With the new Lionel numbering system, the barcodes have changed.  Used to be 023922 and then the sku followed by a single digit (for example 6-12052 was 023922120526).

Now the 023922 is no longer followed by the sku.

Does anyone (dealers) have a source at Lionel to get the barcode database?

Original Post
phrankenstign posted:

What makes you think the system has changed?

It has changed on numerous sku's.  For example see picture.  Now before the keyboard warriors make the statement, "That's American Flyer, not Lionel."  I have seen new Lionel product arrive at our store with a change in the barcodes.  This was a box that was readily available to grab after reading your reply.


Photos (1)

Looking at the UPC number "01947 9"  as shown in above post, I wonder if a possible break down is.

0 - Individual item not a set?

19 - American Flyer Rolling Stock Product Category?  Maybe year released?

47 - Forty seventh item released since changeover or this year?

9 - Calculated check digit.

I realize this doesn't help with creating a data base of item number to barcode number, just some creative thinking.


When I last helped out at the LHS in 2016, we starting noticed this also.  Up to that point the 5 digits after 23922 matched the Lionel sku number.  Now some match, others don't.  For the ones that don't match, there did not appear to be any logic to the numbers used, other than avoiding duplicate numbers.

Looking at the photo of the American Flyer box 1921221, the most likely reason the bar code doesn't contain 21221 is that this number was already used (6-21221 K-Line Milwaukee Road S2 diesel).  See image below.

To further confuse matters, the same number on the barcode may not be a unique item, as looking quickly online found the barcode from Lionel item 6-19132 which has exactly the same digits as the American Flyer box 1919132.



Photos (2)

I keep track of a lot of different items in my collection by using the UPCs.  I hate when a manufacturer uses the same UPC numbers for multiple items.

Most items sold have UPC (Universal Product Code) numbers, but Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) numbers are not as widely used.  As far as I know, Lionel has only used UPCs.  I don't remember seeing any Lionel items using SKU numbers.

"What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."

The UPC number does not, necessarily, contain a product’s item number.  As everyone seems to know, the first 6 digits are the manufacture’s identification number ( ie 023922 = Lionel).  This number is assigned by the UPC organization, GS1.  They insure that every manufacturer has a unique ID. The next 5 digits are assigned by the company to identify the item.  The 12th digit is a calculated check digit that is compared to the value the bar code scanner read to insuring that it has been read correctly.

With only 5 digits available, trying to keep an intelligent numbering system in tact becomes more and more difficult as items come and go from your product line.  In my case, our item numbers were 2 digits, an alpha, 3 more digits and a possible trailing alpha or two.  Clearly this did fit, so UPC item numbers were assign sequentially and kept in our system with the item number.  We could create a table of item numbers with their associated UPC number as needed.  We also uploaded the UPC and associated item number and other key data to QSR, which was an online catalog that retailers could access and update their system.  For some smaller retailers without access to QSR, we could provide an Excel file with all the data they needed for their system.

My guess is that Lionel started to run into limitations in their existing numbering system requiring an expanded item number.  These newer numbers will not fit in the 5 digits available so the associated UPS number is not going to match.  Another fact of life is that, if you produce enough stuff you need to recycle UPS numbers.

Sorry this is much longer than intended but, hopefully, it may help someone.


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