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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I NEED YOUR ADVICE.

My dad modeled the Harrisburg line for the Pennsylvania Railroad (specifically, Harrisburg, PA in 1953 for the PRR down to the Port Road).

He recently passed away and we're trying to figure out what to do with this incredible layout.

It was an extensive layout with hundreds of cars, engines, scenery and track. He also had a hundred painted brass locomotives (beautiful and heavy).

Any advice on what we should do with it? How to sell it? Donate it to a museum? It's located in Palm Beach, Florida.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to share photos too.

Thanks!

-eric
 

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Inherited layout

I NEED YOUR ADVICE.

My dad modeled the Harrisburg line for the Pennsylvania Railroad (specifically, Harrisburg, PA in 1953 for the PRR down to the Port Road).

He recently passed away and we're trying to figure out what to do with this incredible layout.

It was an extensive layout with hundreds of cars, engines, scenery and track. He also had a hundred painted brass locomotives (beautiful and heavy).

Any advice on what we should do with it? How to sell it? Donate it to a museum? It's located in Palm Beach, Florida.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to share photos too.

Thanks!

-eric


eric;

First, my condolences on the loss of your father.

As for selling his layout, that can often be a problem. The hobby of model railroading is primarily a builders hobby. Most of us like building our own "miniature world", as your dad probably did. Therefore, very few model railroaders are likely to want to buy a complete model railroad, that someone else has already built. There are exceptions. Right now we have a New York city resident on our, "Introduce Yourself Here" section, who "has more money than time" and is looking for a built up railroad to buy. Look for his thread titled "Looking to buy a built up layout at the upcoming train show" by matisw, and read through it. However, he is looking for a small, easily moved railroad, and I get the impression that your dad's railroad is neither small, nor easily moved. Still, it won't hurt to ask.

Selling the cars, and locomotives, will be easier than selling the whole layout as a unit. Easier than that, but not really easy.
Used trains don't typically sell for anything like their original prices. You can check on E-bay under "model trains" and see what people are asking, not much.
There are brokers who will buy an entire train collection, but for only pennies on the dollar. Selling online, or at a train show, might work. Clear, closeup photos of all the locos and cars will be needed for any online sale. The "For Sale Member-to Member" section of this forum is one possibility, E-bay, and Craig's List are two others.

Donating some, or all, of your dad's trains is another matter. The fact that the railroad is in Florida may help. There are loads of retired folks in Florida, and some individual, or even a retirement community, may be interested in either buying, at a low enough price, or accepting the railroad as a donation. Other possibilities for donation are The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, Children's hospitals, Boy & girls clubs, or scouts.

good luck;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:
 

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PRR modeler

My condolences for your loss
I'm a prr modeler.Most of my collection I bought used from my local train dealer who is also my friend.So far, I have had few issues with condition .selling used trains can be hard if you are not familiar with the hobby and are able to identify what you have.Todays train stuff is very good (with a few exceptions).If your fathers collection is older it will likely be dc ,was he still buying stuff before he passed? My suggestion would be to post pictures if you decide to sell.the people on this site tend to be rather knowledgeable and would likely be able to tell you what you have.a start would be to count the locomotives and freight and passenger cars
 

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Sorry about your dad's passing.

If you have boxes or info about the models of brass locos you have, it'd be worthwhile looking those up on ebay (Search "completed listings") to see what the values are. While they probably aren't worth what they once were, there may be real value there.

Unless you have alot of time to devote to this, it might be worthwhile to let a dealer come and buy it all, even for a fraction of it's overall worth. Selling trains is a time consuming process.

Here's the real hard news. As for the layout itself, if the buildings can be removed there may be some value there and there many be someone local who will give you a bit of money to salvage some other things like switches and controls and such, but unless it's transportable, the landscaping and benchwork is likely end up scrapped.

If you have some time, but want a middle ground, perhaps the best route would be a compromise of selling the most valuable pieces (brass locos, passenger sets, other high-end locos) yourself on ebay and then selling the rest as a lot to a dealer.

Good luck.
 

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Condolences for your loss.

First, you should determine and state the
Scale of the layout. That affects the value.

Getting any value from a Model Train layout is
difficult. It is very seldom that you can find a buyer
for the entire collection.

The biggest asset are the 'hundreds' of Brass locomotives.
These usually bring good prices. But likely you would
have to sell them one or two at a time.

If the members of the Palm Beach modellers are unable
to advise you or to take the layout off your hands, I would
check the Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami
Craig's list for Brokers who buy estate trains for
resale. You will find them under COLLECTIBLES or
TOYS AND GAMES. They will offer pennies on the dollar but it is
often the easiest way out of the situation. I would not
include the brass locos in a broker sale, however.

You can advertise what you have here in our
For Sale or Trade forum. It's free, but to have
any results you have to post pictures of the items
along with a price. You should also state your terms
for shipping and payment. This could result in
some sales but it would also require that you package
and ship the items ordered. With the size of your
layout that could be quite an amount of work.

Don
 

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If the house needs to be sold, time will be your worst enemy. No matter if it's a model railroad, or furniture, jewelry. I've seen some expensive belongings go into a dumpster to make settlement.


I suppose we can learn from your loss. Let's all start cataloging our rosters with make and model and comparable prices found on e-bay. Myself, I have many toylike rolling stock I may label as junk so my executor has an easier task ahead.

If you have time, take some pictures of the layout, then use a photo editor to number the buildings. I've seen buildings go for around $5 each on the used market.
 

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Very sorry for your loss. I know of one buyer/seller who specializes in brass and buys entire collections. Here is a link:
https://www.donblack.com/

I have not dealt with him personally but know they do deal in brass collections.

Dennis 461 brings up a good point. If you had to sell the items individually you would need to be able to describe them. If you cannot, maybe that’s where the Palm Beach club could assist you.
I wish you success in this endeavor.
Dan
 

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Collaterally related to this topic, you folks reading/answering this topic should sit down and do a list of all your model railroad equipment with estimated pricing. This will be a huge help to your loved ones when the time comes. Generally, locomotives should be listed separately and well-described. Brass rolling stock, same. General rolling stock, count them up and give an estimate for the lot. In general, unless the layout is designed to be moved, it will be a loss unless you find someone who wants to keep it in the house.
 

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The sadness is that our hobby only really has value to the individual doing it. It is not very portable and items lose almost all their value the moment they are purchased.

This hobby is a labor of love.

OP, so sorry for your loss. My suggestion is to find a home for it where people or kids will get enjoyment from seeing it. I have no idea how to pull that off, but if you do, your dad will in a sense be living forever.
 

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First and most importantly, condolences. A loss of that magnitude, I fully understand and feel. Moments and fond memories. Truly, truly sorry for your loss...


As to your dad's layout, I know it may be somewhat difficult, but I say this from both sides of the coin. I lost family that originally set me in my path with hobbies as a past time, and more importantly, one central person that was in the hobby that I poked up to. At the time I didn't think I would ever get into trains, but he left me (I'm eternally grateful and I think of him and others like they're standing by my side or sitting with me when I'm doing whichever facet at the time) his tyco collection and a ton of track. I cherish them all, and while I don't use the track, the cars will always have a place either on my layout or home. So my suggestion, wait a bit, pack up all you can, and store as much as you can. The person that will "truly" cherish and appreciate your dad's labor of love will present themself.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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Matrox sets up a good idea.

While I wouldn't save everything, it would not be a bad idea to put together a "Train Set" for each of his children or grandchildren who might have interest. Wouldn't even have to be the "best" items, but at the very least something to remember grandpa by and run around the Christmas tree.
 

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A friend of mine on this forum had the same situation several years ago and made a lot of discoveris about trains and himself after fooling with all his fathers stuff. He goes by "Rusty Cuda" on here and I suggest you look him up and talk with him before you do anything. I think Rich can help you a lot in making decisions on what to do. Look for him and ask him. It's free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, everyone for the advice. I've got the brass trains back at my house in their boxes, and will follow your leads for what to do with them. I found a local collector to purchase any buildings, scenery, and track he could salvage. The platform itself is being demolished in order to complete the sale of the house.

Some photos, just for your enjoyment:
HO Scale, PRR, Modeling Harrisburg in 1953
LINK: https://photos.app.goo.gl/oMai6oP45AqXeNkC7
 

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A great loss

Thank you for sharing the photos, it looks like your father put a lot of work into that layout. Truly a great loss in many ways.
 

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Thanks for sharing those pictures and the outcome of the story.

Good to know that someone picked up the buildings. From what I see in the picture they're in good shape and cleanly done. I have no doubt that they'll find eager buyers and your Dad's good work will live on for many years in other folks' layouts.

It is of course sad to hear about the benchwork, but such is the outcome for nearly all railroads as they meet their end after their owners move, pass on, lose interest or decide to build again.

You've done right by your dad and any of us would be happy to have our kids take such care with our collections and layouts.
 

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Thanks for sharing those pictures and the outcome of the story.

Good to know that someone picked up the buildings. From what I see in the picture they're in good shape and cleanly done. I have no doubt that they'll find eager buyers and your dad's good work will live on for many years in other folks' layouts.

It is of course sad to hear about the benchwork, but such is the outcome for nearly all railroads as they meet their end after their owners move, pass on, lose interest or decide to build again.

You've done right by your dad and any of us would be happy to have our kids take such care with our collections and layouts.
 
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