Recently on Ebay somebody had a ZW transformer at a highly inflated price that was listed as rare. I contacted the seller as to what makes it rare they responded that it was because of the build date. It sounds like nonsense and that they are trying to create a rare item. Anybody have any thoughts on this?
I think you spiked it. The seller is thinking, 'Chippendale chair at the antique store.' You recognize, 'Old but serviceable hammer at Ronstadt's in Tucson.'
If I was in the market for a Lionel power supply for a three-rail empire the build date would be the least of my concerns. What condition is the power cord in? Has anyone taken a continuity meter and checked the condition of the circuitry? Is touching the metal case likely to zap me? After I get, "Good, yes, no," I might glance at the manufacture date on the data plate - but not as a deal maker/breaker.
Some years ago I found a similar item (not a ZW, but a transformer) on a LHS consignment shelf, priced above a new item of similar capacity. One look at the frayed fabric of the line cord told me that I wouldn't touch it if it was handed to me as a gift.
Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - with real tinplate rolling stock)