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My next door neighbor has offered his train set to me.  It's all from 1956.  What I am seeking is what would be a fair price to offer?  Here is what he has:

Steam Turbine Locomotive w/smoke chamber #671
Tender with whistle #2671W
Operating Milk Car #3472 (one door needs work)
Milk car platform #3462P
Operating Generator Car #2461
Operating Searchlight Car #2420
Operating Crane Car #2460 (needs work on crane lift)
Automatic Dump Car #3459
Hopper Car #6456
Operating Coal Loader w/coal #397
Trackside signal #153-3
VW-150 dual-handle transformer (assume 75 watts per side?)

All are in their original boxes except the coal loader and track signal.  Condition is good other than notes above - I haven't tested these items to see if they work.  Boxes are in fair condition.

He wants to sell but we have no idea of the worth.  That's why I'm putting this up here instead of sell/trade section.  Thoughts?  Thanks!!

Original Post

The trains are not from 1956.
The VW transformer was made in 1948 and 1949.
The 671 locomotive with a 2671W tender was made in 1948.
There are a bunch of variations on 671 locomotives, and Lionel reissued the 671 as 671RR during the Korean War materials shortage. Some of these engines are marked "671RR", and others are not (the "RR" is under the "671").

Generally, the 671 was made between 1946 and 1949. The 671RR was probably 1952 (not positive).

You can use the Tandem Associates web site to identify the trains.

The value of the trains is dependent on the condition.
The last private party purchase I made was all boxed stuff, but every piece had something wrong with it. So boxes are not always an indication of the condition of the trains themselves.
In the world of collecting, items in "good" condition are not particularly valuable.

Can you post some photos, preferably showing all sides of each piece?

  I do not even know anybody who would want it.

IMHO, there is no shortage of people who would want the set. The key pieces are the locomotive/tender, and the VW transformer.

The 2420 is a work caboose with an operating searchlight. It's a nice car that came in either dark or light grey. I forget which is considered more desirable. The roof and/or toolboxes are often chipped.

I believe the 2460 is a six wheel crane. Nice car, but the booms / cabs are often damaged.
I last purchased one about 2 years ago at the Springfield, MA train show. It was dirty but complete, cost me $15.
It cleaned up just fine.

The 3472 milk car came with two different style doors: plastic or metal. IMHO, 027 milk cars with damaged doors have almost no value. In my area, a nice one would probably go for under $20, with the platform.

2461 is a transformer car. It should have four insulators on top. The transformer came in black or red. The insulators are often damaged. Another nice car if the insulators are original and undamaged. Reproduction insulators were made. Not certain how they are installed. The originals were trapped between the two halves of the transformer before it was glued together. Maybe the repro's were just glued to the outside?

Prices do seem to vary quite a bit across the country.
But it seems to me that some of the suggested offers are well over retail.

By the way, I don't think the original poster is looking for suggestions on pricing to list the trains here or anywhere else. I thought he was looking for some guidance on what to pay his neighbor to buy the trains for himself.

Last edited by C W Burfle

It really isn't possible to provide any estimates for many of these items without pictures.  The color and condition of the 3459 dump car could make it worth between $20-$250, so there's no point in commenting until you post some photos, or give us more detail.  

GENERAL, thoughts:

  • Steam Turbine Locomotive w/smoke chamber #671 - $100-250 depending on condition
    Tender with whistle #2671W (I included this with engine)

  • Operating Milk Car #3472 (one door needs work) $20 (assume this is salvageable)
    Milk car platform #3462P (I included this included with 3472)

  • Operating Generator Car #2461 (red gen $50, black gen $25, broken insulators, $10)
  • Operating Searchlight Car #2420 ($25-50 depending on condition)
  • Operating Crane Car #2460 (needs work on crane lift) (grey or black? How much work? $20 if black)

  • Automatic Dump Car #3459 (black, green, or alumuminum)? If black/green how well-scratched is it?) If aluminum, this could be a $150 car. If black/green, need photo to price).

  • Hopper Car #6456 – Color? Condition? Not possible to price this with out it.

  • Operating Coal Loader w/coal #397 – What color engine cover, yellow or blue? Assuming blue, $20 not working, $40 working.

  • Trackside signal #153-3, $15

  • VW-150 dual-handle transformer (assume 75 watts per side?) - $35-40

Very roughly speaking, that totes up to $320, which is what your friend could hope to get if he put it on eBay or brought them to York himself and sold all.  It's his choice to do that if he doesn't like your offer, if you make one.

Since you're in this either to sell them yourself or to enjoy them, I'd say $150 if you plan to sell, $160-175 if you want them on your own shelf.

If you've got some of the rarer items (aluminum 3459, yellow-engine cover 397, red LV hopper, etc.,), then the above could go up by a few hundred dollars, but there's no way to tell at this point without photos.

All of the above is officially "FWIW" and "YMMV".

Steven J. Serenska

Last edited by Serenska

On the retail market the parts of this would bring about 400 to 500 dollars, as a boxed set maybe a little more. It is a set that is from the late 1940's it was pretty common, Lionel sold a lot of those Pennsy turbines.

The devil is in the details of condition and exact names, colors, etc of the components. see http://www.tandem-associates.com/ for some id and value help.

Bogie

Last edited by OldBogie

Another common problem: broken steps on the tender. The 2671W is a desirable tender, but all four steps have to be intact. Some 2671W tenders have a back-up light consisting of a light bar mounted inside the back of the tender shell, with little lenses stuck in the "portholes" on the back wall of the tender, and an old school light socket mounted to the tender floor.

Madison Hardware sold kits to add your own backup light for many years. These parts  may have been original Lionel factory parts. Don't know for certain.

And be certain to check the cowcatcher for bends. I've seen a large number of turbines with bent cowcatchers.

Last edited by C W Burfle

My self and another member here sell at train shows around North Carolina. We find Post war to be very hard to sell now, most people only buy new modern trains. The value of post war has bottomed out. If you like post war trains this is the time to buy it. But do not expect that it will increase in value. You can see on Ebay what trains are worth now. This forum notoriously low balls so take it lightly.

Rob

If it's run of the mill junk, sure it's hard to sell, but if it is near new, like new with the box prewar & postwar still commands a high price. I only buy excellent++ to near new for my collection.

Good for you but I get enjoyment of finding reasonably priced engines that I can clean and lube to run on  my layout. Obviously we are talking about two different markets. After I left the Pgh. Greensberg show a few weeks ago I wasn't under the impression that the market had bottomed out. saw a lot of pricey engines, cars and accessories for sale.

I consider my trains to be in one of two categories: stuff I collect, and stuff that I run & tinker.
I like the stuff that I collect to be in the best condition as possible, but I don't always require a box. Modern era stuff has to be truly mint, as in never run.
The stuff I run & tinker can be in any condition.

Prices: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that prices are much softer these days. That is not to say that trains are dead. From what I see, other than common rolling stock (Postwar and Modern), most items still fetch a good buck. (But less than they once did). 

The prices of some early Modern era stuff are rising (not the instant collectables).

As far as asking prices at Greenberg, here, EBay and elsewhere: folks can ask anything they like. Some folks sit on their stuff for years and years, sometimes even dragging their goods from show to show. It's the sales that count.

I would be quite pleased to make a private party purchase of the set described above. The offer would depend on the condition of the trains.

I want to thank everyone who responded. What a great help is this forum!  Although I've not been a postwar collector, I think I will offer my neighbor $200 as the set is complete with track, two turnouts and (I think) 2 accessory straight sections to power the operating cars. It will be fun to try to bring them back to operating condition. I will try to post answers to specific questions and photos on Monday. Again, thanks to you all!

As others have noted it is all in the condition of all the items.   But there still are lots of folks who love PW not only for collecting and running, but for the fun of fixing them up and bring them back to life, myself included.   As a buyer I would definitely want to see detailed pictures of each item.  Not knowing if the engine runs and the tender works I would be hesitant to buy it.  The price to replace any needed parts could run up pretty quickly.   If the engine and tender were in decent condition with no broken parts and ran well I would offer $150 but not any more.   There is just not enough information to gauge a more realistic price.  

FWIW if you enjoy tinkering and fixing then you may really enjoy having this set just to make it all run and look nice.  I, and I am sure many others really have a lot of fun restoring PW stuff.

Keep us posted how you make out with this.  

Good luck,

Ed

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