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The Head Scratcher Special.

   I purchased this single American Flyer Ambassador Passenger car many moons ago.  I was interested in the car because of the yellow rubber stamped message on the underside.  It is illegible, but, at the time, both the seller and I assumed it was the "Sold As Shopworn" notice Flyer would put on items that either were assembly line rejects/ used items/ etc.  For whatever reason I didn't get around to putting the car on display in my train room and it sat in one of my storage boxes for several years.

  Time passed and I acquired a couple other American Flyer items clearly marked with the rubber stamp "Sold As Shopworn." A few months ago I pulled this car out of storage and looked at the illegible rubber stamp notice again.

Car underside with rubber stamped notice (left hand side)

Car_AF_Passenger_3381_Reject_1

  Whatever the message is, it is too long  for the phrase "Sold as Shopworn".  

  I mulled this over for awhile and then, for the first time ever, I set it on the track.

Car_AF_Passenger_3381_Reject_2

  As you can see the car is a tad unlevel. An examination of the wear on the pickup roller indicates the car did see a fair amount of running at some point (the wear on the roller is deep and off center) so it was not a shelf queen.  I thought possibly something had been added or changed after manufacture (the obvious item being a replacement of the left hand truck) but there is no indication of after market additions, changes, or modifications.  Since  the car appears to be as built I'm guessing the rubber stamp is some kind of notification of rejection and since it is illegible I'll let your imagination run wild as to what it actually says.

Addendum - 22 August 2020:  This morning I checked the "Sold As Shopworn" rubber stamp on the bottom of an AF station I have.  In addition to "Sold As Shopworn" the rubber stamp has, in smaller font, the words "American Flyer Mfg Co." below the shopworn notice.  The dimensions of the station rubber stamp and the the rubber stamp on the underside of the car are almost the same.  The only issue are the round dots at either end of the last line on the car.  If those are just some sort of artifact of the actual rubber stamp then the stamp on the bottom of the car may just be, in fact, the the shopworn label.

 

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Last edited by Robert S. Butler

Here are some photos I posted earlier on the Tinplate Forum site which I hope will be of interest.  They show the beautiful JEP CC-7001 20V DC electric pulling a train of JEP tinplate coaches.  After taking the photos I suddenly discovered that my two Hungarian Mint Company coaches labeled MAV and PV were virtually the same size.  You can see them at the end of my train in one of my display cabinets.  MAV is the Hungarian National Railway and PV was the name of the toy train. Enjoy.IMG_0878IMG_0877IMG_0870IMG_0869IMG_0866IMG_0865

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Fat man;  great station. Hafner is a favorite of mine. I have the same station but no semaphore ( station made both ways)   Dating Hafner is hard only one thing for sure if station marked Hafner and not Hafner Wyandotte its pre ‘57.

BillT what a great train.  MTH did a super job of re-creating the original Lionel version that is completely out of reach both cost wise and availability to most of us. Thanks for posting. 

I am not a huge fan of fully restored trains but when this poor loco appeared on the French Craigslist and, as it was just a one hour drive, I had to see it and .... buy it of course. As it was a bargain price that is fine.

So this engine is a gauge one live steam model by BING. it dates from 1925-30 and is just fresh from the attic. Some minor parts are missing, handrails along the boiler, front coupler and tender draw bar but despite his appearance it is not so bad, still work with compressed air. It is extremely dirty, kept in oil sheet of cloth since a very long time which has preserved the main parts. That poor piece has never been cleaned during her life and has been used intensively but it will be salvage. With it the complete set of cars and an oval of tracks. The cars have been repainted...maybe destroyed but i will look at this later.

Now keep it with that wonderful weathering or restore, I think restored will be better....

IMG_0728IMG_0729IMG_0730IMG_0731

And a picture from the 1930 catalog

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Daniel

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Last edited by FRENCHTRAINS

Hello everyone...Frenchtrains I have no idea where or how you find these amazing pieces but it is really interesting, Gauge 1 and live steam, Wow what a piece!  Thank you for sharing.  You know you mentioned ... restore or not? ... just a thought, I like to leave my finds (none as unique as yours) with some scars and play wear...it gives them a patina that indicates they were loved and played with.  Maybe just clean it up and add the missing parts and then let it show off its age and wear. 

I am continuing my quest to complete a full set of Marx early production from 1934-35 which was the first year of Marx 6" cars and the first offerings of Marx Trains after he took over Gerard Model Works.  The big identifier for these cars is the short wheelbase, silver lithographed black frame, and in the  very first versions, the "JOY LINE" coupler.  I posted earlier my 241/246 Bogota / Montclair coaches and this summer I managed to find the 552 Gondola, 553 Tank, 817 Refrigerator Car, 694 caboose, and 1935 Dark Green Mail/Baggage Car. I was really pleased to recently find the 1678 NP Hopper. This car brings me up to 8/13 cars in the series.  Still missing the 201 Observation, 547 Red Baggage, 550 Crane, and 559 Floodlight plus the (very rare and expensive) 551 Tender.  All these cars, with the Joy Line Coupler are referred to as Series 1, 6" cars, and were made in 1934- 35 only.  So the quest continues, but here is my Early Gondola. Note the short wheelbase and the silver lithographed black frame. 

Marx SWB NP Hopper 1

This picture shows the tell tale Joy Line coupler, note large round hole plus tab and not the traditional tab / slot coupler that came along with Series 2 cars about a year later.

Marx SWB NP Hopper 2

Well 86 years old and still functioning... maybe there's hope for me! 

Don

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@FRENCHTRAINS Daniel what a wonderful find ! She is truly a majestic old girl , and so encouraging after all this time and neglect she will still turn over with air !

Normally I am personally 100% against restoration of old tinplate , but in cases like yours where there is no real visible trace of the manufacturers finish to be found , then the case for a restoration certainly has more weight , because you are not really replacing original with new , you are replacing "nothing" with something perhaps? It would probably be worth more to the general collectibles market if left untouched , but you will always find there is someone on the secondary market that likes "Pretty" ... I very much suspect tho that it will not be looking for a new home for a long long time , and that then says to me that whatever you choose to do is the right decision

If it were mine I would leave it though ... but that speaks more about my crap restoration ability than anything else

 

Thanks @Fatman,   I totally think the same thing. I think I will restore that poor little engine.

I could make it look as new but a model with patina may look better, in fact I will try several things to obtain the best aspect. Maybe a solution will appear after the total cleaning, just some black paint, maybe wheels repainted and some red lines but no more.

As I will keep it for me the lost of value is not important at all, it will never be a collector piece, just a running model, and with live steal models of this period the patina tends to come very fast with heat, oil, and flames.

Result in the future as I do not have many time to do it....

Very best, Daniel

Last edited by FRENCHTRAINS

I am not a huge fan of fully restored trains but when this poor loco appeared on the French Craigslist and, as it was just a one hour drive, I had to see it and .... buy it of course. As it was a bargain price that is fine.

So this engine is a gauge one live steam model by BING. it dates from 1925-30 and is just fresh from the attic. Some minor parts are missing, handrails along the boiler, front coupler and tender draw bar but despite his appearance it is not so bad, still work with compressed air. It is extremely dirty, kept in oil sheet of cloth since a very long time which has preserved the main parts. That poor piece has never been cleaned during her life and has been used intensively but it will be salvage. With it the complete set of cars and an oval of tracks. The cars have been repainted...maybe destroyed but i will look at this later.

Now keep it with that wonderful weathering or restore, I think restored will be better....

 

And a picture from the 1930 catalog

Daniel

I replied to your post on the FB tinplate page (Not realizing until now that you are the same person) It's such a beautiful patina, I'd be tempted to leave it.

@Will posted:

I replied to your post on the FB tinplate page (Not realizing until now that you are the same person) It's such a beautiful patina, I'd be tempted to leave it.

Hello Will, as you i didn't notice....  First step will be cleaning and after try to do the best, but leaving it as is may be an option, a sort of rat loco would be funny and it will be fun to run it.

It makes me remember one thing, many years ago in a toy show, I have presented a selection of Lionel Standard gauge trains, running on an oval with accessories all in perfect condition, beside me a friend who has founded an old JEP train in the same battered and rusty condition, worst than my Bing engine,  and just cleaned the motor has run it all the day.

Who had the most success..... not me, the general public was admiring this old train in such bad condition but still running....

Very best, Daniel

I know recently there has been some discussion on restoration of tinplate trains versus leaving an item in its present condition.  I have to say that 99% of the time I am in favor of leaving an item in its present condition.  The only time I am generally in favor of a restoration, is if an item has been previously altered or had a poor attempt at a previous restoration.

Case in point, this 1928 American Flyer 3211 Caboose.

This is how it looked when I purchased it several years ago.

As you can see, a previous owner decided to paint it silver and the brass identification plates either have been removed or were never present.  

Many people passed this over on ebay and I bought it and another 3211 caboose for around $30 including shipping.

In most cases, American Flyer 3211 cabooses are a dime a dozen, but the above caboose represents 1 of fewer than a dozen known to me.  The unique feature of this caboose are its handrails.  This is an early production 1928 caboose that appears to have had limited production due to the complexity of the handrails.  The 1928 catalog artwork (and all of the artwork showing individual sale cabooses through the mid 1930s) shows the following

The slightly later cabooses from 1928, feature handrails similar to the caboose below

Based on the condition of the caboose when purchased, and its unique handrails, I think that most of you can agree that it needed to be restored and it certainly looks much better.

Here are some closeups of the handrails, with a view of the two 1928 cabooses, side by side.

Note the caboose with the unique hand rails has corner posts going from the frame to the roof and that the handrails are a 1-piece design, that start on one side of the caboose, bend upward to the first bracket, then go out to the corner post, wrap around the post, go to the other corner post, wrap around it, and then go back to the other side of the caboose.  The hand rails are soldered to the corner posts, which serves to hold the corner posts in place, as the corner posts are peened at the top, but go straight through the frame at the bottom.

Not so obvious is that the holes in the side of the caboose are punched differently for these handrails, than the later cabooses.  The handrails come out of a circular hole at the bottom of the side and go up to a square shaped hole that the bracket fits into.  The standard production cabooses have 2 diamond shaped holes that the stamped brass handrails fit into.  

Additionally, the standard production cabooses have a large plate that is riveted to the frame that holds the end rail in place, with their no longer being corner posts that go all the way to the roof.  The standard production cabooses do not have holes in their frames for the corner posts and the cabooses with the unique handrails do not have holes to accomodate the bracket that holds the end rails, like the standard production cabooses.

NWL

 

 

 

Hello Tinplate fans...NWL that was a fascinating story on your caboose and what made that particular one unique.  You can smile at the fact that upon reading your post I immediately ran upstairs to the train room to check my 3211...alas its the common one

Since both Daniel and Robert led off this weekend with Bing my contribution is a recently acquired Bing (I think) freight car.  Not nearly as old or exciting as live steam but interesting, i think nonetheless.  This is a 4 wheel, tab /slot coupler tank car, lettered for the "Peerless Tank Lines".  What I think is interesting is that all the lettering is clearly in English and refers to American or perhaps UK hardware ...like "Westinghouse air brakes"  and the use of the word "Gasoline" vice "Petrol" .  The lettering also states "M.C.B. pocket coupler" which I am afraid I do not know the meaning of but it must have been considered important, clearly that is prototype information as the toy coupler is a simple tab/slot.

I know nearly nothing about the history of the car so Daniel, Robert, Arne, Fatman, others please help if you recognize this one. 

Here is the side view, 2 domes and grey / white livery.  All words appear in English with some that seem more American in usage like Gasoline for Petrol.  The trademark and "made in Bavaria" in black lettering (very hard to see in pictures) is lithographed in the lower center of the tank, under the "1000" and just above the tank support. 

Bing Peerless Tkr side

Here is the end view, except for the letters P.T.L and 1000 no markings.

Bing Peerless Tkr end

Here is the embossed trade mark.  Note the "Bavaria" lettering.  The B over W mark also appears in lithography on the tank.  I cannot make out the words above the "B".

Bing Peerless Tkr trademark

Fellows I would appreciate any data anyone has , no matter how trivial.  Except for the seller maintaining that this is Bing and the "B" in the trademark plus the "made in Bavaria"  wording I have no idea where or when this fellow came to be made and how he ended up in the US!  However being a "tank-a-holic" it was a must have!!

Have a happy and healthy weekend everyone

Don

 

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Hello Don,  nice, it is an interesting BING model, made for the US market around 1922-24.  Notice that BING at this time, just after world war one has stamped his trains Made in Bavaria which is a state of Germany as they think that it was better than Germany, goods from there where not very appreciate by customers who suffered of the war, so Bavaria is less known....  You will have to find a little BING loco to match with that car.... note specific mark on the tender of the New York Central and Hudson River.

Very Best, Daniel

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Very nice job on the restoration NWL!!!  Awhile ago when you showed a picture of the unrestored caboose I was hoping you would decide to restore it.

 

Thanks Robert.

I actually started working on the caboose shortly after I bought it in 2012.  I have had the body painted for at least 6 years, but set it aside and never got around to media blasting the frame and painting it.  I can be terrible with starting projects and not completing them.  I have been trying to get to all of my partially finished projects over the past couple of months during the pandemic.  I have been working on a project for an hour or so in the morning and then have been doing regular work the rest of the day.  I have knocked out quite a few of these partially finished projects over the past couple of months, which has been gratifying.

NWL

OK so its a little bent up ....

And its not really scratch free...

Oh and its been played with and abused a fair bit...

Probably stepped on a time or two ..

And it was rescued from after being donated to the English Heart Foundation Charity shop...

Who then listed it on epay , but they didnt know her pedigree ...

Luckily I spied her ... and very uncharacteristic for me put in a bid on the day she was listed ...

Fully expecting to be blown out of the water ... and in actuality, another person DID bid on it a couple of days later , but it was a very tentative bid that only raised it from 0.99p up to a massive £10.50 ... I was pretty sure he was coming back ... so as the Auction finished at about 5 am local time to me ... before going to bed I raised my opening bid to a level at which I could say " well I dont feel so bad now " when he of course came back and outbid me ...

And he didnt come back

So this rough and ragged beauty is coming to meet a whole lot of new friends at my house !

A 1936-41 Hornby Silver Jubilee Silverlink Clockwork Locomotive and tender ... Sadly she has lost her carriages to the ravages of time, but quite a hard model to find in any condition really, and normally quite spendy when you do , so this is a WIN!!! ( in my books anyway )

Not produced in huge numbers this loco came in three different colours with the silver being the more common ( there is also a two tone green and a Maroon/Cream livery versions )

Her dings will bend back with a little light persuading, and I am sure she will sit a little more proudly on her M Clockwork Chassis ...

I might be a little in love ...

OK - I am quoting from Fatman above...as my offering today fits the same category. 

"OK so its a little bent up ....

And its not really scratch free...

Oh and its been played with and abused a fair bit...

Probably stepped on a time or two"

You might recall that on 8/23 I posted a picture of my new 1934-35 Series 1, Marx 6" Gondola and talked about my quest to gain all of the Series 1 (Joy Line Couplers, short wheelbase, Silver Litho frame) cars.  In that post I mentioned that the one that was unlikely to come my way was the 551 Tender as the guidebook price for E was over $200,  way over the other 6" Series 1 cars.  This told me the car was unusual ( I hate to use "rare" with Marx) and tough to find, indeed I had not seen one either at a meet or advertised for sale.  So imagine my surprise when this fellow showed up and...ALTHOUGH ...he meets ALL of Fatman's criteria quoted above, his price, after some short bids on e-bay, was but $12.50 !  Well since I initially felt I would never get one of these, I could not resist.  Like Fatman, I may grow to love his little rusted shell.  I polished him up, bathed the wheels and axles in vinegar to get the rust off, and here he is.  I don't normally "restore" tinplate, especially lithographed tinplate as you cannot duplicate the lithography.  I think he will just join his other Series 1 friends on my shelves as is and I will be glad to just have him after all its 85 years since he left the factory at Girard, Pa. 

Marx 551 T 2

 

As you can see, he has had a hard life.  Likely in some damp cellar and maybe in a partially wet box.  He has lost the finish on one end but the other is OK .  To me the key items that are important are that he shows his Joy Line Couplers, Silver Lithographed Frame, and short wheelbase plus another (not visible) characteristic of Series 1, very small diameter axles. 

A long way from the fabulous finds of Daniel and Robert and the restoration work of NWL...but he was a "quest" for me and I am glad he is home.

Don

 

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Fatman, yup it's a little bent up and not really scratch free...I must admit I've never understood how those parent back when could just stand there and let their kids play with the trains!  I mean, really, talk about short sighted and not thinking about us collectors/operators 70+ years hence and how we might feel about it!  

  Nice diamond in the rough you've got there.  I'm sure with a little TLC it will look and run just fine.

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