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So you think brass is dead????

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So you think brass is dead????
Posted by Howard Zane on Saturday, April 14, 2018 5:28 PM

In the last seven days there were two brass train auctions....Stout and Toytrains and other things. I was able to attend on line for most of them, and what a pleasant shock!!! No I did no get any bargains as there were none...but more important were the prices being fetched. Brass activitiy (sales and interest) supposedly peaked in 1997. Some experts say they can trace the begiining of the decline to March of that year...but this week brass traversed time back to 1997 and then some. Probably over 60% sold at more that double what I would have priced them at. Early Alco diesels which I used as door stops or offered a full refund if the thing actually ran well sold well into the $150 + class. A ubiquitous PFM PRR standard K4 sold for $400. I never priced one over $200 and usually sold them for much less. The Stout auction at least had some great models, The Toytrains and other things auction line up was mostly junk or quite common 60-70's models which when I was an active dealer in used brass.....would have not handled. But not so today!!!!  I could go on and on about the ridiculous prices...and to boot, 90% were unpainted with fair boxes. Granted the $400 K4 was mint, but rarity????

Oh well!!! Maybe I'll again get back into big time brass sales!

HZ

Howard Zane
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 5:35 PM

I had a bad experience with the Stoudt auction.

.

I registered as an online bidder, and placed some pretty respectable pre-bids on several items.

.

Then, four days ago, for unexplained reasons, they cancelled all of my pre-bids and withdrew my authorization as an absentee online bidder.

.

Oh well, it sounds like I would not have won any of the auctions anyhow.

.

I know what you mean about brass prices creeping up. The "Standard" locomotive for the next STRATTON & GILLETTE is the Sunset Heavy USRA 2-8-2. I bought two of these for less than $200.00 each. Now they are going for the north side of $300.00 most of the time. I would like two more, but I don't need them.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by jrbernier on Saturday, April 14, 2018 6:58 PM

  From what I have observed, only later high-end brass like Overland seems to keep it's value.

  Older brass from the 70's seams to not to hold value....

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, April 14, 2018 7:41 PM

 Depends, I guess, on the loco and what you intend to do with it. For someoine who wants to run the loco, the PCM Reading T1 is a much better detailed model than the old NJ International/Daiyung brass models. Why anyone would pay more for the brass one eludes me. The Ovrland brass ones though - those are much more detailed than the PCM plastic ones. I suspect that most of the more recent (10-15 years) of highly detailed and road specific plastiuc steam locos are better detailed and better runners out fo the box than most any of the 50's and 60's brass. I'm also guessing only collectors who will just store them away and hold on to them hoping to sell for an even higher price are willing to pay crazy prices. I'll take a brass piece at a reasonable price - but it's going to get run on my layout, not kept mint in the box. Like my Alco Models RS3, which was about $100 and it came already remotored with a Sagami can motor and had a DCC decoder in it. ANd extra details added. No way would I pay $3-400 for one. I can get multiple Atlas or Athearn ones plus the detail parts for that kind of money.

 I wouldn;t say brass is dead, but the demand is much lower. Back in the heyday of brass, the available plastic locos were for the most part generic, decorated for a dozen or more roads and accurate for none. You wanted an accurate loco, you bought brass. Now we have plastic locos with road (and even road NUMBER) specific details. But by no means has every railroad been covered, so there still are plenty of cases where if you want a specific loco, brass is the only way to obtain it.

                                     --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 rrebell on Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:15 PM

Auctions are a unique being, I have been playing on e-bay for years and live can be even more interesting. If you have the right crowd the sky is the limit.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:21 PM

Howard, I'm in the same camp as Randy.

The price, or popularity of brass has no effect on my model train hobby.

First, I'm not a "collector", I only buy models that fit the theme of my layout, a theme hat has not changed in over 25 years. And I only buy models to run them, not as investments.

In 50 years in this hobby, I have never owned a model of a Big Boy, K4, (complete your own long list of famous locos), etc, etc.

I model the C&O, B&O, WESTERN MARYLAND and my freelanced ATLANTIC CENTRAL.

I only buy locos that fit those railroads and that fit the operational scheme of my layout.......and obviously the fictional construct of the ATLANTIC CENTRAL, who's motive power choices are similar to the B&O and C&O.

I only own two brass locos, nothing rare or fancy, just a couple of PFM USRA light Pacifics, that now sport Bachmann long haul oil tenders and are lettered ATLANTIC CENTRAL.

My point? It all depends on your interests, goals and disposable income.

I live pretty well, in a 4000 sq ft, fully restored, 1901 Queen Anne house with no mortgage....and I have a lot of trains, but I'm not in your league, and model train locomotives with four fiqure price tags are not on my radar, for a number of reasons. For that matter, model train locomotives with prices over the $400/$500 range are not on my radar, brass, plastic or otherwise.

Lucky for me I have most of the locomotives I need and want, only about 130 of them, with a dollar cost average for the whole fleet of about $120 each. 

DISCLAIMER - no DCC or sound here.......

So is brass dead? or not? Based on what I see going on in this hobby today, not very many people care one way or the other. I surely don't. There are a few pieces I might like to pick up at some point, a WM Pacific, a few B&O 10 wheelers, but beyond that, I could not even tell you what is out there.

Are brass locos "art"? maybe? But I don't have expensive art hanging on the walls of my house either.

One more point - I am a believer in freedom and capitalism, and what you, or others, do with your money is not my business. That said, there is an indivdual who I will not name, that you know, who has bought and sold brass and shared too much of his personal business with strangers, and clearly has been drawn into your "brass club" dispite not really having the "comfortable means" to do so. I find it sad that someone would think they have to spend that kind of money to enjoy this hobby, and that they have "become convinced" that only $1500 locos "will do".

And I have no doubt that the brass world is not one bit concerned with my view.....

Dispite my lack of interest in brass, may I say you have a most wonderful layout, which I hope to vist again some time, and I do consider you and Logan Holtgrewe two of the true structure/scenery masters of this hobby.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Howard Zane on Saturday, April 14, 2018 11:45 PM

Sheldon,

Thanks for kind words about layout. One does not need to be wealthy to purhase brass.....just knowledge of the market and desire to own and play with a really nice toy. Example: I retired 31 years ago age at age 49 by selling my business as it grew to be a monster that was bent on devouring me. But at 49.....what now? Fishing? Golf? Condo in Florida? Travel??? I don't think so. Fish stink! I hate golf! Florida...nah, I was just too young then and the average age there is deceased. Travel.... too many foriegners! But model trains as a business/hobby?!!!! I already was involved with the Timonium show and I loved building structures and brass models. During this time  I owned only about five brass models, but I was a fan and possed a decent knowledge on brass.

I began the Piermont Division by selling and trading my five models and purchsed a few more at a decent price and by using the show, was able to sell these for a profit and kept tradng upwards until I amassed a fairly substantial inventory. Within a few years I was able to purchase collections....not from my own funds which were still in the marginal retirement class, but from lines of bank credit. During this period (late 80's) by knowing what I bought and knowing the market,I was able just about everytime I used bank credit, to to pay the entire amount back prior to making first payment. I'm not sure this could be done today, but after watching aforementioned auctions, I may have to rethink this.

My theory on investiing proved to be real............three things are needed to be successful: Knowledge of what you are investing in, belief in same and control. The stock market offered none of this for me, but brass trains and model railroading in general...you bet!

Point...? Sure, all of these Broadway Limiited, MTH, Athearn, etc plastic and cast models are wonderful, but prices now are comparable to used brass counterparts. Only if you elect to purhchase the brass model and want to trade or sell it later, most likely you'll capture what you paid for it unless you wholesale it to a dealer. Still if purchased right and model is desireable, you still may come out OK. The plastic or die cast model....not so! Just check shows and on-line auctions.

Please don't put all brass folks into an elitist category as I'm certainly not nor are the many folks I know today in brass.

HZ

Howard Zane
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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:45 AM

Howard, didn't know you retired early too. I retired for the second time at 52 (first time was 29 but kids and wife killed that). I have a few brass peices, mostly shays, of which only the Katsumi 2-cylinder runs flawless and was my only major brass purchace (still can't find that in anything but brass. I still love that engine.

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Sunday, April 15, 2018 2:03 AM

Brass, schmass.

Is it a model I want?  Does it run well?  Does it have good detail?  Is it affordable?

Brass, plastic, zamac, or compressed aardvark turds, I couldn't care less.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, April 15, 2018 4:07 AM

Howard, I  highly doubt if today's modelers would be interested in a Alco Models,Hallmark or Trains Inc diesel locomotives with their noisy drives.

None of those noise makers are worth the jacked up prices you see on e-Bay.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:59 AM

What once was a mixed market, model railroaders and collectors, has become a collectors market. Except perhaps steam as you still need brass for correct locomotive of railroad at a given time.

While Overland was still active where did you get the latest diesel locomotives? Only from OMI, plastic was far behind at that time.

Today's brass is mostly in the past, or they offer the NS Heritage locomotives (UTI) that were already available in high quality plastic. And than you have the prices. The new DP Balwin Center Cabs will be around $1,500. All more addressed to collectors.

I have quite a number of brass steam and diesel locomotives but have never seen them as investment. Inflation-adjusted the best has just kept its value. With the advent of the highly detailed plastic diesels even OMI models from the late 1990s lost value.

Being more of a collector's market now explains the high prices at live auctions, which additionally have their own laws.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, April 15, 2018 7:26 AM

Howard said he wouldn't be returning to sell at Timonium.  Yesterday it did seem there were more than a just a couple dealers with some brass engines.  Hardly a scientific survey, maybe I was overwelmed by Howard's stock of brass and didn't notice the other dealers in previous shows.  There was even one engine that was advertised as painted and weathered by Howard.  It was an excellent job so I don't doubt that was true.

Like Sheldon, the capital budget per engine has limits, so despite watching all the episodes of Brasstrains.com, I have no ability to recognize a bargin priced brass loco vs an overpriced one.  If I were going to buy one, I would stick to a reputable dealer and know while I'm not getting a outrageous bargin, I'm not being the sucker either.

 

 

 

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:22 AM

I have five brass engines. I bought two Alcos made by Alco, an S-1 and an S-4, on a whim last fall. They were cheap in all senses of the word. The detail is crappy! The hood louvers are so faint I'm afraid they will disappear under a coat of paint. Whether or not they get upgraded only time will tell. I was given a United 0-6-0 by a very generous fellow modeller a little while ago. It sits front and center on my workbench waiting for some attention. The other two are two axle diesel switchers (critters) that I built from scratch. One is finished. The other languishes, awaiting the cab roof to be installed and to be painted.

I doubt that they qualify me as a brass collector but I like them all. Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:36 AM

I have 2 brass pieces - an Sn2 Forney and an Sn2 parlor coach.

I bought the Forney pre-production at 20% off.  It now sells for 20% less than that new.

The coach sells for about 30% less than what I paid.

Both are available new from a dealer who apparently bought up Train and Trooper's stock when they went out of business.

I'm still happy with them and glad I bought them when I did, otherwise I might never have gotten them - can't count on resales for small markets.  But I didn't buy these as an investment, they were the only ones available in Sn2 brass or otherwise. 

While I can't often afford brass, for a model I'd like to have that is otherwise unavailable I would be interested.

 

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, April 15, 2018 9:40 AM

Howard Zane

Sheldon,

Thanks for kind words about layout. One does not need to be wealthy to purhase brass.....just knowledge of the market and desire to own and play with a really nice toy. Example: I retired 31 years ago age at age 49 by selling my business as it grew to be a monster that was bent on devouring me. But at 49.....what now? Fishing? Golf? Condo in Florida? Travel??? I don't think so. Fish stink! I hate golf! Florida...nah, I was just too young then and the average age there is deceased. Travel.... too many foriegners! But model trains as a business/hobby?!!!! I already was involved with the Timonium show and I loved building structures and brass models. During this time  I owned only about five brass models, but I was a fan and possed a decent knowledge on brass.

I began the Piermont Division by selling and trading my five models and purchsed a few more at a decent price and by using the show, was able to sell these for a profit and kept tradng upwards until I amassed a fairly substantial inventory. Within a few years I was able to purchase collections....not from my own funds which were still in the marginal retirement class, but from lines of bank credit. During this period (late 80's) by knowing what I bought and knowing the market,I was able just about everytime I used bank credit, to to pay the entire amount back prior to making first payment. I'm not sure this could be done today, but after watching aforementioned auctions, I may have to rethink this.

My theory on investiing proved to be real............three things are needed to be successful: Knowledge of what you are investing in, belief in same and control. The stock market offered none of this for me, but brass trains and model railroading in general...you bet!

Point...? Sure, all of these Broadway Limiited, MTH, Athearn, etc plastic and cast models are wonderful, but prices now are comparable to used brass counterparts. Only if you elect to purhchase the brass model and want to trade or sell it later, most likely you'll capture what you paid for it unless you wholesale it to a dealer. Still if purchased right and model is desireable, you still may come out OK. The plastic or die cast model....not so! Just check shows and on-line auctions.

Please don't put all brass folks into an elitist category as I'm certainly not nor are the many folks I know today in brass.

HZ

 

Howard,

I understand what you are saying, and what you did. 

The difference for me is that I do not want my hobby to also become a business.

Since you may remember from other conversations that I do have a background in the train business, I decided when I left the hobby shop business, that I no longer wanted my hobby and job to be one and the same - or even partly intertwined.

I'm 60 now, still running a small custom residential design/build company specializing in historic restoration. Not sure that I will ever completely retire. But I don't want to be in the model train business.

I don't buy models for my personal use and then later sell them off. Quite literally, in 50 years in this hobby, I have only sold off about 8-10 items I later decided would not fit the layout scheme as first thought at their purchase.

I have never really changed scale, gauge, era, locale or roads modeled that would prompt some change in equipment on a wholesale level.

I still own most every model train I have ever purchased, AND, I am VERY PICKY about buying used items..........I'm not an impulse buyer, and I don't get bored with suff I choose.

Borrowing money to buy and then resell brass would be like running another business, I already run two. In addition to my design/build business, my wife and I have rental properties which I manage.

I'm happy you have done well over the years with the train show and the brass business, but even the most "minimal" speculation in used model trains does not interest me as a hobby or a business.

Actually, I hate "the hunt", searching for desired models on the secondary market. If I could just walk into the "perfect" model train store and buy what I need, when I need it, I would be very happy.

I just want to build my layout and run my trains.

And as it turns out, my modeling interests can be satisfied without buying much brass. I model 1954, here in the Mid Atlantic, my freelanced ATLANTIC CENTRAL  interchanges with the B&O, C&O, and WM.

While I like good detail and good quality, I'm not OCD about accuracy, I gave up on that 30 years ago when I realized it was making the hobby not fun.

So close enough is good enough, a mix of steam and diesel that meets the operational needs of the layout scheme and reflects the spirit of the roads modeled is just fine.

If I had to consider the "resale potential" of a model train purchase before making it, I would get out of this hobby. The only thing in this life I have ever bought with a consideration for its resale value is real estate.

For me, model train money is the same as "taking the wife to dinner" money.......

As noted above, the two brass locos I own have been modified and painted for my freelance road with no more regard for their future "value" than a kit bashed Bachmann Consolidation.

Which brings me to another point. For me, a big andvantage of mass produced commercial models is the fact that it is easy to own multiple copies.

The real railroads don't own one of this, and one of that. They have fleets. The B&O had 100 Q-3's and 100 Q-4's, the PRR had 425 K4's, etc.

The point is, to build a convincing roster requires duplicates in my mind. Engine terminals need three of this, and six of that, not nine different locos.

Sure it can be done in brass, making an already expensive exercise in "searching" even more demanding of time and resources.

Guess what? It was really easy and afordable for me to own:

9 - Spectrum USRA Heavy Mountains (three are C&O)

10 - Spectrum 2-8-0's

5 - Spectrum 2-6-6-2's

3 - Spectrum 2-10-2's

2 - BLI USRA Heavy 2-8-2's

2- Proto 2-8-8-2's, now ATLANTIC CENTRAL 2-8-8-0's

2 - BLI 2-6-6-4's, now with Bachmann large C&O tenders and lettered ATLANTIC CENTRAL - how much is a N&W Class A in brass?

5 - Bachmann 2-8-4's, which I converted to freelanced 2-8-2's a la the DT&I 800's

and so on.....and they all run good, pull well, and look their part.

As well as matched sets of first generation diesels, mostly from Proto2000, Genesis and Intermountain.

Sorry, but I would never own a brass diesel, they will never hold a candle detail wise to plastic, in my view.....

And, nearly every steam loco lettered ATLANTIC CENTRAL has been kit based or modified in some way to create a family look to my steam fleet. Not a good idea for brass locos you "plan" to resell at some point.

So you see, they just don't fit my needs or wants, and they cost too much in some cases, or in other cases don't run any better (without lots of work) then the plastic ones.

I'm just not a train collector, and I don't want to be a train dealer or speculator - those are different hobbies/businesses I'm not interested in.

Sheldon  

    

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Posted by Howard Zane on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:18 AM

Sheldon,

Reading your posts cements my beliefs that there is literallly somethng in this hobby for everyone's tastes. Many believe that my groundhog is not fully baked, due to my interests and pursuits in our hobby...and that is fine and it is the way it should be. Some folks prefer to copy existing themes, operatons, and locales. I'm the anthesis of this as to me the hobby is about limitless (and then some) imagination as everything is mythical on my pike, but not only do I repect other's pursuits, I condone them and mostly enjoy hearing about them.

I love the pursuit of certain items which of course mostly was and still is brass....so much so that I got tired of early waiting in line at shows knowing that the early bird gets the first worm.....so I started my own show. The real truth about the Timonium show is that it never began as a for profit business...but only as a venue for me and friends to get the jump on finding hard to find models and of course bargains. Of course like everythng else in life that I began and ran...the tail wound up wagging the pooch.

Many who have visited my layout marvel not so much at the scenery, but at the electronics. Here is a fact...I had literally nothing to do with it except sign checks or trade items for services. Again all of the under bench work was done by folks who enjoy the wiring and electronics side of the hobby. This was not for me, as I'm an above the bench kind of a guy.

'Nough said....just enjoy the hobby and whatever your tastes are in the same.

HZ

 

Howard Zane
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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:34 AM

You know, that is the trouble with life, any pursuit can become a real job, including hobbies. Now Howard knows that to be successful in any ventrure requires risk, time and sacrifice.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:47 AM

Howard Zane

Sheldon,

Reading your posts cements my beliefs that there is literallly somethng in this hobby for everyone's tastes. Many believe that my groundhog is not fully baked, due to my interests and pursuits in our hobby...and that is fine and it is the way it should be. Some folks prefer to copy existing themes, operatons, and locales. I'm the anthesis of this as to me the hobby is about limitless (and then some) imagination as everything is mythical on my pike, but not only do I repect other's pursuits, I condone them and mostly enjoy hearing about them.

I love the pursuit of certain items which of course mostly was and still is brass....so much so that I got tired of early waiting in line at shows knowing that the early bird gets the first worm.....so I started my own show. The real truth about the Timonium show is that it never began as a for profit business...but only as a venue for me and friends to get the jump on finding hard to find models and of course bargains. Of course like everythng else in life that I began and ran...the tail wound up wagging the pooch.

Many who have visited my layout marvel not so much at the scenery, but at the electronics. Here is a fact...I had literally nothing to do with it except sign checks or trade items for services. Again all of the under bench work was done by folks who enjoy the wiring and electronics side of the hobby. This was not for me, as I'm an above the bench kind of a guy.

'Nough said....just enjoy the hobby and whatever your tastes are in the same.

HZ

 

 

Agreed, it is a great and diverse hobby.

And again, I have great appreciation for your work. I worked under Logan on the Severnal Park layout 40 years ago.

As for electronics, I still run DC.....very complex Advanced Cab Control DC, with wireless throttles, signals and CTC, and more. Mostly designed and built by me........

And thanks to Logan I like to think my scenery is pretty good as well. Although the layout is currently in a rebuild and lacks any at the monent.

Take care,

Sheldon

    

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, April 15, 2018 5:06 PM

I bought my first brass locomotive mainly for two reasons:  I didn't mind the looks of it (not overly enamoured, though) and it was under a hundred bucks (by only a dollar).
I had just started painting for a nearby hobbyshop, so had some "found" money to spend.  The loco belonged to the shop's owner, an acquaintance of my father.
A model of a B&M B-15 Mogul, it had arched-top windows, which I almost immediately hid with sunshades bent from sheet brass.  I also replaced the single phase air pump with a cross-compound type, and added number boards and a different headlight.
The loco, with an open-frame motor, ran extremely poorly, so I replaced it with a small can motor.  While it fit in the boiler, it wouldn't clear the narrow firebox, so I built a bracket in the boiler on which to mount the motor, then connected it to the gearbox with NWSL u-joints.  It ran great, but was likely already devalued by the cosmetic modifications.

Here's how it looked after my tinkering...



Eventually, I decided to further change its appearance, along with that of an IHC Mogul which I had added to the roster, to better match my Bachmann Consolidations, the main "big power" on my freelanced railroad.  Here's what it looks like now...

Is it still worth $99.00?  I don't care!

A friend gave me a brass CNR 0-6-0, claiming that it didn't pull enough cars for his needs.  He refused to sell it to me, so I re-worked a couple of United brass models of B&O 0-8-0s for him, giving them all-wheel pick-up, and new paint and lettering, making it a "trade".

While the 0-6-0 was a decent model of a CNR prototype, it didn't match the one for which I wanted to number it, so I stripped off the paint and changed-out the single-lung air pump for a compound type, put new magnets in the motor and revised the piping a bit.  Here's how it looks now....

Oh, yeah, and I also added some weight to it, so it can now handle 19 or 20 cars on level track.  I did offer it back to my friend, but he was happy with the 0-8-0s.

I'd guess that it's still worth what I payed for it, but it now better serves my needs.

Some years ago, I bought a brass model of a CNR 10-Wheeler at a nearby hobbyshop.  It didn't have its original box, so I got it for, I think $225.00.
I stripped off the not-very-well-done paint, modified it slightly to match a prototype of which I had photos (the biggest change was the built-up extension on the coal bunker), then added some weight and painted and re-numbered it...

I recently bought another, similar loco, painted and lettered, at an estate sale.  It cost only $150.00, and was pretty-much stock, except, of course, for the paint.  I had a particular locomotive in mind (the same number for which the original owner - an acquaintance - had numbered it, but that locomotive was quite different in appearance from the model.  I've repaired some of the piping on the loco, although the entire front end details need to be re-done - like some brass models, they're not mounted symetrically on the smokebox front.
The tender is incorrect, too, and I've not yet decided whether to alter the existing one, or build a completely new one on the existing underbody.  I've also added considerably to the weight of the loco, and will do likewise to the tender.

A friend, who bought five locos at the same sale (at very good prices) also bought an unpainted brass model of a CNR Mogul, a gift for me, as I was going to paint and, where necessary, repair and re-detail his purchases.
Here's his CNR Mogul (not from that sale).  A few years ago, I re-motored, re-geared, and re-painted it for him, also re-drivering it, as the driver centres were suffering from severe zincpest...



The one bought for me looked the same, minus the paint, of course.  I've replaced the open-frame motor in mine with a can, and while one driver shows evidence of a small amount of zincpest, it isn't the major problem like it was on the one pictured. 
I've completely re-detailed the locomotive to match photos of the prototype for which it's now numbered....



...but the tender, while correct for some CNR Moguls, is so far different from that of the real 88's tender that I'll likely be building a new body to place on the existing underframe.
I recall this particular locomotive from seeing it, as a child, laying on its side in the middle of Ferguson Avenue, in downtown Hamilton, Ontario.
While I have photos of that incident, they're not mine, and I have no permission to use them.  Instead, here's my photo of an existing mural, painted from a photo of the incident, on the side of a building on the same street...

...a wheel on one of the tender trucks had picked a switch point.  The loco and tender were rebuilt and returned to service.

I'd guess, if I do a decent job on the latter two locomotives, that they'll be worth at least what they cost, but it doesn't really matter to me...I'm getting my enjoyment out of doing the necessary work and having the use of them.  That's their value to me, and that, as they say, is priceless.

Wayne

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 15, 2018 5:39 PM

I looked through the auctions end bids, and now i am angry-ish.

.

The $400.00 United/PFM K4 was not average for the auction. Most items went for far lower amounts. A PENNSY United/PFM 2-10-0 went for $190.00, very low. Most other United/PFM models were in the $200.00 to $250.00 range. An Overland watch tower went for only $100.00, far less than they normally sell for on eBay.

.

Here is the kicker... A Sunset USRA Heavy 4-8-2 sold for $170.00! My pre-bid for that locomotive, that was cancelled by the auction organizer, was $210.00! I should have won that locmotive, or the selling price should have been $220.00.

.

I wonder how many other early bidders had their bids cancelled and their bidding priveledges revoked. It does not make any sense.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, April 15, 2018 5:57 PM

SeeYou190
I wonder how many other early bidders had their bids cancelled and their bidding priveledges revoked. It does not make any sense. .

You should follow up and find out why.  I follow another hobby that can't be mentioned here, but was mentioned in the Bill of Rights and people bid online successfully all the time.  There is no mail order loop hole, by the way.  You either have a federal license or your sale goes through a dealer licensed by the US and your state.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by Trace Fork on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 2:58 AM

This thread wandered off topic in a hurry. I believe the resale brass market is strong, and actually becoming stronger as the U.S economy slowly improves.  Admittedly, bids in a true auction environment can be driven by adrenaline, but there were certain models offered at the auctions Howard mentioned that are seldom seen for sale, and the flurry of bidding activity reflected this. One example of this is the N.J. Custom Brass C&O Steam Turbine offered by one auction house. The OPENING BID was higher than the value listed in one of the major price guides, and numerous bidders, both online and on the auction floor, bid this item to $1700. This indicates to me several bidders had the disposable income available for a desired model, and were willing to spend it. There were several other examples of this occurrence as well, but point made. By the way, I don't consider eBay to be a true auction environment.

The new brass market is suffering though, and yet another importer has left the business this past week. I think the reason is simple economics, and as prices of new models continue to rise, fewer will be sold. The importers simply struggle to secure enough reservations to make production of new models feasible.

Jim J.

I REALLY FEEL MUCH BETTER, NOW THAT I'VE GIVEN UP ALL HOPE
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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 4:14 AM

SeeYou190
I wonder how many other early bidders had their bids cancelled and their bidding priveledges revoked. It does not make any sense.

I also made bids on two items, A GTW 3700 series USRA Mike and an NYC baggage car. Both times I tried to bid a window popped up and told me there were "internet problems" please be patient, or something to that effect. Both items sold for less than what I was planning to bid. I have a very fast internet connection BTW.

This was my first (and last) attempt at a "live auction" on the internet.

Overall I have had very good results buying brass, both at local train shows and on Ebay.


 Before I buy a brass model I ask myself — is there any chance of this model being made by any quality, mass-market manufacturer and — how badly do I want to see it on my layout (all my models get painted, lettered and DCC decoders installed and RUN)

For instance, one of my favorite locomotives is an Overland, Cleveland Union Terminal, P-1a electric. I see a very slim chance that BLI, Walthers or Genesis will ever make one.

I finally got an Overland Ferdinand Magellan, Truman-era, Presidential business car after waiting and watching for years, and I'm very pleased with the model and the price I paid.

Other models include an NYC S-3 electric, PRR N2sa, an NYC steam heat trailer, several unique PRR troop sleepers, a few distinctively Erie rebuilt heavyweight passenger cars and several PRR "betterment" sleeping cars, etc.

By my estimation, none of the above models will be on any manufacturer's "to-do" list any time soon so I reasoned that brass was the way to go.

Since I didn't get the GTW Mike or the NYC baggage car I did find a great deal on a PRR DD1 electric to help ease my suffering Smile.

Thank You, Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 5:38 AM

gmpullman
Both times I tried to bid a window popped up and told me there were "internet problems" please be patient

.

That happened to me in a previous "Live" internet auction on a lot of three brass cabooses.

.

That experience was why for this auction I just entered my maximum bid from the beginning. That did not work out either because my bids were cancelled.

.

I too am done with "Live" internet auctions.

.

-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:31 AM

Trace Fork
Admittedly, bids in a true auction environment can be driven by adrenaline, but there were certain models offered at the auctions

There have always been single models that hold their price, W&R models for example. But live auctions seldom show the market value.

And don't overlook, you woudn't get paid for the time and money you need to remotor a 1980s brass steam locomotive and make it run flawlessly. So even if you get your money back you make a loss.

And than there is inflation. Large dealers often have promoted brass models as investment. Sure, they hold their value better than plastic model but with inflation in mind I never believed.

An example: Tenshodo GN L-1 2-6-6-2. It held its price inflation adjusted with $1,500 in 2016. And than the price plummeted to $900. In the meantime I had to remotor the L-1 because the old original coreless motor got just running the engine light.

A good investment? for sure not but luckily model railroading as investment hadn't interested me.

The brass market is aimed at collectors. Who else buys a HO-scale Big Boy for $3,000+, or the NS Heritage fleet though excellent plastic models were available. Add the n-th run of RS-3s though there are nice plastic models and an even better one is announce.

Where they might get model railroader might be the most modern locomotives like e.g EMD SD70ACe-T4, EMD F125, Siemens SC44 Charger. But that is perhaps too much development cost.
Regards, Volker
Regards,Volker

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 10:09 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
And than there is inflation. Large dealers often have promoted brass models as investment. Sure, they hold their value better than plastic model but with inflation in mind I never believed.

Inflation! The proverbial fly-in-the-ointment.

Not long ago I picked up an LMB, New York Central H-10 as shown in this ad:

 LMB_1962 (2016_08_17 08_08_12 UTC) by Edmund, on Flickr

 

That's $435.36 in 2018 dollars. I got it for $150, then proceeded to update many of the details, motor, lighting then paint.

It sure is a beautiful model, and as I mentioned previously, probably will not be mass produced anytime soon. At least in my lifetime.

 IMG_8544_fix by Edmund, on Flickr

I hope my kids get a good price for it when they sell it Whistling

Cheers! Ed

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Posted by Howard Zane on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 10:20 AM

True, today brass is not a good investment, but it is still a lot better than the plastic or cast counterparts. Prior to 1997, certain brass models were decent investments....so much so that there was an "investor" category in the brass market. As a dealer (now only slightly active) I have never advised any customer to purchase as an investment....only buy because you want to play with the choo choo and appreciate the art and engineeering that goes into these models.

Brass models today are still the best kept secret in the collectible world. Anything becomes collectible if known about and publications are available. Check out collector shows and see the vast array of pubications available usually found at these shows. Anyone ever see a publication about brass locos other than the once Brass Collectors Quarterly by Jack Larussa (NJ Custom Brass) which only ran for six editions? Then there was the Brass Buyer's guide available only to customers of the late and percievalbly great John Winston aka "Bob Brass". Winston was an acquired taste, but he knew the field quite well and did much for the growth of brass models during his tenure (1976 to 2009). Today Dan Glasure is the major force behind the brass world, and through his excellent site, old world code of business ethics (otherwise....GREAT!!), and genuine knowledge and willingness to share has done much for brass.

When he purchased The Brass Expo from me in 2015, he put on a new Expo in 2016 which will go down in model train history as the finest and most opulent show ever.......but wrong location. The show has again been sold to a world class gentleman who is quite well ensconced in the brass world, has much experience in convention promotion and can and will again add much to brass models. More will become available soon....keep checking for information.

HZ

Howard Zane
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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 1:58 PM

You do know your world and the business end of it.

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