I Need Your Advice

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  • Member since
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I Need Your Advice
Posted by TSMET on Friday, October 11, 2019 7:42 PM

I recently inherited from my late Father a boat load of pre and post war Lionel and American Flyer O gauge equipment (locomotives, tenders, Pullman’s, caboose, various cars, track, transformer, signal lights, etc.). Although I love trains, I have no intention to get them going again. Since I don’t plan to let them continue to collect dust, and none of my family/relatives wants them, what is the best way to see that they get to someone like you folks who will put them back to use? I don’t want to do the eBay thing if I don’t have to, but then again, I’m sure the locomotives (224 & 225) must be worth something. Thanks in advance for your responses.

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Posted by Steven Otte on Monday, October 14, 2019 8:33 AM

Admin note: Please feel free to offer TSMET the advice he's asking for, but please remember, directly buying and selling items via the Forums is prohibited. This means, no asking "what have you got," "how much," or the like. Do that via PM if you must. Thank you.

Also, I'll be moving this thread to the Classic Toy Trains Forum, where users are more likely to be knowledgable about the kind of trains being discussed.

Steven Otte, Model Railroader associate editor

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Posted by rtraincollector on Monday, October 14, 2019 12:10 PM

There are quite a few dealers that will buy them from you for about 40% of there value as there basically going to do what you can do, list them on E-bay or other auction sites. Not for buying reason but for your knowledge what they may be worth, you first would need to take pictures of them and then make sure we know what number is on them, and you could PM others as well as myself to get an idea what they may be worth, as you don't want to be lowballed on your items. The best way thou would be to get someone to give you there email address so you could do this as doing pictures even in PM can be a pain as you need to find a site like shutterfly to host your picture then you need to take there address to post here. 

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


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Posted by Rene Schweitzer on Monday, October 14, 2019 2:59 PM

There are a number of ways to sell a collection. Some hobby shops will buy used trains, as will some CTT advertisers (like Trainz.com). If you have a number of more valuable pieces, there are auction houses that sell toy train lots. Keep in mind that most of these places will want to make a profit so expect to get an offer of 40-50% of their value.

The way to make the most money is to sell them yourself on eBay, but, as you already know, this is more work for you.

I'd suggest keeping a few pieces for nostalgia. While you may not want them now, you could change your mind in a few years. Or perhaps another relative might want them later too.

Step one is to get yourself a Greenberg's Pocket Price Guide to see what you have and get an estimate of value. 

Rene Schweitzer

Classic Toy Trains/Garden Railways/Model Railroader

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, October 14, 2019 6:12 PM

Another option is to rent a table at a train show and sell them there.  Some shows have white elephant tables and will let you place them there for sale (they get a commission).

If money is not a factor, you could donate them to a local organtization that works with kids.

As for value buy a price guide - Kalmback  sells one.  Make sure you understand the rating system when you look up prices. 


If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by fifedog on Friday, October 18, 2019 9:44 PM

TSMET - First off ---> Welcome.

Do yourself a favor.  Go through your family scrapbook, in particular, Christmas/holiday photos.  Perhaps there's a pic of Dad playing with the trains, or setting up a garden.  Or maybe there's one of a young TSMET watching the trains.  Save those trains (at least one set), and perhaps display it with the photo to rekindle fond memories.  A couple of my friends display them over their mancave bars.

A table at any train show will be a good place to start, but don't limit yourself.  You would be surprised how many folks are looking at flea markets, yard sales, as well as car/gun/hunting-fishing shows, as a place to buy trains.  Those old orange and blue boxes will be like drawing moths to the porchlight.


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Posted by LL675 on Saturday, October 19, 2019 12:52 PM

I agree, look thru those old family pics, and see if you see any of the trains. I have my Dad's trains that he passed down to me, and unfourtunitaly I inhearted my Uncle's trains a few years ago way to early. I have many fond memories of these trains, and the time spent with Dad and my Uncle. Once the trains are sold, they are gone. All the trains are worth something, do some research and get an idea of what that is. You may not be booking a cruise to Hawaii, but get a fair deal for yourself.


It's a TOY, A child's PLAYTHING!!! (Woody  from Toy Story)

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Posted by BigAl 956 on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 10:35 AM

ebay can be a good source to determine values by searching sold items. Our host Kalmbach has an up to date Lionel values book you can purchase, but these days unless you have somthing extremly rare or mint, 50% on the book value dollar is a realistic number.

I reccomend uploading your inventory to the trainzauctions.com site. You can open a free acount or thier paid subscription software feeds in recent auction sales values to give you a realistic accounting.

If you just want to liquidate the trains you can reach out to several sites who will give you offers for the whole thing. Just google 'sell my lionel trains'. The absolute worst venues to sell a collection would be craigslist or facebook.

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