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Discussion Starter #1
I found my American Flyer train set from when I was a kid in the 60's. Plus a big box-o-track and switches. Looks to be in excellent condition but no idea if it works.

My question is what is it worth? I'm going to put it on eBay or CraigsList and don't have any idea how to price it.

Any suggestions?

Bill
 

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Bill,

Post descriptions of the loco, cars here, along with photos. A few S guys here can likely steer you in some more informed directions.

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks TJ

New to this forum so figuring out how to post photos etc. Will do tomorrow.

Basically a steam loco, a diesel engine, 2 caboose, tender, 2-3 box cars, a Gulf tanker and a flatbed. Lots of track and 4-6 switches. The engines and cars look nearly perfect cosmetically - no idea if they work. Transformer is one my Dad built with a heavy duty variac to control speed more accuratrely.

I have the original AM Flyer box but it is in pretty sad shape.

Funny what you remember...The top of the box has a hole cut out of it. I remember making a pinhole viewer to watch a solar eclipse when I was a kid, the the box lid seemed like the perfect shade.

Bill
 

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open the reply box click the paper clip a box will open
click browse
then find your picture on your computer then click open in that box
then in the attachment box click upload wait till it uploads
then click insert

and it will be in the post.
 

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Bill,

Just to clarify, most locos and cars should have a unique identification number, often printed rather conspicuosly on the side. Those numbers will help identify each item, with perhaps some extra info from you to narrow down a particular version, for those cars and such that were produced over a period of several years, sometimes with subtle variations.

Original boxes can add to a set's value significantly, if they are in good condition.

Cheers,

TJ
 

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Bill,
First, welcome to the forum! Second, let's talk about the train. As TJ pointed out, thre should be a number on the side of each car and on the sides of the steamer and diesel. The tender is considered to be part of the steamer, incidentally. Those numbers identify the specific item you have, and are a clue to the age of each. However, some items had several incarnations, so you'll see multiple years listed on those. Here is another site with information: http://www.trainweb.org/s-trains/FAQ/locospecs.html

"How much is my train worth?" is probably the most frequently asked question from new arrivals to the forum. Unfortunately, it's also the least-liked question because there's no real answer beyond "Whatever you can sell it for." There are pricing guides full of ficticious prices: I run American Flyer, and have never paid anything close to what they claim something sells for. With that understood, I can give you some hints.

First, what condition are they in? By the way, do not try to clean them up, paint them, or anything else if selling them is your plan. Until you know how to do it, you risk lowering their value. Rusted and corroded trains or trains with dings and broken corners and features are of lesser value than the same in pristine condition.

Second, when was it made? If it has a 3 digit number, it was made either before WWII or in the years up to about 1959. Overall, those were of better quality. By 1960, AF was trying to avoid bankruptcy and quality went down the tubes. A five-digit number on the car puts it into that era. There were still some good ones made then, but also a lot of poor ones: when you come up with the number, we can tell you what you have.

So...come up with a list of numbers and look at the couplers. Are they a single piece of molded plastic (Pikemaster), or do they have springs, moving parts, and open and close (knuckle couplers)? The Pikemaster was the low-cost line and it's value, unfortunately, is not high. Gulf tankers and cabooses tend to be very common units, so unless you have a lighted caboose or something that makes it unique, neither of those goes for much. Back to the steam engine: does it smoke and make a chuffing noise? Does it have forward and reverse, and does it have a working headlight? Like a car, the more accessories, the more valuable the item. Are the handrails on the steamer molded into the black plastic shell, or are they nickel-silver wires attached to the shell? Are there any green jewels (like fake emeralds) on the front of the locomotive, or are we looking at a plain black shell? All of those features can make it more valuable.

Best wishes on your new discovery!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
American Flyer set for sale, circa 1960

If I did it right, 3 photos of the train should be attached.

As I said in my earlier post, this was my train as a kid, about 1959-60 I guess. Still looks good cosmetically, but no idea if it still runs. Includes 2 engines and an assortment of cars, lots of track and switches, and a transformer my dad built for better speed control with a switch control panel.

I want to sell it as I am downsizing, so am looking for someone to help be value it and/or buy it.

Bill
858 655 8279 - call if you have any questions or ideas, or interested in buying it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Reckers

I am at work so don't have all the information you suggested in your posting. I will check it tonight and post tomorrow.

I do remember the engines had reverse and lights, no smoke or choo-choo noise as I recall. I seem to think one of the caboose had lights, but not sure.

No rust or anything on the engines, and I never tried to do any DIY "make-over". They seem perfect cosmetically.

Anyway will post the model numbers and such Thursday.

Thanks Reckers for your guidance. Do you buy trains yourself? I'd kind of like it to go to someone who is passionate about trains. I have a lot of fond memories of my dad helping me build a huge set-up in the basement with 2 levels...we switched the track and it ran on an upper deck so we had basically 2 levels on an oval.

Bill
858 655 8279
 

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Bill,

The steamer, as best I can tell, is a 21105, 4-4-2 Atlantic with forward/reverse, chuff, and smoke. It should have an operating headlamp and Pull-Mor motor. (http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/p/142349/1584538.aspx) I would not call it a rare one, but as far as quality goes, it's a good one. One thing to keep in mind that is important: this is an AC train, not a DC. Manufactured either 1959 or 1960. It should have knuckle couplers, which is good.

So...you have a train set that is 1959/1960 vintage, along with some extras. It appears you have an electric train whistle controller, so there was or still is a whistle. Looks like maybe both a manual and an electric decoupler in the lower right, too.

The New Haven....look here: http://www.americanflyerexpress.com/American-Flyer-Express/American-Flyer-Express-Pages/American-Flyer-Products-Directory/Electric-Locomotives/american-flyer-products-directory-electric-locomotives-01.htm

I can't read the number, but it's an EP-5 electric locomotive. Either a 21570 or 21573, I can't read it clearly. The site above tells you a little about it.

Cabooses and cars....can't read them. Looks like a standard caboose came with the set....more to follow.
 

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Caboosii....the one with open windows is the standard one, possibly 934 or 938.

The one with the white plastic in the windows is more valuable because it's illuminated. If there's a trainman on the back end who moves, it's value goes up.

The tender, as I said, is considered part of the steamer. The set appears to be in very good condition, incidentally, and protect the box---it adds value, even with the hole. *L* The single-dome tanker is like the basic caboose, but the triple-dome is more valuable. All of the remaining cars are better than basic value: they have moving parts or are in shorter supply than the basic caboose and tanker. More to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow! You know your stuff! Thanks. I'll pass along the numbers as soon as I get them. Looks like the engine numbers are the key...the cars are not worth much.
 

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no moving lineman on the illuminated caboose. Is it worth my effort in terms of value to set up the train and see if it works?
 

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So....how much is it going to sell for? That's a tough call. I'd suggest parting it out and selling it a car at a time. My reason for not selling it as a set is you don't really have a set: the original transformer is missing. Sets are something collectors buy; runners buy individual pieces, IMHO.
Let's assume you sell on ebay. The 5-digit number works against you, because most fivers aren't very good---yours is, but a lot of people won't realize it. I'd say you should be able to get $25 to $35 plus shipping for that if you keep the shipping down to what it actually costs. If you try to gouge on shipping, you'll lose bidders.

The simple caboose and the single-dome tanker: there's a ton of those out there. $10 each. I'd have to know more about the illuminated caboose to id it, but if there's no little guy, maybe $18 on it. I don't have a clue on the electric engine---I don't run anything but steamers.

Triple dome tanker----$18. $20 each on the boxcars, coal car, and flat car. More to follow.
 

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Absolutely: you need to know if it works before you post it. You need to lube it first, though. We'll get back to that; I'm on a roll, right now. *L* I keep renewing the post, incidentally, so it doesn't time out on me.

Track and transformer: problem areas. Track will sell, but cheaply: for a buyer, it's often cheaper to buy used track locally or at a train store than to pay the shipping. Where are you located?

Transformer: yours is AC, which is fine for old stuff like mine. All the contemporary stuff is DC, though, so it's not attractive unless you run AF. On top of that, a buyer has no idea what you have there. Let me suggest you peruse ebay and see what the track is currently being offered for: my guesses don't hold a candle to real life!
 

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Reckers: I don't really have the time to sell if piece-meal, not unless it was worht hundreds of dollars, which it is not. What about you taking the whole schmear? You've been very helpful and I appreciate it. Give me a price that works for you. Don't worry you can't hurt my feelings.

Bill
 

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Don't write the cars off: scarcity and condition might make them more valuable than the steamer.

Now...have you considered keeping the stuff and running it, again? You have some good memories of them....maybe it's time to think about using them some more?
 
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