sell it all or sell it piece by piece

Nothing against guys wanting to make a little dough, after all the Forum has been very accommodating letting us list and sell on here for absolutely nothing.

Anyway, I see listings every so often with large sums of trains, locos and rolling stock for sale and the seller lists his (or hers, sorry Ladies), items for one LARGE sum of money $1000, $2000 $3000 maybe more. I have been involved with toy trains since 1999 and setting up at shows for as long running, fixing and helping new hobbiests buy from local dealers and helping dealers fix their wares getting them ready for sale. I have seen ONLY ONE time since 1999 when a dealer had one table at a local show just packed full of MPC equipment. At the end of the show sunday, he was picking up and some guy came up and bought up everything he had.

Usually when someone comes up to me and wants to sell everthing in one shot, I steer them to one of the dealers that can buy everything at once, the down side to that for the seller is that a dealer will offer them about half what the book says, and I tell them that up front. Their other alternative is to sell online (such as OGR), but you may be a long time selling piece by piece.

One other such deal, I had a guy come up to me with a Lionel Girls train He wanted to sell. I told him put it on ebay and put a reserve of $1400. He did not want to mess with that and ended up selling to one of the dealers at the show for $800. The dealer is a friend of mine, and he said he turned around and sold the set for $1200. So in the end everybody was happy.

Sell your wares ladies and gentlemen, OGR has been kind to us!! Good luck and Godbless and happy training. Run em fast and furious!!  

Original Post
bob2 posted:

Half?  That's the dealer I shall recommend to my heirs.

40% is more like it - maybe less.  It takes time and $ to sell stuff individually, and I am not sure these dealers are getting wealthy.

Hey Bob, good point, I may have forgotten about demographics. I see you are on the west coast. I have noticed that prices and a significant difference from where I am in northern NY state and the Midwest where my daughter and brother live, Indiana and Illinios. Something that would normally sell for $20 in the north country may sell for $30 or $35 maybe more in the Midwest and probably more on the west coast.

My friend that deals with trains usually offers 50% and sometimes more and he still makes money selling.

The market is much much larger for individual items vs. Selling an entire lot.

The lot will be undercut to allow room for profit at /near " market "value.  Individual items will get closer to market value because theres no hit to take from a broker.

Like the old saying you only get out of something what you put into it.

I see "lots" that sit unsold with great items, that would move more quickly if sold individually.

To each their own however, its none of my buisness how someone chooses to unload their collection and everyones circumstances are different.

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

Time is money. I'd rather pay more to acquire items one at a time, than buy a lot with a whole bunch of stuff I don't want, and have to waste time reselling to get my money back out of it. Some people seem to really enjoy buying large lots and them breaking them up - more power to them, but selling trains is not my hobby. But for the same reason, if I were to sell my trains (perish the thought!) I would probably be the guy happy to get 40-50% just to have them out of my hair. Time is money, after all.

I have a dear friend that has been a dealer for many years. When he is buying a collection his offer is based on how fast he thinks he can sell it. Some items are slow movers, some sell almost instantly. When you factor in all of the costs it becomes hard to make a profit if you pay much more than 25-30% of the value of the collection. 

An honest, ethical dealer provides a valuable service to those of us that do not want to mess with selling stuff to the public. 


This  is actually a decision that needs to be determined by the seller. 1 I believe you would make more selling piece by piece unless you have a lot of low value items. 2 is it worth selling piece by piece and then shipping it piece by piece. 

I see some being sold for thousands but to me then they shoot themselves in the leg by stating local pick-up only. I'm not going to travel hundreds of miles to pick-up trains, It has never made sense to me to list items on ebay but then put local pick-up only. I have seen where they will list a single train set ( about 5 items total ) and then local pick-up only. They normally get very little money ( as the just shot down about 90% of there bidders) . 

Then you see $10 - 15 thousand and more on ebay and it's priced about 75% or better of value and pick-up only. 

To me if I was going to sell my trains, I probably pack them all up and take them to a auction house that would advertise them and let it go from there. If they advertise, they have a large collection to sell, that will bring folks in, even here in the south where you don't have the following like you do up north. ( I have witness it. ) This way I can also put reserve on certain things. ( I would do about 50% of there value just to be sure they were not given away ( like some of my complete post war sets, with all there boxes.) 

I have a fair size collection of prewar 810 - 820 series cars that are not collector quality but runner quality ( some more nicked up than that also ) that I plan to put out at my yard sale in April. I will advertise in the local paper that I have lionel trains in the yard sale. I'm also going to have others I don't really want and see if I can get a least a fair offer. 


One of the difficulties in selling stuff, is that unless the person selling has knowledge of the item, it's a difficult process.

I have luck selling trains on Ebay.  However, if I try to sell other than trains, like china, furniture and the like, it is a much more arduous, to me, process.  

I do have luck selling tools on Craigslist however.  So the person that just wants to clear out stuff inherited from a deceased relative by selling it, may have a tiring job on their hands.  

Believe me, my wife and I are facing clearing my aunt and uncle's belongings, of which there is way too much.  Most of it is obsolete and no one today wants the stuff.  We're probably going to donate most of it.

Dan Padova


"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill


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