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Model Train Collector question


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Morning all! I wasn't sure where to put this so if you guys think it's in the wrong place please let me know.   A dear friend of our recently passed away. He was a wonderful man with a lifelong passion for model trains.  Enormous is the only way his layout can be described; multiple levels with many, many trains running simultaneously, he also included scenery, buildings, the works.  Unfortunately, none of his family shared his love of all things railroad which is where my question comes in.  His widow, just a treasure of a lady, is interested in selling the collection, but has no idea where to start.  Warren collected trains for over 45 years so I know that he has some valuable models, Marklin was his favorite brand. Does anyone have any experience with selling this type of collectible? Can you guys offer any tips on who she should contact? Thanks so much :)

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Sarah, when we moved to Alabama we learned of a similar situation right in the town of Foley; except the gentleman asked his family to contribute his layout to the town, where it resides in its own building annexed to the Visitors' Center and all the local model railroad buffs gather at least twice a week to play trains with his layout as well as adding some of their own trains: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g30531-d3584434-r151641359-Foley_Railroad_Museum-Foley_Alabama.html   If the family is dead set to sell I would suggest to them to contact local hobby stores and model railroad clubs, both to get n idea of prices and for possible customers.

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I would also suggest a model train club as a source of reliable information. I would think he might have belonged to one if he's been a collector for that long or at least have a connection to someone who does.

Ours is a wonderful group of folks who are passionate about their hobby. We don't attend meetings but support the shows and displays they put on. They are always willing to answer a question or help with a source.

A hobby shop could help you find a local club if he didn't belong to one. But, selling/gifting to a shop might not be getting the best value because they are in it to make money as a business.

Wish we lived nearby. I'd be over in a heartbeat to see it all. We are train buffs big time!!!

Do you know what gauge he collected?

I hope his hard work (trust me it IS hard work) is respected and his memory is honored.

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We started with O27 gauge but it took up too much room and was expensive - not that all of it isn't expensive.

We changed to HO and while we still love the extra realism you can get in the O27, the space, availability and costs of the HO make it the better choice for us now.

 

I just saw that you are from NY. You might tell your friend that in PA there are many train museums and shops that might be an option as it's not that far from you. We took a family vacation to PA one summer when our kids were young and had a blast going from train place to train place.

 

 Here are a few that I know about. There are also TONS of RL railroad museums, train yards and shops dotted all across PA> Here is a link to the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA. On the directions page it lists some other train related places that are fun. One other is the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum. This one isn't open all year round and caters to O and O27. Another is the Choo Choo Barn. Any one of those might be a jumping off point for you.

 

The trouble with trains, cars, models, and miniatures of any kind is this exact situation. The person whose hobby it was, understood the value and had the passion. But, sadly, once they are gone, the $$'s spent by that individual is the only constant number that anyone measures the value by. However the true value, of the sum of the parts, is not just those $$'s spent, it is the lifetime of expression, joy, creativity, and passion of the person who gave themselves to their hobby.

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Wish I were closer. I love trains!  I hope it won't be broken up into a piece of this and a chunk of that. I hope the whole collection, and the wonderful passion and work he put into it, can be appreciated as a whole. It's sad when kids and grandkids don't want what one has put so much effort into. :(

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No one in my family wants any of my stuff - the barbies, dollhouses, trains, horses. I don't envy them the job of selling it all.

 

Go with the suggestion of finding a train club or a hobby shop that deals in trains.

 

Investing some time into research won't hurt either. Perhaps while looking into what exactly he had, someone might take an interest or at least they can get a feel for what it's all worth.

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"However the true value, of the sum of the parts, is not just those $$'s spent, it is the lifetime of expression, joy, creativity, and passion of the person who gave themselves to their hobby."

Oh, Selkie, this is so true. Thanks for putting this into words.

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You're welcome. It's something I feel very deeply. Sadly, in this materialistic world, it is frequently chided, condemned, or simply overlooked as true value.

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My kids also don't want my collections (dollhouses and others). That may change when they have kids of their own. I find it interesting that this hobby (dollhouses) is not handed down like others. Although trains are going through a drought right now, too. We truly need to recruit some younger hobbyists or those who love this hobby will someday be the last of a breed.

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It does seem to cycle over time and the availability of $$'s and free time to create.

My family will back a dumpster in the yard when I go and heave ho it all w/o considering any resale value cuz that would take too much of their time to figure out.

I'm hoping for some of the grands to want to hang on to some of it. They have all done some in fits and starts but I kinda doubt it will pan out that way, what with all the electronic and digital world they all live in now. They can create online miniature games and worlds and not use their hands, get dirty or have to store supplies someplace. Makes sense to them.

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