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Pleasanton man's toy collection becomes a financial lifeline after having a stroke

Man's toy collection of 35 years becomes a financial lifeline after having a stroke
Man's toy collection of 35 years becomes a financial lifeline after having a stroke 03:23

PLEASANTON —What if you had half a million dollars saved, but instead of cash, your money came in the form of toy cars? One Pleasanton man with a valuable Hot Wheels collection had to sell some of his stash after a medical scare.

There is a lot of stuff inside Edward Agbayani's garage.

"My wife says, I'm a hoarder," said Edward with a smile.

But those boxes and crates are not full of junk. Instead, they are full of toys, a lot of toys, that he has been collecting for more than 35 years, especially Hot Wheels.

"I probably have 110,000 cars," he said.

He buys and collects Redline Hot Wheels that were made from 1968 to 1977, to Treasure Hunt Hot Wheels and even custom Hot Wheels, always looking for the most valuable collectibles.

"This is a 1967 Chevy Camaro," said Agbayani, as he pulled out a car wrapped in bubble wrap, and in its original packaging. "This is worth $4,000 dollars right here, this one car."

And while Edward has been collecting cars and toys for nearly 40 years, it is more than a hobby or even a side hustle, it is a way of life now because he can no longer hold a full-time job.

In May 2020, while in the middle of the pandemic lockdown, he suffered a stroke.

"I pretty much thought I was dead, so I asked God, said a prayer to God, if you will give me a chance to live, I promise to be a better son to my mom, a better husband to my wife," said a tearful Agbayani. "And a voice came out, 'Edward you are going to be OK.' And I said, 'God is that you?' 'No, I'm your doctor.' And he said, 'You are going to be fine."

Agbayani would spend six and a half weeks in the hospital and go through extensive therapy. And while today, he can move around and function, he deals with the pain of pins and needles on the entire left side of his body, leaving him on disability.

His toys and Hot Wheels collection became a financial lifeline.

"It helps pay the bills, if an emergency comes up where I have to pay a medical bill I can turn to my collection and pick something out of here that I know I can sell fast and quick," he said.

On weekends, you will find Edward at flea markets and car shows where he sets up a tent and sells his cars from a dollar a piece to kids, while also building connections with other collectors.

"I'm here to sell and talk to customers, but most importantly I am here to make good money," Agbayani said. "It is a better return than the stock market."

And what Edward keeps in his Pleasanton home is only a small part of his collection. His most valuable stuff remains under lock and key, in a temperature-controlled room, inside his now-deceased mother's home.

"The value inside that room would probably buy half a house, about $500,000 worth of toys in there," he said.

His collection goes beyond Hot Wheels. He collects Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Funko Pop, Barbies and other collectibles.

"This is my savings pod, this is my 401k," said Agbayani. "But more importantly this is my happiness."

It's a hobby that turned into a hustle to make ends meet.

He now finds joy in something that made him happy as a child allowing him to survive even in the toughest of times.

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