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Need help with value of this item

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Need help with value of this item
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 24, 2019 6:33 AM

I left Walt Disney World Resort yesterday and drove to Atlanta for meetings this week. On the way I stopped at an antique store in Georgia and found this magnificent beauty.

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You can click on the image for a larger view.

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I do not know anything about it. The track gauge is just over 3 inches, so I think that makes it about 1/16 scale. It is about 34 inches long.

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It is obviously very old, and built using crude construction methods. I did not see any manufacturer's marks on it. It is hand painted. There are lots of visible hardware like wood screws and rivets.

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The locomotive is HEAVY, at least 100 pounds. The tender weighs about 40 pounds. It is certainly not a toy, so I did not go to the Toy Train forums.

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There is no motor of any type in the model.

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I do not think it is live steam, but it rolls very easily. The drivers are well quartered and it looks like a lot of care went into the construction. Nothing looks like a throttle control, and there is no way to carry fuel in the tender.

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I WANT IT!

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The problem is that the seller has a price of $4,500.00 on it, which seems way out of line to me. Especially since there is no explanation of why such a high value. I think they just saw the number 4500 on the cab and said "hey, that sounds like a good price". I know most sellers in Antique Malls have no idea what their items are really worth.

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I believe this could be considered Americana Folk Art.

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Does anyone know what it might be actually worth? I don't want reponses like "whatever you will pay", that is not a real answer. I want to make an honest purchase.

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I want to approach the seller with a reallistic and fair offer. I do not haggle with these kinds of purchases. I make a good offer, and move on if the seller says no. I just need to know what a fair price might be.

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Has anyone seens something similar for sale? Is this a one-of-a-kind piece? Is it really worth $4,500.00? Are there other models like this around? Was building these big & heavy models once an actual hobby on its own? 

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The sale also includes a boxcar and a caboose. These do not add value. The construction of the boxcar is no where near the quality of the locomotive. The caboose is incomplete and badly damaged.

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Any help is appreciated.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by wvg_ca on Monday, June 24, 2019 6:47 AM

it makes a difference in what its made of ...

wood, plastic, die cast metal, all brass would be the highest [i assume]

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:23 AM

There is a piece of hardwood on the bottom that I think makes up the initial structural frame.

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The rest is steel or iron. A magnet sticks to it all.

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Every detail is a separate piece. They are all crude and hand made. No part of it looks like it was forged, molded, or cast.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:41 AM

 Any sort of markings on it, either in the frame or maybe even a builder's plate, that might give a clue as to who made it, to give some idea of what to search on? Seems like an odd size, not one of the standard scales, and since it seems to be all hand made, probably a one-off. If nothing else of similar scale and quality is even out there, it may well come down to "whatever you are willing to pay" and "whatever the seller is willing to accept" 

                                   --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:40 AM

rrinker
 Any sort of markings on it, either in the frame or maybe even a builder's plate

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No markings at all.

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I am 80% sure it is a folk art garage project someone made for themselves.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:53 AM

SeeYou190
I am 80% sure it is a folk art garage project someone made for themselves.

I doubt that it has been made commercially. It´s not to any known scale and looks, as if a retired engineer made a model of his pet engine for his mantlepiece. Material most likely a mix of tin sheet metal (from tin cans), wire and wood. No motor. It´s value? Difficult to tell! It´s certainly not a collector´s item. It is not really a vintage item, maybe made in the 1940s or 1950s. It´s nice looking though and certainly a conversation piece for a train room. I´d say not more than $100!

The prototype has been preserved at the B&O museum.

http://www.borail.org/BO-No-4500.aspx

 

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by carl425 on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:53 AM

1:16, usually called 3/4" scale or 3 1/2" gauge, is the smallest (and least popular) of the live steam scales.  I believe what you are looking at is a live steam project where the builder realized he was over his head and said "screw it" and decided to make a static model out of it.  The extreme weight and smooth operation of the drivers is a tip off that this model's genesis in live steam.  You can find 3/4" scale live steam models for sale that actually work in the $3,000 range.

The problem here is that the live steam guys are willing to accept coarse detail in exchange for a model that runs, but the display model guys are going to want much better detail on a model this size. Placing a value on a one off failure will be difficult.  Since there is no market for such models, there is no way to come up with a fair market value.  If I wanted it, I'd explain to the seller what they have and offer a couple hundred bucks.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by wvg_ca on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:07 AM

Well, if it's mostly wood with some steel [no brass], and there isn't any way to power it,,, I would say it's a couple hundred dollar failure ..

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:45 AM

I understand the desire to own this - it reminds me a little of some of the Buddy - L big steam locomotive toys that were fair replicas and from a distance look very impressive.

It also reminds me of some large scale traction/trolley car models I have seen which from a distance look accurate and detailed and only on close examination are crude.  The ones I am thinking of were displayed on high shelves at a trolley themed restaurant in Milwaukee, now closed.  I wanted one desperately but only when I got to examine one closely did I decide they were just not worth the asking price of about $1000 each.  And yet on a per hour basis that is probably fair pay for those streetcar models and $4500 might be a decent hourly rate to build a steam locomotive of this size.

There has been some speculation (above) about the source of this steamer -- garage "folk art" and an abandoned live steam experiment.  Another possibility is that it was built as a presentation for some high ranking exec of the old B&O as a retirement gift.  I wonder if there is any chance someone at the B&O historical society knows something about it.

If I saw it I'd want it too - but there is nowhere in my house so far away from the viewer that it would look great.

Dave Nelson

 

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Posted by carl425 on Monday, June 24, 2019 10:03 AM

Another possibility - the real B&O 4500 is on display in the B&O museum.  Maybe this model has a connection there.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, June 24, 2019 10:39 AM

As they say true can be brutal.

That is a home built engine and poorly done at that-look closely at the crude domes and cab windows.. $4500.00? No way.. 

I would have to think long and hard if it was $45.00.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, June 24, 2019 11:51 AM

Its a decorative piece of art, not necessarily a model.  A bit of crudeness has some appeal in that it shows that it was hand made by a nonprofessional.  I think artwork like that has decent value in certain circles, but it will take a long time to find a buyer for it, IMO.

I say offer the seller $500 and don't pay more than $750.  Only if its worth that much to you as a specialized piece of decorative art.  To train guy that would certainly be a nice on-off piece of decor you'd never find again.  I doubt you'd get you money back very quickly.

- Douglas

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, June 24, 2019 12:51 PM

Funny I was going to say $450 as it needs to be cleaned up as a top price. It is a rather large peice so more likely a shelf decoration that a coffee table piece. Shelf decorations are less valuble (in general for purely decrative items) than coffee table peices (got a degree in Interior Design). That being said it is really worth what it is to you but I gave you your negotiating points.

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Posted by maxman on Monday, June 24, 2019 1:32 PM

SeeYou190
I WANT IT! . The problem is that the seller has a price of $4,500.00 on it,

No, I want it.  Please give me the name and number of the place that has the item.  $4,500 is not bad at all!

Wait a minute.  Wife just walked in and gave me some info:

bathroom tub diverter valve started leaking this morning: $1,200 for plumber and painter to come in and replace diverter, repair and paint ceiling below, and paint other items that are not the proper shade of white

$6.000 to install upstairs flooring in hallway and bedroom and on the staircase

$7,000 to custom build shelves on sides of fireplace and and make an entertainment stand to replace a perfectly functional item.

$11,500 to replace wholehouse air conditioner that decided to die, along with oil burner that is just a old.

 

Well, I guess I didn't want that loco afterall.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, June 24, 2019 1:59 PM

I'd say that thing is worth no more than $150. $4500 is ridiculous!

I think you sould be able to get the guy to go down some if you explain what a crude model it is. I dought he'll give it to you for anything under $1000 without explanation if he's put such a high price on it.

Frankly, it's a great looking show piece, truely beautiful, just outrageously priced. 

This guy needs to understand that the lack of detail and lack of a motor really lowers the value.

Good luck getting it from him, especially without bartering! Having lived in  south Asia were bartering is required for every purchase, I can tell you that you can rarely get half the labeled price.

Again good luck, you will need it!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:21 PM

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. 

If I was going to buy a loco just to display, it would be brass.  And I could pick it up all by myself.  

Either the seller is in love with and and doesn't want to sell it or he has over estimated the market for unwieldy folk art.

Henry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:52 PM

maxman
4,500 is not bad at all!

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That asking price is 100% pure nonsense.

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Now if Steve O called me up and told me Kalmbach was selling the GORRE AND DAPHETID 4-10-0 for charity, I would certainly be tempted to put in a $4,500.00 bid on that locomotive, but my wife might kill me.

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I would gladly pay $100.00 just to take a picture of it coupled to a STRATTON AND GILLETTE boxcar on the MR&T layout! That would be a thrill.

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This one has no pedigree at all. It is just a really nice piece of handiwork that would probably appeal to very few people other than me.

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I have a few art pieces in my house, and I bought them all because I like them. This is in that category.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, June 24, 2019 3:19 PM

This demonstrates the problem with homemade one offs and antique shops.  No one knows the value and the dealer is afraid of letting it go tooo cheap.

I'd say check back in a year and see if the price has gone down.  Of course there are people to whom $4500 is not significant so it could be gone.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by maxman on Monday, June 24, 2019 4:03 PM

SeeYou190
maxman 4,500 is not bad at all! . That asking price is 100% pure nonsense.

I agree.  However, if you had considered my statement within the context of my entire post, you probably would have come to that conclusion.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 24, 2019 4:15 PM

maxman
However, if you had considered my statement within the context of my entire post, you probably would have come to that conclusion.

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I did, and I loved reading your response.

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I hope all those household problems were made up. I would hate to think of all those repairs at once.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Erie1951 on Monday, June 24, 2019 5:28 PM

I think the seller has an interior designer in mind to be bought for a bar/restaurant installation. I wish him luck. Smile, Wink & Grin

Russ

Modeling the early '50s Erie in Paterson, NJ.  Here's the link to my railroad postcard collection: https://railroadpostcards.blogspot.com/

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Posted by tstage on Monday, June 24, 2019 5:40 PM

Even if it were a NYC Hudson, I wouldn't offer $50 for it.  Think how many nicer-looking, better-detailed HO locomotives - even in brass - you could pick up for 1/10th of that cost. Tongue Tied

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:32 PM

tstage
Even if it were a NYC Hudson, I wouldn't offer $50 for it.

Perhaps one of these 1:32 Fine Art Models Hudsons would be more to your liking?

https://brasstrains.com/Classic/Product/Detail/060253/1-32-Scale-Gauge-1-Brass-Model-Train-FAM-Fine-Art-Models-NYC-New-York-Central-4-6-4-Hudson-5405

F.A.M. produced a limited line of G Scale models some years back that are extremely well detailed. Amazing stuff.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by tstage on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:41 PM

Now you're talkin', Ed!  Maybe I'll write FAM and see if they'll do a 1:1 version.  Now THAT I'd drive all the way across the US to see. Stick out tongue

Tom

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 4:18 AM

SeeYou190
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I WANT IT!.

The problem is that the seller has a price of $4,500.00 on it, which seems way out of line to me. .

Does anyone know what it might be actually worth? I don't want reponses like "whatever you will pay", that is not a real answer. I want to make an honest purchase.

I want to approach the seller with a reallistic and fair offer. I do not haggle with these kinds of purchases. I make a good offer, and move on if the seller says no. I just need to know what a fair price might be.

Kevin, you won't like my answer, but you already provided it. It is worth whatever you are willing to pay.

Sleep on it. Finish your meetings in Atlanta this week and drop by the antique store on the way back home. Take another look at it and see if you still WANT IT.

You will probably never be able to resell it, at least not for much if anything. 

If you still must have it, leave your name and email address with the owner and tell him if he gets an offer less than $4,500 to contact you for a counteroffer.

Meanwhile, go about your business and see if you continue to lust for the item. Chances are, you probably won't. You initially acted on an impulse. See if it is a lasting desire to have this item.

Rich

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 4:34 AM

Aside from all eagerness to have that thing, let´s take a look at what is actually is!

  • It is not a piece of art.
  • It is not a model.
  • It is just a big, rather crudely made representation of a steam engine, without any function.
  • It is only a home made piece of railroadiana for decoration purposes.
  • It is not antique.

It has hardly a commercial value. There is no material value attached to it and we all know, how much, or better, how little value, the labor of love has, that we put into our layouts.

 

 

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 6:14 AM

Tinplate Toddler
It is just a big, rather crudely made representation of a steam engine, without any function.

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And the fact it is not a scale model is the only reason my wife might allow it into the house on permanent display!

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richhotrain
Meanwhile, go about your business and see if you continue to lust for the item. Chances are, you probably won't.

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Yes, it is an impulse, but we have been looking for something this size for a shelf in the living room for about a year. I know a locomotive was not what my wife had in mind, but she is on board with the "folk art" look of this piece.

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I think I have what I will offer in place.

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I do want it, but I certainly do not need to have it. If the seller does not accept my offer, I will simply move on. There are countless more antique malls in this country to rummage through.

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The largest antique mall in Georgia, Ian Henderson's in Monroe just closed up shop due to a lease problem. Now there are hundreds of sellers in Georgia looking for new outlets. The market might be changing quite a bit.

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 6:43 AM

SeeYou190
 

I think I have what I will offer in place.

But, you're not going to tell us?   Sad

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 6:53 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
Tinplate Toddler
It is just a big, rather crudely made representation of a steam engine, without any function.

 

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And the fact it is not a scale model is the only reason my wife might allow it into the house on permanent display!

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richhotrain
Meanwhile, go about your business and see if you continue to lust for the item. Chances are, you probably won't.

 

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Yes, it is an impulse, but we have been looking for something this size for a shelf in the living room for about a year. I know a locomotive was not what my wife had in mind, but she is on board with the "folk art" look of this piece.

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I think I have what I will offer in place.

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I do want it, but I certainly do not need to have it. If the seller does not accept my offer, I will simply move on. There are countless more antique malls in this country to rummage through.

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The largest antique mall in Georgia, Ian Henderson's in Monroe just closed up shop due to a lease problem. Now there are hundreds of sellers in Georgia looking for new outlets. The market might be changing quite a bit.

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-Kevin

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I think you made a good point.  The item is folk art, not a model.  The crudeness of it is part of the appeal.  It identifies that it is a hand made one-of-a-kind piece that is probably built by an unprofessional.  In which case, its fairly impressive, especially if it rolls nicely.

Sure you can buy a CAD designed, perfectly tooled and assembled accurate model from a factory.....but anybody can have one of those if they want one.  The appeal of models as works of art diminishes tremendously once there is more than one exact copy.  Then over and over and over.

Not encouraging you in any way.  I'm simply pointing out to several who compare it to an actual professionally designed and built model, that this crude rendition has more appeal than a factory model in certain circles.  I could see that if a rich train buff was redecorating his law office with a train theme, the item might fetch a decent price.  Especially since the 1:1 version is in the B&O museum.  I think the seller is waiting for that home-run to walk into his store.

I would judge it on what it is worth to me.  Personally, I don't have use for any $4,500 piece of shelf art, but I might keep track of it in the coming weeks or months if it was something I seriously wanted. 

- Douglas

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 9:14 AM

Tinplate Toddler
Aside from all eagerness to have that thing, let´s take a look at what is actually is!

- It is not a piece of art.

By what definition?  I think some could argue it's art.  Often art immitates real things.  Maybe a form of impressionistic art?  Stick out tongue  

 

The asking price make it a luxury for many.  Could I afford it?  Sure, but I have thing much more needful of that kind of cost, even if it were dropped 1k or 2k.

Don't get me wrong - it's pretty cool as a mantle piece but for the price ...take off a zero and maybe.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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