It turned out to be a great investment!
Picture a treasure chest, but instead of gold and jewels, it’s filled with toy cars. That's the reality for Edward Agbayani, who has turned his toy car trove into an unexpected safety net after life threw him a curveball.
Learn about a new Hot Wheels museum here.
Take a peek inside Agbayani's garage, and you might be met with incredulity. "People think I've got a collecting obsession," Edward chuckles, acknowledging his wife's playful teasing.
But this isn't just an ordinary assortment of toys. Spanning over 35 years, Edward's impressive collection boasts over 110,000 Hot Wheels, from the iconic Redlines of the late '60s to custom-made treasures.
"Behold the gem," Edward says, unveiling a pristine 1967 Chevy Camaro Hot Wheel. "This little beauty? $4,000."
Though his love for collecting began four decades ago, it has become more than just a pastime. Following a harrowing stroke in the heart of the 2020 pandemic, Edward found himself wrestling with physical limitations, sidelining him from regular employment.
Recounting that daunting period, he shares, "In that bleak moment, I hoped for another chance at life, vowing to be a better person. Then a voice reassured me. I thought it was divine, but it was my doctor saying I'd pull through." Following an arduous recovery, Edward emerged, but with constant pain on his left side.
However, in this challenging chapter, his Hot Wheels collection transformed into a financial guardian angel. "When sudden bills pop up, especially medical ones, I turn to my treasures," Edward explains.
Every weekend, he's a familiar face at local flea markets and car exhibitions, offering toys for every budget, from kids spending their allowances to discerning collectors.
"My toy tent? It's my trading post. And honestly? It's outperforming my stock portfolio," Edward jokes.
His Pleasanton residence only offers a glimpse of his vast collection. His most prized possessions? Safely stowed in a climate-regulated sanctum at his late mother's home. "The treasures in there? They could nearly buy you a house. We're talking half a million in toys."
While Hot Wheels are his mainstay, his collecting passion spans Care Bears, Funko Pops, Barbies, and more.
"These toys? They're not just my nest egg," Agbayani muses. "They're fragments of joy."
From childhood nostalgia to an entrepreneurial spirit, Edward’s tale reminds us that sometimes, our passions can shield us during life's storms.