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To all Topper JL & vintage die-cast collectors,

I'm a huge Topper Johnny Lightning collector who just joined Hobby Talk because I need to talk to as many Topper and vintage die-cast collectors as I can.

I've been able to talk to a decision maker at a publishers house & pitched the idea of making a collector book exclusively for Topper JL cars, track sets & accessories ONLY. (Playing Mantis and RC2 stuff would NOT be included.)

The concept is to make it part story-style & part price guide, like a combo of Angelo Van Bogart's HW Redline books & Clark & Wicker Ultimate Redline Guides. The price would probably be around $25-$30 for the book, but the quality of the pictures, content and variation listings would be similar to the Van Bogart / Clark & Wicker books. Think of it! A full book dedicated JUST to the Topper JL stuff...cars, track sets, patches, accessories, etc.!

There are plenty of books and price guides on Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, but very few on Topper Johnny Lightnings, and I believe there is a REAL need for one!

So far, the guy is interested, but he's not quite willing to go ahead with it because he's not sure if enough collectors would be interested in it. Here's what he e-mailed me today:

"Hi Steven,

Thank you for your overview of your book project. You have done a nice job capturing your vision.

Please give me a few days to review this. As you know, Hot Wheels is the king of die-cast cars. Matchbox, because of its history and name recognition, is a distant second. How Topper Johnny Lightning fits in the mix is the question for which I don't have an answer. Any sense of the collector market size you can provide is appreciated."

Since a lot of you Topper guys post here, I was hoping to get some feedback and input from you on your thoughts about the book idea. Also, spread the word to as many collectors as you can and have them respond to this post as well.

HERE'S A CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE...YOUR OPINION COUNTS, SO SPREAD THE WORD AND POST HERE!

I'll send my contact a direct link to this post, so he can see for himself the interest that's out there.

Thanx for all your help!

Grif
 

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Welcome to Hobby Talk wild68!!

I think your idea of a Topper story book is the right angle. It is a story.
It is a company that unfortunately had a short history. There are plenty of people out there that would love a nicely done book, on the Topper Toy Company. Plenty from here will most likely speak up, and maybe even offer photos of their collections, interesting trivia, and feedback for the short lived toy company from New Jersey.


I'm looking forward to being able to own this book you speak of :thumbsup:
 

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Welcome to Hobbytalk :hat: I love the idea, I surely would buy the book. I hope this venture of yours is going to make it to print. I will be watching for updates.
 

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You might want to post your idea over at RLOL.
They have a Topper forum over there with some hardcore Topper collectors. You might get some good feedback.

Personally, I only collect the PM JL stuff wouldn't have any interest in anything Topper.
 

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Wild68 I think its a great idea we need a updated Johnny Lightning Book. I have a huge interest in JL Toppers much more than the Hot Wheels Redlines. We have done some topper downhill racing at our club and we have gotten alot of interest just doing that. I can offer a little info. if you need any let me know. Lets keep this topic going I will mention it at our club once we get more info. Thanks Jeremy LJLRC
 

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Great idea and I'm sure a lot of people here or there would be willing to contribute pictures of the hard to find pieces just like they do on lightninglane. There's not to much of a resource that I know of that gives a detail on toppers and accessories.
 

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Good idea!

I'd prefer not to see a price guide though as they are never accurate and usually only serve to make people think things are worth more than the really are. The current market drives the price.
 

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I would likely buy a copy of it. As said before, the price guide isn't really useful, as values can go up and down as fast as the stock market. I could see though, how it would help sell the idea to a publisher, so if it has to be there, ok, too
 

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Discussion Starter #14
eyecandy, you bring up an excellent point about the price guide. A publisher has a much better idea of what drives book sales and may see a price guide as a way to get more people to buy. In the end, it'll probably be their decision as to whether a price guide is included or not.

Thanx for all the input guys, I appreciate it! Again, please spread the word to other collectors and ask them to post their views on the idea here. The more feedback we get, the better the chances of getting something published!
 

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Good idea!

I'd prefer not to see a price guide though as they are never accurate and usually only serve to make people think things are worth more than the really are. The current market drives the price.


Hey Mr. Stubbs,

Maybe you should write a book,

I know you've fondled a few Topper JLs..


Sorry to say I don't know Grif, maybe he can share some old Topper Stories.

I'd hate to see a book full of second hand collector knowledge
and speculation.


Wonder if there would be statements from old topper employs and
execs. to back up any uncommon knowledge.


example:

From what I've picked up, it was once believed you couldn't
get a Mirrored Topper in a BP, we now know that was a incorrect
assumption.


With that said, I would definitely buy a good Topper Book.


Jim
 

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Hey Mr. Stubbs,

Maybe you should write a book,

Sorry to say I don't know Grif, maybe he can share some old Topper Stories.

I'd hate to see a book full of second hand collector knowledge
and speculation.

Wonder if there would be statements from old topper employs and
execs. to back up any uncommon knowledge.


Jim
All very valid points Jim and I'd love to hear the answers.

I think a better choice would be people like John Knoll, Steve (RivTR6), Greg (99Octane) and even yourself.

I don't know Grif either and he has not filled out a profile? Tell us a little about yourself Grif!
 

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and with each copy of the book you could give away an official stock certificate for the topper corporation :thumbsup: (hey, better than using them for wallpaper in the out-house)




thanks for the contest,
PW
 

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I've found over the years that the number of real Topper enthusiasts just isn't what you might think. It is a good idea, but IMO you will find yourself disappointed in the number of interested people willing to buy the book.

I have the Carter Pennington book as well as the Mac one, both seem to cover most of what people are looking for. Price guides are not usually too accurate. eBay selling prices are a better gauge as to true street value.

A good JL Topper resource is JohnnyLRay. I've chatted with him numerous times over the years and the guy knows his Toppers.
 

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I have the Carter Pennington book as well as the Mac one, both seem to cover most of what people are looking for.
Both books were a joke.

The Mac Ragan book barely even whisped the surface of Toppers (as the intent of the book was to spotlight Playing Mantis) and the Pennington book was nothing more than a vague tease (with very poor photos).

For the book to be a success, it must be jam packed with photos, have SPECTACULAR GRAPHICS and information covering all aspects of Topper Johnny Lightning including prototype cars and MUST INCLUDE both the Brazilian and Mexican knock-offs - Andin Box and Bolidos. Like them or not, they were made with Topper tooling and should be counted as part of the history.

Include in-depth studies on all the cars, colors etc, history of Topper founder Orenstein and do include information on their bitter battle with Mattel.

Also include a chapter on their advertising (both TV and print) and the various packaging art.

There is tons of information to be found and plenty of people out their who have it - and Redlines Online (Toppers Unite) is the best place to scout (go there now and somebody has posted beautiful photos of Mexican Toppers including a Dodge Charger and some very cool Mexican sets and accessories.

Try there.

Good luck -


Stan:dude:
 

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I don't think either book was a joke!

They are reference books, and that's the style in which they were written. A photo history of each casting made, some history and values, which are subjective, but ok IMO.

You may want a different kind of book written, but I wouldn't insult Mac, and Carter, for their contributions.
Those 2 books are really the only written on Topper that I can think of, and another book is certainly welcome on the subject.

I agree completely with what you said should be included in a Topper book.
 
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