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While surfing auction sites, I noticed that those little slips of paper...Inspection Slips...that were in Lionel products in some part of the last century are of some interest to people.

What can anyone tell me about them that has created some saleable interest??

Thanks for any enlightenment!

DK

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OK, OK...  I get it.

I remember a few years back...there was a seller who auctioned green foam packing 'peanuts' online as "Alien Poop".  And, yes, he/she was quite 'successful', as I recall, but certainly not to fully finance a roundtrip to Tahiti!  (Probably ended up as office party gifts, ...maybe?!)

Seriously, though...   While cleaning out some old forgotten desk/detritus of yore we came across a few of those inspection slips.  Curiosity (the 'alien poop' syndrome, again) led to finding that these small slips of paper, each one having a bunch of different numbers...with no discernable identification as to the specific product/box they came from, have/had collectible interest to some bidders.  Some of those sold on the auction site went for amazing prices!  Most hover around a number ≤$7, each.  But, why?

Is there a correlation of the numbers to some Lionel Corp. records?  Is that among the amazing Lionel archives people seem to come up with...and sometimes make available online?  Is there a finite period of time, number of employees using the same...with cross-reference to specific employee names?  Was this a short-lived QC 'thing' at Lionel...too 'intrusive' (a.k.a., "search for the guilty") for employees' tolerance level even back then, etc., etc.?  Judging by Forum comments posted at the release of some current new products, and their obvious and irritating defects as received, I imagine it would be quite interesting to have the QC gate-keeper identified by a little piece of paper therein!!  Some of the 'corrective measures' directed to that employee could be...well...rather extreme, shall we say...or so rumor has it!!!

Just trying to decide if these few scraps of yellowed paper in perfect condition are really worth the sales effort, and how to best define them.  It's hardly your typical Lionel item on the auction block!!!!

Meanwhile, back to the guesses and guffaws...

DK

Last edited by dkdkrd

Maybe it’d help something higher end. Perhaps a boxed 746, or even a 773 if you could calculate which papers were used on a certain time period……Careful sticking a paper from an O22 switch set in something that wouldn’t be correct, ……I’m sure the box monkeys could tell you who was working what inspection & packaging line on what particular day, what they wore that day, and what was on the menu for lunch that day,……😁

Pat

I have 2 PW boxcars that still have the original slips in them.   I just left them in the Cars.   No mention  or knowledge of them by previous owners.

Here is one.  It is just Employee ID and initials stamped on a generic form.  Not differentiated by item or type of item.     You would need employee records to even  assign a year to an inspection tag that wasn't with the item.

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The value in them, like any paper/packaging item, is there for the collectors who want to complete a mint or LN boxed item. Inserts, liners, instruction sheets, inspection slips, wrapping paper, etc. all help trim out and boost the value of high grade items. Even mint, unused original track has significant value for completing sets.

Yet another example of how there are many ways to enjoy this hobby. Some of us put our trains behind glass and worship them, some of us do the unthinkable by gutting and rebuilding them to improve their performance, and others collect/find value in stickers and boxes. There's no right or wrong way to go here, as long as you have fun and nobody gets hurt.

I could appreciate the inspection slip. It's a snapshot in time. In @VHubbard's photo, 7165E.H inspected that item. That person had a family and a life and at the time, they probably didn't think some people would be discussing their inspection slip. They had not even ever thought of anything similar to the internet. So it's interesting that on some day back in the PW era, somebody signed off on this item and never thought about it again but somehow, that item (and slip) made it all the way through time to the present.

That's why my favorite postcards to collect are the ones with writing on the back. In 1898, you sent a postcard while travelling to tell someone you were safe. Nowadays, it's a text. It's cool to have a window into the past.

That's my four cents anyway

I always enjoy finding a piece with the inspection slip - love the way they would often be “tucked“ inside but always visible - a few piece of mint NOS items IMG_7773

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The 6417 caboose is part of set 2243w - even though the set has tons of paperwork with it some of the individual pieces still have their own slips

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@BillYo414 posted:

I could appreciate the inspection slip. It's a snapshot in time. In @VHubbard's photo, 7165E.H inspected that item. That person had a family and a life and at the time, they probably didn't think some people would be discussing their inspection slip. They had not even ever thought of anything similar to the internet. So it's interesting that on some day back in the PW era, somebody signed off on this item and never thought about it again but somehow, that item (and slip) made it all the way through time to the present.

That's why my favorite postcards to collect are the ones with writing on the back. In 1898, you sent a postcard while travelling to tell someone you were safe. Nowadays, it's a text. It's cool to have a window into the past.

That's my four cents anyway

There's an interesting parallel to this thought...

In the middle of the last century, there was a burgeoning new group of producers in this hobby...brass locomotive manufacturers/artisans in Japan.  They quickly caught on in the O and HO market.  Beautiful and quite specifically accurate models of locomotives in gorgeous brass.  Not always the best of runners right out of the box, they often could be improved by modelers who had honed their skills during the earlier part of that century when DIY was the only way such models could be attained.

One producer...Akane...is worth mentioning with regard to this thread topic.  One of the 'treasures' to be found in their model boxes was an inspection stamp that provided a space for each sub- and final assembly artisan to sign-off their personal approval of that model.  Signatures in Japanese and English were proudly hand-written...no coded numbers of anonymity here!

Fast forward to the era of online, worldwide auctions.  And many of those early Japanese models were being bid and won by buyers in...Japan!!  As it turned out, most of those early manufacturers did not have an employee purchase option for their own products.  Everything produced went to foreign markets.  Besides, there was hardly a decent market in space-constrained Japan for O and HO models...of USA prototypical models!!  So, why the online interest by Japanese buyers?

One communication we experienced with such a buyer was an eye-opener!  Turns out, he had been an artisan working for such a brass producer.  In fact, he had written his autograph on countless inspection statements within the packaged models.  But now he had a huge opportunity to buy the very products he had participated in creating...with his signature of approval!!!  And, so the game was on!!  Gate-keepers became the proud buyers...FINALLY!!!...of their own craftsmanship decades later!

One has to believe it was a proud, exciting moment when that buyer could show his kids, the grandkids, the aging friends what his career and skills had created...with a signature to seal the provenance!

FWIW...

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