What's it worth?
If you're actively involved in the collecting scene it's a question that comes up on a daily basis and is always hard to pin-point the exact value of the subject in question. Whether it's a part or complete model this article attempts to unravel some of the terminology and offers ways to help you value vintage Tamiya artefacts.
First up we'll deal with model categories, these are the label given to complete models or sets of parts as follows:
New in box (NIB)
Easy, if the model has not been assembled and remains in the original packaging then it is said to be NIB This applies to parts as well such as bodysets. Plastic trees and small parts would be referred to more often as new in pack (NIP). Values of NIB kits depend on a number of factors:
* Age of model
* Model X Factor (Basically how likeable the model is)
* Condition of box and contents
* How many are available for sale at that time
There are examples of supposed new in box kits in plastic shrink wrap that have never been opened, I'm not sure how genuine they are and of course you can't verify the condition or completeness of the contents. I'm not even sure such a kit would be worth more than a mint example that had been opened but the plastic would certainly help to keep the box mint. Be careful how you store NIB kits as dampness, extreme temperatures and sunlight can all take their toll. A new in box Sand Scorcher could demand as much as £1200. New in box 3 speeds tend to fetch even more and a NIB Supershot as shown here would be between £500 - £700 typically.
The exact definition of this is often misinterpreted. People mistake this to mean "Newly built" and apply it to a model that may have been run since but was recently built. This is wrong though. A new built model must consist of ALL new parts. Doesn't matter if it was from a kit or made up from separate new parts as long as the parts are 100% new and the model was never run. Then and only then should it be described as new built. Our example here is a new built Supershot made up from all new parts sourced separately. New built models demand good prices mostly, not as much as NIB generally but still good prices. Watch out though that the model is complete and all original as a rare missing part could cost you a fortune and be hard to source, for example the official Supershot Technipower motor. New examples of this motor are hard to find! Using our Supershot example a new built Supershot all original, built and painted to a high standard would be worth £250 - £350 usually.
This is probably the hardest one to define as the standard of model in question will depend on the standards of the restorer who carried out the work. Generally a restored model will have been run at some time and all parts cleaned and damaged parts replaced. There comes a point in any restoration where you have to decide to stop buying new parts because you will end up with a new built model! A good restored model would have many new plastic parts, cleaned throughout with new tyres and be in generally excellent order. If the model has been run since the restoration and there is evidence of this then really it should be relegated to "runner" category below. Values do vary for even the same model because it depends on the depth of the restoration. A very thoroughly restored Supershot would be worth perhaps £150 - £250.
A runner model will have been run and show the usual signs of this. Unless you're running gently on soft carpet it's hard to avoid the usual signs of use such as dirt, dust, tyre wear etc. Runners vary tremendously in their standard but most collectors would describe a model as a runner when it's basically beyond the point where it could be restored. There's nothing wrong with this as these models are intended to be run anyway and it's always nice to build up runners from left over parts from restorations which is what I tend to do. The difference between a runner and restored or new built model should be obvious! Runner values would be the lowest of all categories above for obvious reasons and they are often incomplete and have non-kit parts such as aftermarket tyres etc. The rarer and more desirable models to the collector such as the SRBs or 3 speeds would still fetch good prices as parts donors for resto projects, the basis of restorations or to be run. A more or less complete and original Supershot runner would normally be worth £50 - £150
How to determine a value…
The best way of all is to ask around, websites such as Tamiya Club (www.tamiyaclub.com
) are an excellent place to start with a massive community of fellow collectors. If you're involved in this network you can easily ask others. Experience in the trading arena counts for a lot and will give a good idea of values.
Ebay is your friend?
A useful feature of Ebay is the ability to search completed listings. You will need an Ebay account to do this, simply search in the normal way but at the bottom of the search options is a tick box to "show completed listings". This will show items matching your search criteria that have finished in the last 30 days along with the value. Comparables like this often give a good idea of value but remember prices on Ebay are dependent on a many factors as follows:
* How many similar items were listed at that time (Less means higher values)
* Seasonal variations (Ebay prices tend to be higher in the winter)
* Quality of the listing and item location
* Reputation of the seller
* How many people were looking for the item at that time and who saw the listing
It's a tough subject and one that stirs up debate and differences of opinion but hopefully this article has given you a clearer understanding of the terminology and an idea of where to start looking for comparables.