Grand Prix History in Scale Models

The Market. How much do models cost and where to buy them?

Formula143 Collector’s Guide

Part 1. Collector’s Basics

Part 2. Few words about technology. What are models made of?

Part 3. The Brands. What scale models are there and who makes them?

Part 4. The Market. How much do models cost and where to buy them?

Part 5. Photo Studio. How to make quality photos of scale models?

Part 6. Cabinets and display cases. How to exhibit scale models?

The price range for the models of Grand Prix and Formula 1 cars in 1/43 scale is very large – from several Euros to several hundred Euros. In general, the price of a model depends on two components – quality and rarity. I divided the models in Formula143 Collection  into 6 main price categories – up to 15 Euros, from 15 to 30, from 30 to 50, from 50 to 80, from 80 to 100 and more than 100 Euros.

The category of up to 15 Euros includes most of the models from the magazine series and some of the regular inexpensive models (Brumm, Onyx, Bburago) in the primary or  secondary market. In the range from 15 to 30 euros are models of such brands as Brumm, Quartzo or Hot Wheels, as well as auction prices for some Minichamps and several other brands models. Price from 30 to 50 euros – a segment of some new or auction models by Minichamps, Spark, Rio. In the range from 50 to 80 Euros is the majority of Spark models, modern Minichamps, as well as a number of other brands (Autocult, Ebbro). A number of rarer Spark or Minichamps models may cost in the market from 80 to 100 Euros. Here are also  regular LookSmart and TSM models, some factory built kits. In the segment of the most expensive models (more than 100 Euros) there are  BBR products, Rare Models, a significant part of custom-made and factory built kits, exclusive handbuilt models, very rare Spark and Minichamps models. At the same time, the price of some models may be several times higher than the threshold of this price category.

The following diagram shows the number of models of different price categories and their total cost by category using the example of the Formula143 collection. The number of models from cheaper to more expensive is gradually decreasing, but the share of the price category in the total cost does not change much. For example, the total cost of all models for more than 100 euros in my collection is almost equal to the total cost of all models up to 15 Euros. And the most resource-intensive price category of models is a segment from 50 to 80 Euros. The average price of a model in the Formula143 collection is about 40 euros, and the median price is about 50 Euros.

Where to buy models?

Sources of replenishment of the collection can be very different. In my collection, most of the models (59%) were purchased on eBay and some other auction sites. eBay remains an essential resource. Auctions on eBay allow you to purchase a model below its cost in the store or find an old model that has not been in large stores for a long time. In addition, many large on-line and off-line model stores have their shops on eBay. The second most important source of replenishment of the collection is large online stores. Large sellers are the best source for buying models that have just been released, as long as they are sold at recommended prices and are not became a rarity. Next in terms of models are private online sellers (not on eBay) and model manufacturers (5-7% each). About 3% of the models I received by subscribing to magazine collections. And only 3% of the models were purchased not online, but offline – in stores, kiosks or from private sellers. Another 1% are models received for exchange and 1% are received as a gift.

How to save money when buying models?

In conclusion of this part of the guide on collecting Grand Prix and Formula 1 models, I will allow myself to give some simple tips on spending money on models – based on many years of personal experience.

1. It is better to buy new models that have just been released immediately after their release or by pre-order from large  on-line stores. Modern models of such brands as Spark, Minichamps, LookSmart, TSM are produced in relatively small quantities. Most of them are unlikely to become cheaper over time. Therefore, the purchase of a new model in large stores is a guarantee of purchase at the lowest price.

2. If the model has been released for a long time, look for it on eBay. Surely you will be able to find a cheaper option than in a large store.

3. If you find a rare model, but the price seems too high to you – do not rush. Any model, even the rare one, will appear again sooner or later and, quite possibly, at a lower price. (This tip applies only to production models, but does not work for exclusive models or rare kits).

4. Save on VAT deduction. Large online stores in the EU countries always deduct VAT from the item price if the buyer is outside the EU. So you save up to 20% of the cost of the model. And this is one of the reasons why new models are worth buying in stores rather than on eBay.

5. Save on postage. Buying multiple models from one seller at a time will reduce shipping costs per model. Most stores have a fixed parcel delivery cost from 0 to 2 kg. If you, for example, buy 1 model with shipping from Germany to Russia, the shipping cost will be 28 euros. If you buy 5 models at once, then at the same price for the parcel, the delivery of each model will cost only 5.5 euros.

6. All stores sometimes arrange sales and always have a certain set of models at discount prices. Sale price can be reduced up to 50%. Track sales or look for models you are interested in in the reduced price section.

7. On eBay, buy models in lots. Some eBay sellers sell models in sets of a few. In this case, the price for 1 model can be significantly lower than when buying the same set of models individually.

8. Do not neglect auctions on eBay. Products on eBay are sold in two ways – you can either “buy it now” at a fixed price, or participate in an auction that will be won by the buyer who offers a higher price. Watch auctions for the models you are interested in. A particularly productive tactic is bidding at the very last moment – up to a few seconds before the auction ends.

9. This advice is for buyers from Russia. The price of models purchased in large foreign online stores, even with delivery, will almost always be lower than prices in Russian stores. If you buy several models at once, sharing the shipping cost, then this rule will work in 100% of cases. The advice is relevant at the current limit of non-taxable goods from abroad of 200 euros per postal item.

10. Do not chase cheap models. One expensive high quality model that you really need will bring you much more fun and pleasure than 5 cheaper which you would normally not buy.

2 thoughts on “The Market. How much do models cost and where to buy them?

  1. Thank you for the great tips on purchasing models. My interest is in Rally cars in 1/43 scale. I am quite happy with the Ixo/Altaya brand but I have been purchasing Trofeu models lately because of the brand’s quality and number of available models in the era (70s to 90s) I have concentrated on collecting. Best regards.


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