So this tale starts back in 2013, when I spotted a rare American Flyer streamline set on an auction. The auction was not a train auction and featured only two trains, a 1940 American Flyer streamline set with a 435 engine, tender, and three yellow streamline cars with 6-wheel trucks (Set 4013 from 1940) and a 429 switcher, tender, and freight cars (Set 4014 from 1940.
For those who do not collect American Flyer, the yellow streamline cars with 6 inch trucks are difficult to find because they were only sold in 1940, as AC Gilbert was closing out of their Chicago era Flyer cars and going to production of 3/16 scale items. Previously these yellow streamline cars had been used in the City of Denver streamline set, but featuring belly pans and 4-wheel trucks. I had also heard a story about these odd yellow streamline cars with 6-wheel trucks, which was that they were a special set that was only sold through a Buffalo, NY retailer. I think the source of that story may have been the late Dave Garrigues.
To me, the freight set on the auction was not very exciting and I was after the passenger set. The auction photos showed a single car box with each set, but no other photos of boxes. I was lucky enough to win the yellow streamline set on the 2013 auction and passed on the freight set. I paid for the auction and received the set a few weeks later.
Much to my surprise, the set came with all of the individual boxes and a set box. In doing my typical research on a set after getting it, I discovered (to my dismay) that I had received the set box for the 1940 freight set, Set #4014. I pondered calling the auction house and asking if they had a set box for the other set and had packed the wrong set in the correct box for my set. However, since they did not show the set boxes in any of the pictures and also only a single car box in the pictures, I wondered did the other set have a set box? I wondered and wondered and never called (still kicking myself for not calling).
For the last 10 years I have searched for the correct numbered 4013 set box for my passenger set. In early February I found a 4013 set box on ebay with individual boxes for a red streamline set. I purchased it, even though it was not as nice as the 4014 set box that was with my set. Two weeks later, as I am scrolling through an auction house listing, I note a 429 freight set, with the 4013 set box...coincidence? It was too much of a coincidence to ignore, so I searched on-line and found the 2013 auction listing and photos. In comparing the photos of the freight set on the 2013 auction and the freight set on the 2023 auction, I noted that the view of the power pick up on the bottom of the engines matched.
I was able to match the A that is penciled on the bottom of the fiber plate and the staining that is between the two rivets on the copper plate that the power pick ups attach to. So it was the same set as was sold in 2013. Now I had to buy this set at any cost, as I knew that it was the actual set box that came with my set. Sadly that "buy it at any cost" came with a steeper price than the 2013 auction, but it was worth it to me.
An interesting coincidence, these two sets appear to have always been together (except for the last 10 years). Both boxes are stamped with the J.N. Adams Co. Stamping out of Buffalo, NY. Remember that story I heard about these yellow streamline sets being a special sold out of the Buffalo, NY area? I am not sure that these sets were only sold out of Buffalo, but mine certainly was.
My thoughts of Set 4013, is that it could have came with any color of the streamline cars because the 1940 catalog does not specify the car color. The 1938 and 1939 AC Gilbert catalogs always specified the color of cars that were sold in the sets, but not in 1940. As this was the only streamline Chicago era car set sold in 1940, my thought is that they were using up all of their leftover cars in this particular set, so it could have came with blue, red, chrome, or yellow.
Note how nicely the two boxes match.