I’d like to share a story that I experienced that was unexpected. Everyone knows about the thrill of the hunt looking for O gauge trains. But what about after you’ve given up searching? I’m sure most of you have experienced this, but the way the stars aligned one day, it was just amazing to me.

A few weeks ago my wife Lynley and I went to a train show out here in Southern California. Nothing special there except they are few and far between out here and I come from the Philadelphia area where we had oodles of them within an easy distance. It was run by The Great Train Show about an hour and a half drive from our home. We had attended one last year and didn’t see much modern O gauge as it was mostly an HO & N Scale show but it’s always fun to be around trains and see layouts no matter what gauge it is. So for this trip we just went for something to do and see the layouts. In fact, we left later than we planned to get there since we didn’t expect to see anything I’d want to buy.

As we walked around looking at tables before we viewed the layouts I came across a table with some post war and MPC era rolling stock. I almost just walked on by, but for some reason my Spidersense was tingling. My gaze took me to some old K-Line cars of Napa Valley Winery cars that I already had…. and then I saw it!!! A car I had given up looking for for ten years!!

The back story of this car is that about 21 years ago, when my wife and I were first dating, we attended her brother’s wedding. It was going to be my first time meeting her family since most of them are spread around the country. While killing time between family activities we found a train store in Napa called The Red Caboose (If my memory serves me well). They had all of the K-Line Napa Winery cars. Back then I thought these stores had trains made regionally, so thinking I’d never see them again I bought them all, except for one. It was a Sattui Winery Tank car. The reason I didn’t buy it was because all the other cars cost $40 but the tank car was priced at $150!!! And it had plastic trucks and couplers. I was told it was rare explaining the higher price. I actually considered getting it to complete the set, but I just couldn’t justify the upcharge. I figured I’d see it at the York Meet later on. No such luck!!

So after arriving home from the wedding trip I went to Nicholas Smith Trains for my usual visit. Talking to Chris Gans, I tell him my story about the Napa cars. He informs me “Oh yeah, he bought them from me. They’re $15 each.” But he didn’t have any Sattui tank cars. I learned a valuable lesson that day. And after several years of searching I never found it and I gave up looking, as I had begun to focus on scale sized O gauge.

Back to the train show, there it was, laying on the table cradled in its box amongst the other Napa cars!! I skipped over to where my wife was a few tables away and said excitedly “GUESS WHAT I FOUND!!" She says go get it, quick! I picked up the box like it was a brick of gold, still not believing I was holding it in my hands. The price on the box: $20. It didn’t even cross my mind to negotiate.

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As I gleefully walked around to the other side of the rectangle shaped booth to buy it, it happened again!! Sitting there all stacked up nicely was a five car set of K-Line 21” Amtrak Surfliner passenger cars!! Another item I had given up on!! And on the same booth too!! What the heck is going on here??!! The price was high but I negotiated a more manageable price. I had a set of these in my hands several years ago at York but let them go since at the time I had no connection with Surfliners when there were so many other fish to fry. But now in Southern California I see them a lot!! Two items I had given up on for years on the same tables.

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Now thoroughly surprised and satisfied when I never expected to find anything at this show, we leisurely walked around to see the layouts before heading for lunch. We walked by a table that had some various freight cars. The gentleman manning the table, a Vietnam vet, had some nice items but we spent way more than we expected. While browsing he lowered his price on a few items. We thanked him for his service to our country, but he didn’t accept credit cards as he was selling some of his private collection. He asked us to think about it while he went to the bathroom. So we went to look at the layouts when we saw the gentleman walking back to his table. He stops us and says, “You know what? I know you’re not going to beat me for the cost. Pick what you want and you can send me a check later, whenever you can. I’ll give you my address.” He just didn’t want to haul all his trains back home. Shocked at his generosity and trust, I picked out a few items, including all 12 of the loose 1990 era K-Line Ore Cars, a couple of Atlas O Ballentine Beer reefers and a K-Line die cast Nasa Front Runner with ISO tanks. We gave him $50 cash goodwill money and promptly mailed him a check for the balance the next day.

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What an amazing day and train show!! Finding not one but two elusive train items and experiencing the generosity and trust of a fellow train guy all in the same afternoon. Never give up on finding a train treasure.

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

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Brian, Thank you for sharing your tale of latest acquisitions.   I like the way you negotiated for what you wanted.  Many people are hesitant about discussing an item, expressing an interest and offering a price consistent with what they can afford.  I don't know how many in this group approach a seller to discuss an item whether at a train show, the For Sale Forum or an on line auction site.    John in Lansing, ILL

John, yes, I didn't want to lowball the seller.  it ended up being mutually beneficial.  With the high price I figured what do I have to lose by asking. And I don't usually negotiate much.  I have an idea of the prices for items I want so I either buy or walk away most of the time.  But for a hard to find item I'll give it a try.

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

Traindiesel posted:

I didn't want to low ball the seller.  It ended up being mutually beneficial.  With the high price I figured what do I have to lose by asking.   I don't usually negotiate much.

Those links you offered don't work for me.   It takes me to "Model Train Forum," then I get thrown out.  Are they working for others?

Great story.  That's why I like to go to train shows, even if I'm not looking for anything in particular.  You just never know what's gonna' pop up.

And quite frequently, some of my best finds at the best prices happen at those shows! 

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high in either case.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

If the government knew how much fun O-gauge railroading was, they'd outlaw it!

Common sense is my second best trait.  Nonsense is my first, of course. 

Thanks guys, it was a fun day!  I fixed the picture links so they should work now.

Don, thanks for the correction.  I do remember the shop being near the Wine Train.  It is a cool store.

 

P.S.- Early this morning while going down a rabbit hole on eBay I found another K-Line Surfliner car!  I should have it by Wednesday.

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

Brian,

Since you have had good luck lately finding the train related items you want at a good price, please find me a black Lionel Vision Line Hudson in mint condition and with the box, all for $100.00. Better yet, you'll really impress me if you can get it for $1.00. Will buy you a beer at York if you can do it.

Erol   

Thanks, Brian!  Those finds of yours all look great.  I know the feeling of how happy you are to have finally found all of them.  Enjoy!   (BTW, I live not too far from your former home in Chester County, PA, as I recall.  That was quite a big move for you!)

Brian, I picked up the K-Line Sattui tank car a few years go from ebay.  I don't collect the wine stuff but my wife and I did make use of the Sattui Winery shop and picnic facilities on a vacation to Napa so when I saw the car on ebay I had to bid.  I don't remember what I paid but knowing how I treat ebay items it had to be in the mid twenties or less.

Traindiesel Brian,   I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story.

I too experienced a trustworthy seller at York.  A fellow had a stack of MTH 5-car passenger sets and he just handed them to us broke fellows who had already spent all our money, but were drooling over his sets that were priced right.  He handed us a piece of paper with his address on it and said send me a check when you have the money.

Dennis

I'm retired. Now I work at being a pain in the butt.

locolawyer posted:

Brian,

Since you have had good luck lately finding the train related items you want at a good price, please find me a black Lionel Vision Line Hudson in mint condition and with the box, all for $100.00. Better yet, you'll really impress me if you can get it for $1.00. Will buy you a beer at York if you can do it.

Erol   

Erol, since you’re willing to pay $100 for the Hudson, if I find one for a dollar I’ll only charge you $99. 

Ill have a Yuengling, please. 22 ounce mug. 

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

RadioRon posted:

Thanks, Brian!  Those finds of yours all look great.  I know the feeling of how happy you are to have finally found all of them.  Enjoy!   (BTW, I live not too far from your former home in Chester County, PA, as I recall.  That was quite a big move for you!)

Ron, I’m still shocked that I found them on the same table on the same day after giving up on finding them for years!

I lived in Oxford. It was quite the move and I miss having the layout to work on and the great hobby shops and train gatherings. And we had to give up our Phillies and Flyers tickets, but it is a good opportunity and we’re closer to our parents. I’m looking forward to my layout build in the near future!!

That's not an insult, that is just a fact of life!

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

Hey Brian,

You might want to come to a T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division Sunday Meet.  There are 11 a year (usually first Sunday of the Month) & in August there is the annual picnic in Griffith Park with train rides provided by the Live Steamers.  Monthly Meets have 70+ tables which members can use for $5 each.  Great auction & food service.  Next Meet is 10-6-19.   9:00 - Vendor/Seller Table Setup
10:00 - Meet officially opens for Members and the Public
11:45 - 50-50 Drawing
12:00 - Auction begins.  There is a non-member admission fee of $5.00 per person or family (husband, wife and children/grandchildren under 21).  All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult and supervised at all times.  All T.T.O.S. Southwestern Division train meets are being held at the:Masonic Center, 50 W. Duarte Rd. in Arcadia, California  91007.  There are 3 or 4 Open House events each year when Mike Marple has ten tables of parts for purchase.  Need more info -contact me @ 760-948-7147.

 

Brian, great story!  Proves that we never know where we will find something that we are looking for. 

I have found that the search many times is the best part.  I used to love going with my wife to antique malls helping her find old advertising recipe boxes.  After she had found the majority of the ones she was looking for, the fun diminished dramatically.  We build special shelves to display them in our kitchen and that extended the enjoyment, but it soon became apparent that the search was the most fun.

Another thing I enjoyed about your story was the social interaction that can take place at a train show.  Usually you can sense who you can trust and who you can't after a few minutes.  And some of the nicest people you will ever meet are train guys in my opinion.  I never used to enjoy negotiating, but have come to enjoy it in my later years.  Maybe watching American Pickers was part of the reason?  Since I have found that if you make it light-hearted and easy going, it can be fun for both parties.  I like to ask "what is your I can't afford not to buy it price?"  At the local monthly train shows everybody expects to negotiate.  I've often heard comments like "I feel I have to negotiate even thought it's a fair price."

Again, great story and you found some great items.

Art

 


The late Bill Royer from Keystone Division was a good friend of mine and attended a lot of shows as a seller. Often times he would confuse a buyer with a conversation that went like this:

Buyer: You have $20 on this car would you take $15?

Bill: No, not $15, how about $12? And then he would smile and watch the buyer trying to make sense of what just happened. 

Brian.

I have never been to a USA O scale train show and probably never will but doesn't stop me saying it is a great story and now I appreciate more how my son feels when he finds a rare Star Wars item on the bay (he has been a collector for years) I am glad you are happy with your finds it's a great hobby. Roo. In West Australia.

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