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A good friend of mine built a model railroad with his father back during his childhood in the late 40's/early 50's; it started as Birthday & Christmas presents to him but before long his Dad took things over and my friend wasn't aloud to play with his own trains any more unless Dad was there, let alone touch anything lol. Almost 50 years ago everything was put into storage when my friend's father died; approximately 20 years ago he got them out just to make sure everything was safely packed and everything has sat untouched untill last night when I started an inventory of his collection in anticipation of liquidating everything on his behalf.

I really don't know anything about this hobby, but I signed up on this forum this morning hoping some of you can help me out as I really don't know where to start. The collection consists mainly of Lionel O-gauge 3-track trains (inlcuding locomotives & tenders, boxcars, caboose), but there are also some "American Model Toy's" passanger cars, a couple "MARX" locomotives, a wide selection of Lionel & Plasticville buildings & accessories, including Lionel signals, a hugh draw-bridge, and a contraption that spins trains around like a "lazy-susan" (sorry guys I don't know the correct terminology for these pieces yet). He also has a sizable collection of vintage "Dinky" vehicles, people, and other accessories, and many wind-up die-cast and tin vehicles that were used in the model. My understanding is that everything is of 1940's/50's vintage.

I know this is a huge amount of information and I know enough about collecting that packaging & overall condition plays a major role in pricing and market values. What I need is a source for determining the rarity & value of my friends inventory. I'm looking for good web-based sources, or if anyone on this board might be interested in helping me out please send me a PM. I want to be sure I know what "fair market value" is before liquidating this stuff. I need to find out if I should sell in lots or individual items at a time. Should I sell this stuff to a dealer or at on-line auction.

Any help & advice is much appriciated!
 

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You might post pictures of the items here for help identifying them. Our friend who goes by the handle Boston&Maine is very knowledgeable about O Scale trains.

I really don't know anything about this hobby, but I signed up on this forum this morning hoping some of you can help me out as I really don't know where to start.
Greenberg's Pocket Price Guide will be a good place to start.

The collection consists mainly of Lionel O-gauge 3-track trains...
You need to identify for whether it is all O gauge or if some of it is O27 gauge. The differences are subtle.


... a contraption that spins trains around like a "lazy-susan" (sorry guys I don't know the correct terminology for these pieces yet).
I believe you are describing what is usually this is called a turntable.

Once you've identified the items, you need to go to eBay and do a search for the same item. Save the searches and so you can watch them for at least a couple of weeks. This will give you time to see what the items are selling for on eBay. Be aware though that an item may sell for a high price, and the same item posted just a week or two later may not fetch the same amount.

If you never find a particular item listed on eBay, it would be an indication that it is a rare piece. You might post it with a reasonably high opening bid to see if there is any interest.

Hope this helps.
 

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http://www.postwarlionel.com/index.html

Up above is an online source that will help you identify all of your Lionel stuff, although it will not tell you prices... I agree with what Lownen said about watching the prices on eBay... You can also search the "completed listings" to see what things sold for...

As far as selling them, have you had previous experience with eBay? I recommend selling everything individually, although it will be more work for you... Check out your O gauge thread as I paired up some of the engines for you :cool:
 

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http://www.postwarlionel.com/index.html

I agree with what Lownen said about watching the prices on eBay... You can also search the "completed listings" to see what things sold for...

As far as selling them, have you had previous experience with eBay? I recommend selling everything individually, :
I do have a lot of eBay experience which is why my friend asked for my help; the problem is not knowing anything about model railroads (quite frankly the more I read the more I'm thinking of buying some of this stuff myself!
 

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Well then I say sell them on eBay... What us train people like to see when buying an items is A LOT of pictures... Take one of all four sides along with the top and bottom of the piece... Make sure they are nice and clear so people can see the details...

There are plenty of people that sell trains on eBay and know less about them then you do since you have come here... Just look over the pieces for any flaws, like breaks, cracks, chips, rust, etc... The only thing that you probably would not be able to point out is if any trim pieces are missing, but with the pictures your buyers should be able to see for themselves...
 

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Wha

Sounds like you have some nice train stuff.
I would also suggest eBay. The best way to find the what is value of Lionel trains is to use the completed listings portion of the search. You would enter your search term then select completed listings tick under the search field. You can search for 90 days back. You can also use Terapeak free research tool.
If you use the eBay search tool you need a account for the advanced search. You don't need give a credit card until you buy or sell something.
You can access resources at What is the value of Lionel Trains
Hope that helps
 

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Thanks again to everyone for pointing me in the right direction; I've been watching about 50 eBay auctions and will be putting together a spreadsheet of items & what they've been selling for. I still need to do a more further inventory of my friends collection. This whole undertaking could take me quite awhile!
 

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Please let us know what you have once your inventory is complete. I am actually in the beginning phase of planning a large project.
Some hints when you sell on Ebay use lots of photo's and a detailed description. Also if you are new to eBay they have made huge changes in pricing and what new sellers can do. Try to only sell one piece at a time. If you have lots you may want to consider using selling manager. Host your own photos at photo bucket Etc.
There are lots of places to sell besides eBay. Myself I would consider trying US Free Ads or iOffer
Good luck
 

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Host your own photos at photo bucket Etc.
I knew I forgot to mention something, LOL... Definatly get a PhotoBucket account to host your pictures, there is no reason to pay for extras via eBay... They nickle and dime you enough there already, especially with the rate hikes like Casey mentioned...
 

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I knew I forgot to mention something, LOL... Definatly get a PhotoBucket account to host your pictures, there is no reason to pay for extras via eBay... They nickle and dime you enough there already, especially with the rate hikes like Casey mentioned...
I already use photobucket but I' didn't know I could use it in conjuction with eBay; I'll definately try to figure that one out as I agree eBay really tries to get as much as they can for listings.
 

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Ebay's recent rate hikes have caused quite an uproar in the model railroading community. Redeauwrangler, you said you had experience with eBay but not with model trains. Well, eBay is incredibly active in the model train categories and virtually every serious model railroader uses it. Many small Local Hobby Stores (LHS) augment their business by trading on eBay. I recently saw on the web site of one such business that, due to the rate hikes, they'll no longer list any item for under $25 on eBay.
 

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I already use photobucket but I' didn't know I could use it in conjunction with eBay; I'll definitely try to figure that one out as I agree eBay really tries to get as much as they can for listings.
Photobucket is easy. Make a account for online use. Not your name. Make sure you keep your gallery private in preferences and sign out after every use.

Photobucket: Upload your photos. Edit/crop/fix and make them 400x400px.
When you make a listing and come to a place you want a image type in a bunch a WWWWW's. Then click on html view and look for the WWWW's. Put the html code from photo bucket were the W's are and click on regular view and there it is.
You can do this with US Free Ads too. I really like US Free Ads. I have a premium membership. I was a ebay seller since the beginning but I'm selling everything of on US Free Ads and I'm very happy with them. I think I put a link here somewhere.

The more photos the better selling anywhere online.
Hope that helps
 
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