Lionel Trains Appriasals

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Lionel Trains Appriasals
Posted by schaf on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:04 AM

Two of my friends recently suffered family loses, in both cases a large amount of boxed Lionel Trains were found in the homes, one a hording situation. Need leads on reputable persons, hobby shops, etc. in the Binghamton, NY and West Point area of the Hudson Valley in NY that can review collections and give input on their age, value etc., and give leads on potential buyers.

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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:25 AM

You'll probably receive more knowledgeable answers in the sister forum dedicated to O Gauge trains such as Lionel
http://cs.trains.com/ctt/f/95.aspx

 

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Posted by Steven Otte on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:45 AM

Thread moved.

--
Steven Otte, Model Railroader associate editor
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Posted by rtraincollector on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 11:21 AM

First step I would call some local Hobby shop and ask if they would appraise the trains for insurance reasons ( ie tell them you want to sell they very well may low ball you. ) once you get a couple of evaluations you can go further if you want and goto Ebay and look up O scale trains then where it says advance in the uper right area click on that and then mark box sold and then if you want can input a engine/car/building number to get an idea what it sold for and in some cases I would also concider at least 1/2 the shipping cost also. 

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Posted by cwburfle on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 11:40 AM

IMHO there is a world of difference between an apraisal and an offer to purchase.
If these people are looking to sell the trains, their best best is to solicit offers from at least three people.
I would not bother bringing the trains to a hobby shop. Once you've done that, the hobby shop has you at a disadvantage. Accept their offer, or you have to lug them home. Ok, maybe bring them to a hobby shop for the last offer.

Unless you have some items that are unusual, and/or highly desirable, you are not going to get anywhere near "retail" for them.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 12:28 PM

I didn't say take itto a hobby shop. What my intention was to see if they would come to you. Yes you probably would have to give them something for coming but you would probably get a better idea of there value. 

I agree with you do not take to a hobby shop.

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Posted by cwburfle on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 5:28 PM

 

rtraincollector
I didn't say take itto a hobby shop. What my intention was to see if they would come to you. Yes you probably would have to give them something for coming but you would probably get a better idea of there value.

I wonder how many hobby shop owners make house calls. I've known a few over the years, and unless it was one heck of a large amount of stuff, none of them would.  

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Posted by KRM on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 6:12 PM

cwburfle

 

 
rtraincollector
I didn't say take itto a hobby shop. What my intention was to see if they would come to you. Yes you probably would have to give them something for coming but you would probably get a better idea of there value.

I wonder how many hobby shop owners make house calls. I've known a few over the years, and unless it was one heck of a large amount of stuff, none of them would.  

 

cwburfle with no name attached! Man,,,,you need to lighten up. Let’s let everyone have their say here. It is all good and let the person who asked the question decide what they want to do. They ask for suggestions and that is what they should get, and without the point-counter point. AND that is just MHO! My 2 Cents  SoapBox
Like you said you have "known a few over the years"
 
 
 

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Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 7:13 PM

I never worked in a hobby shop, but I DID work in a gun shop, and trust me, if there's enough potential merchandise involved the shop owner or a trusted subordinate WILL make a house call.  One or two or three pieces, no.  A hoarding situation?  That's another matter!

Again, keep in mind a merchant can't give you what it's worth, he's got to SELL it for what it's worth, and remember there's factors of condition, rarity, consumer demand and interest, so on and so forth, AND if he can afford to buy the whole lot at one time. 

 

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Posted by cwburfle on Thursday, February 16, 2017 4:30 AM

 AND that is just MHO!

Yes it is just your opinion.

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Posted by Hap on Thursday, February 16, 2017 9:50 AM

You can help yourself and your friends tremendously if the items are inventoried and documented. This can be a very simple process, such as writing down the number and type of each item; e.g., steam engine, # 675.

All Lionel items have a number, and even in a list, many hobby shop owners or Lionel buyers can quickly ascertain if they would be interested in more information such as box/no box, color of item, general condition, etc.

If possible, do it on your computer so you can e-mail the list to interested parties. Print out hard copies to bring to a hobby shop. This process will be ultimately very helpful to your friends, and you may find it enjoyable as well.

 

 

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Posted by KRM on Thursday, February 16, 2017 10:09 AM

To the original poster, schaf, another option. You may want to pick up a copy of CTT magazine and look through it. On any given issue, there are advertisers who offer to purchase train collections. You could get some estimates in that way.

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Posted by thesiding on Thursday, February 16, 2017 7:10 PM

As mentioned  an inventory is a big help

 

Also the CTT magazine has those who buy such as Trainz   in Georgia

Charles Siegel in Fla

Also Stout Auctions in Indiana as well as Philip Weiss  Auctions in NewYork

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, February 17, 2017 9:01 AM

Speaking as someone who recently helped a late friend's family dispose of his collection, I will offer the following thoughts.

If it is a substantially large collection (which according to the original post sounds like it is), an inventory will help.  However, do not rely upon the inventory and let others to tell you what it is worth.  You should maybe look through a price guide once the inventory is made.  I am not saying that the prices in the guide reflect what the items in the collection are worth, but the price guide may help you to identify items that are rare and desirable to collectors.

You really have to figure out what you really want, an appraisal of the collection or an offer to buy the collection.  What is the purpose of your appraisal? Insurance? or value to the heirs?  I would have to say that the value to the heirs could simply be the offers that one receives for the bulk collection.

Dealers who come in are not necessarily going to provide you with an appraisal of the collection, but are rather going to provide you with an offer of what they will pay for the collection.

Any prospective buyer of the entire collection is going to offer about $0.30 on the dollar for the entire collection.  The reason for that is that a bulk buyer is going to incur costs relating to selling the collection, including the holding costs (ie the lost income on their funds used to purchase the collection related to the time in which it takes to sell the collection), costs of having tables at train shows, cost of driving to train shows, lodging costs if the shows are substantial distances away, and/or ebay selling fees, and also the risk that prices are going to go down during the time that they own the collection and the time it takes to dispose of it.

There are also issues to consider about the collection itself, such as what condition is the collection in, are there original boxes, and the rarity of the items. 

An auction house could be a good way to go, but there are also costs incurred relating to selling the items through an auction, such as the cost of shipping the collection to the auction house and the auctioneer selling fees.  Plus one is never guarenteed of the prices that will be obtained in selling a collection through an auction.  The other thought on auctions relates back to the condition and rarity of the collection.  Although there are likely some rare items in the collection and some premium condition items in the collection, I am guessing the majority of the items are likely to be in average condition and relatively common.  If you look at auction catalogs, they are likely to sell rare and premium quality items as individual lots and common and average items as bulk groups.

The last thing to consider when selling through an auction house, is when will it actually be auctioned.  In July 2015, I spoke to one prominent toy train auctioneer when helping to dispose of my late friend's collection and he indicated that he was booked solid with stuff to sell for at least 12 to 18 months out (at that point).  I mention this for two reasons, it shows the changing demographics of train collection (ie people are dying, downsizing, disposing of their collections more rapidly these days) and it speaks volumes of what train prices are doing for the more common and average condition items (decreasing due to more items becoming available to fewer consumers).

The last thing I can say about disposing of a large collection is pricing.  I ended up selling my late friend's collection for his family and there was one goal in mind, disposing of the collection in a timely manner.  If you want to dispose of the collection in a timely manner, you are going to have to price the items to move. 

There are a lot of trains coming to market and the Lionel price guides that are published on an annual basis do not cover items in the lower quality conditions.  These guides are pricing out items that are in good / excellent / new condition.  If one prices the lower quality items based on the price guides, they are not going to sell in a timely manner and one will have to discount the items more heavily later on in order to move the items.  I know that I refused an offer early on for a boxed modern lionel 700E, because the price guide indicated it should sell for more.  Several months later, I sold it to the same dealer who had made the original offer, for much less than the original offer and was glad to finally sell the item.

My philosophy in selling the trains was to get as much as I could for them, but not to refuse a fair offer, even if I thought it might be on the low side, as there was so many items to sell and the goal was to dispose of them. 

In the end, I disposed of a relatively large collection of prewar, postwar, and modern trains within an approximate 12 month period.  I disposed of the collection through a combination of networking with other train collectors I knew, selling at a local monthly show, and selling at the TCA York show twice (once in the fall and once in the spring).  After networking with friends and selling many of the premium items, I held the remaining better items and boxed sets for the TCA York show in the fall and moved a lot of stuff there.  My perception was that I attained prices close to or better than auction house prices and my selling costs to the family was minimal (because my friend was such a good friend, I charged only minimal selling costs that equated to any selling costs incurred).

The last thing I will say is that it is very overwhelming to sell a large train collection.  Had my late friend not been such a close friend, I would not have done it.  There is a lot of work that goes into selling a large collection and I am unlikely to offer to do it again.

 

NWL

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, February 19, 2017 10:37 AM

Nationwide, that was brilliantly written, my compliments!

The only thing I would add to that, and it's directed at anyone who may be in the category is, if you're getting on in years be realistic, you can't take 'em with you nor can you send 'em on ahead.  If no-one in the family shares your interest in the trains (or anything else you've got) don't burden them with the disposal after you're gone.  Sell them off now while you're still around.  You know what you've got, you know what they're worth (to a degree), convert them into cash your survivors can put to good use.

Ever see that show "American Pickers?"  I've seen a few episodes where someone has passed  on and left their survivors or executors with a pile of stuff, to put it politely, that the survivors have no idea of what to do with.  I don't want to put anyone in that position.

Grim advice I know, but that's what I'm planning on doing when the time comes.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:03 PM

Nationwide and Firelock I agree with both of you 100%. I'm only 62 but I also know I'm not in great health Okay health but with that said I have been thinking along those lines myself. The hard part thou is what to sell and what to keep. I'm trying to let go items I really don't care about first then the others will follow probably till I get down to about 6 sets or so. Honestly I'm looking at it in realistic view and thats I will never have space to run six trains at once, I don't right now have enough room to run more than two if I wanted to cut this room in about 1/2. I have room to basically do 5' x 8' and that takes better than 1/3 of the room almost 1/2. ( total room space is like 8' x 11' but with my desk and work station/storage cabinet this room is packed. )

So i have been thinking of selling some of mine as I have no kids and no relatives that are interested in trains. 

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Posted by cwburfle on Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:36 PM

So i have been thinking of selling some of mine as I have no kids and no relatives that are interested in trains. 

 

I have meet a few people who liquidated their collections (not just trains) out of concern for burdening their family with disposal after they were gone. So it is not unheard of.

I have thought about thinning out my stuff to make it easier on my family. I came to the conclusion that for me, that isn't a good reason to get rid of anything. While I'd like to see my family get a reasonable return from liquidating my stuff, their future won't hinge on it. If they want to maximize their return, they'll have to work for it. If not, they can even give it away. What difference does it make?


So I am going to keep my trains as long as I enjoy owning them, and have the space.

If I lost interest or had to fit my stuff into a smaller space that would be a different story.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, February 19, 2017 1:11 PM

Nothing wrong with that either Mr. Burfle.  There's no "one size fits all" solution. 

Just do what you think is right.

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