Understanding Hot Wheels Mainline Case Codes

Posted by Jon Irvine at

I recently added some sealed Hot Wheels mainline cases, as I'm constantly asked about them and thought I'd give it a go.

A very helpful customer sent me an explanation of what the codes mean, so I thought I'd share it here.

They follow three different formats, based on the letters and numbers before the dash.

Here's some examples:

  • C4982-99EE EX
  • L2593-979L ME
  • 5785-97BJ LS

The codes C4982, L2592 and 5785 have the following meanings:

  • C4982 are International long card cases.
  • L2593 are USA long card cases.
  • 5785 are short card cases.

After these, the remaining letters and numbers can be split into three chunks.

Using the examples above:

  • 99E / 979 / 97B - this wasn't in the explanation, but my guess is that these refer to the year of release and are specific to USA long, International long and short card cases. All these are 2020 releases, and all three of the initial short card cases I got were 97B.
  • E / L / J - these are the "case codes", as collectors refer to. There are 15 releases per year: A-H, J-N, P & Q.
  • EX / ME / LS - these refer to the mix of cars within the case.

Whether or not the last two letters can tell you there's a Super Treasure Hunt in there or not, I do not know. I doubt it though - that would be too easy!

I'm hoping to keep getting these cases - the newest one sold out almost instantly. As quantities increase, I'd hope the price I can get them for will too.

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