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My uncle is entering a retirement home and I need to sell his collection. It's a massive G scale collection, taking over his entire house. I'm looking for any advice you could offer on finding a fair price but to move this collection quickly. A single buyer would be preferred, but if completely necessary I'll move it to a storage facility and try to sell it piece by piece. It's located in Buffalo, NY. My uncle is a US Veteran and we're just looking to get a low-end but fair price for his life's passion.

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated?

Very broad-stroke on the collection:
18 locomotives, most diesel, 4 steam
100 cars
15 switches
2x lgb rio grande 6 axel locomotive

transformers, radio controllers, receivers, and much more
over 50 original boxes
Steel track, probably 100s of feet.
He says: "how long is the basement track... at scale speed 50mph it takes 6minutes to go around."
And there's probably much more than I've listed.

He estimates it may be worth 50,000.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/jxevVLNiKiytLzGm7
 

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Good luck

Wishing you good luck in helping out your kin.
If you can keep the collection and sell it in small lots, it may take years.

And become your new hobby:eek:
 

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A lot of folks with the large collections like that seem to end up at the auction houses -- this is probably more of the "turnkey" solution. I don't have any specific advice there, maybe someone here has some solid leads on who is the best and won't rip you off kind of thing.

If on the other hand you decide to do this yourself, what I've seen that appears to work best is -- first take a careful catalog of the entire thing. (so compile a list of kinds, manufacturers, condition, part or mft number, then estimate of price -- perhaps note if there's a box or not, etc...)

Take pictures of each item and cross ref to the catalog is ideal. Then of course you want to estimate the pricing which takes some more research -- here google is your friend and ebay... even so, you may not find what you need. (i suppose there's always the off chance you have some rare and valuable piece.... yet i suspect for most of us, this really isn't true)

So many people who sell have firm ideas on how much their stuff is worth while others are not so sure on the prices. you can indicate this in the sales post that you are open to offers or not, etc... Shipping is another item that seems to snag some -- shipping costs money after all. So that's something to consider. How to pay -- paypal is popular and easy for example.

So the sales post goes up with all this info and -- I would suggest posting to the numerous train related forums that have for-sale sections, not just here. Provide a clear way to contact you as some do not allow interaction once the post goes up & hopefully all the info is there in the post or a click away kind of thing.

Then of course you have to deal with the responses and the shipping -- not to mention re-posting the adjusted listing etc...

That's all quite a bit of work but having sold quite a bit of track at one time, I somewhat enjoyed it.

But I admit, I might find it daunting to deal with a lot of cars and engines, and accessories and so forth.
 

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I know some of our members here have sold G scale collections to a company called Trainz. I think they are at Trainz.com.
They can give you more specific information if they see this. Best of success in this.
 

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You have quite a difficult assignment.
I know because
I just completed the sale of my room size
HO layout. It took a month or so and a
number of phone calls, but I was fortunate in that the
buyer took the entire layout, trains, controllers
and even the benchwork. So I had to do no work.

I advertised it In the Jacksonville and Orlando
Craigslists, using the 'Toys and
Games' and the 'Collectibles'. There is no cost
for this but you will have to be patient and
available by phone. The potential buyer will,
of course, want to see the items in person. It
would be helpful if they were operational and
can be demonstrated. You should Craiglist in whatever
larger cities are near you.

However, I'm afraid the G Scale and the size of your uncle's
collection could mean a good deal of advertising
packing and shipping. You may be able to side
step that by contacting a train broker. You might
find one again on Craigslist. They will
offer pennies on the $ but will do all the work.
Local hobby shops may be able to put you in touch
with a broker. Some may be interested in buying themselves
since they often are vendors at train shows where
they can resell.

You can use our For Sale or trade forum. It is free,
but you must include the price as well as payment
and shipping policies. To be effective, take pictures
of the various locomotives and groups of cars.
Include pics of the controllers and an estimate of
the track footage and number of turnouts. Be sure
refer to that 'ad' with a post in our Gscale forum.
You may use the term 'Or Best Offer'.

Don
 

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I'm the guy who used Trainz.com to sell my G scale trains. It was a much smaller collection than what you have. I had tried to sell them myself with no success. What Trainz does is you send them a list of what you have. They evaluate it and make an offer which includes them paying the price of shipping. I used the boxes you hang clothes in when you are moving and stuffed them with newspapers and foam. The offer will be low but as I said it does include shipping. It was a slow process but hassle free and it was the only offer I received.

I noticed in the train show forum that there is a show in Buffalo on 10/27. Maybe you could look into that. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you kindly for all the very helpful replies. This is daunting :). Why couldn't his collection be vintage guitars and amps :)

Is this the show you were referring to Gramps: - "Train-O-Rama" Toy Train Meet - 10am - 3pm
Toy Train Operating Society, Pvt. Leonard Post #6251
2450 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga, NY 14225.
 

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Another thing on the track -- I've have seen this one time and "it worked" for the seller. They had a huge pile of track that was the kind people want (in another gauge) -- and they sold it at a very low price, if the buyer took the whole thing. It was a great price and they found someone to take it all.

Otherwise, the thing to do is part it out all or at least count it up into the various sizes, curves, switches and makes if that can be ascertained - and try to sell it in that way.
 

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You could check with the various vendors at
that train show. Any one or more of them
could be interested in what you have.

It would be helpful to take pictures, especially the
locos and cars.

Don
 

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Thank you kindly for all the very helpful replies. This is daunting :). Why couldn't his collection be vintage guitars and amps :)

Is this the show you were referring to Gramps: - "Train-O-Rama" Toy Train Meet - 10am - 3pm
Toy Train Operating Society, Pvt. Leonard Post #6251
2450 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga, NY 14225.
Yes that's it.
 

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I'm far from an expert on the used train market, but one consistent theme seems to be that most people looking to sell have very over-inflated expectations on what things will be worth. If he invested $50k over the years, you're probably looking at something closer to $10k as a maximum retail price. Used model railroad stuff generally does not appreciate in value, especially if it was actually being run as opposed to displayed.

As others have noted, you will maximize the amount you receive by researching everything and selling it as individual pieces or small lots. But that take a lot of time and effort.

The easier course is to sell it to an auction house, or used train dealer, but you can't expect top dollar if you do it that way.

The "right" answer really depends on how much time and effort you are willing to invest.
 

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I agree with the auction route. It will be a lot easier.
I had a very nice man donate all his buildings in G to our club. We needed them and he wanted to get rid of them.
Trains and rolling stock are another issue.
 

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Friends of mine own an auction house so whenever they have any sizable train collections to sell they call me for help in organizing the collection since they have no idea what goes with what. I've seen all gauges sell. The biggest one took a whole weekend, 10 hours a day. Had buyers from 5 states.
Here's the bottom line on selling at auction. Sad to say but the seller will not get anywhere near what their investment is. There will probably be a buyer's and seller percent premium fee plus a fee for the auction house doing the sale, usually a percentage of the sale total amount. The good thing is, at some point you will get 1, 2 or maybe 3 buyers bidding against each other that badly want something and that may drive the price up on some items.

Another thing to remember. Since you know what is what, box up sets or what goes with what in individual boxes and make sure the auction house displays them that way. If you must use labels, use the smallest needed. Make sure they are the type that won't harm the train boxes when removed.
If you must use tape for a torn box corner and the like, use only clear shipping type tape. Never tape boxes shut. Everything must be taken out of the boxes for showing. Same goes for accessories. Only use clear shipping tape on those boxes as well.

An item that comes with a box, on average, will be worth about 20% more. What the auction house will do is try and display all engines and rolling stock with the boxes. I always tried to set the items on top of the closed boxes or in front of them.

That big weekend sale I mentioned at the start, had O gauge from Lionel, MTH, and Weaver. It sold well. Most at bargain prices though. The G gauge, while not as many pieces as the O gauge, did okay. The problem I saw was there just wasn't as many buyers for that size of trains. That will be your only drawback. A smaller group of buyers.

One final thing. If you do decide to sell at an auction house, get some fliers made up and see if you can post them at all hobby shops in the area. Maybe a You Tube video? I've never tried that but that is another way to attract out of the area buyers.

So there is a brief outline of what happens at an auction house. Good luck to you no matter how you choose to sell.

Kenny
 

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I'd probably cherry-pick the most desirable items and sell them individually, then consign the remainder to the auction house.

That's probably the best way to get a good combination of reasonable return, and a fairly quick return ... You would need somebody knowledgeable in that scale to help pick the better / worse items so that you have help selecting them ..
The better items would bring far more being sold individually than they would through an auction house ..
 

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If you're still following this thread troutlegend, in the upper right hand corner of this page is a link to one of our "sister sites", LGB World. I don't know how active it is or whether most of the members are European or not; but you might find someone there who could tell you which are the valuable pieces and which aren't. :)
 

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This should serve as a reminder to all of us to have our collections catalogued with some reference to value of each piece.

In my case, my wife has stated that my train friends have 48 hours after my demise to clear it out or else it’s in the dumpster.
Sadly, I think that actually happens in some cases.
 

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If you're still following this thread troutlegend, in the upper right hand corner of this page is a link to one of our "sister sites", LGB World. I don't know how active it is or whether most of the members are European or not; but you might find someone there who could tell you which are the valuable pieces and which aren't. :)
There are/were also G scale forums like "largescaleonline" and "mylargescale.com".
 

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Garden Railways Magazine

Pick up one of these mags. I was reading one and in the back were several companies that listed they purchased full sets and individual trains
 
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