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Sell Lionel by the lot or individual part out?

  1. Sell it by the lot

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  2. Part it out and sell it individually

    2 vote(s)
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  1. Trent Nunnelee

    Trent Nunnelee TrainBoard Member

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    Guys I am sorry to post here, its more of a question about selling. I have a friend that just bought an estate that had stored away a HUGE amount of Lionel late 40s to early 50s trains and equipment. She has asked my help in selling everything. Its obvious at one time the original owner was planning a large train setup.. most of the stuff is still in original boxes. And hand written inventory with letters the guy sent to Lionel in 1949! What is my best way to sell this.. all in one batch or part it out of the next couple of years selling it all?
     
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  2. Metro Red Line

    Metro Red Line TrainBoard Member

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    This isn't Lionel-specific, but kind of universal for all model trains: There are trade-offs to both.

    Selling items individually will yield more money for the seller, especially if their condition is good enough and that they came with the original boxes. I don't model O scale, but everyone knows that Lionel has higher collector's value than other model trains. The trade-off is that this is more time consuming for the seller; it requires more trips to the post office/shipping service to sell it all off, unless the seller feels it's worth their time.

    Selling it as a lot will yield less money but will be more convenient and less-time consuming for the seller and if the end result is to move/get rid of things, then this is the better route.
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I believe that individually will by far be the best route. If you do not know Lionel intimately, I would definitely consider retaining someone who specializes in these, (not just a general auctioneer), to handle the selling.
     
  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Agreed. We've seen a number of similar inquiries here on TrainBoard and it's clear that an assist from a knowledgeable Lionel collector helps, otherwise it's an overwhelming task. I sold much of our family Lionel ten years ago. I'm not a Lionel expert, but knew enough to accurately appraise what I had and was able to take high quality photos.

    It took me several years and it was a much smaller collection. If you use eBay, get ready to encounter some good Buyers and dishonest ones too, who use misinformation in an attempt to devalue your items for a quick Buy-It-Now kill.

    Unlike some we've seen, your friend's collection sounds like a valuable one @Trent Nunnelee , being from the sweet spot of the most treasured post-war period.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
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  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It certainly was that for me. I grew up with 1945-1969 Lionel. (Not that I did not also have and collect pre-War Lionel, American Flyer and even some Marx.) A past member of TCA and TTOS, I had a fair sized accumulation, which I parted with in the mid-1980's. Will never lose my love of that stuff, but it was time to move on.
     
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  6. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    While I agree with other posters about consulting with a Lionel expert, I think you can learn yourself if you wanted to. There are so many publications and websites dedicated to Lionel research and valuation. If you have the original boxes, you have the product numbers too, which goes a long way to finding the age and value of the item. Greenberg publishes a Lionel guidebook, although I know some Lionel collectors turn their noses up at the book for its over-valuation of some items.

    Even if you aren't a Lionel expert, going on eBay and filtering by 'sold listings' and 'completed items' will give you a good idea about what other people have paid for similar items. That can help you create your own eBay listings, or get a good estimate for the collection's value if you decide to sell it to a dealer or auction house.
     
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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Back when I was still collecting, was when they started publishing these Guides. They later did some very nice histories, too. We generally used them as a check list. Somewhere around here I still have one of their pocket guides for post-War. Having been at it for a good period, I found that prices among collectors had variations, as did bidding at the auctions, etc. I have also been active in the Collectible glassware field. (Collector, seller.) There are many "guides" out there, many are quite good for researching. The most respected author may very well be Gene Florence. But like the Lionel books, prices in the glassware books very frequently did not reflect current market conditions, often on the higher side.

    As for eBay, it is generally quite over-priced and too often over graded. I would use that resource only with a good amount of caution. A lot of the serious collectors do not use it for their buying, but will watch there for the occasional rarity or bargain.

    You might want to contact TCA and see if there are any members in your vicinity.
     
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  8. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    I'll toast to that.

    I see so many locomotives with handrails ripped to shreds, paint scuffs on the roof, no box; and then they price it like there's nothing wrong with it. 'It has an MRC decoder' : That practically lowers the value. The prices on ebay have definitely been going up, and it seems harder to find deals, especially for newer stuff like Athearn RTR or Atlas. I'm not sure if that reflects a higher going price for model trains, or if sellers are just overinflating prices.

    Does that make it a seller's market though? It seems like a bad time to be a buyer, but sellers seem to be making good money on eBay. We may be fuming over prices, but I sure see a lot of green numbers under 'sold listings,' which could be a good thing for Trent's collection.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
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  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    That summarizes my situation too. I saved a few Lionel items that I have a strong attachment to (including my Dad's pre-war 125 or 126 Station pictured here). Eventually I'll again trim down what I kept when I find the time. Someone once told me that "you can't save the world" and he is right. I'm at the stage in life where I'm getting rid of things instead of adding to the pile.

    2014-02-23 Lionel Depot - for upload.jpg
     

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