Has anyone researched or have an opinion on a method to get the best return in liquidating a large collection of o-gauge for someone not in the hobby? Namely my wife in the event of I should die suddenly. I have two daughters and two grandkids that have no interest in toy trains. I will make an effort to sell off as much as I can, or at least what I can bare to part with, which ain’t much! I guess this is a tough task be ye live or dead! This was a large investment so I would like for her to get some return. There are a number of providers that offer this service but don’t know if any are more fair than the rest. I don’t foresee anyone in my family going through the hassle of selling and shipping items piece by piece.

Sorry to be morbid, just a fact of life.

Rich

Original Post

I keep telling my family to "call Greg at Stout Auctions", but they don't know what that means. I am going to need to take an inventory someday and write instructions. There are also a couple of train stores that may get some stuff. No way will they get what I paid, but they may get something... In the meantime, I need to pair down the items that are no longer of interest. It's hard.

You never know how much time you have. I think I have plenty of time, but tomorrow may prove me wrong.

George

I am not an attorney but the one who drew up our five Final Documents suggested writing Instructions to the Executor/Executrix which include such things as Greg Stout's phone number and what to do with the stuff.  That's all it is, stuff. Placed in the same folder as your wills, PAs, DNRs, etc.  In reality, with very few exceptions I'd be willing to bet a nickel that the actual purchased price of our toys is less than one percent(1%) of our estate.  Does it make any real difference(time and money wise) if that one percent liquidates at 33%, 45% or 62%? Do your heirs really care?

John in Lansing, ILL

I told my wife to “Burn” all my Custom Decals I’ve made and tons of files of Art work for Custom decals I’ve created  I don’t want someone getting a hold of my leg work and taking the credit. As for the rolling stock she knows what to do she said if I go first some things she’s keeping for the girls and the grand kids if we ever get any 

Great topic makes you think about it

If you haven't done so already, now is a good time for you and your significant other to make out your "life documents" - at a minimum - wills, power of attorneys (if you become disabled) and health care proxies (a/k/a DNR's), with a local attorney.

If you have a specific individual or individuals who want your train stuff then put a paragraph in your will about who gets it and a provision of what happens to it if that person should predecease you. A typical provision might be, "I hereby give, devise and bequeath my entire model train collection, including but not limited to locomotives, rolling stock, accessories, electronics, scenery and trackage, to my _______________, Mr. __________________________, to be his absolutely and forever. In the event that the said __________________ shall predecease me, I  direct that said collection shall  be left to ______________________."  Just make sure you speak with the individual(s) beforehand to make sure they want the collection. Nothing worse than leaving something to someone who doesn't want it.

In the alternative, you could put, "I hereby direct, as soon after my decease as possible, that my executor/personal representative sell my entire model train collection, including but not limited to locomotives, rolling stock, accessories, electronics, scenery and trackage, on the open market for any amount reasonably obtainable and that the proceeds therefrom be distributed in equal shares to my children, ____________________ and _______________________. My executor/personal representative may use the services of a broker, agent, auction house, hobby store or any other reasonable means with which to liquidate said collection."

The language is limitless, but if you don't put anything specific in your will about how you want your train collection disposed of, at least put a paragraph in your will that states, "I may leave a Memorandum stating my wishes with respect to the disposition of certain items or articles of tangible personal property. Such Memorandum, however, will be simply an expression of my wishes and shall not create any trust or obligation, nor shall it be offered for probate as part of this Will." And then write out a memo of what you want done with your trains and keep it with the will.

Hope this helps and Lee, just in case, what's your wife's name ?

I've told my 2 sons to take what they want of my stuff (just don't fight over it) and then have your mom sell all the rest.  She knows a couple of people that can help her to get at least some money out of them.  My boys will probably take all of my tools which I have a ton of and maybe one or two locomotives, all the rest of my trains, Fn3, Sn3, HO, G Scale and my O Gauge stuff will be sold off.

I didn't really think I had all that much but when boxed up and all was said and done, since we are moving and I'm the one doing all the packing for the move, my trains filled up 75% of an 8X8X16 PODS, that was the 1st one, I'm now on the 3rd and forgot I had some stashed away in boxes on some steel shelving out in the garage.  They are now tucked away into the 3rd PODS and will be ready to go cross country in the near future.  Since I'm figuring on 4 to 5 PODS possibly 6, I'm writing down the PODS number and keeping a fairly basic list of what has gone into each one.  When we find a new home in the Dallas area, I will know exactly which ones to have delivered first.

This was a good topic, can someone post the Greg Stout phone number or e-mail address please.

Cheers,

JEM

sptrainnut

TCA 12-67009

 

I think the best thing you can do is to inventory all of your trains along with an honest evaluation of each item's condition (and price if you want to do that too).  It's fine if you decide who will get what, however your list will provide some guidance for them should they decide to sell any of it.  That way they don't end up selling a rare, high-valued prototype for pennies.  If your list includes prices, then make sure you state which price guide, reference book, magazine, expert, etc. you used to arrive at your appraisal for each item.  It's important, because values change yearly.

I agree with rattler21 where he states, "In reality, with very few exceptions I'd be willing to bet a nickel that the actual purchased price of our toys is less than one percent(1%) of our estate."  The thing is, not everyone in your will will be getting your big ticket items such as your house(s), car(s), boat(s), etc.  Whoever ends up with the trains may perceive a few hundred dollars as being a lot of money---especially if that person is young and just starting out with a new family.  In that case, any help in squeezing the most amount of money out of each item would definitely be appreciated.

"What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."

As we all likely know, much of what we own, especially in O gauge.. & particularly 'modern era' stuff, has dropped in value significantly.  I've looked over prices for things I have & noticed the drastic value decline.  That, coupled with the fact that many other folks are trying to sell the same, exact items, presents a stiff disincentive for attempting to sell, or instructing others to sell, at a later date. 

My experience so far is I sold two collection to train city hes getting old like all of us and his son  is involved hopefully when its time again to call his company when I'm gone.. All I can tell you is everyone said they would come up with the money when I want to sale but when the time came no  one  'came up with the money"  but train City pulled through...,.,.  I keep saying Evan here  don't put down train prices .. One day you'll  want to sale .. I say buy high sale high..  when we are high in the sky (lol) ....

I fail to see the desire to get the most possible dollars out of the trains after we're gone.  It's not as if we'll be able to spend those dollars any more than we can take the trains with us.

If we want to maximize the sale returns, sell them now while we can manage each sale.  We know more than anyone else what we think it's worth (of course, the market knows what it is ACTUALLY worth, so we should be prepared for disappointment if we inflate their value).   We could spend our retirement making a career of offering the trains for top dollar, and revel in being able to guarantee the highest inheritance for whoever gets the money.

Who choses to go this route, I don't envy that retirement.

Better yet, we should enjoy the trains and not worry about what they bring in afterward.  If Charlie Siegel gives our survivors ONE penny on  the dollar, it's still one penny more than they had before. 

Who says our deaths are supposed to enrich those left behind with treasure that rusts and moths destroy?  We can give those people ourselves NOW--even if that means playing trains with them--and they (and WE) will be happier about the whole thing.  If the money is all they want, well . . .  they need to be disappointed.

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

I have a fair amount of prewar trains and accessories that have some historical significance and value. I believe I have an obligation to see that those don't end up in the dump. Sure, I have some trains that are new with modern electronics. If they have some value, then my heirs will get a little enjoyment from the cash they bring. For those who think their trains belong in the dump, maybe a charity would benefit from the donation of your collection? Leave them a little cash to rent a dumpster for the things that are truly junk.

George

I had a health scare a couple of years ago. In the past year I've sold off all my American HO,collections of Marklin and Fleischmann HO,Standard Gauge as well as all the MPC to Modern era 3 rail trains that could not be easily converted to two rail. I only kept a select dozen of my better postwar Lionel and Marx sets for my home office display. I came to the conclusion that "Less is More" so I'm focusing my modeling and interest within the world of 2 rail O scale as I am getting close to retirement. Presently, I'm building a 20' x 40' 2 rail "around the room" layout. I'm working fine tuning a dozen Max Gray and KTM/US Hobbies locomotives that haven't seen much operating since purchased in the 1960's.on I'm converting Atlas O rolling stock from 3 to 2 rail which has been an easy task. Accumulating trains for a massive layout is in the past and what trains I do purchase must fit on the layout. Fortunately, I do have sons that are still very interested in trains so I don't worry about what will happen to the collection. 

Ricky

This IS the world's greatest hobby!  Formerly "Boomer" on the OGR forum 2001-2018.

There was  a single man (I think) who died over two years ago who lived near me.  I never knew about him or knew him, I just found ads for his train collection in the Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist over a year ago.  I don't know much about it other than the sister and her husband are selling everything off.  

However they are not doing as well as hoped.  They apparently went through all the auction sites and pricing guides and priced everything else according to retail secondary values.  Like how much a used LGB engine would cost at your local hobby shop.   I believe they said that with their pricing, they arrived at a total near $79,000 or $89,000 for everything. 

They weren't willing to sell stuff to let it go cheap.  

The amount of stuff was enormous.   I went to the home soon after it was all offered up.  I ended up buying nothing due to the pricing. 

A full 12x10 bedroom packed with nothing but G scale stuff, walls covered in trains, boxed items stacked hugely high. 

Another room like that for O-scale stuff.   A good sized layout in the basement.   The layout is Gargraves track and is pretty nice.   However they want 3000 just for the layout including the benchwork.  No one has bought it.  And on top of that, used benchwork appears to be pretty worthless, most people who buy a layout that has no scenery probably want the track more than anything else.   The layout had very little scenery done to it.  

There was a good sized N scale layout that also was sold off, but they accidentally under priced that one and sold the track (all kato I believe) for 300 dollars for a huge amount of track.   Must have been 100-200 nice N scale engines but all were priced like 80-90 percent of new or used NOS retail.   I only wished I had nabbed the track. The benchwork was still in place in the basement. 

There also was a huge outdoor raised bench G-scale setup.  I believe they let the track go for a fairly decent price but it was all soldered together and quite weathered from being outside and exposed to the inland Northwest elements.  Would be worth it but you would need to put a good amount of labor into restoring/using the track. 

My train shop friend told me how he went there and attempted to offer them a decent deal for a large amount of N gauge stuff, they weren't willing to part with it.  He even explained to them that he has to resell it and make a profit.   I always figured pawn shop pricing if you are going to attempt to have a shop buy you out which to me means that the pawn shop/train shop is going to resell used stuff at roughly 50-60 percent of "ebay sold item" pricing   So the train shop is going to offer you like 25-30 percent of "ebay sold item" pricing but these people just weren't willing to let it all go.

They also refused to auction the stuff off.  They said they would rather sell it slowly and keep the higher profits. 

So they keep paying the mortgage on a rather expensive home and keep nickle and diming the collection at the 2 small train shows each year.   

My point, I would present realistic expectations on what the executors of the wills should expect to get for your stuff.  Just because the original  price ticket on the box of some lovely train engine says $139.00 doesn't mean that you should expect to get $130 dollars quickly.   You want to unload that engine quickly, sell it for $35-45 dollars.  You want to wait a while but not too long?  Sell it for $50-$75 dollars.  You want to wait a long time, sell it for $130.  

 

 

 

My neighbor had a huge collection ( over 550 engines & over 2000 rolling stock) of postwar and modern Lionel, MTH, Williams and 3rd rail. He bought the best in everything and usually not just one of an item but two. He would run one and keep the other one wrapped in the box. I was told he had over $500,000 in his collection. He got sick a few years ago and had to sell everything. A train broker came in and purchased it all for $36,000. I know he was disappointed with the money but he did not have a choice in his eyes.......Pretty sad.

George S posted:

I have a fair amount of prewar trains and accessories that have some historical significance and value. I believe I have an obligation to see that those don't end up in the dump. 

George

Point well taken, George. 

That consideration is quite apart from financial ones.  Some historically significant pieces really aren't money-makers, anyway.  But some folks have no sense of perspective or historical significance.  Other than production prototypes, there's just not a great number of significant artifacts in the Modern Era.  Yet.  Give it a century or so ;-)

The same consideration applies to questions of restoration, as I have said elsewhere.  

Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

Disposition effort is the price my executor (a son) will pay for his portion of the inheritance.  Along with the effort to sell a 49-year-old cabin cruiser that I bought new.  I have a grandson in H.S. who loves the trains, but where would he keep 27 locos and who knows how many cars until he has a large enough home.

We dealt with this when my brother in law passed. He was into HO going back to early 50s.  I spent three days sorting through STUFF both HO and railroadiana.  Luckily his wife already had an auctioneer lined up for the train and stuff but didn't want to deal with what was useful and what was toss-able.   So I ended up with some new books for my (overflowing) library, and some hardware items from his days working Reading towers.   Hopefully she will get some money out of the brass stuff and maybe some of the early Varney and Ambroid etc. un constructed car kits.

In reading through these comments I have been trying to understand some of the truly strange responses.  Making sure no one get the fruits of my labor is the most unusual of all.  Imagine if Picasso had said to destroy all my paintings when I die.  Obviously people have made a great deal of money off his work but I think he had a pretty good life and not like to see his efforts destroyed.

I have a couple hundred grand in trains but I have been collecting for a long time and it was fairly painless money.  Also 2000+ cameras and many really large neon signs not to mention the really wired stuff. If the kids want they can just lock the building and let things sit.  They get the forty some odd buildings that I have had fun buying and restoring.  Don't get too excited, this is Harlingen, Texas.  They are not worth that much.  The point is, we bought these things because they meant something to us.  It is unlikely that most of it will mean the same thing to our heirs.  I know my kids like a lot of the stuff I have and they probably will not part with a lot of it.  If you don't think your heirs will appreciate the things that mean something to you, find a place or a person that will appreciate them.  The curb or a dumpster is not a reasonable option.

Yes, I realize that some people were joking.

George S posted:

I keep telling my family to "call Greg at Stout Auctions", but they don't know what that means. I am going to need to take an inventory someday and write instructions. There are also a couple of train stores that may get some stuff. No way will they get what I paid, but they may get something... In the meantime, I need to pair down the items that are no longer of interest. It's hard.

You never know how much time you have. I think I have plenty of time, but tomorrow may prove me wrong.

George

Agreed. I tell my wife and kids that too! Call Stout auctions. 

member:Golden Spike Club Charter Member

It seems this topic comes up just as we have forgotten about the subject.  

Sell your trains at the last possible moment.  In other words, enjoy them for as long as you are coherent, then start parting with them.  

My grandchildren are still young.  I set up a small layout for my oldest grandson a couple of years ago.  He has some interest in it, but so far I don't see it going anywhere.

As others have said, once you're gone, you are gone.  Unless there is life after death, there's nothing you can do about what happens to your trains or any hobby items. 

 

 

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

                                                                                                                                        

Bill DeBrooke posted:

I have a couple hundred grand in trains but I have been collecting for a long time and it was fairly painless money.  Also 2000+ cameras and many really large neon signs not to mention the really wired stuff.

Hoarders called to see if they can tape a show.

What, me worry?

Alfred E Neuman posted:
Bill DeBrooke posted:

I have a couple hundred grand in trains but I have been collecting for a long time and it was fairly painless money.  Also 2000+ cameras and many really large neon signs not to mention the really wired stuff.

Hoarders called to see if they can tape a show.

What, me worry?

It is only hoarding if you have no idea what you have and don't take out the garbage for several years.  If you have the room there is always space for more cool stuff.

I was fortunate enough to have sold off three dozen brass engines and 2 dozen unopened cases of cars b/4 the market really dropped.  Sold them all at purchased price.  Replaced them all with an assortment of runners which I am enjoying immensely.   Have a fair amount of vacant track but is looks better that way IMO.  

Eternity is a long time to have been wrong.

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lee drennenPAUL ROMANO
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