Sep 16, 2019
I have a different take on this. If I am dead, why would I care what happened to all my anything?
I've got a friend who does A LOT of FeeBay dealing. In all my papers there is a note asking my relatives to get hold of him after my passing. I've explained to him that the call will come and what to do. I don't expect much in value, but expect a decent offer. I've also have several local modellers that have a few items to come pickup, as I will forward these items to them.
I was a KADEE/MICROTRAINS SPECIAL-RUN Collector up till 1999, when the SP-RUN market went down the drain. I've got FOOTLOCKERS full of SP-RUN cars. I've got ALL the SP-RUN cars issued up the end of 1999. Had complete (4) sets of NMRA Collector car, that were purchased through mine and x-wife's NMRA membership. Paid full price for 4 copies of each car issue, and now the value of each car issue has gone through the floor. Haven't tried to sell any in years. Couldn't give them away.
Used to be that a KADEE?MICROTRAINS SP-RUN Car was issued for something, a Convention, a Gathering, a Special N Scale Weekend, etc etc. Now if somebodies baby fills a diaper, a SPECIAL-RUN Car will be issued and at a premium price at that! A certain N-SCALE ORGANIZATION has lead the demise of SP-RUN Cars being something. I saw this first hand a National Convention (N-Scale) held at our city. It was Us or Them, they got their $ and left us holding the bag. And they also COPY-WRITED the term "N-Scal* Convention" And here I though we were all one big happy family in N-Scale Model Railroading.
To me the realistic N-Scale value option is: Ask for the Moon (you might find a Collector, who has to have your item) or be happy if you can get 50% (at that) of what you paid for it. Take the $ and run!
Sounds like you're a man without a plan so send it all to me unless you model my least favorite railroad then just forget about it.
I think you need to ask yourself, and answer for yourself, how much effort you are willing to make to get the $1,855.00. Remember you should pay taxes on the income, which is something like (33% of $1,330 profit =) $439.00. And, there are eBay fees, etc, even if you charge for shipping. How many sales over what period of time would it take to sell those 100 cars at $18.55 + shipping, each? You will probably saturate the market on eBay well before you hit the 100 car sales mark. And, I am getting the idea that this is just one (maybe small?) part or all you have to sell. How much work for how long would it be to sell what you want to get rid of at the "going" price?
The correct answer is "none of the above." You can ask whatever you like, but you'll sell them only for what a willing buyer will give you for them (I'm sure you know this). That could be $2 each or $15 each or any other value, and you won't know what it is until a buyer shows up with cash. This is not a liquid market like stocks. I can go to a brokerage website and see the current bid and ask prices for any common financial asset. That tells me exactly what the lowest seller asking price is and what the highest buyer bid price is. They're updated virtually real time. Compare this to the "market" for model railroad equipment. The closest we've probably come to this was back in the day when there were monthly Micro-train auctions and a person might be able to find what something sold for at auction in the past twelve months (if they were lucky). I realize people are tempted to place a value on an item based upon what they paid for it or what a similar new item's MSRP is. In reality, that will rarely determine an item's actual value.
Back in the heyday of feebay I would set a start point of 99 cents on everything. I also put a 'reserve' on the item. The .99 usually set off a bidding war. If the item didnt meet my 'reserve' price...it didnt sell and i didnt lose anything. If the bidding war took it over my 'reserve' I made that much more $$$.
My 'reserve' price was what i thought it was worth. The bidders didnt know what it was until they bid over that amount and the 'reserve' was lifted. By then the ones who where in the bidding war where hooked and things went where they went.
This was back in the early 2000's. It was a lot simpler 'back in the day' *sigh*
The beer cars are listed at $1,000. That's $24 per car, for custom decorated cars. If I can't get that, they deserve the landfill because obviously no one wants them.
Taxes? What taxes? That depends on the accounting. If I sell 100 cars at $18.55 per car I get $1,855.00 and I make a profit of $1,330. But those cars are still being made and the current price (street price) is $13.95 per car plus $4.60 for the trucks/couplers for a total of $1,855. If I use a FIFO (First In, First Out) accounting method I have a profit. But if I use a LIFO (Last In, First Out) method I have no profit. Even with a FIFO method you have to factor in expenses such as inventory cost, maintenance (got to replace broken couplers or lost brake wheels). Besides, there are lots of transactions in this hobby as well as elsewhere in the economy where taxes are ignored. It has only been recently that Ebay has started to collect sales tax but for a long time they did not (at least in my state). Now I am not advocating not paying taxes because I do pay my fair share but I am saying that I don't see where I profited from the sale. Look at the opposite side. Suppose I sold all 100 cars but instead of getting $18.55 for each car I only got $10.00 per car. Could I claim and receive a deduction of $855.00 on my taxes? I don't think so.
Capital gains taxes. You can't use a LIFO system for such items. Also, if they are held for personal use, I don't believe that capital losses can be claimed. I am not an accountant. The good news is that most of us pay only a 15% rate on long term capital gains, and those below a certain income threshold pay 0% on long term capital gains. If you leave them for your heirs, they will receive a stepped up basis which eliminates the long term gains. The best way to avoid the long term capital gains is to "throw in" a bunch of other crap that cost money but is worth very little in one big lot, so as to increase the overall basis used to calculate the gains.
I see the photo on your website. That is certainly a nice collection, worthy of a future home that isn't comprised of the trash of others. That said, it will likely be tough to find somebody who wants 43 custom painted non-prototype cars of mixed manufacturer (apparently Life Like, Atlas, IMR, MT and perhaps others) and mixed body types. It looks like many of the cars are in cases with added padding instead of a molded plastic nest. Is that how they came originally packaged? I'm guessing "yes," but it does seem to detract from their appeal as a collectible, which often is more for display than operation. I'm curious why you are trying to sell them? If they just don't appeal to you as they once did, perhaps the same is true of buyers in the market. We're a changing demographic, and many are narrowing their focus to only high end prototype equipment that reflects their actual modeling interests. As we age and downsize, "stuff" that used to be fun to collect can quickly become "clutter" that needs to go. I've seen this trend in other Model Railroaders over the past decade, and I expect it to accelerate. Best wishes.
Yep, if you are the original purchaser and sell a collection, then the proceeds fall under capital gains. There is no LIFO or FIFO; it is proceeds less original cost of the individual item. And, @NorsemanJack is correct, if bought for personal use rather than investment, no loss can be claimed on those selling for less than cost (but, there are no gains for those items, so no tax liability).
Acquisition and sale dates determine long term vs short term holdings.
I always love watching Antiques Roadshow, seeing the eyes of the folks who find out they have a large “treasure”. Many end up with a rude surprise if they run out and try to cash in.
Folks, that is all well and good but it ain't gonna happen. Under current law the tax on long term capital gains is based on income. Those who are married and filing jointly pay no tax if their income is less than $77,200 after deductions. So no tax.
Yep, some guy posted this earlier:
Jack, you are correct. They are substantially the way I received them from Aztec. I probably ran some of them at one time, but not for very long and put them back in protective packaging before moving in 2007. They do not fit my desires of the moment. Thought it was a good idea at the time...
True! I like the Antiques Roadshow reruns where they update the estimated worth of items from the original telecast years ago. As often as not, perhaps half of the items have fallen significantly in value.
Here's another thought. If I put metal wheels on the cars does that increase the value?
Only if they reduce the rolling resistance!
For the uninformed, no, metal wheels won't increase the value. Almost like MT couplers...to the average guy-on-the-street they won't even notice. To someone who models N scale, metal wheels and MT couplers just makes it easier to pull the trigger and buy the car but it doesn't really make it more 'valuable'.
Reminder: Any rolling stock that is destined for the landfill...send to us instead. We'll even pay postage.
Similar situation here; I have about 50 Atlas 90 ton hoppers also, CS/CSX/WM/C&O/B&O with different road numbers for my unit trains, all converted to short shank MTL trucks. From the prices I've seen on Ebay I'm pretty sure others are collecting them too because the oldest ones with Rapido couplers go for a lot more than, say, the first Trainman cars. So maybe aim for double the inflation rate?
BTW new Atlas releases have been slim since Bluford started selling those tough-to-convert 3 bays but MTL just released a set of CSXs.
I found that after market wheels (Fox Valley) didn't help sell them. I had better success with the same cars by reinstalling the original wheels(both Microtrains and others). Greatly surprised, but cars that didn't sell with replacement metal wheels sold quickly with the originals.
Oh, well..sold the metal wheels quickly when I listed them.