A friend of mine asked me to see if his fathers old tin train is worth anything. Here is a link to some pictures of it. Does anyone have any idea as to the worth of an old toy train like this. The back of the 90 degree cross over has a mark on it that says "MRA Toy".
It is an O gauge mechanical train set by the Louis Marx Co. from the late 1930's or 1940's. The set is incomplete in that it originally would have had a New York Central caboose. The car labeled box car in the photo is the streamlined coal tender that goes with the locomotive, which is a greatly simplified model of the New York Central Hudson 5344 in its "Commodore Vanderbilt" streamlining that was applied in 1934. The locomotive is missing the silver metal teardrop shaped smokestack (like the dome, but with a hole in it). There is serious rust on the tank car ends, and signs of rust on the locomotive and cars. Rust significantly reduces the value of tinplate trains. When new this set cost less than $10, and was widely available at Woolworth's, Sears, etc., and is thus fairly common at train shows. So given that it is a common item, that fewer people collect Marx than Lionel, that it is incomplete, and that it has serious condition issues, it's my opinion that the set is probably not worth much more to a collector than it cost when new. Sets like this show up frequently in antique shops and often have higher prices that non-train collectors may pay for its decorative use. Geezer