A couple of years ago, I started buying items at Stout Auctions. Several of the auctions were of collections of TCA members, and Stout publicized the name and TCA number of the member. I have kept track of this information for the items I purchased. Prior to that, I had purchased an item on eBay that came from Richard Kughn's CarRail collection. This item came with a certificate from that auction. I tried to purchase the Santhion Casino from the Louis Rose Collection earlier this year, but it went for more than twice what I set as a limit for the item. I knew that that item had been part of Dimitri Economides' collection that was featured in Tinplate Legends in Action 4. The collection also had a stunning Santhion Market that went for a much more affordable price before the Casino. It still hurts that I missed out on that item, because I was keeping my powder dry for the Casino.

Some famous collections have been sold in the past, such as Ward Kimball's collection and the Jerni collection of Jerry and Nina Greene. How many of you keep track of the ownership history of their trains?

George

BTW - I went a little overboard in the Stout auction today. I should have some nice things to share in a few weeks.

Original Post

I do but only if it was owned by someone famous. I have a locomotive formerly owned by Lorell Joiner, a ore car formerly owned by John Armstrong (with a certifiable of authenticity) and a Rail King switcher formerly owned by Ben Fiorello. 

Those are some nice items! I think the ownership history behind the trains can be interesting. I don't keep track of the eBay sellers nor the retailers I buy things from for the most part. I am interested in knowing that something came from a collection of a TCA member though, especially if they had a high quality collection. They don't need to be famous.  I don't own anything from Tom Snyder, Frank Sinatra, nor Neil Young, but it would be neat to have something from their collections.

George

I have a couple of items that came from the original owner or family.  In those cases, I ask the seller to write down the history of the item along with the name of the original owner and what year they were born.  I also keep track of items that came from friends, although that may or may not be of interest to future collectors.

Too bad they don't come with a title like a car as I wonder who was the first owner and how many owners.  I really wonder about my British/French/Russian trains and how did they get to the USA

Not really anybody famous on a national level, but I usually try to obtain at least one item from each of my train friends / acquaintances / club members, and people who are otherwise of importance to me in this hobby, etc. ,  as they sell off their collections or pass away.

Just a few.  Nothing that would raise an eyebrow at a Stout auction, but…

A Williams GG1 that was owned by my uncle who was a massive GG1 fan.

A Lionel tinplate caboose that was part of Charlie Bussinger’s personal collection.

An MTH GP-20 that I bought from the Editor-in-Chief of OGR.

Not at all, as I have found some pretty nasty (condition wise) items that came from prominent collectors.  Plus, who really can document where it was prior to whatever collection you got it from?

I am just happy to find an exceptionally nice item.

Never thought about doing that. 

I mainly focus on trains I like, the train condition, and the operational qualities.  A pedigree train would probably appeal more to an antique dealer or someone who collects autographs.   I would want to have a picture of the celebrity holding the train that also reveals some flaw or defect to be convinced it belonged to that person.  The same way they authenticated Robbie the robot and the Terminator suit from past films. 

Unfortunately, the only names I recognize above are Ward Kimball (because of Disney), Richard Kughn (from Lionel), Neil Young (CSNY), along with Tom Snyder and Frank Sinatra from TV and movies.  Kughn is the only name I would seriously associate with trains (sorry Neil).

For me, the train would have to do something special to be desirable.   I'd rather have a sealed box postwar set with hospital xrays than a celebrity train.  But that's just me. 

Heck, I run duplicate car numbers on my trains.

Hello George,

I keep the tags from auction items. My Lionel single motor brass 54 was from the Sirus collection, but I really don’t know who that is/was? I just know that when I got it, it didn’t run well and Joe Mania fixed it for me. Those are the names I catalog and keep memory of..  the guys who are there for assistance when I need it. Mostly everything else I have is directly from Germany.

Someday in the far away future, maybe someone will be proud to own something from the ‘Chris Honer’ collection... somehow I doubt it though. I simply consider myself to be lucky enough to be able to collect, enjoy and care for these exceptional creations while I can. They’ll be here long after I’m gone, same as the original and subsequent owners.

Chris

PhillyChris posted:

Hello George,

I keep the tags from auction items. My Lionel single motor brass 54 was from the Sirus collection, but I really don’t know who that is/was? I just know that when I got it, it didn’t run well and Joe Mania fixed it for me. Those are the names I catalog and keep memory of..  the guys who are there for assistance when I need it. Mostly everything else I have is directly from Germany.

Someday in the far away future, maybe someone will be proud to own something from the ‘Chris Honer’ collection... somehow I doubt it though. I simply consider myself to be lucky enough to be able to collect, enjoy and care for these exceptional creations while I can. They’ll be here long after I’m gone, same as the original and subsequent owners.

Chris

Oh, I think there are a few items from the Chris Honer Collection that I would be proud to own! 

George

Except for a few (very few) items that came from personal friends, I could care less who had it before I got it. Here are two examples of cars that I know their history:

1. WESTERN MARYLAND business/observation car (no photo) built by Roland Klages @1936 or so along with several other WM passenger cars while he was recovering from an operation. Roland was the treasurer of the Baltimore Society of Model Engineers for many years and after giving the treasurer's position joined the WB&A Tractioneers. I knew him from both places and got the car from his estate. My only regret now is that I did not buy any of the distinctive WM coaches and I have absolutely no idea what happened to them.

2. Three scratch-built brass B&O gondolas (two O-58 as shown and one O-60 65' mill gon) built by Tommy Arnold in1939, they are hand-lettered; note that the B&O classed these TOFC cars as gondolas because they had sides:

100_4934IMG_1573IMG_1572

IMG_1575

 

This one (no photo) is not from a friend but I have a four-bay VIRGINIAN hopper that has (I left it in the car, hidden by a coal load) a tag the states that it was from Ellison's "Delta lines $125.00". I fished it out of the 'bay for around $20.00 only because I wanted a different VGN hopper to go with my Weaver two-bay. Hopefully when 3rd Rail's VGN "battleship" gon gets here, I will have another different VGN hopper.

 

 

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Last edited by PRRMP54

Just the ones that came from my father and grandfather so I can pass them on to my children. That's the only provenance that matters to me.

I don't believe in celebrity worship so no I don't collect or care who owned the trains before I did. 

Dave

Nope, 'cause all of the trains I have bought from other hobbyist were all poor and humble folk.

I do know the previous owner of a number of my items, mostly train friends, some of who are no longer with us. Means a lot to me. As I collect some modern era standard gauge, most of these were made in smaller quantities, so it's fun to know something about these builders and the trains they made.

 

Jim

I know where/who I bought from and I know where/who I sold to; after that I don't care.

I do find it amusing when I later see my name attached to items for sale....

When I was buying trains from individuals, I did promise on 3 occasions to keep their trains in my collection.   That was the Bergen,  Wall, and Reed collections.   I quickly learned not to make promises like that.  They were mostly gorgeous prewar trains.  I still have them but have never ran them.

I doubt anyone recognizes those names, but I still have a vivid memory of those transactions. 

Only if there is an interesting story, and mostly for the story's sake. Like Ives 1122 and Jim Waterman, I also try for pieces from my collector friends/acquaintances and mainly to remember them and their collections and stories. And to have some kick butt trains to run.  I also agree with NWL...sometime all you can afford is the nasty stuff.... but, now and again you get a cream puff.

I do, in my IPAD/IPhone Notes

Numbered from oldest to newsist, name of manufacturer, engine type, where and when purchased, notes on maintenance and repairs, and price paid.

Has been useful.

Last edited by Craignor

Had a Lionel ABA set of f3's customized by Bob Milli...wish I still had them,Bob passed away last year age 86...As you may or not know Bob was an actor in movies and TV...Had the pleasure to speak to him and tell him I had the f3's...He told me he would work on trains when he was on the road and had spare time.....CTT did a story on Bob July 1998...he will be missed...

George S posted:

A couple of years ago, I started buying items at Stout Auctions. Several of the auctions were of collections of TCA members, and Stout publicized the name and TCA number of the member. I have kept track of this information for the items I purchased. Prior to that, I had purchased an item on eBay that came from Richard Kughn's CarRail collection. This item came with a certificate from that auction. I tried to purchase the Santhion Casino from the Louis Rose Collection earlier this year, but it went for more than twice what I set as a limit for the item. I knew that that item had been part of Dimitri Economides' collection that was featured in Tinplate Legends in Action 4. The collection also had a stunning Santhion Market that went for a much more affordable price before the Casino. It still hurts that I missed out on that item, because I was keeping my powder dry for the Casino.

Some famous collections have been sold in the past, such as Ward Kimball's collection and the Jerni collection of Jerry and Nina Greene. How many of you keep track of the ownership history of their trains?

George

BTW - I went a little overboard in the Stout auction today. I should have some nice things to share in a few weeks.

Easy to keep track for me.  They are all mine.  Only purchased NIB from the secondary market.  I do have the old Lionel GP-9 UP (NIB) set with the Ore cars and extra engines.  Mine came out of and are still labeled from Mr. Kuhn in Detroit.  They are under the layout because of Magnetraction issues on my Atlas track, and I do not run conventional.

George S posted:

Dimitri Economides' collection that was featured in Tinplate Legends in Action 4. The collection also had a stunning Santhion Market that went for a much more affordable price before the Casino. It still hurts that I missed out on that item, because I was keeping my powder dry for the Casino.

 

That epsiode was aired again tonight.  Did the Dimitri Economides collection get auctioned off?  There was a lot of cool stuff.

The collection inventory software I use has an entry for whomever I obtained the piece from. Long ago, I used to lightly write in pencil, the name of the dealer I purchased an item from, plus the price paid and venue, on one of the box flaps. I don't think I've run across any of those in the current inventory effort (itself just reaching 480 pieces), although it may be that I wasn't recording that info and the pieces are in the database as placeholder entries copied from very incomplete paper records awaiting more complete info. Here and there I have pieces purchased from private collectors, and that info will be entered as the source. 

I did recently run across an email exchange from the early 2000s (I have archives going back to 1997) detailing my purchase of a K-Line clear-shell MP-15 from our very own Alan Miller (paid via money order, which the USPS took on the scenic route before getting it to him) . So now I have the info on that piece when it gets inventoried

---PCJ

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Gramps wrote who,when, the phone number, & price paid for any purchase made from a family. That went into the box, sometimes into a shell.    You could always buy it back, and  thhe keptem all at least one year. He would give a courtesy call before he sold yours, and wouldn't if you just needed some time to repad the wallet.  He was kinda like a pawn shop for trains that paid better, made little if any profit, and improved things while he had them .   

He cared very deeply about the hobby and knew how important it could be to a family; even if they didn't know it themselves yet . That kinda effort is rewarded in ways that some folk never "get".

MikeH posted:
George S posted:

Dimitri Economides' collection that was featured in Tinplate Legends in Action 4. The collection also had a stunning Santhion Market that went for a much more affordable price before the Casino. It still hurts that I missed out on that item, because I was keeping my powder dry for the Casino.

 

That epsiode was aired again tonight.  Did the Dimitri Economides collection get auctioned off?  There was a lot of cool stuff.

I don’t know how Choo Choo Lou Rose got them, probably purchased them directly from Dimitri in bulk, but I think Lou got the whole collection. Stout just sold Lou’s collection over multiple auctions. The first one had the stations. I was a bidder, but the casino outran my wallet. I think it went for about $6500.

George

For years I did not keep info on where, when and for how much I paid for train gear.  In the last 20 or so years, I started a list on paper and now MS Word and had to make up from memory for the before list years.  I now add repairs or changes to items on the list.  I keep a list on the layout as to when repairs, additions and changes were made and why. 

I also keep this information on vintage stereo gear, tools and garage sale items on other lists as I have too much to remember and it is often handy to have this.

I do not have any trains information of previous owner unless it was a gift from someone I know.

Charlie

Last edited by Choo Choo Charlie

I guess I am a nerd among nerds (no offense ) that I keep track of who I have bought from, when and the price paid--all in binders. No celebrities were involved, at least from the parties I have dealt with. 

I just like to be able to remember when my switchers were purchased--most were on eBay. 

Tom 

BTW, I never said anything about celebrities. I have stuff from well-to-do collectors. Ask an average person, and they will have no idea who these people are. That may even include the likes of Ward Kimball. He’s a celebrity to me, but my kids would say, “Who”?

George

Correction: I guess I did mention Sinatra and Young in a subsequent post. I guess Tom Snyder was a celebrity in his day. This wasn't my original point. Some collections become famous in and of themselves. Also, just being able to trace the lineage of a 100 year old train is interesting to me.

Last edited by George S

Interesting, as I know that the items of Ward Kimball's that were sold at auction have tags indicating such.  

I have found items over the years that were marked with the names of people who owned them at one time, such as Bill Clapper (early editor of TCA Quarterly and founder of and first editor of the American Flyer Collector's Club and Collector magazine) or for Arno Ulhorn, an early Flyer collector.  I have left some of those tags in place for historical reasons, but they don't mean much to me.  

However, any stories that come with sets or how I acquired them are important and of interest to me. 

For instance a boxed Discoverer set, which indicated the engine was replaced in 1950 (as the engine was a 3109, which has the diecast hoods that often decay).  Note the engine in the set pictured is something I added after purchasing it, as the set came to me with a nasty looking repainted 1218 engine, which was not correct for the set.  You can see the handwritten note about the engine replacement on the box top, under the gondola.

The remains of a setbox from 1917 or 1918, that came with the handwritten note on the label saying "Dear Iris, Did you tell someone you wanted a train? Santa".  The set was complete, with exception of a missing tunnel.  

There is also the boxed 1927 American Flyer Bluebird set that I purchased from the original owner's nephew, shortly after he passed away c. 2007.  

The boxed 1908 American Flyer set that I bought from the original owner's grandchild, just last year.  I did not record the name, but to find a set from that era coming from the original owner's family is something to note at this point.  

The above set was incredibly interesting due to the early cross over and the engine, which has an un-reported gold stripe below the window.  

To me, those types of stories are of more interest, because they give some insight into original/former ownership as well as some provenance to their originality.

NWL  

 

Last edited by Nation Wide Lines
Adriatic posted:

Gramps wrote who,when, the phone number, & price paid for any purchase made from a family. That went into the box, sometimes into a shell.    You could always buy it back, and  thhe keptem all at least one year. He would give a courtesy call before he sold yours, and wouldn't if you just needed some time to repad the wallet.  He was kinda like a pawn shop for trains that paid better, made little if any profit, and improved things while he had them .   

He cared very deeply about the hobby and knew how important it could be to a family; even if they didn't know it themselves yet . That kinda effort is rewarded in ways that some folk never "get".

The guy across the street was a popular guy with the ladies.  I bought his train set from his ex-wife a while after the divorce.  I came across it a couple of years later.  Tracked him down and asked if he wanted it back.  Sold it back to him for what I paid.  He had forgotten about it and was very happy to see it again.

Never had anyone ask to buy there train back.

Yes, the Ward Kimball trains have tags.

Bing_Car_Reefer_Old_Dutch_Cleanser

 

  I'm with NWL as far as train history is concerned.  I too have sets that have a story behind them and I've taken the time to record them and include a copy of the story in the train set box.

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