MPC Question

485 views
10 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 185 posts
MPC Question
Posted by alcofanschdy on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:40 PM

At a train show this past weekend I noticed that a lot of PW Lionel is in fair to good condition. I realize that they were considered toys and I played with them like that myself.  Most of my collection is runner type PW Lionel.  However most of the MPC items were in really excellent shape, very little paint loss damage etc.  Were MPC trains not considered toys and for more serious model railroaders?  Just wondering.  

 

Bruce

  • Member since
    December, 2005
  • From: Hopewell, NY
  • 2,631 posts
Posted by ADCX Rob on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:29 PM

There's a lot of MPC out there that has never seen the light of day because it was bought on spec, and sometimes in duplicate by collectors that wanted to run one & save the other. A lot of it was also made in tremendous numbers. Starting in about 1973 Lionel was targeting the collector market too, once they realized what the buying trends were.

Rob

  • Member since
    March, 2013
  • 309 posts
Posted by BigAl 956 on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:34 PM

Lots of facors at play here,

  • MPC trains indeed were sold as toys but were often purchased by collectors.
  • The collectors market was not in play as much back in the 50s and early 60s so those trains were well played with and the ones that wern't are in the hands of collectors.
  • MPC products had the reputation of being of lesser quality. As such they are a great value for collectors and conversly less desirable.
  • Mail order was just kicking in in the 70s and you could buy MPC trains for pennies compared to what modern erea stuff sells for today. Because the price was right a lot of MPC was never taken out of the box and went right into storage for a future payday.

As for postwar trains, the really good rare and mint stuff is rarely found at a flea market show but winds up on auction house sites. Unfortunately the boomer generation is starting to fade as with it the demand for even some of the rarest pieces. We see that now with Standard Guage in that the generation that would collect that is passing on.

It comes down to supply and demand in action.

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: MICH
  • 7,474 posts
Posted by sir james I on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:44 PM

MPC paint & finish held up well with lot's of colorful rolling stock. I think the only reason we find so much of it for sale is that we have come into a scale model world and these items are no longer sought after by most model railroaders.

 

Jim

"IT's GOOD TO BE THE KING",by Mel Brooks

   Charter Member- Tardis Train Crew (TTC)   TCA      Detroit3railers                               Detroit Historical society Glancy Modular trains

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 1,614 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 7:59 PM

BigAl 956
Unfortunately the boomer generation is starting to fade as with it the demand for even some of the rarest pieces. We see that now with Standard Guage in that the generation that would collect that is passing on.

True.  But then there are those of us who would buy if the prices weren't as high as they are.

The disposable income factor of a specified generation does help skew the supply and demand curve to an unnatural high.  Especially if you add the "one-ups-manship" variable into the equation.  Those who have the means are often willing to pay prices higher than the market could or would normally produce simply to have something better than what "you" have.  The equalizer to everything is the demise of the inflationary element.  When that occurs, the prices should return to a level that's more reasonable for the specific market to handle.

It's the initial owner/seller who sold the item to the buyer with the big wallet that stands to have the greatest monetary gain.  Typically when that high priced buyer passes on, his or her family sells the item far below the initial investment cost.  Often because they have no idea what they have.  We've all see it, it happens all the time.

Bottom line, buy what you like because you can use it for your specified purpose during your lifetime because your heirs may sell it for pennies when you're gone.  Personally I don't have 500 bucks to spend on a 385E.  But that doesn't mean I don't want one.

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

  • Member since
    April, 2006
  • 5,867 posts
Posted by fifedog on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 5:32 AM

I enjoy collecting MPC Hi-Cube boxcars and auto racks.  They are handsome, come in a multitude of roadnames, and track wonderfully through switches.  I strive to purchase the painted versions (mid 70's), as opposed to the plastic die color variations (early 80's), for appearance sake.  These particular offerings blend in with newer scale size equipment as nice "tweeners".  And Big L is still producing Hi'Cubes.

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Sandy Eggo
  • 5,106 posts
Posted by dougdagrump on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 8:57 AM

Check out the auction results for the collection that went across the block at Stout Auctions on 3/11. Wow !

I'm just an operator so I have great difficulty rationalizing some of those prices. 

Remember the Veterans. Past, present and future.

www.sd3r.org

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • 1,497 posts
Posted by cwburfle on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:26 AM

Were MPC trains not considered toys and for more serious model railroaders?  

Excellent question!
I was already into trains when MPC took over Lionel. Here is my take:

When MPC started, I think most of what they made was targeted at the toy market. But it did not take them very long to realize that there was demand from both operators and collectors for trains.
We see so many MPC trains in great condition (even mint condition) because a lot of the trains were purchased by those operators and collectors who took good care of them.

TM Books published an excellent book on the first ten years of the Modern era.
It is called: "LIONEL A COLLECTORS GUIDE & HISTORY VOL IV 1970-1980".

You should be able to pick up a clean copy for around $10.

 

  • Member since
    March, 2013
  • 309 posts
Posted by BigAl 956 on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:14 AM

Penny Trains
It's the initial owner/seller who sold the item to the buyer with the big wallet that stands to have the greatest monetary gain. 

The 'Big Wallet' era is starting to fade. There must be a dozen or so auctions announced in each TCA newsletter. Even if you have the means how many of something can you buy even if its rare? Yes there are some serious collectors out there looking for big $$$s because they think they can set the price but the fact is something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. 

On a Facebook group I subscribe to we probably get a ,"How much are they worth" and "how do I sell dads trains" question every month. It's sad but the # of Dads with big wallets for trains is in decline. Those trains will wind up for sale sooner or later no matter what Dad thinks they are worth today.

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 1,614 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 6:50 PM

Exactly.  Those big wallets are going fast and the real money to be made is in the past not the visible future.

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • 1,497 posts
Posted by cwburfle on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:46 AM

Even if you have the means how many of something can you buy even if its rare?

 

Plus "rare" is a very overused word in the world of Lionel train collecting.

SUBSCRIBER & MEMBER LOGIN

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

Search the Community