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Other train collections drop in value ?

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Other train collections drop in value ?
Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 13, 2019 9:25 AM

What this is about is that a lot of train items like brass and wood kits have dropped in value over the last few years, alot. What I wondered is about prices for other train collecting areas like Tyco or Lionel etc., things outside the scope of what I follow ?

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, September 13, 2019 9:33 AM

The price is finally determined by the demand and supply. As more and more model railroaders and/or collectors come of age, there are more and more collections in the market, pushing prices down. Last but not least we are talking about "toys" which seems to have less and less appeal for the younger generation, even as collectibles.

Not a good investment if you expect gains.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by mobilman44 on Friday, September 13, 2019 9:44 AM

Speaking for postwar Lionel/Flyer, they reached a peak in the 90s and early 2000s.  Of course that was when I bought most of the items for my collection.

The reason for the spike in demand/prices was fairly obvious....those of us who had trains as kids of the late 40s and 50s were now retiring, and we had disposable cash..........so we bought and bought and bought.

Well, in the last 10 years or so those same people have aged or passed on.  And they and/or heirs began selling off their trains, creating a glut in the marketplace.  And to top it off, Lionel began producing reproductions of those early pieces.  

So now we have a market value of maybe 1/4 of what it once was............

  

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, September 13, 2019 10:02 AM

Value is in the wallet of the beholder.  I model in HO, in the Transition Era, and as time moves forward model companies are making more and more modern models, to keep up with the demand for modern equipment and to account for the sad demise of older hobbyists.

So, sometimes we end up paying above market value just for something no longer available on the retail market.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, September 13, 2019 10:51 AM

Tinplate Toddler
The price is finally determined by the demand and supply.

Agreed.  That is what they taught in my Econ 101 class back in the late 70's.  It's a mantra now.

 

mobilman44
Speaking for postwar Lionel/Flyer, they reached a peak in the 90s and early 2000s.  Of course that was when I bought most of the items for my collection. The reason for the spike in demand/prices was fairly obvious....those of us who had trains as kids of the late 40s and 50s were now retiring, and we had disposable cash..........so we bought and bought and bought. Well, in the last 10 years or so those same people have aged or passed on.  And they and/or heirs began selling off their trains, creating a glut in the marketplace.  And to top it off, Lionel began producing reproductions of those early pieces.   So now we have a market value of maybe 1/4 of what it once was............

 

+1   I think that assessment summed it up for those items.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 13, 2019 11:10 AM

The post war Lionel answer is the type I was looking for, I know economics and trends, ect. What I was looking for was insite into items I am not into, like Lionel. Also this trend to lower prices has hit many antiques also, some going back hundreds of years (kinda kills the people getting older thing to some extent although in model railroading it has played some part I am sure.

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Posted by York1 on Friday, September 13, 2019 11:22 AM

rrebell
Also this trend to lower prices has hit many antiques also, some going back hundreds of years (kinda kills the people getting older thing to some extent although in model railroading it has played some part I am sure.

 

My wife and I are fans of the PBS series, "Antiques Roadshow".

Sometimes they repeat a show from years ago; they list the appraisal price then, and the appraisal price now.

Not all, but most of the things have gone down in value.  Even in the new programs, the appraiser often comments that ___ years ago, the value would have been higher.

One of the comments was that younger adults are not collecting things like their parents or grandparents did.  Maybe that will change as they age, but it could be many years.

About the only things that have consistently increased in value are artworks by well-known artists.

Saints Fan John

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, September 13, 2019 12:11 PM

rrebell
this trend to lower prices has hit many antiques also, some going back hundreds of years (kinda kills the people getting older thing to some extent although in model railroading it has played some part I am sure.

Like physically killing them?  Or financially because they are expecting to unload antiques for a tidy profit.

Any investment into things involves some risk - choose wisely young padowan.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, September 13, 2019 12:15 PM

York1
One of the comments was that younger adults are not collecting things like their parents or grandparents did.  Maybe that will change as they age, but it could be many years.

I am not a younger adult, but I can kind of relate to the not collecting antique things.  I've been to a number of antique shops over the past 20 years and they don't do anything for me and I don't want to collect them either.  But maybe you have to be an antique yourself to be fond of such things!  Laugh

 

York1
About the only things that have consistently increased in value are artworks by well-known artists.

 

So the only things that continue to hold or increase in value are the really old things!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 13, 2019 12:48 PM

Art works only.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, September 13, 2019 12:50 PM

rrebell

The post war Lionel answer is the type I was looking for, I know economics and trends, ect. What I was looking for was insite into items I am not into, like Lionel. Also this trend to lower prices has hit many antiques also, some going back hundreds of years (kinda kills the people getting older thing to some extent although in model railroading it has played some part I am sure.

 

So tell me, this is the second such question you have asked in as many weeks, are you sitting on a bunch of stuff you thought would be valuable?

Personally, I have never "collected" anything thinking it would be an investment for me or my children, except houses, you know the real kind.

I think of model train expenditures the same way I think of a nice dinner out, money spent on entertainment. With no thought of recouping any of it later.

I have a 1922 Victrolia VV-280 for sale right now, a rare model only made that year. They don't bring half what they did 25 years ago. But I don't care, I bought it for fun, and to decorate the 1901 house. I got my monies worth no matter what I get for it now.

When I'm done with my model trains, it is likely only a few people would even want some of it. Whatever. My will leaves them to my son, he can do as he pleases.

I have some collections, although I never think of it in those terms.

The trains - 140 locos, 1300 pieces of rolling stock, structures, track, supplies, tools, parts, etc.

Music - 1700 vinyl records in exceptional condition, 800 music cd's.

Model Railroader and RMC from the 50's to now.

Books of all sorts.

Tools of all sorts.

And a few nice guns.......

Not one item was bought with any thought as to its resale value, plan to own this stuff till I die.

The kids can have a yard sale or a dumpster party, or both, their choice.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, September 13, 2019 12:57 PM

Some collectibles pass the test of time. 

Other things are collected because they remind people of their youth.  If there is nostalgia involved, reminding people of their youth, the market will last as long as that group of people are still living.

I think Elvis Presley collectible things are starting to lose value.  Because the number of people who remember Elvis in their younger days are starting to die off, frankly.  

Elvis stuff won't be worth much if a person is the last person on earth who remembers who he is.

Could be the same with TYCO and LIONEL trains.  Sorry for bringing up that sorry point, but running out of people who remember that stuff could be a problem. 

- Douglas

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, September 13, 2019 5:17 PM

When it comes to scale model trains my personal notion of a collectible is something that I suspect, but maybe don't know, that I will someday want or need AND a sense that I had better buy it now and hold on to it for that day. Sometimes a very reasonable price can tip the balance to a "buy" decision.  I cannot deny that I have some "what was I thinking?" stuff sitting around.  Especially structures and detail parts.  

Sometimes you look at something and just KNOW that this manufacturer won't be around forever, or that this kit or part is limited interest.

 

So things like rarity or resale value or prestige do not enter into this definition of collectible at all.  It has served me well, as a rule, although I suspect I will die with unfinished projects and raw materials on the shelves.  And that's OK.  I do not intend to die of boredom.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, September 13, 2019 5:57 PM

York1
One of the comments was that younger adults are not collecting things like their parents or grandparents did.

.

I am just entering the age where I would begin collecting things from my youth like previous generations did when they neared retirement and they had good earnings.

.

Thing is... I don't want anything from my childhood. The 1970s and 1980s were defined by movies, music, and television, not toys.

.

DVDs and CDs have provided all the memories from my youth I want to relive. The toys from my youth were pretty much cheap plastic junk. I don't anticipate many of my generation getting obsessed with the toys we opened on Christmas day. Star Wars, Family Ties, Van Halen... Yeah... That gets our hearts pumping.

.

I wish Space Giants was readily available on DVD.

.

The only thing in my house that could be insured as a collectible is my map from the 1800's of Prussia. It is in pristine condition. Unfortunately, the quality framing job cost twice what the map is worth, and I cannot insure the frame!

.

-Kevin

.

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 BigDaddy on Friday, September 13, 2019 8:05 PM

SeeYou190
Thing is... I don't want anything from my childhood. The 1970s and 1980s were defined by movies, music, and television, not toys.

I was running through San Francisco airport last week to get to the next gate and saw a robot I had a couple decades before your time.  I cannot find a similar one in 12 pages of Ebay vintage robots

Henry

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By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 13, 2019 9:06 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
rrebell

The post war Lionel answer is the type I was looking for, I know economics and trends, ect. What I was looking for was insite into items I am not into, like Lionel. Also this trend to lower prices has hit many antiques also, some going back hundreds of years (kinda kills the people getting older thing to some extent although in model railroading it has played some part I am sure.

 

 

 

So tell me, this is the second such question you have asked in as many weeks, are you sitting on a bunch of stuff you thought would be valuable?

Personally, I have never "collected" anything thinking it would be an investment for me or my children, except houses, you know the real kind.

I think of model train expenditures the same way I think of a nice dinner out, money spent on entertainment. With no thought of recouping any of it later.

I have a 1922 Victrolia VV-280 for sale right now, a rare model only made that year. They don't bring half what they did 25 years ago. But I don't care, I bought it for fun, and to decorate the 1901 house. I got my monies worth no matter what I get for it now.

When I'm done with my model trains, it is likely only a few people would even want some of it. Whatever. My will leaves them to my son, he can do as he pleases.

I have some collections, although I never think of it in those terms.

The trains - 140 locos, 1300 pieces of rolling stock, structures, track, supplies, tools, parts, etc.

Music - 1700 vinyl records in exceptional condition, 800 music cd's.

Model Railroader and RMC from the 50's to now.

Books of all sorts.

Tools of all sorts.

And a few nice guns.......

Not one item was bought with any thought as to its resale value, plan to own this stuff till I die.

The kids can have a yard sale or a dumpster party, or both, their choice.

Sheldon

 

No I asked before about items I am interested in (not invested in). This time I am asking about areas that I do not follow at all, basicaly to see how far the trend extends to.

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 13, 2019 9:09 PM

BigDaddy

 

 
SeeYou190
Thing is... I don't want anything from my childhood. The 1970s and 1980s were defined by movies, music, and television, not toys.

 

I was running through San Francisco airport last week to get to the next gate and saw a robot I had a couple decades before your time.  I cannot find a similar one in 12 pages of Ebay vintage robots

 

Small world, I saw that display a few weeks ago.

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 13, 2019 9:16 PM

No, with me everything ends up being an investment only because I buy stuff at such a discount, in some cases its value would have to drop by almost 90% for me to break even. My sister says I am lucky, maybe it is more like due dilligence. The worth of things now vs the past has always been of intrest to me, and not just trains. As for my personal holdings train wise, only high end HO for the most part (I have a few multiscle items too).

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Posted by emdmike on Saturday, September 14, 2019 12:27 AM

Right now the market is flooded with second hand trains in all scales and vintages.  Prices are down due to the glut on the market combined with softening demand.  This can expecially be seen in vintage brass and the tinplate/Lionel/American Flyer market.  A shop near me has a nice selection of really clean American Flyer that he cannot hardly give away, there just is no demand.  Vintage Lionel that once commanded prices that many could not afford are now affordable again, especially really clean but common postwar items like the 2343 Santa Fe F3's and common steamers.  Most of the current modelers want all the DCC/Digital bells and whistles in thier locomotives and have little interest in kits or tuning and painting a brass locomotive like modelers did years ago.  So that has had a profound effect on prices.  The rare and mint in the box items will still command the highest prices with collectors that seek out the best example of the chosen model.   And I still see trains being found in attics and barns that have not seen the light of day in decades, so the hunt still continues.  As for myself, I buy the trains I want and not the ones I can make a buck on.  I do document what i have for insurance purposes and keep a list incase something happens to me so that my wife doesn't get cheated when its time for my trains to go to new owners.    Mike the Aspie

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, September 14, 2019 12:56 AM

Well, some of the brass items are so scarce they are just gone from the marketplace and rarely turn up.  Anybody can say they are worth whatever they want to say.

I've been searching aggressively, like every day, for some models, everywhere online, and they just don't turn up or are ones that were badly weathered or otherwise damaged and are devalued.

Brasstrains.com has an online reference guide where they assign the "current value" of all brass models ever catalogued.  Only problem is their pricing is still quite subjective.  Certain roads, on their website, the models seem to generally be valued "cheaply".  Perhaps by coincidence, they have none of those roadnames (like for example BNSF) in stock at all.

I'm searching for 44 different HO brass models, and if they show up, they are supposed to contact me.  Guess what, in many months, not a single one of any of those 44 models has shown up.  Some of them are also valued on the low side.

I suspect that some would-be sellers are taking the "if that's all they say it's worth, I'll just hold onto it" approach.  A dealer cannot sell what they do not have.  Brasstrains can assign any value they want; it doesn't matter if none of them ever trade.

There are some models that are "down" in value.  It seems to be older and also unpainted models.  The kind of people who do outstanding paint work are not cheap, and it seems there are less of them.  Seems to reason that unpainted brass might tend to slip in value versus factory painted and dcc'd versions of the exact same models.

As we get closer to Christmas, some really outstanding and rare stuff will be offered on Ebay at significantly higher prices.  A few of them will sell, and then most will go back into hiding till next Christmas.  It happened last Christmas--some very rare and very good models were offered on Ebay at borderline insane prices.  Some ponied up and bought.

John

P.S. when selling brass there is a certain segment out there that will lowball you, and I've fallen victim when I wanted money too soon.  Then I have seen some better items literally double in value in 3 years.  It just depends what piece one is talking about!

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, September 14, 2019 1:15 AM

I have no shelf queens.  The brass engines earn their keep just like the plastic.  I'm running similar plastic versions about the same amount of time as I operate the brass.  I didn't buy any of them to make a profit on, but to use and enjoy.

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:52 AM

No profit expected here, just works out that way, but the profit gets used up in other aspects of the hobby like ballast and glue whose value goes to zero once used. I myself am looking for an SP fire train and a T-boiler climax. Fire train will proubly never be had but got close on the T. With prices going down, I'm in no rush for things I don't need, just want. Personally I like the RTR stuff with high detail, always liked the high detail but used to have to do it myself.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:26 PM

Seeyou190 said above that nobody in the 1970's cared about toys????

Seriously, that is so very wrong.  We had awesome toys during the 1970's, and the mint, original carded and not played with versions are indeed collectable!

We had real Tonka trucks, and Hess trucks, and other trucks made of almost all metal except a few plastic details.  We had the Mego action figures: Batman, Robin, Superman, Catwoman, The Joker, the Riddler, Aquaman, GI Joe, Evil Knievel, etc. etc.  We had the cars...So many cool toys, and construction related toys like "Girder and Panel" with which to build huge buildings and bridges.

Limited Edition Revolutionary War figures sold everywhere around the bicentennial...I played with them for years afterwards!

Micronaut action figures and Star Wars.  Star Wars wasn't my thing, but I had plenty--tons--of Micronauts.

Plenty of cool board games too.

Perhaps you missed out somehow, but it was a great time to grow up!  We used our imaginations to pretend and fill in the missing details.  The construction toys interested some of us in building things.  I don't think I'd be an engineer today were it not for "Girder and Panel" sets and all the neat construction toys that were available.  The toys and seeing real big construction projects (Interstates still under construction) were utterly fascinating!

The toys only broke when they were abused.  I had very few quality control complaints.  The Micronauts were delicate but yet durable--hands, feet, elbows, knees, shoulders, head--all could move and were really cool.

John

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Posted by schief on Sunday, September 15, 2019 1:32 AM

As a collector of vintage action figures, I can attest to Micronauts, GI JOE and Star Wars demanding some value currently.  That said, I collect purely for the joy of it and have no expectations to ever make any money at it.  Quite frankly, any purchase I make for my collection I have no desire to resell.  If I do get something still sealed in a package it is only because I enjoy the overall artwork as part of it.

And to try and make this post relevant to the current train topic, I think someday if I have the good fortune to outstay other toy collectors in that hobby I can probably purchase stuff for pennies on the dollar as the market gets more saturated, which I gather is what is happening to brass and other collectible train kits now.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, September 15, 2019 2:06 AM

Times change. Dianne and I used to really be into antiques, mostly I suspect because we were given a ton of old furniture pieces and tools that had actually been used by my forefathers. Our house was full of antiques and it was decorated to suit.

Our tastes have changed. Last year we gave away a pump organ which had been in the family for almost 140 years. Investment value? Maybe $50.00 if you were lucky! It was worth more than that when it was built in 1880.

I have to say that we weren't sorry to see it go. We had it as a feature element in our decorating scheme for years, but alas it had done its thing. It had become tiresome. We replaced it with a beautiful sideboard which everyone admires, and which we really like (partly because we can store copious numbers of bottles of wine in it! The organ didn't have space for a single bottle!).Smile, Wink & GrinLaugh

We still have a number of antique tools and a couple of really ancient guns that I won't part with. They will soon go to my son. I don't care what they are worth.

Dave

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Sunday, September 15, 2019 3:08 AM

Well, like others I buy/collect for my own enjoyment.  Prices seem to vary a lot for older stuff.  At train shows I see Tyco for $2 to $20 for run of the mill freight cars.  MDC is frequently $5 for NIB kits but can go up to $20.  Wood car kits also run $5 and up.

I don't know that value has been declining since there never was much value outside of brass and 3 rail trains.  But there are fewer older kits NIB.  And a lot of the older wood car kits don't match today's rtr or resin kits for detail so they aren't as valued.  The old Quality Craft kits are fun, but when the directions say to bend a piece of wire for the door handle you know the detail level is lower than today.

Also the older kits favor the steam era.  While there is still interest in the 50's transition era, old eras like 1895 - 1915 and  1920 to 1939 seem to be less favored than before.  The diesel eras seem to be growing more and more.

Paul

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:08 AM

I do buy what I like and have got rid of most of what I don't. Prices have not hit rock bottom yet but the things I do sell take longer and I get less (I sell on e-bay through a friend). More than half of what I get rid of are extras in a lot where the one item I wanted was worth what I paid.

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:12 AM

Ultimately it comes down to product on market now vs. the antique/collectible sphere. TYCO Trains died (1993) a year before I was born, and frankly everyone I have ever seen is junk that I would hesitate to spend $15 for. If somebody tried to charge me $300 for a 'collectible' TYCO Train, I would just turn around and drop that cash on something ScaleTrains or Rapido is offering instead. 

Lionel is a bit different, but not by much. The Lionel brand was trying to make a push into cultural relevancy again when I was a kid, so I had Lionel branded clocks, Lionel branded video games (Lionel TransCon) and Lionel branded books about their trains. But somehow it never translated to me actually buying their trains, and part of that was again hampered by price point. By the time I was considering starting to dabble in model railroading, HO was the clear cut scale for me and Lionel 3-Rail just came across as an interesting, but antiquated toy. 

Really the only Lionel stuff that has tempted me is some of their cheap but kitschy Cold War era products, like the nuclear missile car. That is less of an interest in Lionel trains itself, but more my curiosity for the Fallout-esque nuclear fever of the past. Maybe someday I might buy a single Lionel kit to run around a Christmas tree, but for now my interest in trains is more readily captivated by ScaleTrains, Rapido, ExactRail, Athearn Genesis, etc...

The only old toy train market that has really captivated me is the ERTL Die Cast Thomas and Friends line, and that is because I played with those a lot as a kid. Still have most of mine in a box stored away. 

Of course every generation has its "hot toy" and for mine it has ended up being LEGO (in case my current profile picture doesn't convey that message). The LEGO collecting market... is hot right now. Just look up the original MSRP's for the Cafe Corner or Green Groccer then compare it to the "New in Box" prices on eBay and Bricklink. Its enough to make a wallet cry. 

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, September 15, 2019 1:45 PM

I just gave away all my childhood lego, had some rare pieces like moon landing bases.

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, September 15, 2019 7:20 PM

Sometimes I may overestimate a model's value because I know what I paid for it and what its value is to me.

I spent $300 on an N Scale BNSF Kato locomotive with sound.  I have run it for probably 10 hours.

I know that if I die tonight and my wife sells my stuff, she will get pennies on the dollar.  Is it worth more?  It is to me, but I know that a used locomotive sold by a widow is not going to be worth much, unless it is special in some other way.

Saints Fan John

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