NEED ADVICE: handling PRR layout

Eric Corey Freed Jan 30, 2019

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  1. Eric Corey Freed

    Eric Corey Freed New Member

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    I NEED YOUR ADVICE.

    My dad modeled the Harrisburg line for the Pennsylvania Railroad (specifically, Harrisburg, PA in 1953 for the PRR down to the Port Road).

    He recently passed away and we're trying to figure out what to do with this incredible layout.

    It was an extensive layout with hundreds of cars, engines, scenery and track. He also had a hundred painted brass locomotives (beautiful and heavy).

    Any advice on what we should do with it? How to sell it? Donate it to a museum?

    Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to share photos too.

    Thanks!

    -eric
     

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  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    That is a nice layout, the control panels are pretty cool. I don’t know of many museums actively looking for a layout, but if you are looking to sell anything, the rolling stock would be the easiest to sell. The buildings might have buyers too. Brasstrains.com does consignment sales or might just purchase the brass outright. I would look into them for stuff like that. You might get more money if you list them separately on sites like EBay, but it is time consuming, and everything might not sell at once. If you are trying to get rid of everything quickly there is probably a different way to go about it.

    If you seriously want to donate it, the logistics of shipping are going to the the hard part. If it is in a basement, it might be hard, even impossible, to get it out without completely dismantling it. I would try to keep it as local as possible to keep costs down. (I am not a shipping expert-don’t necessarily trust me with all of this) A lot of railroad museums are operating at a minimum budget, so they might not accept another project and the costs that come with it. A model railroad club might be interested in it, or at least parts of it, so see what is in your area.
     
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  3. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    It's a real beauty.

    The first step is to crawl under and see if it's modular. Look for hardware that seems to connect sections, wiring connectors, and cuts in the plywood.

    If it can be removed in sections, then something other than dismantling is possible.
     
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  4. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    I've had a little experience with liquidating an enormous model train collection, may I offer a few suggestions?

    1. Regrettably, model trains don't hold their value, with the exception of a few pieces, and finding the buyer is challenging, to say the least.

    2. Ebay charges a 25% commision on whatever you sell. Packing numerous fragile items is time consuming and I've experienced a consistent damage and loss rate from the USPS of 10% of all shipped items. Insurance is expensive and generally came off my top end.

    3. That being said, you might consider posting photos of you Dad's layout under the buy sell thread and try to see if you can sell it in part or, unlikely, whole. This will allow your Dad's passion to live on in the pieces you can move.

    4. There are a number of companies that auction model train estates. I assume their commision will be quite expensive as it is labor intensive to ship this stuff.

    5. If you sell it yourself, or by auction that matter, attempt to put one really quality piece with a bundle of lesser pieces. For example, a brass locomotive with five plastic locomotives, etc. This can stimulate the sale and reduce the inventory.

    My condolences for your loss.
     
  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    With free insertion fees (often 50 per month) eBay charges a 10% fee on the total sale which includes shipping. Agreed that eBay is a lot of work and the effort will be even higher for a Seller who's not conversant with what's on hand.

    That's a beautiful layout Eric and I'm sorry to read of your father's passing. If you are willing to trade off profit for a faster resolution, I'd also suggest visiting the local model train club and strike up a conversation with some members. You'll probably find some eager buyers. Selling the collection to a reseller (such as https://www.trainz.com/ ) will cost your 50% to 60% of retail worth and will also bring a fast resolution.
     
  6. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Eric did your dad have any close friends in the hobby ? You might be able to make arrangements with one of them to help you sell off the items over time for a share of the proceeds. This way you have someone local and knowledgeable and have a better chance to get a fair price. As mentioned above it is really difficult to find a new home for a large layout and while most of what is on a layout can be salvaged and re-used, it may not be possible to remove the layout as a whole.
     
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  7. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    Mmmm, I remember eBay sending me a little pie chart showing sales and fees. It totaled out at 25%.
     
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Some time ago eBay used to charge listing fees and extra charges for all sorts of things, but they've simplified charges and boosted selling fees to 10%. PayPal takes a flat $0.30 plus 2.9% in fees on U.S. transactions. When I factor in my time researching final selling prices for similar items, taking pictures, writing item narratives, packing parcels and standing in line at the Post Office, I figure my net is about 5%. :)
     
  9. Chops

    Chops TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the update, this I did not know.
     
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  10. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

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    Trainz.com will not pay you what any of it is worth I have a close friend that works there.

    And he told me trainz.com pays litterely pennies on the dollar for anything then sells much much higher.

    You'll lose more than the fair price .
     
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  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'll second that. I inquired with them on selling some of our family Lionel and found what you wrote to be true. They're a business of course, and these margins are pretty typical for resellers, so am not troubled by their terms. I ended up selling on eBay with excellent success.
     

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