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Good Evening Everyone, I met my new next-door neighbor a few days ago and we got talking and I mentioned to him that my hobby was trains, all kinds of trains.  That perked his ears up and he told me that he an an American Flyer train set in a box up in his attic and that perked my ears up.   We talked some more and he wanted to get them down and bring them over so I could look at them, set them up and run them if I so desired and if I was interested in them maybe we could work something out.  Of course I'm interested in them and would most definitely like to see what he has and how much he has.

My question is, I don't know where to look or what to buy in order to find out about them when I finally do get to see them.  Can some of you guys who are knowledgeable about American Flyer Trains, recommend some books to look at and where I might be able to pick them up?  I'd really like to know if he happens to have some nice pieces or if he has stuff but it is of nothing of value except for sentimental value or reasons.

Thanks in advance for your help and answers.

Original Post

I would be more inclined to look at completed items sold on eBay that are in a similar condition to the ones being offered to you, these are prices that are real and based on current sales.

i have no experience of the TM guide and can’t comment, but I do have a number of the Greenberg guides and the only thing I will say is that knowing of specific items listed then they are fabricating the values as far as I am concerned.

The problem with using eBay as a price guide for a boxed set is that there might be only a few sold every year.  Boxed sets are not as common as individual pieces.  There the 1912 TM Guide is good, but it is 8 years old and values have slipped for most Flyer stuff.  Still the most current.

The OP said that his neighbour had the trains in a box in his attic. It may be an original box or just any old box with it all stuffed inside. Even so, if the individual items have original boxes you can still use eBay to get a pretty good approximation of where all of it will sit price wise. Even the outer set boxes don’t seem to hit big $’s from what I have seen.

Price guides are exactly that, a guide, not a benchmark to give accurate values, there are too many variables to take into consideration. I find them more useful to know what was produced and when.

To me I suspect the compilers of guides, not just for trains, use them to help drive up artificially the prices of items to let people believe they have things of high value and when they try to sell them, they then get disappointed when they are told they are worth a lot less. I suspect over the next 2-5 years the glut of trains will drive prices down further, it will be interesting to see by how much. 

To me I suspect the compilers of guides, not just for trains, use them to help drive up artificially the prices of items to let people believe they have things of high value and when they try to sell them, they then get disappointed when they are told they are worth a lot less.

I don't think the people that do these guides are trying to disappoint people.  I think people do that all by themselves.  Everybody thinks their item should be at the top of the guide's range or excellent.  So if the price range for a 336 with a large motor is $248 for Good and $442 for excellent they feel that there engine is closer to $442 in value.  When someone is willing to pay $300 they are disappointed.

Hi Bob,

I confess to never having purchased one of you guides, sorry, only the Greenberg ones, so here is the challenge, what makes your guide superior to Greenberg’s version?😀

My own personal view on guides is that I am not a big fan of them, please don’t take that personally, just my view and here is why.

To start I haven’t purchased a GB guide for many a year now so I may be a bit behind on some entries that to me make the principal of how they say they compile valuations.

Over the pond here I have a number of 220V transformers 4B-EX, 8B-EX and 18B-EX. To find one over here is like finding hens teeth due to rarity, yet in the GB guide they mentioned them (or they did on a regular basis about 10 years ago when I got my last one)  and the blurb at the front of the guide states that all valuations are based on said items being offered/sold during the compilation for that year. I have never seen on eBay a 220V transformer being offered, I have never seen a 220V transformer on any of the dealers that advertise Flyer I follow, so where are all these 220V transformers that GB claims they see? I will happily purchase more 18B-EX transformers if they are often found for sale in the US.

In your guide Bob do you list these transformers and if so do you have a value on them and how is this value determined if you do?

@Ukaflyer posted:

Hi Bob,

 

<snip.>

Over the pond here I have a number of 220V transformers 4B-EX, 8B-EX and 18B-EX. To find one over here is like finding hens teeth due to rarity, yet in the GB guide they mentioned them (or they did on a regular basis about 10 years ago when I got my last one)  and the blurb at the front of the guide states that all valuations are based on said items being offered/sold during the compilation for that year. I have never seen on eBay a 220V transformer being offered, I have never seen a 220V transformer on any of the dealers that advertise Flyer I follow, so where are all these 220V transformers that GB claims they see? I will happily purchase more 18B-EX transformers if they are often found for sale in the US.

In your guide Bob do you list these transformers and if so do you have a value on them and how is this value determined if you do?

Yes, the transformers you mention are listed as variations. I did not call out prices on them because of insufficient pricing data. One has to be honest about these things. One does not buy a guide just for prices, but also for the accuracy of the information therein. I caution, however, that rarity and price do not always correlate (inversely) with each other. Desirability is also very important. 

The TM guide does not cost a lot. Suggest that you buy a copy of the 2012 edition and you will readily see the extensive listing of variations, set contents, superior accuracy, Lionel production, Gilbert paper, listing organization, etc. and, hence, why the TM guide severely trounces the 'pocket guide' competition. 

Have fun!

Bob

Last edited by Bob Bubeck
@Bob Bubeck posted:

Yes, the transformers you mention are listed as variations. I did not call out prices on them because of insufficient pricing data. One has to be honest about these things. One does not buy a guide just for prices, but also for the accuracy of the information therein. I caution, however, that rarity and price do not always correlate (inversely) with each other. Desirability is also very important. 

The TM guide does not cost a lot. Suggest that you buy a copy of the 2012 edition and you will readily see the extensive listing of variations, set contents, superior accuracy, Lionel production, Gilbert paper, listing organization, etc. and, hence, why the TM guide severely trounces the 'pocket guide' competition. 

Have fun!

Bob

Hi Bob,

I agree with you that rarity does not immediately translate to something being ultra expensive, as in the case of these transformers. They probably have very little value as an operational item in the US but over here they are extremely useful to have as an item to plug straight into the wall socket and away you go, no additional step down transformers to worry about.

it isn’t in my interest to make these become expensive otherwise I will just pass on them, in fact I would like to see them with a value less than the equivalent 110V item.

if anyone sees an 18B-EX 220V dual transformer then post any details of it to the forum and I will happily go and see if a deal can be made.

Do you have somewhere I can look at on the web to see the layout/format of the TM guide or can you post a couple of pages here so I can see what it looks like, if that is allowed.

I have a copy of the Doyle book which I find useful, mainly because of the photographs of items and the listing of variations etc. How does this compare to yours Bob?

@Ukaflyer posted:

Hi Bob,

 <snip>

Do you have somewhere I can look at on the web to see the layout/format of the TM guide or can you post a couple of pages here so I can see what it looks like, if that is allowed.

I have a copy of the Doyle book which I find useful, mainly because of the photographs of items and the listing of variations etc. How does this compare to yours Bob?

Regrettably, no. There are copyright restrictions. The TM American flyer Illustrated Price and Rarity Guide S Gauge 1946-2011 is available through Portlines Hobbies here in the States for 10 USD = 7.9 GBP + shipping.

Everyone here purchased Doyle's book for the pictures (which is truly its forte) when it was 'blown out' as Mr. Doyle got hung up with plagiarism issues. However, it is riddled with errors and omissions in the 5-digit and HO sections, its Gilbert paper section is painfully incomplete, and it does not cover any Lionel AF production.

The ball is in your court. 

Bob

Last edited by Bob Bubeck

The Grennburg's big books have not been done since 97.  I really looked forward to the next version when they were being published.  There must be too many of the old ones out there.  The prices on them has been falling on eBay in the last few years.

One thing I always found is errors were repeated time after time.  The one I always laughed at was in the first one in 1980.  It said there was a light in the tender of the 342.  This included the SIT versions.  This was repeated over an over again an enhanced in the 97 Deger version , which was the last.   

I have all the 0-8-0 engines but the last I bought was the 47 S-I-T 342.  When I went in the tender to examine the unit's bellows I found no light and no room to have one.  The authors never found this error!!

The books mostly do contain some errors.

Some on purpose so they I.D. their info if plagiarized without credit etc.

I might use a guide to back what I see in SOLD auction results better, but the sold listings are usually the current value if you knock off lowball luck and deep pocket apathic buys.  You need a decent sampling for an average.

Some guides do try to raise values and can be victim to MFG. pressures. This is for guides in general, not just trains.  I can think of various card, comic book, doll & houses, and general toy guides that are definitely guilty in my eyes. To assume trains are immune is wreckless.

  Ive been playing with O trains over fifty years and only recently began associating AF with O as well as S. 

@J. Motts posted:

Good Evening Everyone, I met my new next-door neighbor a few days ago and we got talking and I mentioned to him that my hobby was trains, all kinds of trains.  That perked his ears up and he told me that he an an American Flyer train set in a box up in his attic and that perked my ears up.   We talked some more and he wanted to get them down and bring them over so I could look at them, set them up and run them if I so desired and if I was interested in them maybe we could work something out.  Of course I'm interested in them and would most definitely like to see what he has and how much he has.

My question is, I don't know where to look or what to buy in order to find out about them when I finally do get to see them.  Can some of you guys who are knowledgeable about American Flyer Trains, recommend some books to look at and where I might be able to pick them up?  I'd really like to know if he happens to have some nice pieces or if he has stuff but it is of nothing of value except for sentimental value or reasons.

Thanks in advance for your help and answers.

So... did the neighbor ever get around to producing the trains? Do you know what he has? Will you tell us, or will this thread just go dead?

I think 20 days would be the short side of a wait for a new neighbor to really get settled enough to want to bother with anything other than "nesting".  Especially "today", be it heat or other things keeping folks inside. 

A book may not have even been delivered yet

  General A.Flyer item/repair info really does seem to be kinda non-existent outside of forums. Like nobody ever shared the printed repair info. I see a lot of ads and box info, but little on tech.or lists really.

Most of the AF stuff is pretty straight fwd run on a simple loop though. 

 The whistle's are totally different than Lionel/Ives that Ive seen, and vary by method. Accessories pretty straight fwd. AF played with frequency modulation more often it seems.(metal tubes, maybe some glass? (?MO so far) (lionel postwar "electric set" also used frequency/vacuum tube tech)

The 2r needs special turnout/track/relay wiring to expand beyond a loop at times/ cross rails without shorting/ etc.; just like all 2r.

Motors with actual magnets for fields are DC only. Only a few, but worth mention for an easy ID; does it pull on a nail unpowered? Y; d.c . DC is safe for ac motor tests,.most train motors will run fine on dc.

Dc motors used on ac will cook most motors really quick though

Royboy and all of the rest of you fine gentlemen, I apologize, I posted this and then got working on unpacking another PODS from our move from El Paso, TX to Lewisville, TX and I didn't have it set to notify me whenever someone posted to this post and I simply forgot about it.  Please excuse me, I didn't mean to be rude in any way, the last PODS I was unloading was the 1st one I packed over a year ago and it happen to be mostly full with all of my trains so I have been very busy trying to figure out where to put all of the boxes.

So, today 8-8-2020, my neighbor did in fact bring me his trains, I just posted on a new post about them (My Neighbors AF Trains) with pictures of a good portion of the stuff.  Please take a look at them and see what you think.

Again, I apologize to you all for not remembering to come and check this post so I could answer you all back.  After opening all of the boxes, I believe what he brought over has been definitely worth the wait.

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