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I have the opportunity to buy a prewar boxed American Flyer passenger set. Cost is $100 even.

I haven’t seen it since it was offered to me about a year ago but its kinda looks the one I linked below. The differences and similarities are:

- There might be 3 passenger cars

-Passenger cars are a green similar to the Illini passenger cars and have a crackled effect

- Set comes in original box which is in VG condition. Box is off-white with artwork on front

- I don’t believe there was a transformer


Similar Loco but  no head light(would that be the 1280?). Further, the loco is in pieces but the pieces aren’t broken all of the pieces are there. in fact, the paint is great. I already Have the 1270  so I may be able to use the similar parts from the set loco to make my somewhat banged up 1270 look better

- Passenger cars are in good to VG condition

- original Track is included

I’ve always wanted a prewar boxed set. Whether it’s 2 or 3 Passenger cars.

so, 2 questions:

Has anyone ever seen/heard of a 2 to 3 car crackled green passenger car set with the prewar black loco w/o the headlight? Or the same arrangement led by a 1270?

for that price, with what’s included, is it a good deal or would I be overpaying?

Very excited to get your input!

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A similar engine with no headlight would be a 1201 engine.

Box is off white?  Never seen an off white set box.  All set boxes that I know of are brown cardboard.

Crackle Green?  That can only mean that the lithograph has alligatored, as the colors of a lithographed car should be solid colors, but some of the earlier sets do alligator and get an appearance of having cracks. 

If the price is $100 and the engine is in pieces, it sounds like it may be priced a bit on the high side, but without pictures I can't really say.  I know that boxed sets similar to what you have described, should sell in the $100 to $150 range.


Was able to get down and see the box and contents tonight! But first, I’d like to share these sentiments in the spirit of thanksgiving:

@Nation Wide Lines (was hoping you would respond- the thread that I believe you and someone else put together on another forum has been a great reference and you’re such a helpful member) and @Robert S. Butler  (Wealth of knowledge and guidance whom I remember as being helpful and supportive when I joined the forum and has helped stoke my fire for European Tinplate)- I know what I just said about you sounds “corny” and a lot of people would think they’re just empty compliments, but please know that I mean them- you’re great contributors to the Tinplate hobby and great guys!

Sorry for not being clear regarding the box- I had assumed that it was pretty standard across the industry to have the company logo and some “artwork” of either one of or a combination of the manufacturer name, a manufacturer’s notable/popular products and/or a kid or kids playing with a train. Such as in the picture below:


The mall was closing up so I had to move fast. The box was hard to get to, and I ran out of storage on my phone  after taking one picture. Regardless, I can now more accurately describe the set.

First, the box. It’s cardboard and just a little lighter in color than the Lionel box above. Here’s the picture of the box I was able to take:


It’s clearly not “off-white” haha. I’m sure Youve seen me mention my history of TBIs and the 2 bad ones I suffered in the past two January’s- somethings tend to blur although the things most affected are usually my cognitive functioning(critical thinking and trying to “put things together- this post has been exhausting) and in turn my short-term memory. I apologize for that, long day and i jumped into making this post to early. Back to the box,Also appears to have been beaten up pretty (all 4 corners of the top of the box are split ).  This side is the only one on which I’m positive that there is a logo, not sure if the opposite side shows this logo or number. Also, the other half of the logo not in my picture is  somewhat faded/scuffed. The other Two sides are plain cardboard. the top looked like regular worn cardboard with a large portion in the center looking as if it had a water stain but it’s possiblt just discoloration due to age. Unless there was supposed to be some picture like the Lionel box there- that doesn’t bother me. Internally, there was a cross-shaped insert splitting it into 4 areas(presumably one for the engine, two for each of the coaches and possibly the 4th for track.

Enough about the box!- what was inside? The picture below, which I was able to find online, are the trains in the set


Black 1201 steeple cab- So it is indeed headed by the head-light-less 1201- Thank you Nation Wide. The engine isn’t assembled but the pieces are in good shape. Whether or not it’s all there will be a major factor. I will say that, at least as it’s pictured above AND the condition of the pieces in the box, I actually think I like it better than my 1270. The lettering/logos(motor 1201, American Flyer Lines) are in great shape and the black paint is immaculate

The rolling stock-  it is as I described it and did indeed “alligator”- a bit. Not all the track was there nor was there a transformer.

There was some tissue paper as well as track, but not enough for a full loop.

when it comes to determining the price i think it can be broken down into 4 areas: condition and value of the coaches, how much of the engine is there(is there a motor? Are the frame, body and shells present?), the box’s condition,  and completeness.

given this info, thoughts? Specifically regarding the box- is this what a prewar Flyer Set box looked like? outside and on the inside?


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Last edited by StevefromPA
@Will posted:

I'm confused. You say you saw it a year ago? I guess you didn't take photos. Why can't the seller send you photos? Buying a set from memory of seeing it a year ago doesn't strike me as a good idea. And showing another set doesn't help anyone here advise you.

I should’ve waited until I had the information in my last post. I selfishly made this post because 1.) I thought I could get the set tonight and wanted pricing info 2.) I unfairly tried to use the great knowledge base on this forum as a crutch for things I didn’t remember. It was impulsive.

I respectfully, however, disagree with your last sentence. I just didn’t explain it properly. The red 1205 American Railway Express was my first Prewar Flyer item, this car was made in many colors- along with the coach and observation. I thought that by showing a similar, yet different color set(in terms of rolling stock  with the same loco) it might jog someone’s memory by making connections to the similar coaches and loco. Kind of like how a prewar Lionel catalog would show a set of red 2600 series Passenger car set led by a 224 above a green 2600 series consist of the same cars led by a (insert similar but unique loco).

Regardless, you were right to call me out of my poor quality post. I had a good, very active but exhausting day. I was happy with how things had went and thus thick-heatedly, instead of calling it a day and recognizing my brain needed to rest as its still healing, made two dumb decisions by making this thread the way I did and going out late thinking I could get that set when the vendor likely wouldn’t be there. I am sorry, to all of those on the forum and especially in this sub-forum for my actions.


That is the correct style box and it appears to be correctly labeled, what you have described would be a set 1201.  One of the 1201 sets in my collection features the same dark green cars.

The box should have some cardboard dividers inside to separate the cars and engine from the track.  The set should likely have a full circle of track and 2 straight sections.

The box top should likely have had a large label like this

I know you mentioned that the photo of the black engine and green cars that you showed in a previous post was not the set you are looking at, but here is a picture of an early 1201.

I noted that the photo you showed, does not feature any handrails on the motor, but I was unable to read the number on the engine.  The 1201s typically had handrails, with 2 different styles being used over the years.  The above style is the early style of handrails.  The 1270 engine, which you indicate you have, should not feature handrails, but the majority of 1201s I have seen (but not all) feature handrails.


Last edited by Nation Wide Lines

Thank you all for your input and understanding- it is much appreciated! I ended up at Joe’s train station & Henning’s on Sunday so I didn’t get a chance to view the set properly.

I could’ve swore that the top of the box had the label @Nation Wide Lines posted when I first saw it . Obviously, I can’t trust my memory when it comes to my original viewing of the set. Considering that the logos on the side are correct, then that must be top of the box and as I observed Friday night the logo on the top of the box isn’t there. If that logo was removed or fell off, That could explain the large discoloration “splotch”- I assumed an adhesive was used to put the logos on the box?

Also, @Nation Wide Lines - the 1201 in the box, while not assembled, did indeed have the handrails. On another note, I know I kept saying I have a 1270 but I checked and it’s a 1218.


The camera  flash makes the paint chipping on sides of the steeple look worse than it is- its my only Prewar Flyer engine. As opposed to my Prewar Lionel, and Ives electrics and Marx steam engine, the1218  only requires about 40% if the voltage that I’d apply to reach the same speed using a conventional type Z.

Obviously,I need to and willfind out some more info(engine condition, parts present, etc...) But, as I saw it Friday, I like it but not enough for me to spend $100 on it.

Also- to, in terms of crackle Litho/the “alligator” litho, heres my 3000 Baggage car that has it on the door. Thankfuly, that’s the only place it’s present.


Again- thank you all for your help! Will keep you posted.



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