I have a 1954 set that was purchased at Montgomery Ward. I have the set box but there is no number on it. Is there anyway the set number can be identified by the contents. Photos attached. Thank you for any information. Nick.
Based on the loco and cars it appears to be a K5437T. However that set includes a 100 watt transformer and only 4 sections of straight track. The un-coupler was included with the set as well as 16 track locks. This could also be an uncatalogued set that was similar to the catalogued K5437T, with extra track or additional track was purchased. Did it come with a transformer?
You have set number K5437T
Based on what I can identify from pics of your rolling stock boxes and perusing my 1954 Gilbert AF catalog, I would venture to identify your set as K5437T (Meteor Freight). The standard catalog set contained a 293 'Pacific' steam engine, a 947 NP reefer, a 924 covered hopper (cement car), a 925 Gulf tank car, a 929 stock car, a 933 box car, and a 930 caboose. Did your set come with a transformer...cataloged set did (4B). Keep in mind that AF set contents could be quite variable, depending on what inventory was on hand. Also, it appears from your pic of the set box that storage conditions were not good (high humidity?). The set number would have included on the box when new. BTW, your engine looks to be in very nice condition.
As a caveat, I am not a Gilbert AF collector and definitely not an expert on the subject, but am interested in Gilbert production history. Hope this helps.
New Orleans, LA
Although it looks like you have your answer, there is a website which has scans of every page of every American Flyer catalog from 1938 through 1966. You can go to that website, click on the 1954 catalog and see each cataloged set plus the page has a list of the set contents. Unlike the website for Lionel catalogs, this one is free. Here’s the link: http://myflyertrains.org/AF_Ca...lbert%20Catalogs.htm
The other possibility is it could be uncataloged set #2H342. The only way to tell would be if the set number stamp was legible. The contents of the two sets are the same. No other uncataloged 1954 sets had the same engine and freight car consist.
MW sets often had different tracks than the standard set. I would have to look at my "uncatloged sets" list to see if it shows anything. I have two MW sets from '55 & '56 without set boxes, but based on the track that came with them, I could figure out the sets. (had switches, a crossover, and some 1/2 tracks)
It will take me a day or so to get back here, I don't have good internet at home, AND PG&E is shutting off the power tomorrow. !@#@!!!
FWIW, I have two sources of set information, Bubeck and Garrigues "American Flyer Price Guide", 2000 edition and David Doyle "Standard Catalog of American Flyer Trains", 2007.
Doyle only lists cataloged sets and has this for K5437T from 1954: 293, six cars -- 924, 925 929, 930, 933, 947, twelve 702 (curve), four 700 (straight), 706 (uncoupler), 690 (track terminal), sixteen 693 (track lock), 40 (smoke set - capsule, brush and funnel), 4B 100W transformer.
Bubeck and Garrigues only lists train components for K5437T: 293, 924, 925 929, 930, 933, 947. They have a short list of 'collectible' uncataloged sets, none of which are from 1954 or identified as from MW.
The information in my post comes from Robert Tuft's book "The Almost Complete Guide To American Flyer S Gauge Sets." It fully documents all known cataloged and uncataloged sets. There are just a few uncataloged sets (less than one hands worth) that have turned up since publication. There were more total uncataloged sets than cataloged during the years of S gauge Gilbert production.
The book Tom mentions is the one I was going to look at, but I can't find it! AUUGH--it's a very good book on sets. Hard to say if the extra track is part of the original set or not. Tom, any info on the 2H342 set contents? The other thing to check is MW 1954 "wish book" (which then was only called the Christmas Catalog).
Tufts reports the 2H342 contents as identical to the K5437T, no additions or substitutions. I have the Sears Wish Book but not the MW. In theory if MW sold it , the set should be in the Tufts book.
I own one of the uncataloged sets not in the Tufts book. It was made for Kaufmanns Department store in 1950 in very small quantity. The set is numbered 4611A, but has a 632 hopper in place of a 629 cattle car and a 577 illuminated whistle billboard w/o box in the set box. The 322AC is mid 1950 production. I know the provenance because I am the original owner. I am sure there a few more things like this yet to be discovered.
I own one of the uncataloged sets not in the Tufts book. It was made for Kaufmanns Department store in 1950 in very small quantity.
Not to change the subject but back in the day Kaufmann’s was The Place in Pittsburgh to see toy trains during the Holidays! Even before you got inside the store you could watch the trains running in the window displays along the street and then once inside see many more trains up in the toy department. They had Lionel and American Flyer layouts and all sorts of inventory. My first electric train, a Lionel set, came from there and not from Santa as I found out a few years later!
MTH even made a Christmas boxcar shown in the attached photo with an artist's drawing of the front corner of the store showing their famous clock which was a popular landmark under which friends and family would meet to go shopping in the store.