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An acquaintance of mine sent me the following photos of a 2-rail layout that he was recently made aware of and was built, but not totally completed during the 50's and 60's. The owner passed away in 1967 and the layout has been untouched since. Are any of the items in the following photos worth anything? He (and I) may have the opportunity to purchase everything in this basement that is train related, from the track to the rolling stock, engines and any accessories that are down there. This is all 2-rail o-gauge, the track is all hand laid, (although it certainly doesn't look like it), but it definitely is, much of the rolling stock is brass, but as mentioned, nothing has been run or looked at for over 45+ years. Not being 2-rail guys, (We are both 3-rail), we're just wondering if there is much value to items shown in the photos? Most cars are kits, there is obviously some plasticville from that era, etc... Any feedback or info on any of this stuff would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Last edited by Rich Melvin
Original Post

  

It looks like the track is a product called “Truescale”. Don’t know if they are still in business. It was popular a number of years ago and came in different versions - roadbed with molded ties assembled with track, roadbed and ties without track, or just plain roadbed. As can be seen in the pictures the assembly was made wood and came in different radiuses.

 

You definitely have some value in the Lobaugh locos.  I don't really keep up with them, but I seem to remember a C&NW 2-8-4 selling on Ebay for around $500.  The challenger and SP mountain would be similar at least, if not more..  Many of those brass cars might just be typical kits for their era, stamped metal sides, ends and roof over a wooden floor.  The All Nation F units are pretty cool, and that cast E unit set!  Looks like an E6.  Curious who made that.  The yellow Train Master looks kind of like a converted Lionel unit.

 

Yes, you might have stumbled across a really nice find.  Let us know how you do.

Causes the mind to wonder........maybe the owner passed away around his 50th birthday and his widow could not bare to go into the basment   for 4 1/2 decades???? 

 

What a slice of model history.

 

I'm guessing $2500 to $4000, depending upon how  much work you want to put into it.

 

The only good thing is no outside third rail.

 

The motors need replacement, gearboxes should be cleaned and repacked if serviceable/desirable.   Oxidation in an unsealed cinder block celler could have been a real gremlin.  More than likely oversized brass rail or rusted steel.

 

Like finding a 1967 home entertainment center.

 

Restoring this stuff would be a chore.

Everything has some sort of value. IF you want to make some $$, and don't care just place auctions up on da bay for $.99 start bid and see where they go. All track, building transformers freight cars, details, etc will fetch you some sort of cash.... more than the $2500.00 as stated above.

 

just make sure you state no returns and all sales final with no warranties expressed or implied. Also learn how to pack these item well for shipping. nothing is more heartbreaking than winning an auction but recieving the item damaged due to bad packing!

My guess is that there's a whole lot more value in that collection than some here may realize.  I would seek out a knowledgeable 2-rail enthusiast (or two) who is/are not personally interested in buying the items to help evaluate their condition and worth.  It may be hard to find such individuals, but it likely will be worth the effort.

 

The first step would be to separate the items from the layout; dust them off if necessary; and box them in their original boxes, if available.

 

An alternative would be to do the above and then approach an established auction house to see if they might be interested.

That is amazing. Definitely take more pictures to preserve that history. But time marches on and save what you can. Brass is worth a lot. AT least I have not seen many cases where it isn't. The track, you won't get much for but if you can sell it at a train show, that should be good enough. Those circus items might have been kits by Wardie-Jay and if they were built nicely can be worth selling. Unbuilt kits are worth about 30 a piece. Nicely painted, could be more. Save all the boxes even if the item is built. Plasticville is hit or miss but if you see any that has marbled plastic, its gold. Don't underestimate anything even the smallest parts. I mistakenly tossed the small parts that connect the track with the thin center rail -name escapes me now. Ooops. Wiring and boards are probably the only thing for the dump.

 

 

I helped a realtor clear out a layout once. They just needed it cleared out and I was able to take whatever was not part of the house. But I had to bag up the garbage and the heir had removed the engines/rolling stock but I was able to harvest some great stuff. It took me a day and I filled up the SUV and its taking years to part with. Good situation for all really except my wife who was ****ed that I spent the day doing that. Wear masks when tearing this out. Its dusty and potential for some asbestos materials.  Also bag it up and try to clean it outside before bringing it into your home. I might be interested in that coaling tower

 

I apologize to anyone who finds this disgusting, abrasive or offensive. It just is what it is. Sad but true. Please keep us posted on the adventure.

What an amazing time capsule! Nearly everything I can see has value.I also see a Thomas Industries 4-4-0.The F3's are General Models,the E6's appears to be Adams and Son.Looks like Kasiner and Walthers Streamliners. Most of the rolling stock can be cleaned up an reused by two and three railers.The unbuilt Lobaugh locomotives are very desirable. The circus train is very cool,Walthers cars with Wardie Jay loads.Feel free to contact me through my profile and I would be happy to give you more information on what I see.

 

Ricky

Last edited by Former Member

Sad and interesting.  There is some value there - but not much profit depending on the value you place on your time to clear out the stuff anit list it on eBay. I recommend you post this over on the Model Trains Journal forum where a number of historically interested O scalers post along with Bob Turner.  Bob can give you a good idea of the going price on eBay for the  brass Lobaugh 4-6-6-4 and SP 4-8-2, as well as All Nation 4-6-0's.  You can look on EBay to see what built up All Nation, Athearn, Lobaugh, and Walthers cars go for.  Many old time O scalers had more projects and un-built kits under the railroad than finished ones on it - there may be some additional value there.

 

 

 

Ed Rappe

I came across this post quite by accident and it does have a flavor of sadness about it. For 45 years lay a mans dream of a sizable model railroad, only to be left idle, untouched and to gather dust. The table work seems to be made of a hardwood like oak and most likely valuable. Unless this home was located in a very dry area, I would say that the condition of all of the equipment is very questionable. There are some good scale pieces there but IMO they would take considerable work to restore. Value is undetermined until each piece is at least tested and thoroughly inspected.

What is especially sad is that no next of kin were there to take over the layout...no siblings, children, nephews??  

A lot of work and loads of kit building went into that scale layout. Now someone will go disassemble this mans work. Much of it will be scrapped and it will be a memory lost forever like most layouts are.

Last edited by Dennis LaGrua

Have you fired up the layout or tried to test any of the engines to see if they still work?  You can use an HO power pack if there is no power source there on the layout.  Even after sitting all these years I would think they should still work even though they might need some TLC.

 

I agree that those engines could be worth a lot of money.  I would definitely clean them up as best as you can.  Maybe lube them also.  The better their condition the more money there is.

 

You may want to call an auction house that deals in trains rather than a hobby shop.  The auction house, if a good one,  will advertise this stuff and bring in people from all around.

 

Good luck, Rick

If you have the time to not rush to get back your investment money and dilligent organizing skills there is plenty of value and treasure to be enjoyed by all. I hope Im not the only one who will take aloss on something if I can see or sense that where its going it will be used and treasured. after all whats a whole room full of pristine vintage trains actually worth when no one sees plays or touches them ever. Its all about the joy and the ability to share it. cause if it truely is all about the benjamins what a sad species we have become. Now my walls are almost full of built passenger cars and I need to practice what I preach andf start tradeing and selling 

What an incredible time-capsule and really sad to see those photos - especially for a 2-railer like myself! As mentioned by others try contacting some of the auction houses that specialize in model train auctions. I would suggest contacting Stout Auctions, New England Toy Train Exchange, Maurer Toy Train Auctions, or maybe Ambrose Bauer Trains to get some idea as to what they might or might not be worth on the secondary market. All these auction houses are on the internet.

 

As Ed Rappe suggested, the All Nations and Lobaugh stuff in particular have value on ebay, but definitely find out their approximate value before sell them off on ebay or anywhere else. And good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Lobaugh collector here.  I agree with the above price estimates, but if the deal is you give us lots of money and remove all of this stuff right down to a bare basement I would walk away.  If the deal is you can buy what you want and leave the rest, then you could make a nice profit by giving them $1500 and just taking the trains.  The Challenger will bring $800, and that Mountain ( May be a Scale Craft) maybe $500.  Freight cars are always good for $20.  Just remember, you have to pack them and ship them, and if you were paying somebody to do that you would lose big time.

Personal observation and opinion -the O scale 2 rail community is far less interested in the collecting "vintage" 2 rail equipment than 3 rail O gaugers in "vintage" 3 rail.   Except for highly sought custom models (like Fischer passenger cars), vintage 2 rail models bring low prices relative to their original cost. Probably because most O scale 2 railers care more about the model's level of detail and fidelity than its brand or how many were made.  Exhibit A being the SP Daylight cars from GGD vs. the Boxcar Ken cars shown on that layout. 

 

I'm looking forward to hearing from Bob2 (Bob Turner) and some of the MTJ forumites who know the 2 rail vintage market. 

 

Ed Rappe

You appear to have quite few items that there are existing markets for and as noted about, over on Model Train Journal there is a group of such folks that appreciate more vintage items, myself included, that would help you identify stuff given parades of pictures.

 

I can see a good number of cars that I would find attractive as well as that lovely little 4-4-0.  There is also a number of circus train modelers about. I think quite a bit may be sellable but w/o seeing each piece up close, that's a bit of speculation.

 

I think that if you want to liquidate this all quickly, quickly being the operand word, then by all means you contact one of the auction houses that will bundle it up, and sell it off.  We'll probably see a good bit of it on eBay a few months later.

 

If you want to take the time to clean and wipe down everything, maybe get some one local to you involved that knows what these items are and is willing to assist at least in identification, description, and maybe assess functionality of the engines, then you could either take a good portion to one of the major show, e.g. Chicago, and/or parcel it out through eBay where you would reach the largest audience of such vintage items.  It seems right now that the prices for such are riding high... Vintage kits are also seeming good prices, so also as noted above, there may be far more stashed underneath waiting for discovery.

 

As for the layout itself, structures may be salvageable and desirable to some, if not glued down.  I'd wager that the rest may be a lost cause, however, there are folks that do want that older & heavier rail, used or not.

You are kidding, right?  Yanking our chains?  "Does it have any value"?  Yes, if you could get it loaded onto a U-Haul in a week, enough tables rented at the Chicago O Scale Show next weekend, and trucked there.  There are probably some rare items buried in that: locos, cars, and structure kits.   I see brass from the past in that...

worth money.  It would be a job to clean it all out of there, space needed to clean it and store it, and shows and the internet auctions for years? selling it, but....

Or, as mentioned, run it through Ted Maurer or the NW Indiana train auction house.

Would depend on what you had to pay for it and how much time you wanted to devote

to selling off what you don't want.....

Lemme know if it gets auctioned?  I'd like to see that all spread out on tables...

Originally Posted by Zett:

Quite possibly the saddest post I have ever seen.

I agree :-(

 

Deja vu.  I dealt with a similar situation about 30 years ago.  A guy had built his dream layout in his loft/attic, just after the war.  This was at a time when most British 00 was toy trains, with scale in infancy.  He had hand laid all his track, bought quite a lot of toy trains and painstakingly converted them to scale.  That was fine until he could no longer climb into the loft.  Years later, he paid a couple of guys to remove the layout and bring it downstairs.  They just hacked it into pieces small enough to carry through the loft hatch.  He heard about me, because I was into 'toy trains', and asked if I wanted it.  I could see that it was well beyond rebuilding, but didn't tell him that, so I took it, and kept it until after he died.  The locos and cars were almost worthless - to the train collectors, they were not original.  To the scale guys, they were just toys.  The US equivalent would be post war Lionel with wheels, valve gear and couplers ripped off, replaced with scale items and converted to two rail.

 

Always sad to see the end of someone else's dream.

 

Graeme

Hi Graeme, what a sad story. But, what you did was a good thing. It would of been a real shame to have to tell a man in his later years that his work was for naught.

 

This whole thread was a harsh reminder to us all that  this is just a hobby and we are probably not building something for the ages, but only for our simple pleasure.

 

The ancent Egyptians thought they could bring it with them, or at lest keep it on hand and look at the tough lesson history has taught us about that concept.

 

In any case folks just have fun with your toys because as is obvious to see in the above pictures, from star dust we came and to star dust we shall return.

I don't care what brand those trains are or if those trains were made by Moses himself. The sobering reality is that they were left in a damp and/or high humidity basement for 45 years. Look at the picture of the basement wall where the cinderblock is cracked and where the circle of water shows. Rust, dust. dirt, corrosion, green copper,  mold and expanded metal will be norm here. Whoever buys this equipment may be in for a big job of cleaning and restoration and pray that there are not too many disintegrated white metal parts down there. IMO, unless you get lucky, this layout is worth the salvage value.

I stumbled upon this thread. Sad but a stark reminder for all of us, life is short.

I would like to know more about this guy who passed away in 1967? it  looks as if no one in the family has set foot in the basement since that time interesting to wonder.

As Paul Harvey used to say " now for the rest of the story".

What you might want to do is take one of the freight cars and clean it up to what you think is a presentable state. Keep track of the time it takes and by multiplying you will have a good idea how much time you would have to invest if you chose to go that route with all or even some of the stuff you have. Is the elbow grease necessary going to be worth the effort/time spent?

 

A couple other things: There are still some aficionados out there for what you have, but their numbers are nowhere close to what they would be for old 3 rail stuff. Most of the 2 rail crowd is interested in accuracy and detail, and while your stuff was respectable for it's time, the new stuff available has pretty much left it in the dust.

 

If you have the time to spare, I'm guessing you would do best on Ebay.

 

Good Luck,

Simon

Some of us absolutely love this old stuff.  But tackling something like this is usually not productive, even for a true collector.  When stuff starts showing up on eBay in bite size chunks, I will pay attention.

 

My stuff will stay together until I croak.  After that, I won't care.  All of us have to check out some day.  I really would like my Cab Forwards to go to a museum, but most would just resell and use the bucks. 

I think this posting has really hit a chord with all of us in some way or another as it really demonstrates our mortality. It shows us what is really important in life and that once we are gone all really does return to dust. It is also an important to all of us to prepare for that day, especially for the burden that it will bring to spouses, partners and friends.

On a lighter side, maybe my layout will fit through the "eye of the needle" since it is built in sections. 

Lots of food for thought in this situation.

All the best,

Miketg

That's just one aspect of the guys life. Anything he/we owned would be in similar condition or worse, if left untouched for 45+ years. Picture someone's property, clothes, car, power tools... left untouched for that amount of time. The guys trains probably are one of the few things left that clearly tell us something about that man; in a way, he's not been forgotten, yet.

 

A few hundred years from now, for many of us, I doubt our existence will be remembered.

 

 

Rick

 

I feel as several others have noted, a certain sadness on display covered in the fallout of many years of disuse.

 If I lived close to this woman I'd be inclined to just help her without necessarily having to associate a profit with the project. I'm sure it will be a huge laborsome task...think of how she must feel when she looks at it.

 From a worth point of view, no doubt there is value to many who casually look at all these photos. What course to take though, likely going to be a selective/detructive descision in the end.

I'm going to work on my railroad now

Bob

Last edited by Rich Melvin

Its a shame it could not be preserved as a part of the history of O gauge but I know that's out of the question. So many vintage pieces in one place, even the track...daydreaming makes me think of a club finishing this man's vision, which I am sure the effort involved is out of the question. I wonder about this person, and his interest in the hobby. I have no doubt then when I am gone ( sooner than later at 62) my stuff will go to the four winds. All one can hope is his stuff and our own goes to the good homes of those appreciate it..money seems a distant consideration, although I hope the family sees some money from it as this is their decision which is completely understandable. This story if it was not true, seems almost dreamlike in itself, like a lost world that once had a human hand in it's creation, and a reminder we won't live forever.

I guess because of age and sentimentality, I wouldn't look only at the monetary side of it.   No doubt you can buy it for far less that it is worth restored and running.

 

Being mostly retired, I wouldn't have any problem dismantling the whle layout for very little in the way of payback.  I would probably trade the work for a few of the pieces I really liked and the benchwork and track.   I would offer to Ebay or list online the other stuff for sale at a 10-20% fee.  That would pay me for my time, get rid of the remaining items at the market price for the owner.  Than to honor the guy that built this small empire, I would probably use a cutoff tool and sabre saw to cut the layout in pieces and remove it.  Than I would probably try to put two sections Maybe 6-8 foot back together.   Looks like it is only 20 inches or so wide in places.

You might than be able to have several of the pieces you like running back and forth on this small shelf layout.  You would have a neat display and honor the guy that built it, I would be sure to get the info on him and make a little sign about the origins of the layout.   It would be  a nice way to keep it alive.  I would be sure to have that Citrus Empire sign and some of his treasured old stuff on the wall.

 

15 years ago or more I went to a yard sale and the owner of the property was 75 years old or so.   His wife was doing the sale.   I talked to guy a bit, I was looking for old 1/24 slot cars at the time, he had none, but offered to show me his train layout.  He had a large HO deal.  The trackwork was nearly completed, but not quite.  The old guy really enjoyed talking and showing it to me.  He was 2 years into parkinson and no longer could work on it.  It had sat like it was for a year or better with no progress.  I ride buy that house now and remember how much he enjoyed talking about it.  We are all going to end up in the same situation and it would be nice if just a part of our stuff survived intact with info about us as the builders. 

Originally Posted by matt b:

...I ride (by) that house now and remember how much he enjoyed talking about (his layout)... would be nice if just a part of our stuff survived intact with info about us as the builders. 

You are so right, Matt. Considering all the work, love and hope we put into our layouts, it really would be nice to believe something of them would survive long after we are gone. I have had several features about my layout (The Ironbound) in the popular model train mags appearing over the years, and my own website dedicated to the layout... but when I am gone, I doubt anyone will keep up the website, and the magazine articles will fade over time. Even today, as popular and well-known as it was in its day, how many of us remember John Allen's "Gorre & Dephetid" (gory and defeated)? Maybe what we need is a model railroad museum-directory dedicated to somehow engraving our layouts in the granite of time. It's a thought.

~Andy

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