Yes, it was so different and so exciting back then. I was strongly opposed to the reproductions, as I felt they diluted the hobby. When you saw a President’s Special at a show, you were just thrilled, knowing what a rare sight it was. After my dear friend, George Sirus teamed up with Art Varney, to reproduce the PS and other AF & Ives 19” sets, it really changed things, at least in my eyes. I even ended up owning a “one off,” Hamiltonian two-tone red President’s Special that George made just for me. I had always commented on how AF should have made the set as pictured on the cover of the 1928 AF catalog, so George did one set for me. That said, I wish none of the classic trains had ever been reproduced.
Ah, (in the voice of Raymond Burr) but did you not sell reproduction tinplate out of your store? Did not Tom Snyder purchase some of the reproductions from you and had heaps of fun running them? Does that not answer the question?
By the by, I did very much enjoy visiting your store in the day. It was 'a must stop and see' when I was in LA. I still fondly recall buying some original Gilbert over the counter from you personally.
All in good fun.