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Model Kits Soar In Value

If you sell old model kits at a yard sale, you are throwing money away. CBS News Saturday Morning's collectibles expert Tony Hyman explains if you haven't built the kit, you might be able to sell it.

Until the late 1940s, modelers bought elaborate plans along with balsa wood, glue and paint. Then they would take over the kitchen table for a week, carefully cutting, pinning, bending, stretching and gluing. And if they were any good, a model airplane was the result.

The less handy rejoiced when companies began producing pre-cut, solid wood models in the late 1940s. Customers still had to sand, paint and glue, but the models would only take hours to build, not days.

Then about 45 years ago, the first plastic models were introduced. For less than a buck, someone could buy one of the most famous kits of all, Big Mo. It had 70 parts, plus decals and flags - a modeler's dream. Store shelves were soon filled with inexpensive, realistic planes, trains, automobiles, warships, animals, cowboys, knights in armor, visible bodies and lots more.

The most sought-after kits are the 1966 Aurora Monsters on Wheels series, which can be worth up to $1,000. Most kits will only bring about $10 to $50. There are a few elaborate or scarce models such as 1955 Revell model of a United Airlines 707 jet, which can be worth $900.

So if you didn't build the model, sell it. There is probably someone else waiting with glue in hand to build it.

For more information on plastic models, contact John Burns. His email address is

For more information on monster models, contact collector David Welch. His email address is

Find out about other collectibles described by CBS News Saturday Morning's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive. Or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to Put "What's It Worth?" in the subject line, or write to "What's It Worth?" CBS News Saturday Morning, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

Becasue of the volume of mail received, Saturday Morning can't respond to all requests, but some will be selected and featured on the program in the near future.

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