what year are these marx tin cars? (pic inside)

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by ozzy, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    what year? what do you you think they are worth? (want to see it i paid to much...lol) and what engine would go with them?

    i dont know much about marx, im mostly in lionel. any info will help.

    the #'s on them are 552, 553, 554,

    Attached Files:

  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

  3. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

  4. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

    I dunno what year those were made but the new AmeriTrains/Marx locos will pull them.
  5. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Being silver-frame, they're prewar. I'll dig up some more information and post back in a few minutes.

    As far as a locomotive to pull them, either a Commodore Vanderbilt or a Canadian Pacific type locomotive would be correct, but those may have difficulties with modern switches. A modern Ameritrains locomotive would look the part and would navigate modern switches without difficulty.
  6. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    OK, I couldn't pin down a firm date. I know that in 1938, Marx cars were made on red frames, and I know that by 1946 when production started again, they were black. Some black frames were also prewar, I think. So that would nail these cars down to the 1939-41 timeframe (process of elimination).

    You have to be careful with the silver frames because they're rather easy to fake, but those look legitimate. Fakes look too good--the plating on the genuine ones was extremely thin so it didn't hold up well at all, and usually ended up looking dull. As far as value, the 550-series cars are very common, but the silver frames will give them a premium. If I were trying to sell them, I'm very confident that if I asked $20 each for the 552 gondola and 556 caboose I could find a buyer pretty quickly. The gondola would sell first. The 554 is worth more for a few reasons. Roughly half of them were made as hoppers like yours and the others were made as high-side gondolas. Also some were red and some were blue. I believe the blue, silver-frame hopper is fairly uncommon based on the book that I have. I don't know what book value is on that (my price guide doesn't have it, and I don't have the more-reliable guide that was printed in 2001), but I don't think $60 would be out of line and it could be low.

    The 552 is one of my favorite cars. It's dirt common, especially on a black frame, so it's very inexpensive. I think a bunch of 552s and red 554s look fabulous under a Christmas tree. And that may have been what the Marx designers had in mind when they chose the colors.

    As a collector I really like the 550-series cars because there were tons of variations of them, but most of the variations are pretty inexpensive (some downright cheap). On a collecting budget of $10-$20 a week, you could collect most of the 550-series variations and stay occupied for a pretty long time.
  7. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    wow, so i did good? i paid $12.80 for them (got $4.26 in each car)

    what are some good books on marx trains, values and any books with info about them , as in whats rare, all the colors they came in, anything
  8. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The caboose is the same one I had on my first Marx train. I got it for Christmas in 1941.
  9. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    you know, as far as O gauge go, i have been mostly into lionel post war, but in the last few months i have only been looking at lionel prewar and tin marx on ebay....

    even thinking about selling off alot of my post war to buy prewar...........well ok i may not go that far......lol
  10. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    I changed focus from postwar to tin. It's less obvious, and plenty charming.

    As far as books, all of the Greenberg Marx books are out of print. I'll see what I can dig up as far as resources that are available now.

    And yes, any price under $10 per car is perfectly fine, even for common Marx cars (the 552 and 556 on black frames are the most common of the common). For $4 per car to be a ripoff, the cars would have to be rustbuckets with only a couple of salvagable parts.
  11. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    They made those for more than 20 years, clear into the fifties.

    YOu would need a detailed book on Marx to see all the variactions.
  12. ozzy

    ozzy Active Member

    well i dont care how many wher made, i like the looks of them......lol but i like to know the history of any trains i buy,,,

    people are all the time asking me when was this or that made, and i dont always know for sure.
  13. Dave Farquhar

    Dave Farquhar Member

    Those are possible to date because of the frame, but if they had a black frame, it'd be anyone's guess whether they were prewar or postwar, '40s or '50s. Marx was still using some tooling it developed in 1935 clear into the '70s until new federal regulations put an end to their tinplate production. The lithography changed, but the resemblance is clear, and the parts are interchangeable.

    As far as a guide, there's a CD-ROM that details Marx 6-inch. The author is Walt Hiteshew. That would be your best bet as far as in-print resources, as Hiteshew is a collector with considerable experience and a reputation to match, and more importantly, he knows his limits and who to ask when he doesn't know something. You can find it on eBay, or at his site at http://www.toyandtrainguides.com . I don't have it yet myself, but it's on my list of things to buy.

Share This Page