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I was watch/bidding on today's Stout auction and couldn't believe the final bid on Lot 2216, a Lionel 437 switch tower in C9 condition.  It went for $19,000!  Here's a link the the auction https://connect.invaluable.com...VABQC5U3YV?pageNum=4  Must have deep pockets to spend that kind of money on a toy.  With the premium it cost more than the car I bought for my two teenage kids. 

I bid on multiple lots and I got lucky and won the one auction I really wanted, Lot 2243, American Flyer Grand Canyon set.  https://connect.invaluable.com...4006-4010_DB343A3A8C  I submitted my highest bid this morning before the lot came up as I didn't want to get caught up in the heat of the moment and over bid.  I was certain I was going to get way out bid but I won with $100 dollars to spare on my max bid, so I'm pretty happy.

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It's always fun to watch the live auction - what is particularly interesting are those cases where the auctioneer says "Final Warning" three times and just before you think he is going to declare the item sold someone jumps in with another bid and that bid is immediately followed by several more.  There were any number of items that saw this kind of bidding action.

  I managed to get a couple of items I was interested in too - all of them less than my max ... and there were a couple of other items that went WAY past my max so they went to someone else.  Overall, I'm pleased with the way things went.

I lived in Indiana and went to several of Sout's Auctions live. Very entertaining. I once bought a post war cattle car near mint, then turned aournd and sold the boxes and papers in a later auction for more than I paid for the set. The fellow who bought the boxes felt he got a very good deal.

There are many people involved in toy train hobbies. I am an operator and boxes mean little to me. In my view a toy train that is not run is very sad. Others display trains and never run them, considering them works of art. Some collect just the boxes. Some only want boxes with the train inside and never opened or viewed.  Stout's Auctions does its best to meet everyone's ideas for trains and let the one who is willing to spend the most walk away with the product. Stout and his associates do a remarkable job of grading and describing each item perectly so eveyone knows what they are bidding on.

I thank Stouts Auctions for adding to the hobby.

Barry and David1 - I disagree - every hobby/pursuit is made up of a distribution of individuals and those individuals have a distribution of disposable income.  As a result, you will find, without exception, individuals in any hobby/pursuit who have a hard time coming up with even a minimal amount of funds to pursue their interests and others for whom money isn't much of an issue.

  If you have the funds and you have the desire to assemble a collection of only the best of whatever (toy trains, paper currency, antique cars, cast iron banks, old door stoppers, weapons of any type, mechanical pinball games, wind-up old toys, etc.) you will choose to spend that money on the best you can find in your area of interest and it will cost money.

  I have friends with interests in old cars and old U.S. currency and they just laugh any time I mention the "high" prices paid for old toy trains.  For instance, the highest price in the latest Stout Auction (the standard gauge $19,000 switch tower) won't get you anywhere near the hammer price for something of comparable rarity and condition in either the old car or U.S. currency market.

  The other thing to consider is the fact that the $19,000 is an extreme outlier.  The reality is that for the 650 lots sold the mean price was $859, the Median (the 50% point) was $325, the minimum was $20, and the maximum was $19,000.

Here's the breakout

Stout Auction 21 November 2020

The interlude is that group of lots that fell between the standard gauge listings and the postwar listings.

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  • Stout Auction 21 November 2020
Last edited by Robert S. Butler
@dorfj2 posted:

Nice comment Dave - real class

Look people can spend as much money as they want, and just because you can, should you?

I could not spend that kind of money when I know some neighbors and relatives are struggling though this pandemic. Sometimes we have to think of others rather then having a toy that does nothing.

Btw I can have my own opinion?

Dave

A couple of very rare examples, in exceptionally rare condition. I have a couple of good friends who seek out only prewar trains in this condition, 'perfect' boxes, perfect trains. They always sell for a large multiple of the same item without the box and with a couple of scratches. Something like this is truly in the 'rare' category, unlike the numerous ebay auctions with that descripter. There may be only 2 in existence of an item like that, maybe only the one, in that condition with the box.

Not my cup of tea, but I know many of the folks that seek these high end items.

Jim

Robert very interesting graph ... in all hobbies you have different price points ...always have, always will ..if you collect  vintage motorcycles ...toy trains look like chump change .. if you collect early Marklin   most other toy trains are pretty cheap .  The different fields attract all different walks of life ...some have private jets others take the bus ..all can share the passion ...but pursue it in their own fashion.   

Auction houses need all price points to attract a wide audience ...  so the high end items allow the auction house to carry some cheaper items ..but the high end pay the lion share of the over head to bring you the next auction . 

Some drive a rolls, some a chevy ...we all share the same road and have to stop at a red light ... each to their own ability and interest ..if we all collected and could only afford the same things this would be one boring planet .

Cheers Carey

Barry and David1 - I disagree - every hobby/pursuit is made up of a distribution of individuals and those individuals have a distribution of disposable income.  As a result, you will find, without exception, individuals in any hobby/pursuit who have a hard time coming up with even a minimal amount of funds to pursue their interests and others for whom money isn't much of an issue.

  If you have the funds and you have the desire to assemble a collection of only the best of whatever (toy trains, paper currency, antique cars, cast iron banks, old door stoppers, weapons of any type, mechanical pinball games, wind-up old toys, etc.) you will choose to spend that money on the best you can find in your area of interest and it will cost money.

  I have friends with interests in old cars and old U.S. currency and they just laugh any time I mention the "high" prices paid for old toy trains.  For instance, the highest price in the latest Stout Auction (the standard gauge $19,000 switch tower) won't get you anywhere near the hammer price for something of comparable rarity and condition in either the old car or U.S. currency market.

  The other thing to consider is the fact that the $19,000 is an extreme outlier.  The reality is that for the 650 lots sold the mean price was $859, the Median (the 50% point) was $325, the minimum was $20, and the maximum was $19,000.

Here's the breakout

Stout Auction 21 November 2020

The interlude is that group of lots that fell between the standard gauge listings and the postwar listings.

You can lay out stats and info all you want, and every person has a right to spend their own money however they see fit, but ridiculous prices are still ridiculous prices. That doesn't and will not change.....................................

I don't want to derail this thread so I'll keep it brief - The first rule in statistical analysis (which is what I do for a living) is plot the data. The plot is in direct response to the title of this thread. The issue isn't "stats" the issue is the meaningful visual representation of the data itself (which is what a boxplot does). The key takeaway from the plot of the actual data is that $19,000 is not at all typical of what happened at that auction. As for a ridiculous price, that's a matter of opinion and it is clear the individuals involved in driving the final hammer price up to $19,000 do not agree with that assessment.

Some may be missing the point, what is big dollars to you is probably not the same big dollars to them.  No reason for some people to be insulting to those that choose to dabble at the high end of the collecting market.  There are plenty of those folks here on this forum and they are just as nice as the next person.  If I had the coin, I would probably be right out there with those guys doing the same thing. It is what it is.  As has been said, we all have our zones within the hobby, they are different, some overlap and some don't.  It is  what it is and I am happy with the stuff I have managed to put together and I don't begrudge others who manage to step up for those things past my reach and I also don't sit and say woe is me.

It just may be idiotic to look down on someone just because they do it different than you or have different opinions...

While I have no interest in any of thus type of stuff, the reason I have the money to spend on the things I do want is because I have the brains to have made the money in the first place.

Contrarily, if you're a person who wants something that went for that type of money and are whining because you didn't have the money then you're the one who didn't have the brains.

For the seller(s), this was one fantastic auction.  I had placed several bids on items before the live auction plus several more under favorites to bid on live.  Didn't win anything and was close only on one item but there will be more.  As for the amount spent by the purchaser, it's their prerogative.  We've all probably paid for more something in the past because we liked it and wanted it.

I only paid attention to the Lionel standard gauge items at this auction, because that is what I mainly collect.

While the top of the line, super rare or super condition pieces brought big money, there were also some very affordable buys-especially for beginning collectors. There were some extremely clean #8, #10 , #318, #33 etc complete sets that sold for well under 500.00 and some of those even had original boxes. There were also some good deals on the freight/passenger car lots and other accessory items.  Even some of the top shelf pieces like the 400E Blue Comet and 381E State sets sold for what I considered to be fair prices considering what similar examples have sold for in the past. I feel this auction had something for everyone's budget and everyone's collecting level.

An auction is  like a day at the races: you never know who will finish first or last. That's why they are exciting to be a part of.

Dennis: You are a most talented and creative restorer and I respect that! I, on the other hand, like "new and shiny" and my OCD is a factor here. When I was much younger (mid '70's), I purchased and restored several original boxed Lionel standard gauge sets and ran them on the original track with those "button" style transformers. Guess it was a phase I very much enjoyed at the time but eventually grew out of. Engines were mostly #8's, #10's and 318's.

Last edited by Tinplate Art

Judge not lest ye be judged .  Someone or the other said that.

Anyway, the person who spent 19,000 dollars on something may have just contributed a few million to Salvation Army or Foodlink.  No need to condemn people who you don't know and haven't committed a crime as far as we can tell, or neglected a starving child to buy a toy. 

The point being if each of us decided we couldn't play with trains because there are indeed starving children in the world, it would neither make us happy nor end starvation world-wide.  We all live better than 99.999% of humans who came before us.

Keep in mind it takes at least two bidders to drive prices up to " ridiculous" levels.

And prices can come down -- way down-- as many are now discovering.  Example.A Marklin excellent Cafe station which once brought $18000- $21000 was only able to yield a hammer price of $4000 at a recent auction.

Or again--There was a situation in Hornby collecting many years ago where one individual was driving prices sky high. He wanted two of all the good stuff (or so I was told). Once he left the market, the prices dove back to their normal values.

So despite the $19000 example, prices for the most part are actually lower than they were 5-10 years ago. And we all know the answer--a lot of supply especially from estate sales, and not as much demand.

Have fun

Lew Schneider

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