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Best way to sell my model railroad equipment en masse

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Best way to sell my model railroad equipment en masse
Posted by trnj on Monday, November 22, 2021 1:32 PM

At 77, I am finally "retiring" from model railroading.  I would like to sell my equipment en masse and not piece by piece, if possible (perhaps in "lot" groups).  Any ideas on the best way?  I have mostly older Athearn and many Accurail cars, as well as a few more expensive things as well as over 100 mini-metal vehicles and five nice DCC equipped engines (3 Bowser, one Atlas, one Bachmann 44 tonner--all with Loksound 5.0).  My MRC Prodigy express would be sold as well.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, November 22, 2021 1:41 PM

I would sugest looking for people/businesses that buy up model RR collections and estates.  There are a couple of these in the MRR classifieds.

Some hobby dealers also do this.

Good luck.

Mike.

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Posted by davefr on Monday, November 22, 2021 1:54 PM

These guys buy collections but anytime you sell "en masse" you will not get top dollar.  If you want top dollar you need to sell piece meal on Ebay.  Pick your poison.

www.trainz.com

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Monday, November 22, 2021 2:03 PM

Selling as one lot will sometimes work, but most times you get more if you part out the collection.

What you wanted for your layout will most likely not match what I, Jim, John, or Joe would want. Same as Joe wants different than me. Etc...

So if you are looking to recoup some of the money spent on the equipment, parting it out by piece is the better option. Some, like similar Accurail cars for instance, will go well either way. Locomotives, especially DCC/Sound ones, go better as one unit at a time.

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, November 22, 2021 2:09 PM

davefr

These guys buy collections but anytime you sell "en masse" you will not get top dollar.  If you want top dollar you need to sell piece meal on Ebay.  Pick your poison.

www.trainz.com 

www.trainz.com is a good example of those who buy entire collections. Check out the website and look for the link, "Sell Your Model Trains".

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by trnj on Monday, November 22, 2021 2:34 PM

Many thanks for all the info.

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Posted by csxns on Monday, November 22, 2021 4:31 PM

trnj
Many thanks for all the info.

I see you are from SC anywhere near York County?

Russell

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, November 22, 2021 7:36 PM

You can sell bulk on e-bay but to get top $ you ussually need to start low and sometimes you make out and sometimes you don't.

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Posted by trnj on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 3:52 AM

Hey Russell, Greer is in Greenville County, and close to Spartanburg County, probably 1.5 hours from York County.

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Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 5:52 AM

Hattons has been advertising hard in MR lately, and they buy collections too.  Would be worth including them on the list of those you contact.  See who will give you the best price.

Here is their "sell to them" website: https://www.hattonsmodelmoney.com/

Moderators, I don't think I'm violating the rules by providing that link, but if I am please remove it.

Mike

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Posted by csxns on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 9:06 AM

trnj
1.5 hours from York County.

I am on the county line with York just thinking about the RR club about 1 hour more.

Russell

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Posted by trnj on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 10:41 AM

Russell I Don't quite understand what you mean.  

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 2:18 PM

It depends on if you're looking for Top Dollar or just looking to unburden the family while getting a little money on the side. My club (out in Northern California) will often buy entire collections, but we do not give max value. We're a 501c3 and when we pay for a collection, it's with the understanding that our goal is to resell it to make a profit and use that profit to pay rent/continue building our layouts, etc. We will calculate the value based on Ebay value. then work back what we could expect to get through our events and what we would consider a reasonable profit for the effort. That gives us a number to offer for the lot. 

There are other clubs that do this as well. WE also take straight donations. In the case of a straight donation, we sell it and we split the profits between our own needs and give the other half to the local Shriner's Children's hospital. 

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Posted by mobilman44 on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 4:59 PM

To the OP...   "Been there, done that - also at age 77".

A year ago I began selling off decades of HO equipment, from Digitrax DCC to BLI locos to CMW vehicles to Athearn built blue box cars on Ebay.  Except for the "big dollar" items, I sold them in groups - say 4-5 similar rail cars, 5-7 similar CMW vehicles, # 4, 6, & 8 turnouts, etc., etc.   All told, I had 108 railroad related auctions.  Only one didn't sell (WS tree making kits/foliage).  

Almost all were sold as auctions, starting with what I considered the minimum I would accept for the items.  I was very pleased with the results, and it was well worth the time (which I had) and the effort (experienced Ebay seller).

All of the items were sold via USPS priority mail, with the USPS providing the boxes "gratis".  That said, I did have expenses for packing tape, bubble wrap, and peanuts.  

Of course selling en mass on Ebay is work (to do it right).  You have to organize your sales groupings, take pictures, determine the proper box size, and prepare the listing.  When it sells, you have to wrap the items, prepare the box, and take it to the PO (or have them pick up).

Is it worth it?  To me it certainly was.  To others, perhaps not.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely YES!

Good Luck! 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 6:13 PM

When I backdated my layout to the late '30s, I had a couple hundred freight cars, a couple dozen-or-so passenger cars and a few more than that in diesels.
Quite a few were bought by friends and fellow Members on my other forum.

The rest, which included quite a few diesels and most of the two hundred freight cars, I took to a nearby hobby shop.  Pretty-well of of them had detail upgrades, along with custom paint and lettering.  I gave the store owner my price list for each item, and suggested that he could tack-on whatever suited him for selling them.
Because I had originally bought a lot of the items either used or at bargain prices (for example, I was able to buy new Athearn freight car kits, undecorated, for $1.50 each), I made roughly three times what I had payed originally for anything, even much of it which was bought at current retail prices, which enabled me to buy more used freight cars, better-suited to the earlier era, of course.  The situation was likewise for locomotives.

The entire lot was gone within one week, and a lot of buyers had asked if more stuff would be coming, as they were impressed with what had been offered.
Unfortunately, the store (and its owner) are both gone.

I guess that there'll be a similar "sale", eventually, but not until I'm through with it.  I have another nine locomotives to re-work (one will be very close to a scratchbuild), about a dozen baggage cars to build, and perhaps a couple dozen freight cars, all scratchbuilds or kitbashes.

Finishing the layout is on the list, too.

If I happen to get finished before those things are finished, a friend will dispose of whatever is saleable.

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 7:26 PM

doctorwayne

If I happen to get finished before those things are finished, a friend will dispose of whatever is saleable.

Wayne 

Hey, doc, don't forget to bequeath Bertram's to me.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 8:09 PM

Don't worry, Rich, my friend is well aware of where it's going.

Wayne

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Posted by wrench567 on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 8:16 PM

  It would be worthwhile to talk with a local club. Many clubs would help with listings or even buy for club use. My former club had a bulletin board labeled For sale or trade. There was another one for want to buy.

    Pete.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 9:31 PM

mobilman44
To the OP... "Been there, done that - also at age 77"

Mobilman44 has a thread on the dismantlement and sale of his railroad.  It's a lot more work then selling in en mass, but will get you the highest dollar.

I salute Mobilman and the OP for having the courage to get out of the hobby and get rid of their stuff.  We have had several threads about "when I die" and most say chuck it in the dumpster.

I am 70 and still want my model railroad.  I have moved and have more area to build, but at the same time, it seems like pouring money down the drain.

The other thing that happens, as you age, is you have less will power to do anything.  Anyone who has had to deal with a parents home, knows what I mean.  Your parents have saved a dumpster or two of pure garbage.

There is a guy near me, in central Va, who buys collections and has a small shop in one of those antique stores that have 40 booths for different sellers.  He sell peco turnouts for $5 so that is the kind of hit you will take if you sell it all at once.

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 5:40 AM

BigDaddy

I salute Mobilman and the OP for having the courage to get out of the hobby and get rid of their stuff.  We have had several threads about "when I die" and most say chuck it in the dumpster.

Big Daddy's brutally frank post is right on the spot. If you are older than younger, you have two choices. Take it down now or at least downsize it significantly is one choice. The other choice is to ignore the reality of growing older, leaving your layout up until you die and forcing others to deal with it.

BigDaddy

I am 70 and still want my model railroad.  I have moved and have more area to build, but at the same time, it seems like pouring money down the drain.

Truer words were never spoken. "Pouring money down the drain". I have been sitting around for weeks, tormenting myself over whether to purchase a half dozen passenger cars to go with an A-A consist that I know should be sold. Now, after reading through this thread, I know that the sensible thing is to sell the A-A consist instead of wasting money on another six passenger cars.

BigDaddy

The other thing that happens, as you age, is you have less will power to do anything.  Anyone who has had to deal with a parents home, knows what I mean.  Your parents have saved a dumpster or two of pure garbage.

Yep, I know what you mean. When my parents died years ago, they made it easy on me and my sisters. They had emptied their basement of junk and left a few boxes in the crawl space. We sold their furniture and other household goods in a one day garage sale.

Me? Good lord, I have basement full of shelves along the wall with boxes of junk that we moved here 25 years ago when we built our new home. We haven't opened those most of those boxes at any time within the last 25 years.

BigDaddy

There is a guy near me, in central Va, who buys collections and has a small shop in one of those antique stores that have 40 booths for different sellers.  He sell peco turnouts for $5 so that is the kind of hit you will take if you sell it all at once. 

We all have two choices when the time comes to take down the layout: Sell what can be sold on eBay, piecemeal or sell the entire "collection" in one transaction to a single purchaser.

I do have a fair amount of experience selling stuff on eBay, not only model railroading items but other stuff as well. It is a lot of work. I would estimate that it takes anywhere from one to two hours to list a single item.

You need to photograph the item, write a convincing description of the item, weigh the item and find an appropriately sized box, post the listing, package and drop off the sold item with USPS, UPS, or FedEx. Is it worth it? I think so because that is the only real way to get top dollar. But, again, it is a lot of work.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 6:15 AM

Sidebar (sort of)Wink

Hello Trnj,

I hope that the info that the forum members posted is very helpful to you but, please forgive me for my following thoughts:

I was taken aback when I read you opening post.  I (hopefully) will someday see age 77 and am wondering now if I would want to "retire" from this hobby.

Not criticizing or judging, but you've got me thinking. I've had toy/model trains since my "rugrat" days when TV shows like I Dream of Jeannie and F-Troop were in their prime. I've tried, but I can't imagine not having some model trains when I reach my 70's, even if it's just an 8-food long-5" wide shelf, a locomotive, and a few cars to display or even run back and forth.  

I do understand that maintaining a layout (DC or DCC) can be a time-consuming task.

Do you plan on keeping a few locos and rolling stock pieces?

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by NorthBrit on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 6:21 AM

An interesting thread indeed.  I like Big Daddy's comments  and agree with them.

Sorry, but I cannot give any advice.

Personally I couldn't sell my stuff.   My grandchildren would stop me.  Smile

I shall keep on running trains to the end and let my grandchildren 'sort out what they want'.   They have their favorites.  Big Smile

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 8:00 AM

Rich and Big Daddy......exactly what I'm going through.

Good luck to the OP.

Mike.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 8:10 AM

After posting earlier this morning, I put together a list of locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars that I am now planning to sell. I do have a large layout, but I have decided to keep the layout in place for the time being while I scale down my roster of locomotives and rolling stock. At that point, I may dismantle a portion of the layout which should be relatively easy to do since I built the layout in a sort of modular fashion. The real effort, though, is selling locos and cars. Dismantling the layout is relatively easy.

Rich

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 9:12 AM

Well, I'm 64 and starting on a BIG layout. I plan to get carried out of this house, the trains are left to my son in my will.

I am always working on getting rid of unneeded things. In my business, construction, it is a trap to save usable supplies "for the next job". 

The wife and I scaled back a lot when we sold the 4000 sq ft Victorian in favor of the 2400 sq ft rancher. And still scaling back our "stuff".

But I don't buy into this "don't be a burden to the spouse or kids" thing. It is just part of life, people die and they leave stuff. Might be the only inheritance the kids get, who knows we might spend it all.......

When we moved I got rid of a lot of stuff the wife thought I would want to keep, fooled her.

But I still have the trains, the records, the books, the garden tractor (not about to pay someone to cut grass), the guns, and tools (I am still working and using them).

But one last thought on the trains, I only have what is needed to operate the planned layout theme. Beyond that I am not a collector.......don't model UP, never owned a Bigboy.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by trnj on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 10:08 AM

Mobilman44, thanks for the helpful post.  Your idea seems the best option for me.  I did think about leaving my stuff to the grandkids but none show any interest in the hobby, especially since my layout is set in the 60's.  The last time my wife and I were in Folkston at the little cabin by the tracks, I realized how foreign my 40' boxes and Baldwin and Alco switchers are from the container and autoracks of today!  

Thanks to all for the helpful comments.  BTW, I am in good health still but my ability to work with small stuff is diminishing and I don't want to wait til I cannot dismantle my layout.  Love the hobby but it is time to wave goodbye to it!  A secondary consideration is the increasing cost of the hobby.  I have joined the famed "fixed income" group!  Ha!

John in SC

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 10:51 AM

Someone mentioned Trainz who seem like nice people. I also had a friend recommend these folks www.modeltrainmarket.com. I don't know anything about them, but I told my wife to try someone like them if anything would happen to me. They get good reviews too (although, who would post negative ones?) 

After dealing with some serious health issues the last few years, it does make you start to look at "stuff" you have and wonder if or when you'll ever use some of the items. I'm not cleaning house, but I've given some items to friends who I thought would appreciate them more than just selling them on eBay. I just can't imagine cataloging and selling hundreds of items on eBay, especially if it's a spouse who doesn't know a thing about model trains.

Jim

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 11:16 AM

trnj

Mobilman44, thanks for the helpful post.  Your idea seems the best option for me.  I did think about leaving my stuff to the grandkids but none show any interest in the hobby, especially since my layout is set in the 60's.  The last time my wife and I were in Folkston at the little cabin by the tracks, I realized how foreign my 40' boxes and Baldwin and Alco switchers are from the container and autoracks of today!  

Thanks to all for the helpful comments.  BTW, I am in good health still but my ability to work with small stuff is diminishing and I don't want to wait til I cannot dismantle my layout.  Love the hobby but it is time to wave goodbye to it!  A secondary consideration is the increasing cost of the hobby.  I have joined the famed "fixed income" group!  Ha!

John in SC

 

Fixed income, been on that for years but with me it keeps going up (investments) and the price of expencive trains keeps going down, really. Old, what is that, once you start giving up it is a slippery slope. Sure some people have medical issues but those can come at any age. So what if you waste money on trains, it is your money. Sure I have downsized but a lot of that is getting rid of stuff I really did not want like stuff that was not even close to my era and stuff that did not meet the quality of the other stuff on my layout. For shaking hands you can rig up things to steady your hands and for eyes there are glasses (got lots of those up to 6x plus a magnifying light). If your family dose not want to deal with your stuff they can call up companys and they will make it disapear. I find as I get older people give up too easily on everything, having personally seen that happen to my mother, every time I get feeling that way I move in the oposite direction, feel lazy, I go on a hike etc.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 25, 2021 6:08 AM

trnj

Mobilman44, thanks for the helpful post.  Your idea seems the best option for me.  I did think about leaving my stuff to the grandkids but none show any interest in the hobby, especially since my layout is set in the 60's.  The last time my wife and I were in Folkston at the little cabin by the tracks, I realized how foreign my 40' boxes and Baldwin and Alco switchers are from the container and autoracks of today!  

Thanks to all for the helpful comments.  BTW, I am in good health still but my ability to work with small stuff is diminishing and I don't want to wait til I cannot dismantle my layout.  Love the hobby but it is time to wave goodbye to it!  A secondary consideration is the increasing cost of the hobby.  I have joined the famed "fixed income" group!  Ha!

John in SC

 

John,

First off I would like to say that you are likely making the best choice for you, my post above was not a direct criticisum of you.

And l am more than a decade younger than you.

And while I have spent a lifetime in this hobby, and done a lot, I still feel I have additional goals to fulfil in this hobby.

I willingly gave up this in favor of smaller and easier to care for, mainly so I could spend more time (and money) on other hobbies:

You can see all the Victorian splendor of my restoratation here:

https://app.photobucket.com/u/carrollhome/a/bfdbd701-abf4-4d5f-bb20-786bbc5599c9

And I actually now have more model railroad space than I did at that house.

It is my goal to build one last big layout, and enjoy it for as long as possible. But honestly if I achieve that, I still don't see myself taking it down in "in advance" of my departure from this earth.

The kids can just "deal with it", just like I delt with them for the last 45 years............

And if I go before my wife, it can be delt with or just sit there, it won't be in her way.

So as we speak, I'm getting started on this:

 

While this may look very overwhelming to some, it is actually pretty simple and minimalist for the 1500 sq ft it will ocupy - its about vast scenery, long trains, operations, AND good display running - I am a railfan type modeler at times.....

And I will have my killer stereo, and my 1700 vinyl records in the train room with me.......

Take care, best wishes,

Sheldon

 

 

    

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, November 25, 2021 9:31 AM

It is surprising how fast you can build a model railroad to a runable condition, but to accually finish it visually is a whole other mater. The newer methods are a whole lot faster too with foam and caulk.

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