Do you want to experience the joy of owning vintage model train cars? If yes, then you should watch out for Lionel who has been one of the leading names in the hobby of model trains for a good number of years and even now as we speak the Lionel trains value is scaling at an alarming rate. You can still go to your local hobby center and purchase a replica locomotive that was new probably when your grandad was a child.
However, electric cars and rockets surround us we are still fascinated by small tracks. Children and adults get a kick out of watching model trains displayed at workshops or auto expositions. Model train building sets is a fantastic hobby that is fun, entertaining and gratifying. It could be a small loop on the floor or an elaborate setup that resembles a famous part of American history that can take up an entire room or just one that sits on a tabletop.
Today we are going to look at some of Lionel’s best that you can order online and have it in a matter of days to add to your model train layout. A sure way to light up your kid’s face and introduce them to the world of Lionel trains and perhaps start them on a hobby that will last a lifetime.
But before we go any further about Lionel trains value, we need to understand a little about scale and gauge that is right for your budget and space.
Model trains today come in a variety of sizes; some approach life size while others are so small, they require a magnifying glass to see the details. For more information on scales and gauges and how to choose the one that is right for you – click here.
Note – If running the train is what you are more interested in, the G-Gauge will suit you, and if you are into modeling and building train sets, then O-gauge is a better choice. You see, with detail comes a price tag. Also, it is one of the factors determining your Lionel locomotive value and so pick your gauge wisely.
Determining your Lionel Trains Value
Many factors affect a Lionel trains value, the measure, the age of the train set, how many are available, and of course, the condition.
You need to know the value of your vintage Lionel trains before you make the purchase. The more demand it has, the higher the price would be. Trains built before 1969 have the highest price tag on them. Lionel Santa Fe and Lionel Union Pacific which have road names are far more in demand than others.
Americans are obsessed with history especially if it has anything to do with pre or post war. Trains manufactured in those times are collector’s items and depending upon rarity; their value shoots up. The quality of the train is also an important factor that determines the price. Rust, broken parts, missing parts, scratches, etc. are deterrents to value and hence if you are purchasing trains that have any of these, it will have an adverse impact on its value. If parts get restored, the value also decreases accordingly.
If the train comes in original packaging, then its value increases substantially. Trains or accessories that come in sealed blister pack are a collector’s joy. In fact, the value of Lionel box is sometimes greater in value than the contents itself. The boxes too have ratings and are usually New, Like New, Excellent, etc. But always be cautious of excited rating.
Identifying a vintage Lionel train and understanding the Lionel trains value:
It is simple, just look for four numbers on the bottom or right side of the train. Then find this information on Greenberg’s Pocket Guide for details. Some manufacturers of the post-war era used three numbers instead of 4.
Train Collectors Association (TCA) has come up with some guidelines for train condition, and it gives accurate information like Mint Condition – C10, Factory new-C9, Like New C-8, etc. Based on the C series you can have a fair understanding of what your train’s value.
Here are a couple of examples of Lionel Trains that are valued among collectors:
“Lionel LIO 18058 773 Century Club Hudson” train set is priced around $1,700 on Amazon and is a favorite among collectors. Though it is rare, you can find it with a bit of persistence and patience.
For those who are willing to layout more, the Lionel LIO 38057 Weyerhaeuser Shay is a cast Iron Masterpiece that would be a gift that an older collector would appreciate any time of the year. At over $1300, it is sure to confirm that you are serious about your trains and the hobby in general.
An enjoyable aspect about Lionel trains is that rarely do they lose in value and most cases appreciate better than some stock market investment portfolios. So, you might say Lionel could be the answer to an investor who is looking for an investment opportunity that is safer than the market these days.
So, in the final analysis, model trains from Lionel offer a fun hobby, this can lead to a lifelong hobby that is addictive once you start or an opportunity to start a collection for investment purposes. However, you need to be selective with your purchases as not all Lionel trains value appreciates with time. If you want more information regarding investment planning with trains this is a site to look at:
In the long run, whether for fun or future return on investment, Lionel trains bring value for your money in several ways and it is up to you to make that choice.