O scale Athearn kits?

MRLdave Nov 10, 2013

  1. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

    Today we were doing an NTRAK display at the local public library and a gentleman came in and handed me 3 boxes. He said his mother had recently passed away and he had found them in her belongings. Each has a piece of tape on the lid saying "antique railroad car kit". On the end is a label that reads "Athearn's O guage car kit" with an address underneath. The kit's have all been opened, but appear complete. I opened one and it contained some wood and a steel roof in a neat wrapped bundle. In another wrapper were 2 metal sides for a NYC boxcar. 2 brass doors and 2 brass end panels were in the bottom of the box along with a bunch of detail parts. No trucks.

    What do I have? Are these actually antique kits, and what sort of value do they have? He wanted them to go to someone who would use them and I told him I would find them a good home. My thought is to treat this as a "donation" to the club and put any money I can get into the club kitty (we're a very small club and every little bit helps) so that the kits find a good home and the club gets some benefit as well.
  2. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Most scale folks avoid the older stuff.
    Some of us like it.
    All-Nation, Zimmer and Athearn were close..slight difference in size.
    I have a bunch of Athearn stock. I never paid more than ten bucks assembled for them.
    But.....there does seem to be a segment out there that seems to think anything 50 years old is automatically worth a lot.
    Opened boxes are a worry.
    Grab irons, ladders tend to go missing.
    The details, like brake parts, are Zamac, usually you need to find replacements. Same with couplers. Might be good, might not.
    Trucks....I have a box of partials with exploded bolsters.
    If plastic trucks, late.
    Completeness of kit is important.
    Athearn NEVER advertised them as "antique", so not sure why it says that.
    As is, no guarantee on completeness or solidity of cast parts, ten bucks.
    Evilbait, you'll never know. Some idiot might bid them through the roof.
    And, no, I don't need any more at all.
  3. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

    Thanks.........the "antique" was written on masking tape.....presumably by the gentlemans mother. I was sort of torn, because on one hand I hate to pass up potential funds for the club, but at the same time didn't want to profit from the situation. If the value is low, I'll just work on finding them a home. So these ARE old?
  4. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Well....I can't remember when they quit making the 0 kits.
    One link claims 60's...but, from the internet:
    "In the early 1950s he sold the HO and O scale metal kit lines to George Menzies. The O scale line was purchased by Reynolds in the '70s and the HO line went to Walthers. After Reynolds, the O scale kits were sold by Locomotive Workshop, then Old Pullman, and recently Jim Watson (Box Car Jim)"

    I know about Menzies, as I have some of that in Half 0.
    One online post claims All-Nation bought out Athearn 0, which isn't right.
    If Athearn on the box, 60 years old. The issue is, like I said, Zamac rot on the parts.
    Sometimes you cannot tell until you try to put them together.
    The original wheels were insulated one side by varnish.
    That goes bad after a while.
    I have a pile of those bad axles sets, too.
    Makes it not such a good deal when you have to go looking for new trucks, brake details, missing grabs and ladders if you pay top dollar for a kit.
    Sometimes, the painted metal sides rust when stored. Not much you can do when the paint peels off.
  5. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

    Like Dave said, if Athearn, then they are old, not really worth much. Old school type kits. I know of some people who buy them and replace all the metal parts like ladders, brake details with plastic from Red Caboose kits. Athearn trucks still being offered will work on them. Kadee couplers can be used without much effort from what I've seen. IIRC the ends, roof and doors needed painting and matching colors might be an issue. Road names might be of value, since some weren't used or printed in large quantities but these kits are still relatively easy to find at O scale shows. It's like the brand name Lionel, everyone thinks their Lionel trains are worth lots of bucks. Not so much in the majority of the time.


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