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After collecting Prewar American Flyer for a little while, I finally obtained a 4039 with the giant 19" brown litho Valley Forge and Washington cars. However, after studying numerous photos online, I noticed something different about mine. My set, which includes a 4039 without the brass trim, came with two coaches and an observation, which have brass trim and black battery boxes. No RPO came with my set. My theory is, that this engine might have been bought at a different time than the coaches, as I do not believe American Flyer did this. In fact, I'm convinced that this is two, maybe even three different sets combined into one train. So, I ask for your thoughts. Is this a train that was put together by Flyer, or was it the result of an engine and cars being purchased separately? Regardless, I am still happy to have a 4039.

Also, I have a 4644 which almost looks as if American Flyer used a 4643 frame, with slots punched for air tanks, which were never installed. I have provided photos of two variants below. And, what year(s) were these colors produced and what sets would they have been sold with? I know that my red 4644 was likely sold as Set 1471, 'The Trail Blazer'.

  • Notice the plates attached to the rollers. Anyone know when the Black on Gold was used, and how about Red on Gold?
  • The red 4644 frame has slots punched for air tanks, which were not installed
  • The red 4644 frame appears to be a modified 4643 frame, I believe it never received pilot overlays either
  • The red 4644 has four manufacturer's plates, with no numbers


  • The 4039 has no brass trim, matching what I believe is the engine from the 1926 set
  • Notice that the coaches has black battery boxes and additional brass trim
  • Set came with two 'Valley Forge' cars, and a 'Washington' car. One of the 'Valley Forge' cars is an observation car
  • When was the 4039 discontinued? And was it only sold with the Chief/President's Special sets?

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Original Post

After 90 years, I don't think you will be able to definitively answer your question, unless you received some documentation with the set when you bought it.  It certainly could be an uncataloged set, as the Chicago era American Flyer company is noted for all sorts of uncataloged sets.  Or it could be a set that was put together by a former owner.  It's hard to say at this point.

As for the no brass trim, I assume it is nickel trim instead of brass?  Nickel trim would indicate earlier production (at least it does in O gauge American Flyer).

Last edited by Nation Wide Lines

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