American Flyer Train Price?

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Neil, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. Neil

    Neil New Member

    My dad has a train set and he is selling it all and its my task to categorize and price every part of it. Most of it is Lionel and I have a price guide for Lionel but a few are from my grandfathers and are what seems to be O guage American Flyers, im guessing from the 1930s or 1940s based on his age.

    I can't seem to find it online anywhere but if anyone can help with a price would be appreciated. Here is the info:

    -American Flyer Train (exterior has #3113)
    -Appears Tin Made and appears to be an electric street car as his is powered but doesn't look like a locomotive.
    - Tag on bottom just says "Made by American Flyer Mfg Co. Chicago, Ill Patented"
    - One part has imprinted PAT'D 1-10, 1922
    -Condition: Very dusty, Paint appears good, no rust, not sure if it works as we never had a working O guage in our house.

  2. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Given the age I'd be shocked if it still runs, as the lubricants tend to become glue-like over the years if the locomotive isn't run. Fortunately AF motors of that vintage are extremely easy to disassemble, clean, and lube (if I can do it, so can everyone). I'd leave that to the buyer to take care of though. Running condition doesn't seem to affect the value all that much, and most collectors prefer to do their own refurbishing, or take them to someone they trust to do it.

    I don't have a prewar AF price guide, but I've seen similar locos sell for around $75 or so. If the condition is especially good, the price can be higher, of course. But in general AF prices are a bit lower than Lionel or Ives from the same time period.

    The other thing to look for with those old Flyer locos (I found this out the hard way) is the wheels. Impurities in the cast metal makes them tend to want to disintegrate in some cases. If the wheels turn as freely as those in one of your dad's Lionels, you probably don't have that problem. If they bind, whoever buys the locomotive will have to buy a new wheelset (about $30) if s/he intends to run it and will probably not want to pay as much.

    I hope that helps. You might try to locate a Greenberg price guide for prewar AF at a library. Keep in mind that prices are a bit soft lately, especially in the summertime.
  3. Neil

    Neil New Member

    Thanks for the help.

    Yeah the wheels were pretty tight but they do turn. I wasn't sure if this was the mechanics of the insides, like some other toys need power to make the wheels turn.

    It would definetely need a cleaning and like you said perhaps a restoration on the bottom, at the minimum an oiling.

  4. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    If they're really tight, it probably has the same problem my ancient Flyer engine has: the disintegrating wheel. Someone else told me recently that the springs that hold the motor brushes in place is awfully stiff in most old Flyer engines.

    They get a *lot* of crud built up inside so it definitely needs a cleaning. The variety of things I find inside old locomotives frightens me.

    If your intent is just to sell, I wouldn't do any repair; just note the issues to the buyer. Then you're more likely to end up with a satisfied buyer if he already knows exactly what he's getting.
  5. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    I'd definitely get a price guide and maybe send a note to Joe Haenn. He repairs a wide range of train equipment and may be able to steer you in the right direction on how to establish a realistic price in the current market. Reach Joe at:

  6. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Just saw this on another forum: The AF 3100 series all had diecast wheels, and suffered from a common problem at the time with impurities in the alloys causing the castings to swell. My 3100-series loco has the same problem.

    To a collector, the piece will be worth more as-is, without the wheels replaced, especially since original-looking repros aren't available. To an operator, it's worth more with newer, non-historically accurate wheels since then it'll run.

    Just something to keep in mind.
  7. acflyer322

    acflyer322 New Member

    Hello Neil

    Are you intending to sell these trains on Ebay or other ways ? The best way to find out what it is worth is see what one like it sold for by using completed sales on Ebay. The Greenberg price guide use to be a good barometer but now days Ebay has shot those prices down their not accurate anymore. As far as repairing them this shouldn't be a hard task they are pretty easy to work on and parts are easy to find for them. Prewar Flyers may be a little harder to find parts but they are aval. Good luck

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