I receive many e-mails asking me to provide a value of either a collection or a single kit. Unfortunately, in a collector's world, this is very difficult
Finding Old Kits
Almost from the first day I created this site, I've been receiving e-mails from people interested in Airfix, modelling or kit collecting. Most of these e-mails have been of the type "....do you know where I can find a xxx kit ?..." I'm glad to say that I have been of help to a few people and have located and supplied their kits to them.
However, in recent years the situation has changed. The specialist professional kit Dealers now have their own web sites, and hundreds of Airfix kits are always for sale on eBay. It has become much easier to locate that rare kit using the internet. I also find that I have much less time available to spend searching for kits so, regrettably, I must close down this "kit finder" service.
The value of any kit is only what somebody else is prepared to pay for it. Some people do try to provide an estimate of value of some rare kits, for example Steve Knight's missing chapter of his book Let's Stick Together was a discussion on Kitmaster kit values (the missing chapter was subsequently published as a article in Model Rail magazine). Steve succeeds very well, but there are two other attempts to value kits that don't really work.
Arthur Ward's book Airfix (published in 1999) has an Appendix where he lists his favourite Airfix kits and he assigns values to them. By common consent amongst the UK kit collecting community, Arthur's valuations are orders of magnitude too high. This was a popular book and now many readers have a completely unrealistic understanding of possible Airfix kit values.
John Burn's Collectors Value Guide (CVG) assigns values to every plastic kit ever made in this universe. Unfortunately, John lists the Airfix kits by Catalogue Number. Now, assigning a value to (say) a Revell 1/72 Spitfire cat Ref H-999 may be valid for Revell as possibly H-999 uniquely identifies the kit. But for Airfix this doesn't work. Airfix kit values come from the age of the kit and the packaging style. A single Airfix catalogue reference number may span many years and many box styles. Therefore one single value cannot be assigned to (say) Airfix kit catalogue ref 126. Thus John's valuations don't really work.
So what advice can I give? How do you know if that old-looking kit you have just found in the attic is just a dirty pile of plastic bits or a rare Collectable worth hundreds of pounds? Here's my view of things:
Collectable kits exist in a world-wide market place. Therefore there are buyers and sellers, buying prices and selling pricing. Don't assume that the price a professional Dealer is selling a kit for will be the amount he's going to pay you for it! These Dealers need huge profit margins to support the costs of their premises, staff, advertising, tax etc. By all means use the kit lists of Kingkit and Vectis to judge the value of a kit, but please be aware of the above.
In the Collectable arena, kit values depend on
- the rarity of the subject - for example, some Airfix kits were only manufactured for a few years, then discontinued. These, obviously, are rarer than those produced in their tens of thousands over decades
- the rarity of the packaging - for example, Type 4 plastic bag kits would be worth about the same as Type 3 kits, even though they are younger, as the Type 4 bag is rare
- the age of the kit - some Airfix kits are from the 1950s. In mint condition, these are highly collectable
- the theme - some collectors seek items from a particular theme, for example James Bond kits or the space series (although not Star Wars kits)
The biggest marketplace for Airfix kits at the moment is eBay, and a lot of people judge kit values by those auctions. Don't be fooled ! eBay is still an auction, and like all auctions, sale values depend on who is bidding on the day. And, of course, to drive the price up you need several people bidding against each other. It is not uncommon for a rare item to sell for next to nothing because only one person bid. On the other hand, some absolutely ridiculous prices have been seen on eBay where two people found they wanted the same item at the same time and bid against each other to the death. The most bizarre sale of an Airfix kit must be the $500 somebody paid for a half-complete RMS Queen Elizabeth in a battered box with pieces missing. And this only a couple of months before Airfix re-released the kit!
Which leads me into -
Airfix re-release kits every year. What might be a rare subject today may be in every toy shop tomorrow. Examples of very much sought-after kits whose prices crashed when Airfix re-released them: P1127, Saturn V, RMS Queen Elizabeth, Cherokee Arrow.
- Airfix kits from the late-1970s to the present day are for the modellers, and are not really collectable (in my view) and hence of relatively little value
- 95% of ALL kits are worth less than $10. You have to remember that plastic kits are manufactured in their millions. Only a very few are collectable
- made-up kits are generally value-less, whatever their age
- part-made, part-painted or kits with missing pieces are equally almost valueless to the collector, unless a really rare subject
- kit boxes and instruction sheets have no value, but catalogues and Header Cards are collectable. Although, I have started to see traders trying to sell empty kit boxes as "collectables"at Toy Fairs etc
- there are a very few kit subjects that are extremely rare and hence valuable - the Fireball XL5, the Stingray for example. These kits could be valued at over $1000 each, but if you look at the 5% of Airfix kit subjects that are collectable the average price would still be about $20
- Airfix manufactured hundreds of different kits in approximate 20 different packaging styles over more than 50 years. It would be impossible for me to list individual kit values here.
I'll not make the mistake made by Arthur Ward and select a few favourite kits. As per my opening paragraph, kit values are only what somebody else is prepared to pay. However, if you would like some advise on the value of your collection or kit, please continue to send me e-mails - I will always try to answer !
A scene from a true Airfix collectors house. Not mine, but Mario Wens from The Netherlands. Mario is always on the look out for Airfix display stands and other display material. If you have any, please let me know