Huge Lot HO Scale Trains for Sale

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jani419, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. jani419

    jani419 New Member

    My father has been collecting trains, HO scale, for the last 50 years or so. There are over 200 engines, by his estimate and more than a thousand cars. (is that the correct term)? I know nothing about these. He has Parkinsons and has not been able to work on his set for over 10 years. He has asked me to look into getting everything appraised and liquidating it. There are buildings and billboards from as early as 1960 and as new as the 1990's. If anyone has any thoughts or is interested, please contact me. Thanks!
  2. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    You might try using e-Bay to sell them - but ask the advise of a model railroad hobby shop as to what price to put on them first (regardless of how you sell them) to get their true value!
  3. jani419

    jani419 New Member

    I've thought about e-bay but since the collection is so vast, I thought it might be better to go to a site like this for advice. I will contact hobby shops in the area. Thanks!
  4. RioGrande

    RioGrande Member

    That can be a challenge to assess the value of such items. The value of older items isn't probably as much as some may have been led to believe. Even brass isn't the "investment" it used to be. I purchased individually brass California Zephyr passenger cars in HO for prices ranging from $169 to $189 each. Now that Broadway Ltd has offered these cars in nice plastic RTR versions, the brass cars have devalued and are now worth in the neighborhood of $100-125 each, maybe.

    Anyway, if you have a large collection, it could be a challenge to get the most value out of it. One option would be to have someone do it for you who is knowledgable, or you could inventory it all into a list/spreadsheet and solicit some feedback. Most older plastic engines and train cars aren't worth all that much for the same reason my brass passenger cars aren't. There is alot of new accurate plastic freight cars that are now popular as there is a movement in the hobby toward fidelity to prototype. In other words, more model railroaders are becoming more knowledgable and educated and can recognize that many plastic freight cars have no match to any real freight car. This is the case because to make money in the old days, (and to some extent now) many plastic freight cars were modeled after one specific car and many version sold were generic only.

    Anyway start by making an inventory. There is Ebay where you can offer up a collection as a whole or in batches. There may be shops or individuals who advertise in Model Railroader magazine in the back for valuation services and or sales of estates etc.

    When you inventory, try to put down the Brand if you can determine it, the road name and the type of car etc to the best of your ability. The way many of us can identify cars is by the scale length (most being 40, 50, 60 scale feet etc), box car, hopper car and maybe something about it - is it an old style box car with roof walk? Double doors on one side? 3-bay hopper or 2-bay hopper? Grain hoppers are covered hoppers. The more specific the information, the easier it is to identify what this model is (brand too) and some might expess interest because they are looking for certin items.
  5. jani419

    jani419 New Member

    I had heard from a friend who collects on a much smaller scale, that the older cars might not be as valuable as I thought. Many vintage items appreciate in value but not when technology comes into the picture. I appreciate your reply and will start the process of taking inventory. Thank you.
  6. Rusty Spike

    Rusty Spike Member

    Be aware too that people specialize in purchasing collections like the one you describe for, of course, the lowest amount they can pay as they then turn around and sell it for a profit (not a bad thing in and of itself).

    The convenience is great and like most liquidations, you'll not get fair market value but your time must be worth something.

    Have two or three of these "collectors" view your inventory and have them each make a bid.

    If the money isn't that big of a deal, you could check with a local club that does community projects, etc. Donating the collection to a well-run, long-established club could bring rewards beyond the money.

    Good luck and feel free to check back for support along the way.
  7. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    Personaly, if you take good pictures and ask a hobby store for advice on what each & every thing is, you can list them all starting at $.99 and demand for the item will push the price to common values, when using eBay.
  8. RioGrande

    RioGrande Member

    Yeah, its too bad but true. You see alot of older train cars at train shows and they don't sell for much. Most of the older stuff is seen as "junque" to many modelers who are up on the hobby. I've sold off a great deal of my older models including Athearn, Model Die Casting (Roundhouse) and Details West etc freight cars as I have replaced them with more accurate, detailed and newer freight cars that match the real thing very closely.

    There is a market for the older stuff though so it should sell, and for better than garage sale prices. I'd think you might get 2-4 dollars each for much of the older freight cars sold individually or more if there is a special interest in some. Sold in batches it might be one to two dollars per car etc. Its all about who you are marketing too and if you can find buyers who want what you have.

    By general information, Tyco, Lifelike and Model Power are all cheapo train set quality stuff and isn't worth much at all. Athearn, Model Die Casting, Walthers, Details West, Bev Bell, Robins Rails and others like that were all good quality kits in their day and are worth more than the train set stuff. Loco's by Athearn which are "blue box" and had to have parts added sold for $15-25 each in the 70's and 80's and depending on condition, could still be worth $10-20 I'm guessing. More recent engines from the 90's like Proto 2000, Stewart, KATO and Atlas are better quality and if in very good conditions could fetch between $20- 50 each depending on brand and demand. Value I'm suggesting are only broad generalizations and you'd have to get some feed back from people who regularly traffic in train collections.

    I have sold a fair amount of my older stuff on Ebay so I have some general idea. Most of what I've sold has been Athearn engines, and some older freight car kits etc. Prices of the newer stuff, mostly ready to run has risen dramatically over the last 10 years so that helps the older stuff hold a little value as many people want to collect trains, they don't always care about super detail or accuracy and can't always afford the high prices.

    Yes, a good list of all the engines, freight cars, passenger cars, buildings etc with brand and description, road name (Santa Fe, New York Central etc) will be a good way to present basic information to any buyer. Some pictures too - digital if you can.

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