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Collector Interviews

By Doug Kale

Meet Collector Mason Barnes

Mason is a big time collector from Franklin, Kentucky. Mason says he has a ton of fun collecting diecast.  


I recently got the chance to interview Mason about his large diecast car collection. Here's what he had to say...

Kale's Diecast Toy Cars:  Hey Mason! Thank you again for taking the time for this interview. 

KDTC: Do you remember the first toy car you ever collected?  

Mason Barnes: It was definitely a Hot Wheels car. I got some on my 2nd birthday in 1968. Can't honestly say I remember those cars other than a picture I have. But I vividly remember racing cars by about age 5. The two I remember most from that time frame was a blue Custom Camaro and an olive Custom Firebird. Being a kid during the Hot Wheels redline era was truly awesome.



Mason at age 2 in 1968 with his first Hot Wheels cars.
Photo on left - Some of Mason's childhood cars.


KDTC: Do you still have any of the first cars you played with as a kid? 

Mason: I do still have a few of my childhood Hot Wheels. Unfortunately most of my childhood cars were destroyed. I remember literally beating cars with a hammer so I would have some to place in the junkyard.

KDTC: How long have you been collecting?  

Mason: I would say literally since 1968. I can remember getting Hot Wheels for my birthdays and Christmas all through my childhood. At about age 10 I started mowing yards to earn money. Every penny I earned was spent on Hot Wheels and model cars. From about age 16 on I have been more serious about collecting though.


KDTC: What is your current favorite diecast brand? 

Mason: Definitely Hot Wheels although this new M2 stuff is awesome and I have accumulated several of them too.


KDTC: What is your favorite vehicle or casting? 

Mason: The Classic 36 Ford Coupe


KDTC: How many cars do you think you have in your collection?

Mason: Over 10,000


KDTC: What’s your most valuable item in your collection?  

Mason: I have several redlines probably worth a few hundred dollars, but maybe my apple green 36. Sentimental value wise would be my 442 Police Cruiser I got for my 10th birthday.


KDTC: What advice would you give to new collectors? 

Mason: Number one, buy what you like. Secondly, take some time to meet and learn from older or more experienced collectors. Most of us that were kids during the redline era are early 50's to mid 60's in age. I know several 20 somethings and even teenagers that are into collecting and that's exciting to me.


KDTC: Do you have an interesting toy car-related story you wouldn’t mind sharing with our audience?


Mason: Back in the late 80's through the early 90's I ran ads in several local trade papers (remember this is pre-internet) looking to buy Hot Wheels collections. I got a call from a guy in Nashville, Tn. claiming he had a case of redlines he would sell. So I took off down there that evening and my wife tagged along. We ended up in what I would definitely describe as the "rough" part of town. When we arrived at the address the guy had given me I wasn't even sure I wanted to go in. It definitely had the appearance of a place where criminal activity would take place. So much so my wife refused to go in, so I left her locked in the car, after all I had a Hot Wheels collection to look at. Although I will admit from the appearance of the place I highly doubted it was going to be worth my while. Once I was inside the house my doubt quickly escalated. The guy that let me in was wearing a trench coat and my first thought was "I'm about to get robbed". So when I asked about the Hot Wheels the guy said,  "yeah come in here." And I followed the guy into a bedroom where he knelt down and reached up under the bed and I was praying he didn't pull out a gun. Much to my surprise, he pulled out a really nice 72 car Snake & Mongoose carry case full of redlines. Nearly half of them were fairly rough but the rest were pretty nice. The highlights were several 1973 enamels and a super nice gold Classic Cord. So, I asked the guy how much he wanted and he said, "I'd like to get $200." So, I just paid him and left in a hurry before anything bad could happen. I was glad to get out of that part of Nashville, but was more glad to have those cars. I still have them all today, even the rougher ones.

KDTC: WOW! That's a great story! Thank you so much for sharing and thanks again for the interview, Mason! 

Here are a few more pics of Mason's collection.

1969 Classic '36
Ford Coupe in
sweet apple green
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