so they can help us when we get older.”

A moment the Kulbels knew was inevitable. Time to say goodbye to hot wheels. “It’s bittersweet,” Deb says, “but there comes a time when you have to let go of some things and move on to new things.”

They’re selling the collection that took years to make and brought back memories from rummaging through store after store, together, just for a certain model. Or in Deb’s words described as, “just finding that last needle in the haystack.”

She says some have already found their way into another’s hand, especially kids, “and he’s got a lot of kids who have started making hot wheel collections themselves.”

Dan’s plan for the rest of the collection is to go to an auction, where “sometimes it shocks you what it’s for, but it can also be cheap”.

Of course, Dan says, while they’re packing up their stuff, they’re filling their pockets with their favorites. “Load our little which they carry with us.”

Who knows, maybe the next trip will trigger a new collection.

“Oh,” Deb said, thinking of what her husband might start collecting, “probably Hot Wheels again.”

The online auction took more than 25,000 photographs and will begin May 12 at 8 a.m.

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