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Will brass prices return to 1997 levels? Opinions? Locked

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Will brass prices return to 1997 levels? Opinions?
Posted by Howard Zane on Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:55 PM

I used 1997 as a key date as I and others feel that was the peak of brass activity in addition to buying and selling. I'm slightly concerned as I still have a boatload of brass steam models of which today's selling price is now equal to yesterday's wholesale or dealer pricing. My resident expert, Swami Choochanada who was great in predicting weather for train shows and other train related things with his yak skull on a stick and by spreading powdered water buffalo poop is nowhere to be found. The current on-line brass guide by Dan Glasure has done a fine job in keeping up with today's pricing. but it is sad to see models of extroadinary quality fall into the abyss as many know there is a tremendous difference between market price and value. Even though I agree with much of the guide, I feel that it takes more than a few decades to actually learn this stuff fully.

As a brass dealer from 1986 to 2005 I never once suggested to a customer to purchase a brass loco as an investment....buy only because you want to play with it or collect it. During the1990s and well into the 21st. most new brass and quality out of production brass models never saw service and lived in a case or on a shelf....thus rendering them in exellent condition. The decline began with a new generation entering the hobby with little history with steam models (brass models which are mostly collected or played with), and of course the many dinosaurs like me retiring and leaving the hobby. Then of course is the rather new entry of really fine "brass" hybrid models from MTH and BLI. Note: I dislike the term "hybrid" and would prefer "mostly brass" instead. but that is me.

New models being imported today are priced at figures that are quite scary, but it follows the law of suppy vs. demand. Will this lift prices of current out-of-production brass models sort of like a "rising tide lifts all boats"? I don't know and Choochanada I think has fled back to India...hopefullly to gather up more water buffalo droppings. What I do know that brass is not dead, just the market is smaller. I've witnessed several younger modelers building historical pikes and have turned to brass as they cannot find what they are modeling in plastic or cast.... but in brass.....yes. There are some millenials who understand the old world quality of earlier Japanese brass models and seek them out.

For all interested in brass today, now seems the time to acquire some great models at decent prices.   Opinons?

HZ

 

 

Howard Zane
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, May 31, 2020 1:22 PM

With brass locomotives, it's probably more than simple supply and demand.  The manufacturers have made great strides in making plastic locomotives that satisfy more and more modelers, both because they look good, with high-quality paint jobs and details, and also because they run well and now even sound good.

Brass has better competition than it did in the 90s.  I seriously doubt that brass will ever regain price relative to higher end plastic.

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

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, May 31, 2020 2:02 PM

MisterBeasley
....Brass has better competition than it did in the 90s. I seriously doubt that brass will ever regain price relative to higher end plastic.

I pretty-much agree with Mister B's assessment of things.

While I have several brass locomotive, I never bought them as an investment, but mainly because they were affordable at the time, and appealed to me. 

Some are modified to be nothing like the prototype they were meant to represent, so I would guess their value to be almost worthless for a collector, but perhaps of interest to some modellers, at a "reasonable" price -I don't know what that will be, but I will not likely be around to worry about it when that time comes.
Some that I bought needed mechanical work, so, in that respect, they're better than they once were, but I don't think that will make them more valuable, at least money-wise...they are more valuable to me because they work as I need them to.  For a collector, that feature might be of no importance at all, so no more valuable than it ever was., and perhaps never again that valuable.

Other brass locomotives that I've altered to match the appearance of real ones in their class may now be more valuable money-wise, to a particular type of collector, but I doubt that the value would ever approach that of the unmodified model when it was new - in one sense, a more accurate model of a particular real locomotive, but of lower value than original, mainly because of the changing times.

The same, of course, goes for plastic models, so-called "high end" ones (none of which I have) or for that matter, almost any on my layout.  All of them are "used", not still in the box, or in a glass case, but used for my enjoyment. 

For the most part, anything I've sold in the way of model trains has produced a profit over its original cost, not necessarily because it was "valuable" but because it was interesting enough to be more desireable than the model from which it had been made.  Basically, the "profit" was for the money I had spent to upgrade the model, and for the work I put into it.

While that always covered the cost of materials, and usually more, it's certainly not a way to get rich.

The value, for me, at least, is in the enjoyment I get from it, not only in ownership, but also in the effort I put into it.  That someone else likes it enough to buy it is a compliment.

Wayne

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Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, May 31, 2020 2:03 PM

I would buy brass in a heartbeat, however brass is a timeconsuming part of the hobby that I do not have the time for. We choose our battles and I like DCC and sound and I have seen many brass conversions that are beautiful and run well. My two Rapido Royal Hudsons are incredible in every aspect, so plastic is likely the future for me.

I got this for $35.00 and thought I could practice my painting and DCC/sound conversion on it. For $35.00 I won't cry if I mess up.

Brent

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Posted by elauterbach on Sunday, May 31, 2020 2:34 PM

I think it will depend on what is it a model of. For models there is no high quality diecast/plastic model of, then price may remain high. Top quality plastic HO models really started in the late 90's with Life-like 2-8-8-2. As for the hybrid models, as far as I know Broadway Limited is the only one currently doing these for HO. Their last few like the T&P 2-10-4 and Pennsy S2 turbine are really nice and surpass some brass models. However, some of their earlier hybrids are nice but lack detail. 
Eric 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, May 31, 2020 3:25 PM

We all have our own set of priorities for our hobby dollars. I have spent a lot on this hobby in 50 years, but $1,000 for a single locomotive 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, was not an apportionment that I could justify against my other modeling goals.

Nor would I spend the $2,500 some models are today.

As I said recently in another thread, when it comes to model trains I checked my OCD at the door years ago and instantly started having more fun.

I have two brass locos, older models I aquired at similar prices to the rest of my roaster. And which have been suitably kitbashed to be part of my freelanced railroad. So I guess it's good I did not buy them as an investment.......I doubt any collectors want them with Bachmann plastic tenders lettered ATLANTIC CENTRAL.

I am not a collector, I only buy what I want for the layout. That goes for locos and rolling stock no matter what it is constructed out of, or by whom, or when.

I do respect the craftsmanship of brass, just like I respect the craftsmanship of a 1973 Rolls Royce Corniche convertible, but I don't choose to afford one of those either.

There is a very short list of brass I would like to own, they don't come up often, I'm waiting for the right piece at the right price - but we are only taking about 3 locos that will fill a few small holes in my roster.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Sunday, May 31, 2020 3:46 PM

Today's brass is just too expensive, today's plastic RTR models are much cheaper and have all the detail I need.

And older brass is another project that I don't need - I have 15 locomotive kits (in 3 scales) waiting to be built with dcc. 

As for collecting, well I find it cheaper and easier to collect older kits, which I do on a casual basis.

 

Paul

 

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, May 31, 2020 3:56 PM

 It really depends on the model - less than top tier brass from the 70's and 80's has in many cases been eclipsed when it comes to detail by plastic models today. Top tier brass from the 80's still tops most any plastic model. 

 Then there are still the brass models that have never been made available in other forms. If you want one of those locos  you have to compete for the limited number of brass models available.

 Brass diesels are a completely different story. Frankly I have rarely seen any that are worth the asking price. I have one - purchased for about the price of a good plastic version, and for that price it needs drive line repairs (it already was remotored) and paint touch up. It's no more detailed than the plastic alternatives.

 Mostly I am with Sheldon. I don't own a single "display" loco. I only buy things I can use on my layout. They all run. Same thing with other hobbies - if I came across a vintage electronics kit, unbuilt, that was something I wanted to play around with, I have no qualms about opening it up and building it. Darn the value, full fun ahead. Display only items hold zero value for me. Only when they get used do they have value to me.

                                    --Randy

 


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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, May 31, 2020 5:32 PM

I REALLY appreciate the brass collectors of days gone by that bought all the locomotives I needed and carefully stored them for me until I could afford them.

I am a pre-owned brass buyer now, and I am enjoying the current market. I am able to buy beautiful, like new, brass steamers now for less than I could buy used Oriental Powerhouse hybrid models for ten years ago.

I like brass for the durability and ease of maintenance. I do not run DCC or sound, so it is perfect for me.

I doubt the market for the models imported in the 60s-90s is ever coming back.

-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 andrechapelon on Sunday, May 31, 2020 11:46 PM

In order for brass prices to be at 1997 levels, they'd have to be 60% above 1997 levels just to account for inflation.

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by rrebell on Monday, June 1, 2020 1:02 AM

Brass prices are going lower and lower. Sure there are a few that go for a premium. One example are some HOn3 models, once Blackstone came out with their models the price of similar brass tanked. The items in brass that have tanked the most are the diesels and I can see why, I can buy a brand new S4 with sound and DCC for around $70 for some models, super thin handrails and grabs, why buy brass when you have to add DCC and sound and then paint it in most cases. That being said I am still looking for a brass shop engine and T-boiler shay, but only for a rock bottom price because I have many more chestnuts on the fire.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Monday, June 1, 2020 2:28 AM

Just like anything else, the price of brass model engines depends on supply and demand. While the supply side seems to be quite large due to more and more collections hitting the market for "natural" reasons, the demand side seems to be quite moderate by number of interested people. Add to that the forthcoming economic effects of the current crisis and you can give an estimate in which direction prices will travel.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Monday, June 1, 2020 3:29 AM

I'm not sure brass will regain the high price of the 90's.

But brass is still a collector or a very specified market 

Modelers who use brass on their layout like them because they often represent specific prototype.

The other problems, is now brass models are everywhere and you can find them at affordable price, because many collection are for sale.

Brass is not a RTR model, they often need tuning, remotoring and are never DCC ready for the model before saying 2005.

This involve some skills to use them and run them; they also often need special job painting.

All these requirements are for a lot of young modelers too much and out of reach ( never say that when you are modeling) for many of them.

When you put, price, need of tuning, paint and maintenance against plastic RTR models, you know the winner in a world where the system try to put only RTR things in our hands and we trash it after use.

Somewhere, I feel brass out of time in 2020, but guys I like them and they are magnificient models with great running capacities.

But because of this kind of has been beside RTR model I'm not sure the price could raise again; new offer on the brass market are marginal and very expensive made in very small run which for me is also a sign of declin of brass models.

They are numerous model of brass with specified models, but I firmly believe they are condamned to dissappear in the future and will be rarely produced because of this has been aspect of such models and all the needs they require to run properly.

Collectors, will still exist but they are not enough to make the market surviving in the future.

But this is just my opinion.

Marc

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, June 1, 2020 4:43 AM

I bought my custom painted United Santa Fe 2-8-0 for $100.00 a great price seeing they have been going for $250.00-500.00. I now have my eyes on another custom painted United Santa Fe 2-8-0  for the same price with a different number.

So,I doubt if brass prices will rebound since the prices continues to plummet. 

 

Larry

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, June 1, 2020 10:50 AM

Collecting in general is way down. Everyone I know is de cluttering. Even those still collecting are narrowing down what they collect, getting rid of say any kits they will never build, getting rid of cars or engines that are outside their main intrest.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, June 1, 2020 11:00 AM

The supply and demand principle seem to work here as much as anything.  For example, demand for brass D&RGW standard gauge cabooeses seems to be high as that is the only way you can get a correct HO Rio Grande caboose, aside from maybe 3D printing one and adding all the details, painting and decalling etc. 

I've managed to expand my brass D&RGW caboose fleet from 6 a few years ago to 9 now by purchasing 3 brass cabooses off of Ebay within the past 1 1/2 years.  One I got lucky and bought an unpainted brass ICC EV caboose for $95, but in recent months, unpainted brass D&RGW cabooses seem to get bid up to well over $200 or even over $300.  Two painted cabooses I managed on Ebay using the Best Offer function to find out what the dealer wanted rather than having to lose to high bidders.  One cost $275 and the other $280, which these days were among the lowest prices I could hope to pay.   The other painted D&RGW Overland cabooses I watched on Ebay (quite a few) got bid up to prices in the $450 to $650 range per caboose.  About 15 to 20 years ago a new painted Overland Caboose would sell for about $220.  Now they seem to, due to demand, get bid up to double or triple that price.

I've never bought any brass engines as they have always been out of my budget.  I've seen quite a few come up on Ebay recently - painted D&RGW diesels, but honestly, when I look at the details, usually the plow is wrong.  The prices aren't bad all things considered at $4xx - $6xx each, but often plastic end up looking better.

I did score an older Hallmark brass troop car painted as D&RGW mow "bunk car" and it looks reasonable close to the one in my Color Guide book.  Paid $128 plus shipping and tax off of fleebay.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by CNCharlie on Monday, June 1, 2020 11:43 AM

I recently purchased my first brass engine, a Van Hobbies CNR K5a Hudson. As with most CN specific steam models, if you want one the only option is brass. It looked great with a beautiful paint job but ran poorly. Luckily there is a fellow in my city who has been working with brass for at least 40 years and he was able to get it running smooth as silk. It had a can motor so with a decoder installed it will creep at speed step 1. I'm on the lookout for another brass engine now. I want to take advantage of his skill while he is still doing this work. 

The only CN specific steam model I know of in plastic is a Northern done by True Line Trains. I have one and it is an incredibly well detailed model but this engine had major quality control issues. It took 3 tries before I landed one that ran well. 

The price of CN brass is often pushing a grand for some factory painted models. 

CN Charlie

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, June 1, 2020 12:12 PM

There always was a certain element to buying brass that went beyond "I just need a locomotive to pull my trains."  I won't say that brass was bought as an investment but much of it was bought because it was, in one meaning of the word or another, "art."   Collected for its beauty and fascination.   

Plus there was a feeling that buying that first brass locomotive was like pledging a fraternity or smoking and drinking -- your passage from boy to man.  

There are no statistics I know of to support this statement but I suspect - and I hope - that relatively few brass locomotives or pieces of rolling stock are thrown away, and by that I mean thrown in the garbage.  But I have thrown away commercial model trains, locomotives and cars, into the garbage and I know others who have.  Just not worth bothering to sell or give to someone else.  If I am correct in this assumption then you have somewhere, someplace on some shelf or in some drawer, about 70 years worth of brass production.  And each year the supply of old brass gets bigger.  This alone could account for a fall in prices.  Do you remember the wonderful old British film "The Man in the White Suit"?  Alec Guinness invents a frabric that never wears out or gets dirty.  So now all you need is one suit, not a closet full.  His invention threatens to destroy the entire fabric industry and make all the workers lose their jobs so he becomes the enemy not the hero as he expected.  Well maybe brass is that white suit.  It never goes away so eventually it depresses the value of all cloth.

Ironically the ongoing switch from DC to DCC might be playing a role as well.  Once DCC became factory installed in new locomotives, you started to see the prices fall on non-DCC equipped stuff at swap meets.  Not just Athearn, but Atlas, Stewart, and other good makes.  The number of guys with DCC is I bet now much higher than the number of guys who can or do install their own decoders. 

I said this might have an "ironic" effect on brass because for a long time the older generation of brass with noisy drives and high amperage motors was not favored and the newer brass with smooth quiet drives and can motors went for high prices.  So a guy with an old brass PRR K4 might be very much in the market for the very same engine, just better running.  But having to install DCC was a challenge for all brass that wasn't DCC ready (and very little of it was).  DCC is sort of an equalizer when it comes to brass perhaps, and the advantage of the new in the better drive and motor means less if it is a barrier to installing DCC.  Pure speculation by me, but the drop in cost and value of other locomotives is suggestive of what's happening with brass.

Dave Nelson

 

 

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Monday, June 1, 2020 3:24 PM

Howard,

 

I don’t think we are going back to 1990’s prices. I have picked up most (still looking for a couple of things) of what I want that is available in brass in recent years at a steep discount from the heyday prices. I choose brass because modern plastic isn’t available for the models I want.

 

I still think, as Jim pointed out, that the caboose market will remain strong in brass for the foreseeable future due to the limited options in that category.

 

The new brass being imported is pretty nice – Key’s Cab forward run of a few years ago is a good example. I almost switched to O scale because of that loco LOL!! I do know that run was expensive and in pretty small numbers.

 

I think that you are right in that the “brass’ generation is aging out. Most of the older brass models are all over the map in terms of how they run and usually require work to get them up to snuff. I think this aspect may be dampening enthusiasm for older brass among younger modelers.

 

Guy

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, June 1, 2020 3:32 PM

dknelson
There always was a certain element to buying brass that went beyond "I just need a locomotive to pull my trains."

Back in the 60's everybody that I knew that was buying brass  engines was to pull  trains not as a investment after all a 2-8-4 could be had for $45.00 about the going price of many steam locomotive kits that paled when compared to a brass steam engine.. Brass diesels from Hallmark,Alco Models and Trains Inc was welcome even though the KMT drive was noisey.

Larry

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Posted by andrechapelon on Monday, June 1, 2020 5:03 PM

Bought a Westside SP GS-8 fot $135 in 1973 (full price). According to BLS Inflation calculator, should be worth about $787. Would actually sell for less than half in mint condition.

Investment grade brass is an oxymoron.

Andre

It's really kind of hard to support your local hobby shop when the nearest hobby shop that's worth the name is a 150 mile roundtrip.
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Posted by FlyingScotaman on Monday, June 1, 2020 5:29 PM

No for a few reasons:

  1. Young folk have much less disposable income than those who collected the high end brass in the past.
  2. Young folk are generally more interested in modelling the modern era.
  3. I bought a 2nd hand unused late model (good running) Intermountain AC-12 for $270. To get close in brass you're at the PSC level.
  4. I had a PSC DMIR M-4. Beautiful model. Loved the look and ran like a bag of spanners, and I do know my way around fixing these things. One reason I got rid of it about 10 years ago was that we were at the height of steam in HO new models IMHO - which we wont see again as the generation with an interest in this is ahem thinning out - and I was waiting for a mass maker to bring a model out and therefore devalue what I had. Now MTH did do it and TBH whilst a decent effort it was a letdown so pricing has remained highish albeit when one accounts for inflation they are less valuable than when I sold. If Intermountain or BLI had done the job I believe the desire for the PSC would to an extent have evaporated. So it is a precarious business.
  5. Owning these things and keeping them chuffing along nicely requires a skill-set that once common is now the preserve of the oldies. Me included. And that there isn't the local fellow who can do the work for you reasonably and cheaply.
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Posted by GP025 on Monday, June 1, 2020 6:26 PM

 I have no idea what brass prices were back in 97, my life was pretty tumultuous back then. 

 Today I have 5 pieces of brass,  all bought to run, and the only way to model GN steam that I know of (just something about Belpair fireboxes and flying pumps). All need to be tinkered with to get to run smoothly, and several need painting, but since my current layout consists of a 6' piece of test track- what better way to stay active than to tinker?

  Of the 5, I only went overboard pricewise (for my budget) on 1, and it is an 88 model, and probably the biggest disappoint due to its running characteristics. The rest I am completely satisfied with considering what was spent. 

  There are several folks putting out exquisite models, but at exquisite prices too. Seems that's what happens when only 11 or 16 versions of something get made.

  I like older brass.... 

Kevin 

  

  

  

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Posted by dante on Monday, June 1, 2020 8:38 PM

Fascinating thread! I bought a handful of brass items because they were the only available models of the prototypes in which I am interested: Erie RR K-1 Pacific (see my avatar); Gas-electric Doodlebug; 2 cabooses unique to the Erie. These were all bought within the  last few years. According to Dan's website, the Pacific and Doodlebug have risen in price and the cabooses have fallen somewhat. Possibly because the two motive power items are quite unique and beautiful models. (They ran OK but I have added decoders and improved the pick-up on the Pacific.)  Whether or not they change value over the future is irrelevant to me because I enjoy running and looking at them. Another factor is as we old grayheads pass on, the number of Erie fans who might appreciate these unique models will probably decline also. But that doesn't spoil my fun!

Dante

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Posted by PRR8259 on Monday, June 1, 2020 10:51 PM

Hello Howard--

Always enjoyable to read your posts.

At this point, I just do not believe the rising tide of prices on the recent, very limited production, and sometimes quite outstanding brass models will result in the prices of all the vintage brass out there increasing.

There is a perception among the hard core brass hounds over on multiple Facebook brass forums that "only junk dealers sell on Ebay now", so maybe that's why my own models aren't selling.  However, even on consignment, I have mint models that are underperforming sales expectations.

Do we really have a marketing problem?  Should we not be promoting the vintage brass as being a good low cost entry point and an opportunity to learn with?

I was born in 1968 and have no real memories of everyday working freight steam, yet somehow am absolutely fascinated, and plastic just doesn't cut it for me (thank you for that, Howard, you have been a "mentor" and an inspiration).

Thanks to Howard, I've worked to seek out those few people (ok, one 80 year old now retired pro-painter and rebuilding expert, not named Howard himself) who can provide me with a few (upgraded) good running vintage models at reasonable or fair prices, and I no longer have to have the latest thing, but have been shown quite graphically via photos and videos of failed Korean components why Japanese can be better and more durable to operate on a layout.

John

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, June 1, 2020 11:02 PM

dknelson
Plus there was a feeling that buying that first brass locomotive was like pledging a fraternity or smoking and drinking -- your passage from boy to man.

I cannot say for certain which of my brass models I purchased first.

I know my first brass locomotive was a Tenshodo 0-8-0, but I traded to get that one, it was not a purchase.

-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 BRAKIE on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 6:09 AM

SeeYou190
I know my first brass locomotive was a Tenshodo 0-8-0, but I traded to get that one, it was not a purchase

Kevin, Which one of those beautiful Tenshodo 0-8-0s do you have?

Larry

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Posted by wrench567 on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 9:07 AM

 With BLI and MTH and others coming out with plastic steam of the prototype I model. Brass prices have dropped tremendously on models I need or want. I'm currently doing a sound decoder install on an H9s 2-8-0. The cost of the brass locomotive and Tsunami decoder was still over $100 less than a plastic similar version.

  With super magnets available there is no need to remotor old brass. My Westside K5 is weighted heavy and will pull 19 heavy weight passenger cars up grade drawing around 1amp. I really enjoyed dating it with details to a 1937 photos. All my other brass are factory painted. I run my brass. The chrome plated wheels are completely worn to bronze on my MB Awstin F3 2-6-0.

   I'm glad brass has become more affordable. I'm setting my sights on a Turbine 6-8-6. I don't need it but would like to have one.

    Pete

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Posted by Howard Zane on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 9:37 AM

PRR8259

Hello Howard--

Always enjoyable to read your posts

At this point, I just do not believe the rising tide of prices on the recent, very limited production, and sometimes quite outstanding brass models will result in the prices of all the vintage brass out there increasing.

There is a perception among the hard core brass hounds over on multiple Facebook brass forums that "only junk dealers sell on Ebay now", so maybe that's why my own models aren't selling.  However, even on consignment, I have mint models that are underperforming sales expectations.

Do we really have a marketing problem?  Should we not be promoting the vintage brass as being a good low cost entry point and an opportunity to learn with?

I was born in 1968 and have no real memories of everyday working freight steam, yet somehow am absolutely fascinated, and plastic just doesn't cut it for me (thank you for that, Howard, you have been a "mentor" and an inspiration).

Thanks to Howard, I've worked to seek out those few people (ok, one 80 year old now retired pro-painter and rebuilding expert, not named Howard himself) who can provide me with a few (upgraded) good running vintage models at reasonable or fair prices, and I no longer have to have the latest thing, but have been shown quite graphically via photos and videos of failed Korean components why Japanese can be better and more durable to operate on a layout.

John,

Always good to see your posts and thanks for fine words. When I, Ken Young, and Bob Hess began Brass Expo in Columbia, Md in '95, the show was an immediate sell out...both for vendors and attendees. One more body stuffed into the Columbia Inn would have brought the fire chief in full battle gear. It got better when we moved to New Bruswick, NJ with attendance equal to many fine train shows and kept growing through our other locations until 9-11 put an abrupt end to it. 13 years later I held what I called a resuurection show in conjuction with the spring Great Scale Model Train show, and due to the well known decline in brass sales,  was pleasantly surprised at the over 650 attendance (both days). At that show Dan Glasure offered to purchase the entire show with my wife hearing the offer. She knew that putting on this show by myself was an excersise in exhaustion, and talked me into to selling. I guess being almost 80 at the time was the clincher. The following year the new owner moved the show to Chicago at the request of many of the importers (some who never showed) and will go down in the annals of train show history as the finest and most oppulent train show ever...and then some. But the attendance was quite poor, although there were plenty of dealers and importers. The show was then purchased by Forrest Nace... a well known brass collector and videographer who moved  the show back east to Lancaster, PA. to a nice facility and attendance  improved somewhat, but what was missing? First was extensive and accurate advertising, but today who has the guts to lay out big bucks for an event that could easily flop? During my run, we did just that and with ads in periodicals and magazines about retirement in addition to the model railroad press. Upon canvassing attendees at our second show, we found many who came from ads in retirement mags and who had recently retired looking for a new hobby. Many I met became hooked at the wonderful quality of these models and I think returned the follwoing year as newbie collectors or wannabies. Since,I have found that ad fees in these publications has more than tripled in price, but the message is loud and clear.....EXTEND BRASS MODELS TO THE COLLECTOR MARKET. Still I'm put down every time I suggest this, but I witnessed what can happen if done so. To market a product to a rather parsimonius group of folks who are quite happy to run and play with trains no matter what they are made of is tantamount to lunacy. I've been to serious collector shows, and found that folks will collect anything as long as they know about it and literature is available  about it. Brass models are works of fine art and are perfect for any collector be it builders, roads, wheel arrangements, named passenger trains, cabeese and so on. Possibly some of these new collectors would eventually want to play with their new toys and become active model railroaders. I have met some who did this exact thing. Anything more is pure speculation, but a darn good possibility. One thing that worked against this collector bit was re-running models...and then lack of serial numbers and date in addition to an information packets with each model. Many of the plastic manufactures do this sans serial numbers, but a model that retails for 4 times as much?

My ten bucks worth....HZ

 

Howard Zane
  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 7,958 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 10:12 AM

BRAKIE
Kevin, Which one of those beautiful Tenshodo 0-8-0s do you have?

Larry: It is a USRA locomotive with a clear vision tender.

I traded two Kato undecorated N scale SD-40s for it.

It runs great, but it is a little noisy. The paint was on it when it came to me. Eventually I will fix the boiler front and paint it... eventually.

I have another USRA 0-8-0 from Alco Models that runs much better, but it is still bare brass so rarely was run.

This one ran for years on my last two layouts.

This is also one of only three brass locomotives i have with a front coupler.

Howard Zane
The following year the new owner moved the show to Chicago at the request of many of the importers (some who never showed) and will go down in the annals of train show history as the finest and most oppulent train show ever...and then some. But the attendance was quite poor, although there were plenty of dealers and importers.

I attended Dan's brass expo show in Chicago, since my wife has family in Indiana not too far away, it was an easy trip to make.

I never posted any experiences about it because I do not like to be a downer, but for me it was a terrible show. I was treated terribly by everyone there. I was much younger than all in attendance (and I am old), and my brass collection is not extensive or impressive.

I enjoyed seeing all the rare and beautiful models on display, but the overall enjoyment factor for money spent to be there was poor.

I could have used that trip to Chicago to attend Adepticon and had 1,000,000 times more fun.

-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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