EDEN PRAIRIE, MN (FOX 9) – When you think of Hot Wheels and Matchbox, you might have childhood flashbacks. But an Eden Prairie man started his collection just four years ago when someone paid off a debt with die-cast cars instead of cash.
Now he sits on an incredible collection of classic toy cars.
“I have no idea, I have no idea,” Robert Solberg replies when asked how many cars he owns. “Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands.”
There are too many to count but if they are worth anything, Robert Solberg knows it. Four years ago, it wasn’t a passion that sent Robert on the road to collect Hot Wheels, Matchboxes, Lessneys and other die-cast cars, it was an unpaid debt of just $200.
“He said he had some toy cars he could pay me back, so, okay, that was pretty lucrative, I got the better part of the deal,” Solberg said. “And they turned out to be about 300 blister-packed Johnny Lightnings.”
With these Johnny Lightings, worth thousands, a hobby took off as Soilberg’s desire to collect accelerated rapidly. For value, he looked at age, quality, and whether they were rare. But he also started to look closely at the tires.
“Red lines are your sources of money if they are in good condition they are worth money,” he said.
When he came across a vintage pink car, he immediately knew he had money.
“If you can find these cars in pink,” Solberg said. “You know they’re worth money. Any of those cars. If they’re pink, they’ll have great value. [Why?] Back then, little boys didn’t like pink cars. So when they made them, they made very little.”
He’s gotten so far into collecting that Solberg now has pickers finding the cars for him. He sells what is not worth much in bulk to whoever wants it. But her own personal collection is neatly parked, lining the walls, sitting on shelves and tucked away in the corners.
Only four years after the start of his collection, they are nothing but money. It became a lucrative love affair.
“I can come see my Lessney and be cool,” he said. “And actually, sit there and look what I have.”
Now, if you’re wondering what’s for sale, everything is – at least for the right price. Solberg estimates her own collection to be worth $1.5 million.