We've always been big into merchandising... not on a large scale, but more on a limited-edition-let's-make-as-much-cool-stuff-as-we-can scale. We thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular items, and list off the rarest (and quite possibly most valuable.)
All of the items on this list were available to the public at one time.
#10. Any "hidden code" magazines
Since 2010 we have been printing unique numbers on each copy of the magazine, in the order they are printed. If you have #2525000 that means you have the 25,000th copy of issue #25. Cool right? Well, the MMPA sure thought so when they awarded us our first Innovator Award in 2012 - based mostly on this unique process. The real fun is when we started doing our "golden ticket" hidden code offerings where we would literally hide a code at the end of that number - usually a word, but sometimes initials. When we do this, we hide 500 (out of about 60,000 printed) so its very rare to find any of them. Sometimes we hide words like "WINNER" or "SPECIAL" and sometimes it's a person's name or initial. If you find one, send us a picture of it! Some of these could be very valuable... and we have never found a #1 copy (the first printed copy of any given issue.) Closest we've seen is a 7. *we did the sequential numbering as far back as issue #6, and did the hidden words starting with issue #20, and once prior with the Tour special issue #16.5.
Here's a list of all the hidden codes since issue #20: (codes in italics we THINK are right... but we can't remember and we haven't found any to verify)
16.5 - TOUR (special Tour issue)
20 - LG2 21 - USA 22 - ITW 23 - some say RAT, some say ROD - the hunt was for one of each 24 - WIN 25 - BEASTRO 26 - WELDERUP 27 - DANNIE 28 - RATHARD 29 - *FBOMB 30 - KD 31 - RUST 32 - FAST 33 - SEMA 34 - *WINNER 35 - GUM 36 - PIRATE 37 - PIRATE 38 - OTR
#9. 2013 TOUR Shot Glass and microfiber towel
What better way to commemorate a Tour than with a special shot glass... and a towel to clean up after you've spilled whiskey down your face. These two items were sold during the Tour and for a little while afterwards. Pictured: Some of the shot glasses were used for the hot sauce drinking contest down in Louisiana at the Cajun Nationals in 2013.
#8. Rat Rod Magazine Playing Cards
These decks were super cool, featuring a car from the magazine on each card. Only 500 decks were ever printed and an unopened deck could fetch over $20 today.
#7. Signed "Nightmare Before Christmas Issue 5" poster
These large hand-signed and numbered posters bear the signatures of Editor Steve, Steve SR, Chad Truss, and model Bri Town. Have one in your garage? Might be worth a few bucks. Also features Chris Walkers killer Dodge tanker truck, what more do you want!?
#6. Original logo baseball cap
These were produced back in 2009/2010 long before we had a "real" logo. (The logo back then was just a generic flame-letter font.) For whatever reason, people still ask us if we have any of these hats - and of course we do not and haven't for the past 6 years. These are a little bit of a white whale, but if you have one or can find one - that's a cool, ultra-rare piece of Rat Rod history.
#5. Issue #4
This was our bestselling pre-newsstand issue, believe it or not. Printed in the same high-quality gloss paper as #5 (Only these two issues were ever printed with these specs) this is one that's extremely hard to find.
#4. Issue #9, Katie Daryl cover
We released Issue #9 in 2011 with an alternate cover (that's right, two covers simultaneously.) This alternate cover featured TV star Katie Daryl along with Pete Smith's world famous '37 Dodge - and boy did these ever fly off the shelves. The normal cover issues are still available today, but the alternate cover issues were gone within weeks.
#3. 2012 Ratplaooza 11x17 poster
You remember that epic Tour, right? 4000 Miles Of Rust, the jaunt through the Rockies - culminating in an event at the Village At Lake Las Vegas and Ratpalooza. These western-style full color posters featuring CJ Gore's "Pennywise" were so sought after as collectibles, that they would be stolen as soon as we'd hang them up. The value of these things is probably pretty dependent on condition, but we sold one (signed) for $100 back in 2013 - today who knows what they're worth... but we bet you can't find one.
#2. One of the 20 handmade Matt The Rat dolls
Made by master costume maker Kim Thaemert, these 20 handmade dolls were auctioned off on ebay. Each are numbered, with #1 being the most sought-after, but with only 20 ever made each of them is rare. (And no two are identical.) One was lost during shipping - so he's especially rare, wherever he ended up.
#1. Issue #1
Not hard to guess - Issue #1 is by far the most popular item ever produced by Rat Rod Magazine. Less than 1500 were ever printed, not knowing that there'd even be a second or third issue to follow. They were printed on 100# paper (bricks!) and quite frankly, we'ren't the best design work. But, they are a very special - and extremely rare - piece of Rat Rod history. We offered a buy-back program in 2011 where we'd buy your used copy for $50. We didn't get many. For awhile copies were selling on ebay for over $100, and now you can't even get one for less than $200. (If you can - GET IT!)