Lionel Smithsonian Collection

Dear Train Community, 

I just picked up 11 pieces of the Lionel Smithsonian Collection from my sister-in-law. Her father was a huge collector, who collected more than he used. He was a busy attorney who is now suffering from Dementia. 

I could sure use some of your expertise in how to group these items or is it best to individually offer them?

With thanks

Suzanne (Bellymoondrop)

earthlygoodsusa@gmail.com

P.S. I hope I picked the correct topic forum!Lionel-Smithsonian Collection items

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Original Post

You have 11 of the 13 cars.  You're missing the RPO and the 2nd diner. They are not serial numbered so they are part of the cars Lionel imported as warranty replacements.

As it is not a complete set you will probably get more for them as individual cars.

 

Norton posted:
Simon Winter posted:

When you go to sell, be sure to make it known they are 2 rail. They made both 2 and 3 rail versions. 2 and 3 rail items are NOT compatible.

Simon

All the cars are two rail. Only the engines were made both 2 and 3 rail.

Pete

I suspect she may not be familiar with that, and it doesn't hurt to state what the stuff is.

Simon

Suzanne - These cars are perhaps the most highly detailed (and heaviest)  ready to run O scale passenger cars ever produced of a US passenger car.  There wasn't a way to configure them for 3 rail operation without a totally different underframe design due to the extreme height of the flanges on 3 rail wheels.  The flanges wouldn't  clear the cars' underbody details or allow the trucks to swivel enough to go  around 3 rail 72" diameter curves.  I'd venture a guess that Lionel's target market for the Smithsonian branded cars and locomotives were  high end train collectors - vice model train operators.  

Ed Rappe           PRRT&HS 421

If anyone is interested in these cars, I highly recommend them.  A member of the Rockford O Scalers has a set.  Not only do they look good, they actually run amazingly well even with all of the detail they have.  Unfortunately I only have one picture of it and it really doesn't do justice to it.smithsonian

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Suzanne,

Keystoned Ed is correct these are premium passenger cars and designed for serious scale modelers. Although Lionel is a 3 rail manufacturer, these were a special limited edition, Lionel Smithsonian, and produced for 2 rail scale by a well-known scale hi-end manufacturer. Consequently, they demand a premium price. The last time I noticed the cars for sale they were in the $400-500 price range per car, so don't settle for selling the set for a few hundred dollars. What you have is extremely premium, unique, and quite rare.

If the paper tape on both ends of the shipping carton is still sealed leave them alone.  Otherwise I would open them and check.  I bought a set that appeared the same and a couple of cars had broken seals and one had been dropped out of the box and damaged and put back in the box and advertised as unopened.  I still have that car as a reminder.

Also, matched serial numbered sets are more valuable than mixed serial numbers.

The only sets I've seen sell for high amounts were matched serial number sets with the 2-rail locomotive.  The 2-rail locomotive is worth significantly more than the 3-rail version.  In equal condition 30-60% more for the locomotive.  Which brings us to why there is no 3-rail car passenger car set.  For the simple reason that 3-railers see no value in the detail and accuracy of the cars so would not pay for them.  

500 sets were produced.  Is the 800 number etched on a brass plate?  Is there also a Lionel Smithsonian brass plate on the bottom.  I'm pretty sure it is not a Lionel serial number.  Fine Art Models (who made the sets for Lionel) also produced 500 sets to sell under their name.  To the best of my knowledge any serial numbers between 501 and 1000 would be Fine Art Models, not Lionel Smithsonian, although I have not seen numbers that high before.

Jim Seacrest and C.L. Gibson are gone and there are few if any collectors remaining willing to pay premium prices for any high end brass of any scale.  It is why the high end market is shrinking so fast. There are a few who think they can resell them at even higher prices because they are supposedly "rare".  They're not that rare considering the size of the market willing to pay for them.

I would agree with the $400-500 per car.  The sleepers maybe a bit less and the others a maybe bit more.   Depends who is in the market at the time and how much of a hurry you are in.   

RDUNNIII, They are not sealed, so I think maybe just take them out of the carton and lift the lid. One is not in the shipping carton and it seems to be missing the pair of white gloves. I'm pretty sure they are all 2-Rail.  The 800 is not etched on the plate, it's under the "made in Korea" lettering.

I didn't see a brass plate and you had suggested they are "warranty replacements", does that lessen their value?

There is an auction site claiming they sold 12 items for $8995.00 but it doesn't say when it sold for that amount.

Hi Severn, 

I started helping them in July and have sold over 125 items thus far. I started with all of his building kits. I just got 72 more items, mostly boxcars and now they've let me have the big daddy locomotives. I've so enjoyed learning about this hobby and have met the nicest people through all of the sales. I'm happy to have this groups expertise, so generously shared.

Folks...I deleted one post that encouraged the OP that they were interested in certain of the cars and invited her to email him.....  NOT ALLOWED GUYS! 

We are on a fine line here ... between giving good info on the cars and helping someone to sell them.  With  your  generous help I hope that the OP considers offering them in our for sale forum ...

Alan Arnold
CEO/Publisher/Partner-Advertising Sales Manager
O Gauge Railroading magazine
adman@ogaugerr.com
800-980-OGRR (6477)

bellymoondrop posted:

Is it not ok to seek out the expert opinions of the members here? Please clarify so I can be sure to comply!

I think the point of contention was that there should be NO selling/bargaining within THIS thread. The problem being that someone here expressed interest in certain cars in their post.

Mr. Arnold welcomed you to use this forum's Buy/Sell section, if you so choose!

I hope I have it correct!

Simon

well then???

I have a couple of MTH Dreyfus Hudsons that could use a good passenger train. Alas, I'm all out of money so I can't break any rules at all.

Someday I'll have to finish converting the older Sunset car sets from 3 rail.

WARNING. This post will self destruct any second now...…. when Alan sees this or............. as soon as my girl finds out I'm looking at more trains anyways.

Note: I actually feel bad for Alan that he has to police the posts instead of getting to enjoy them. I edited this post myself and removed most of the jokes that were in poor taste. Looks like I still missed a few....

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Engineer-Joe posted:

Note: I actually feel bad for Alan that he has to police the posts instead of getting to enjoy them. I edited this post myself and removed most of the jokes that were in poor taste. Looks like I still missed a few....

Must be all that sour mash and cheap wine!!

Simon

VGN64 posted:

Have you looked at Stout Auctions?  They seem to be getting some very high prices and there commission is on top of what the item sells for.  I know one big dealer told me when he gets out of the hobby that is where his stuff was going.

I bought 3 NIB Lionel Smithsonian cars (Diner, Observarion and RPO) in a Stout Auction in 2016 and payed a total for all three together of $1100 including commission and shipment (to Netherlands). Not very high I think?

And I do run them:

Regards

Fred

bellymoondrop posted:

Thanks for the referral VGN64 & Fred. I was at the P.O. yesterday and they said they only insure up to $2500, so I will need to use another carrier as well.

Considering the size of the carton it would take to ship all the stuff at one time it might be more practical and cheaper?? to ship multiple parcels. You could then insure individual parcels which would get you around the $2500 limit.

I'm  guessing it would require some kind of motor freight to ship the whole magilla, packaged inside a wooden box or frame work. I have shipped a lot of stuff, and it can and will be a headache.

Simon

If you want to know the accurate history of the Smithsonian Collection by Lionel contact George Kohs. He and his brother Gary were the importers and designers of the sets for Lionel. He lives in Clarkston, MI. and his phone number is 248-625-6396. His current company is Kohs & Co. He is an expert on O Scale and Gauge One brass trains.  He can tell you about the original pricing of the engine and cars. 

turbgine posted:

If you want to know the accurate history of the Smithsonian Collection by Lionel contact George Kohs. He and his brother Gary were the importers and designers of the sets for Lionel. He lives in Clarkston, MI. and his phone number is 248-625-6396. His current company is Kohs & Co. He is an expert on O Scale and Gauge One brass trains.  He can tell you about the original pricing of the engine and cars. 

Good luck with that.

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