FS: Estate sale, need some advice

My father recently passed away, and he left behind a rather large HO train
inventory. Most of his stuff was models that he built, or kit-bashed. Most
of the cars were from wooden kits. By my count he built around 450 cars of
various types, being freight, passenger, specialty, etc... He had complete
sets of many of the old kits. About 50 diesel engines, some plastic, some
cast, all with upgraded trucks and couplers, brass hand rails, etc... and 12
steam engines, either cast and brass, or all brass. He had a nice layout
with hand laid track, one turntable, and some narrow gauge track as well,
again all hand laid. It took up a room in the basement about 14x10. He
also had many kits he never started.
What I'm looking for is some advice on how to sell off this equipment. No
one else in the family is interested in the stuff, though some of us did
take an engine and car or two to remember him by and to remember the
craftsmanship he was capable of.
To make it more complicated, all this stuff is in another state. All of my
siblings are also in different parts of the country, so we can't just pop
over when someone wants to buy something.
I had thought of taking it to one of the model train shows that come around
when it is in that area, but I won't have much time to prepare it for the
He lived in the Pittsburgh, PA area by the way.
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E bay.
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Reply to
Jim McLaughlin
=>Might try an auction and advertising well in your area. Lots of hobbyist in =>Pittsburgh.
Good suggestion; besides, many auctioneers will take unsold lots with them to the next auction they hold, until they are all sold. You should get a model railroad friend or acquaintance to help decide on resrve prices, though.
And of course there's always E-Bay, but selling that much material through E-bay will take a lot of time and effort.
The train show is also a good idea, though, but you do need someone to help you sort and price the equipment.
The brass locos might bring a better price if sold on consignment through one of the dealers that advertise in Model Railroader, etc, but OTOH you may have to wait a while before it sells.
You could also advertise in the model rr magazines, offereing a list for sn SSAE. It will take longer to sell this way, since it will a couple of months or more before the ad appears.
If your father was an NMRA member, the NMRA has some advice on how to dispose of estates.
Whatever you do, a careful inventory is essential - again, a model railroad friend will be useful here, as it won't always be obvious how best to describe an item.
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
Try to find someone in the NMRA in your area who can in turn find a counterpart in the Pittsburg area. They can be very helpful in appraising the collection and in getting it sold for you.
Reply to
Matt Furze
Suggestions? ---------------------------------------------- You might want to look into James J. Reeves Auction. He has a good reputation. You send the items to him, he sends you a check, if you like the offer, cash the check, if not, he'll return the items.
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Reply to
siblings are also in different parts of the country, so we can't just pop over when someone wants to buy something.<
For a collection of the size you mention, with the geographic limitations you state, the only realistic avenue for sale of the collection is to find a dealer who will buy the entire lot. That will undoubtedly minimize the financial return to your father's estate but it will also minimize the effort required to effect the disposition.
The second best approach might be to use an auctioneer to auction off the saleable items and then either donate or discard the rest.
Finally, if estate taxation is an issue with your father's estate, you might wish to consider simply donating the entire collection to some charitable organiztion and taking a tax write-off for the estate in the amount of the appraised value of the estate. Even if taxation is not an issue, the donation route may ultimately be the fastest and simplest way to dispose of the collection.
Going the "Ebay route" can potentially maximize your financial return but it can be extremely labor intensive if you plan to do it properly, (i.e., actually identifying and properly describing each item, to say nothing of getting and inserting a photograph). In my opinion,just dumping the stuff on Ebay, (i.e., no photos and minimal descriptions), is unlikely to be successful.
The problem with your father's collection is that, from the point of view of the consuming public, it's used model railroad equipment and used model railroad equipment is not nearly as valuable as folks think it is. Used rolling stock and motive power, as well as old unbuilt kits, only have value if you can locate someone who is looking for that exact item. Otherwise, it's not going to command a very high price. The real value in your father's collection was the pleasure it gave him over the years. It's intrinsic value on the open market, regrettably, is not very great. Indeed, and I regret having to tell you this, the amount of money you are likely to realize from the sale of the collection probably will not pay for the timerequired to sell it.
If it were my own father's collection I would try to find a dealer to take it or, failing that, I would donate it to the local train club so that they could sell it and, perhaps, put the proceeds to good use to perpetuate the hobby (or at least one little corner of it).
Richard W. Boone, Sr.
Reply to
That is an unusual scenario. Most widows would jump at $200 and then the guy would sell it all for $2000. It happens that way all the time.
Reply to
Jim Stanton
Well, perhaps. That's what the other sellers usually get stuff for. But I've seen quite a few people trying to sell old toy trains at ridiculous prices. They've probably heard that some old Lionel trains are worth big bucks, and assume any old train has a high value. I've seen a small box of played with toy trains with broken and missing parts, brass snap track, etc., at a flea market with a $50.00 price on it. If it was a box of toy trucks, the price would probably be $5.00. Even more recent toy train sets still in their original boxes with prices way beyond their original retail prices.
Bob Boudreau Canada
Reply to
"Jim Stanton"
My wife knows roughly what all my model railway equipment is worth.
-- Cheers Roger T.
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of the Great Eastern Railway
Reply to
Roger T.

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