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Discussion Starter #1
I've been selling some of my Lionel trains along with a share of my LGB stuff on Evilbay over the past six months. Business was rather brisk early on and well into the Summer. Of late, there has been hardly any bites. I presumed that after Labor Day things would start to pick up, but it has been a slow rebound.

I know MPC prices are in the tank and it seems as though post-war is also. Just some observations I wanted to share.
 
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It seems to me since MTH announced they were closing up shop that many people have been ratcheting up the price of O gauge stuff, especially MTH products. I recently saw a used Proto 2 steamer for sale on Ebay with a price over it's MSRP from 15 years ago. Within the last year I bought the same model in nearly new condition at a show for half that price.
 

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You are reaching the wrong person here to comment. I hate sellers that ask full MSRP for 20 year old items. Or more. If the item is rare I understand. I chased a Rock Island U30C locomotive, believe it was MTH but may have been Lionel up into the $500's and I believe it sold for $560 or so, BUT it's the only one I have seen in 5 or more years of being on evilbay.

I hate that ebay is more of a marketplace and not an auction site. If sellers were forced to start bidding at a modest level and let the marketplace decide, that would result in fewer auctions or offerings as the sellers would decide they don't want to take less than a nice "profit" on their items.

Right now there is an MTH Premier E8 A-B-A set Rock Island Rocket that the seller put on at 99 cents (!) and it's already up to $176. That's a true auction and in reality, sellers may jump in at the last minute and bid more aggresively. Meanwhile there is the same ABA set by a different seller listed at $549 for the last 3 months. ebay says that's fine, no fees, no penalty to the seller. There is one so called auction place from Pennsylvania that lists all rolling stock at $99 take it or leave it and told me "bye bye moron" when I referenced the MSRP was $59 on an item. A 40% increase "just because"??

I get it there are those that will say just don't bother looking, move on. But it's already an expensive hobby. How can any 32 year old dad of 2-3 kids start a layout in the basement, and those are who the hobby needs to sustain any momentum.

So to answer your question I think the issue is more people are back to work and there are less eyes in front of the computer to bid. I think there is also a surplus of some O Scale stuff and people are buttoning down for the holidays and post election economy. I went nuts and spent as much as $1000 a week for several weeks and on May 1 I moved into a new home and have not even started on the layout room - which needs new windows and floor paint before setting up the layout. Why keep adding items when you have no layout?

I would put some items on ebay myself including my O27 stuff I am just going to toss, but it's a fair amount of work to box up, send, etc.
 

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John, I believe you when you say a ton, because it probably really is just that. Would it be cheaper by the "long ton"? 😁😁😁😁
 

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Methinks that just about everyone in our hobby born in the middle of the 20th century are in the same boat. And, the boat is overloaded with toy trains and stuff of the ilk.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The point Maxum made happens in all businesses, it seems. Toll Brothers built a 55 & Older community in Dresher, Pa. The homes were selling for about $3-400,000.00. They sold so many the first weekend that sales were open to the public, that on Monday they raised the prices by $100,000.00 ! Just because they could.

I wasn't in to Lionel trains in 1969, so cannot comment on what the prices were. I have a very good suspicion that you could probably get them for pennies on the dollar. So why is it that MTH is selling for such high prices ?

Bryan mentioned Ebay's morphing into a marketplace instead of an auction. I don't know if his theory about letting the market dictate the price is correct. I have a feeling that prices would still climb through the clouds.

And to Gunrunner John, Just do it John.....🤣
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Methinks that just about everyone in our hobby born in the middle of the 20th century are in the same boat. And, the boat is overloaded with toy trains and stuff of the ilk.

True and we of a certain age ain't getting' any younger. Now that I can afford to buy more, I want less. In the '70s when I couldn't afford much, I wanted it all.....LOL
 

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I've been selling/buying on e-bay since 1998. I used to buy/sell through TCA/LCCA, but very little, and now those ads have essentially dried up, so I don't even bother looking. I've also had some bad experiences selling through those ads, so I just stopped listing anything.

Regarding auction vs. Buy It Now on e-bay, a number of years ago I read that e-bay was trying to move toward the "marketplace" model to compete with Amazon. E-bay was trying to attract people who wanted to "shop" and just buy what they wanted, rather than have to wait through an auction only to be outbid. So, for a few years at least I noticed a push to sell in the Buy It Now format. I think that has subsided a bit, because a lot of items have ridiculous prices, as has been pointed out, and e-bay does not make any money unless items sell. Years back there was a listing fee and a final value fee. The listing fee was based on listed price, so it discouraged putting things on at unrealistic prices. However, in the push to Buy It Now, the listing fee was dropped (if you stay under a certain number of listings per month), and the final value fee was increased. Also, Buy It Now listings used to expire after 30 days, now they are listed indefinitely. Again, encouraging people to just list items at any price they want. For the seller it costs nothing but time to list the item.

My long term view of postwar Lionel prices is they climbed unrealistically during the 1990s. Dropped back after 9/11, but then climbed back up until the financial crisis of 2008. Sell prices have been falling since then. Just look at an old price guide vs. current, and you might be amazed at the difference. However, I do feel that in the past several years prices stabilized. I think prices increased in the pandemic, partly because there is no where else to buy/sell. No shows, no swap meets. I have not noticed lower activity right now, but I'm also not selling much, so can't tell. However, keep in mind an auction is a "forced sale." The item is only listed for days, and the auction has a final end time. Thus, auction sell prices will typically be less than Buy It Now. I only sell at auction items that either I really want to get rid of and don't care what I get for it, or items that are truly scarce, and I don't know the true market value. The former items usually go for a low price, and the latter usually exceed my expectations. I always select the max time for an auction (9 days) rather than the default 7 days to get the most exposure I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've been selling/buying on e-bay since 1998. I used to buy/sell through TCA/LCCA, but very little, and now those ads have essentially dried up, so I don't even bother looking. I've also had some bad experiences selling through those ads, so I just stopped listing anything.

Regarding auction vs. Buy It Now on e-bay, a number of years ago I read that e-bay was trying to move toward the "marketplace" model to compete with Amazon. E-bay was trying to attract people who wanted to "shop" and just buy what they wanted, rather than have to wait through an auction only to be outbid. So, for a few years at least I noticed a push to sell in the Buy It Now format. I think that has subsided a bit, because a lot of items have ridiculous prices, as has been pointed out, and e-bay does not make any money unless items sell. Years back there was a listing fee and a final value fee. The listing fee was based on listed price, so it discouraged putting things on at unrealistic prices. However, in the push to Buy It Now, the listing fee was dropped (if you stay under a certain number of listings per month), and the final value fee was increased. Also, Buy It Now listings used to expire after 30 days, now they are listed indefinitely. Again, encouraging people to just list items at any price they want. For the seller it costs nothing but time to list the item.

My long term view of postwar Lionel prices is they climbed unrealistically during the 1990s. Dropped back after 9/11, but then climbed back up until the financial crisis of 2008. Sell prices have been falling since then. Just look at an old price guide vs. current, and you might be amazed at the difference. However, I do feel that in the past several years prices stabilized. I think prices increased in the pandemic, partly because there is no where else to buy/sell. No shows, no swap meets. I have not noticed lower activity right now, but I'm also not selling much, so can't tell. However, keep in mind an auction is a "forced sale." The item is only listed for days, and the auction has a final end time. Thus, auction sell prices will typically be less than Buy It Now. I only sell at auction items that either I really want to get rid of and don't care what I get for it, or items that are truly scarce, and I don't know the true market value. The former items usually go for a low price, and the latter usually exceed my expectations. I always select the max time for an auction (9 days) rather than the default 7 days to get the most exposure I can.

When I receive the TCA bulletin, most of it is occupied by advertising. I often glance at the buy, sell, trade pages, toward the back and laugh. Does anyone actually buy or sell anything through those ads ?
 

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True and we of a certain age ain't getting' any younger. Now that I can afford to buy more, I want less. In the '70s when I couldn't afford much, I wanted it all.....LOL
Boy, isn’t that the truth! I did the same thing, but now, in my old(er) age, I am really picky about what I buy....it has to catch my eye, or be something that I have always wanted.....

And I think the main reason is I now have so much of what I wanted, so to just buy stuff willy-nilly isn’t going to happen anymore.....
 

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The auction I mentioned ended with a price of $260 plus shipping. This was an MTH Premier ABA Rock Island E8 set without the box (I asked) and started at .99 cents. This is what ebay should be. Run it 7 days, 9 days or 2 weeks, but I hate the Buy It Now or listed price which is higher than I feel I want to pay.

There are 2 other Buy It Now "auctions" (LOL) featuring the same set of locomotives each for Buy It Now of $549.99 for several weeks. No buyers, not even me. I'd love to have that set, but I want to feel I got it at a good price.

The new A-A E6 set that Lionel has in their catalog I can get for $899 either from Mr Muffins or my local hobby store. Buying new supports the LHS and Lionel and you get new.
 

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I always list my Buy It Now items with "or Best Offer." That way people can feel free to offer what they are willing to pay. Then I can choose to take it or counter.
 

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I don't understand the angst about high priced BIN items. The seller knows what they want for the item and they have the option to wait for that price. Just check order your search results ascending by price and you can ignore them.

As for the price of admission to the hobby, if you're buying new it's not news that this hobby is difficult for anyone not at least solidly middle class and the true 1/48 O "scale" end of the hobby requires a very significant investment.
 

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Spoken like a true seller.
Quite the opposite my friend. I'm a barrel scraping, bottom feeding, bargain railroader.

I'm just realistic about the fact that budget railroading requires buying used, hunting hard and making compromises.

The railroader on a tight budget will likely be much better served by choosing HO or 0-27, buying used and being content with the fact that there is alot of specific rolling stock you will have to DIY mod, accept "almost" or do without.

I do trade and sell some but its mostly just min-to-low end excess from my own collection or lot purchases.
 
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