How much are they worth?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Justin, May 3, 2007.

  1. Justin

    Justin Member

    I have plans to buy vintage HO from the 70's and all have the original box. Here they are:
    Ahm SOU heavy Pacific
    MDC Empire Mythical Climax deco for WP&Y Lumber CO.
    MDC boxcab diesel, ATSF
    Ahm UP Bigboy
    Ahm Streamlined Gray NYC Hudson
    Ahm AC-12 4-8-8-2 SP
    Trains Miniature Bicennitail Alco FA
    Tyco Chattanooga RR 2-8-0
    TYCO 4-4-0 Famous "Dixie Bell" W&A RR
    Tyco GG-1 PRR w/ Red paint and Gold stripes
    Ahm GG-1 PRR green and Gold
    Ahm 0-4-0 B&O
    Ahm 0-4-0 ATSF
    Ahm center cab diesel ATSF
    Ahm Bowker York&Peach Bottom RR 2-4-0
    Ahm GE-35 B&O
    Ahm 0-4-0T Docksider B&O
    Ahm 0-6-0T ATSF
    Ahm Old Timer 0-4-0 B&O w/ smoke
    Ahm EMD FT ACL
    Ahm 2-4-0 Bowker
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Unless you are a collector, the original box doesn't mean much. There are collectors of this once low end stuff, and they will value these more highly.

    As an operator, these are generally not highly sought after locomotives. They generally take some tinkering to run well (quite possible remotoring/regearing), and some have out-of-scale or unrealistic shells (Tyco and AHM). The AHM will have large flanges that may struggle on code 83 track.

    Value depends on what your interests are. The MDC's are worth a little more to me, but others might value the Big Boy and the AC-12. 19th century modelers might be looking for the Bowkers and the Dixie Bell despite their oversize shells. Look at eBay and IHC to get an idea of actual prices.

    Buying collectible trains as an investment is a poor bet IMHO. In 3 rail O toy trains, peak prices were apparently in the '90s. The folks to whom the models you have listed have some nostalgic value are starting to turn gray and die off/exit the hobby. My guess is that this market is at its peak now, and it will start to decline like the 3 rail O as time goes on.

    If you like the trains, whether to collect and display, or to run, then buy them. Just don't expect it to be a money-making investment.

    just my thoughts
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I'm no expert on values, but most of these locos are of the era, and not necessarily even the better examples of what was being offered. In my opinion, while much of the AHM/ Rivarossi stuff looked pretty good (except for the over-size flanges, of course), they were not very good runners. Many had traction tires that easily became "lumpy", and the motors were pretty low quality. On top of that, they were grossly overpriced. The Train Miniature loco might be interesting, as I don't think that these were around too long, but I can't comment on the quality, never having seen one. In my opinion, the MDC locos might be the best of the lot, although most of their offerings required some "fine tuning" by the modeller. I'm guessing that most of this stuff is not worth too much, even in the original boxes, as it's all mass-produced, with lots of the originals still around, along with their more recent, and improved, releases.

  4. msowsun

    msowsun Member

    To answer your question, I would say that the entire collection could be worth well over $1000 if you were to sell each item separately on Ebay.

    Buying all of them in a large lot like that would probably cost less.
  5. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

    How much they are worth is really a matter of two things. If these are for you to use then it all depends on how much you want them. If you plan on selling these then thats a different story. Like msowsun said on Ebay sold individually these would be worth around $1000. However I personally would only pay about $250-$300 myself just because of the reasons already stated. Then again I am a cheap bum =) Good luck!
  6. moderndaynomad

    moderndaynomad New Member

    The AHMs and MDCs may bring some coin, but the Tycos- well, they are what they are; low-end stuff. Unless someone is really serious about Tycos, they're better off disposed of.
  7. Justin

    Justin Member

    I'm a mqjor collector of HO and found these locos for sale and saler states make offer. Thats why I need the values. Do you think Code 100 rail would be a problem?
  8. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    If you are truly a major collector, you should already have some idea of values, or at least know how to research them. I would start with eBay to see what items like these are selling for. There are a couple of sites that collect information about older production such as this - Googling a few of the items might get you there.

    All HO stuff that I know of will work on code 100 rail. It's only when you go to smaller rail that the larger flanges start giving problems.

    Finally, an item's true value to YOU is what YOU are willing to pay to have it, or YOU are willing to sell it for. What I am willing to pay may be very different from what you are willing to pay. I can't know how badly you want these items, so I can't tell you what a given item is worth to YOU. All I can do is what YOU can do - research what others have bought/sold the same item for.
  9. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Fortunately, for the most part "collector madness" hasn't infiltrated HO the way it has O and S scales... look at the price of "vintage" American Flyer or Lionel stuff... insane.

    Fortunately, HO stuff was produced in such quantities that the market was effectively flooded, and they weren't rare enough to be considered "collectible", except by a few small groups. Most people recognize that plastic trains from the '70s and '80s were exactly that. Cheap plastic trains. Were then, are now.

    These trains also don't have the cultural appeal of say, Star Wars toys. They're not something that most people played with in their childhood and are now willing to pay ludicrous amounts of money to reclaim. They were either scale model trains made for serious model railroaders (the AHM steam) or cheap model trains made for the train set crowd (Tyco).

    Of the trains on your list, only the big AHM steam should command prices anywhere near $100 each. They Tyco stuff is cheap toy-level quality, worth maybe $10-$25, depending on condition. The AHM diesels are also of dubious quality and value, and should be priced in the same range. The TM ALCos, while a curiousity, are not particularly collectible. They should be priced for what they are... poor running plastic HO locomotives, with dubious levels of detail.

    Don't be buying this stuff thinking its going to be an investment. It's not. What you pay now will be what you'll get for it in 30 years. If you want to invest in trains with any hope of a financial return, buy brass, or buy original '50s Lionel and American Flyer.
  10. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    Walthers bought Train Miniature in the 80's, I assume the Train Miniatures FA unit would be the same (with some improvements) offered today by Walthers.

    Most of the stuff you list is stuff I've seen sitting on flea market tables year after year, usually with a pretty low price tag, maybe $25-50...with no takers.

    Generally in order to be valuable as a highly desireable collectible, something has to be both well made and rare. None of the stuff in your list is really either. The MDC boxcab should run OK but new it only sold for about $25 list. With work, some of the AHM engines could be brought up to snuff with new motors and detailing (and possibly repainting & lettering...pre-dec engines and cars didn't get to be really good until the last 10-15 years).

    If you want to do buy them as "fix'er uppers" or as 70's nostalgia, that's fine. But as collectibles, you'd be better to go out to spend the money on Lionel, or on railroad books (since most RR related books are limited runs, their price is almost certain to rise over time.)
  11. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I think 3 bucks a car is what I would pay without seeing them. Might goto $5.

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