Grandfather passed recently and I came into a large collection of Lionel. Looking for insight!

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Grandfather passed recently and I came into a large collection of Lionel. Looking for insight!
Posted by Jmcbri10 on Sunday, April 22, 2018 11:52 PM

Hey guys, 

New to the forum and relatively inexperienced in the world of trains. I was looking into some insight and advice regarding a collection of trains that I have inherited recently with my Grandfather passing. I had no idea they existed, but was presently surprised when I found them going through his old things.

I have done some preliminary research and found the collection includes:

Prewar-

1)-A gunmetal grey tender marked 392W in amazing condition. No rust or paint chips.

2)- A 1835E Locamotive in great condition with the original box

3)- a #309 Pullman, #310 Baggage, & 312 Observation Medium Classic Era Cars. They are all light blue/silver with the original boxes in great condition

4)- 500 Series Freight cars including; #512 Gondola (green), #514 Refrigerator car (ivory color), #515 Tank Car (terra cota color w/ no decal), and a #517 Caboose (green/red/brass)

There are also some post war trains that seem to be made of a hard plastic

1) #6076-AT&SF (grey/black), #6017-AT&SF (red/wihite), #6167 Union Pacific (yellow/black)

2) #3665 Minute Man

3) #221 Rio Grande Locamotive (yellow/black), #221 Santa Fe Locamotive with a 2nd box car (Red/Black/Yellow)

4) #6050 Libbys Tomato Juice

5) 04039 United States Navy Flatbed

Additionally, I have several original instruction booklets and a large amount of tracks, transformers, original purchase receipts.

My grandfather was a navy man and moved very regularly, so I have a feeling that the trains were carefully packaged and boxed for decades; so all of them are in pretty great condition. Like I said, it was a total surprise finding these. I am undecided on whether or not I plan on selling them (student debt). As stated above, I am looking for any additional insight or information you may have. 

Thanks in advance everyone.

 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Monday, April 23, 2018 1:43 PM

Most of the first items are what is called standard guage. The post war items are what is called O-27 

To get an idea of value goto Ebay and look them up and then do the advance search item ans select sold to see what they have sold for in the past. This site doesn't allow selling there are other sites that do. 

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Monday, April 23, 2018 1:59 PM

Although, I can understand the student debt issue, you might consider keeping at least some of the items to remember your grandfather by.

He obviously treasured these, as he kept them in good condition, and if you keep at least some of them you will always have something special to remember him by.  You can potentially also share these with your own family/children in the future.

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, April 23, 2018 3:06 PM

As others have said, as far as value is concerned, take a look online, to see what people are actually paying for these trains. Personally, I would say that the ammount of money you could expect to get, from selling off each and every one of the 027 trains , probably will not make a huge dent in your finances. I don’t see any million-dollar trains in that list ;) The standard gauge and prewar stuff, is certainly more valuable, it sounds like it is all in rather good shape. And boxes do add on value, particularly if the boxes are in good shape. Especially common, and especially rare Standard Gauge trains can be slow sellers, if they have heavy price tags, so price competitively! 

I would reccomend keeping them if you like trains. Or asking about relatives and family, to see if there’s anyone who’s a train person. If they just feel like unneccesary clutter, and you aren’t attatched to them, you could sell them. But even if each piece was in very good coniditon, clean, rust free, etc, you might make between $500 and $1,500, maybe more, it is all depending on condition of the standard gauge items, which can be worth a good deal if they have original paint, and boxes, and are in very good shape. If they’re obscenely perfect, now, well, I would have to assume that lies with who’s interested, I don’t think I can estimate here. But in okay, needing work shape, a standard gauge car can be anywhere between $20 and $50, and cars in good shape can be around $100. With boxes, certainly more. Depends on the car, condition, how much they’re selling for, etc.

It all comes down to how good the condition is, and the demand for the item, to truly detirmine how much people are willing to pay. 

The 1835e is probably worth a few hundred, between $300 and $700 perhaps? 

basically, some of these are worth a little money, sure. But selling them will not make you stinking rich. For the cost of an iPhone, you could probably buy a basic Standard Gauge set with an 8e, and pair of passenger cars, box included. If you sold it all, at the highest prices you could possibly sell it at, you still wouldn’t be able to afford a new car. You get what I’m saying? Sell because you could care less about parting with them, not because you need the money. Because they’re not enough money to make you rich, but enough to make it hard to justify buying a new one. Or you could always sell a phone :D

instructions are not especially valueable on their own, by the way, unless they are for rare trains. But hold onto them, because they are worth a person’s weight in sentimental value, even if they aren’t going to fetch big bucks. 

"If it don't work, then gosh darn it, get a' fixin!"

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, April 23, 2018 3:13 PM

Also, track is generally not very valuable, worth more in better condition, virtually worthless if it’s all rusted up. 

Transformers can hold a little value, particularly nicer ones

Lots of folks like the ZW, but until it’s been properly serviced, and had the old circuit breaker replaced with a more safe kind, it will probably be more in the $50-150 range. More valuable, if it’s in better shape, of course! The ZW is the onky especially sought acter transformer. The other “Tranmaster” trainsformers are good too, and people have great results with them, but they aren’t worth a huge ammount. KWs are also popular, but they aren’t as classy looking, and they don’t seem to be worth nearly as much. Same goes for the others mostly. If you have a big transformer, something rated at more than 100 watts (it tells you the wattage, on the transformer), those are generally in the range of what most people want. Weaker transformers, anything below 75 watts in particular, are typically of little to no interest to most folks, since they aren’t as powerful. 

"If it don't work, then gosh darn it, get a' fixin!"

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 6:16 PM

Welcome aboard!

Keep em'!  If you can, set them up during the holidays and listen to the oohs and aahs of everyone who sees tham run!  Big Smile

Becky

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

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Posted by cheapclassics on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 8:13 PM

Good evening all,

For what it is worth, I would keep the standard gauge if there is a choice to be made.  Set it up, crank it up (after making sure it is runnable) and be prepared to have your world rumble.  Standard gauge is just awesome!  As others have said, the prewar stuff might get you some serious coin or it might not, but I guarantee you will never have another opportunity to get such equipment.  The o gauge material is fairly common and I would suppose is fairly nice.  Just my two cents.  I hope everyone has a good day.

Keep on training,

Mike C. from Indiana

 

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Posted by traindaddy1 on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 8:50 AM

Hello: Sorry for your loss.

If I may, I'd like to echo some of the replies to your post.

Unless you absolutely have no interest in the trains and/or there is a storage problem, I would  hold them (for now).  Like they say, "Once they are gone, they are gone"

Checking the Ebay site will give you an idea of asking prices but they may be inflated to cover the Ebay selling fees.

I know (been there) the student debt is gnawing but I doubt that selling the trains will reduce the total significantly.

Whatever you decide, all the best.

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, May 01, 2018 6:14 PM

You've gotten some great advice.  I'd say keep 'em!  You don't have to feed or water them or take them to the doctor.  They're a great legacy of your grandfather, and as had been said, what a show you can put on at Christmas!

I've got my grandfathers guns, two shotguns, 12 and .410 gauge and a single shot .22.  Not fancy, basic hardware store pieces, they're a working man's guns, but they were his, and they're my link to him. 

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Posted by Mononflyer on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 9:01 AM

I would definately keep them, or give them to a family member who would want and take acre of them.  Like others have said, once they're gone, they're gone.  A few years later, you'll wish you kept them.

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Posted by Jmcbri10 on Thursday, May 17, 2018 5:32 PM

Thank you to everyone who responded. Some really great advice!

As I kept going through his old things, I found of picture of him and I playing with them when I was a toddler and he was young and healthy. Idecided I could not sell them. Instead, I will carefully store them so that someday when I have a family of my own I can set them up during christmas with my the picture of my grandfather the centerpiece. I feel that the link it will give me and my future family to his memory far outweighs the dent it will put on my student debt. Besides, you only need one kidney right?

Jokes aside, thanks for helping me come to this realization. Coming into this collection and the research ive done has made me realize how cool a hobby you all have. 

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Posted by cwburfle on Friday, May 18, 2018 6:38 PM

Instead, I will carefully store them so that someday when I have a family of my own I can set them up during christmas with my the picture of my grandfather the centerpiece.

Excellent choice!

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Posted by Michael6268 on Friday, May 18, 2018 6:40 PM

I think you made a good decision.   He is proud right now!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, May 19, 2018 9:29 AM

You made a great decision!  Trust me, no, trust us, you'll never regret it!

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Posted by Penny Trains on Saturday, May 19, 2018 6:43 PM

Gotta warn you though.  Toy trains are more addictive than drugs!  Big Smile

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, May 19, 2018 7:14 PM

Penny Trains

Gotta warn you though.  Toy trains are more addictive than drugs!  Big Smile

 

You ain't kiddin', but at least they're a helluva lot cheaper!

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Posted by thesiding on Sunday, May 20, 2018 9:18 AM

not by much

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Posted by rtraincollector on Sunday, May 20, 2018 12:58 PM

Why wait till you have kids? This Christmas would a great time to set them up in remembrance of your Grandfather and maybe see what we see in them. Old tin plate can be real addicting, I know I have a fair size collection of it. 

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

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Posted by Banks on Monday, May 21, 2018 4:36 AM

Great choice! ! I've got several items from my grandparents that are important to me. One of my most prized possessions is the prewar 254 set my dad and his 4 brothers received used from Santa in 1929.

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

I may not have every thing I desire but the LORD has come through with what I need

   

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Posted by cnw1995 on Monday, May 21, 2018 9:50 AM

I took kept most of my dad's (and his dad's) collection of tinplate and pre-war trains. Never regretted it - and they still run beautifully. Congratulations on your collection.

Doug Murphy 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...' Henry V.

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