I hope I am in the correct group. Recently I won a Lionel box car as
a meet door prize. Since I model in HO, I know diddley about the
differences between Lionel O, OO, Standard or tin plate. The car is
Milwaukee Road 6-19204, single sliding door, maroon with a yellow
stripe. The box is orange and white with LIONEL ELECTRIC TRAINS in
big blue letters. The back has 1986. Would someone explain what I
have here and what is the approximately value. Thanks.
This is a tinplate car offered by Lionel in 1987 as part of the "Fallen
Flags" series of cars (Milwaukee Road was the 2nd in the series). It was
not sold in a set, but rather was part of a group of 6 cars and a GP-7
locomotive all lettered for the Milwaukee Road.
There are 5 eras to Lionel trains: Prewar (1900-1942), Postwar (1945-1969),
MPC (1970-1985), LTI (1986-1995), and LLC (1995 to present). The first two
eras were the original Company founded and run by Joshua Lionel Cowen until
his retirement in 1958. Things started downhill for the company about that
same time, and it ceased train production 1970. The name and tooling were
sold to a division of General Mills, which resumed production in 1970. The
company was sold again in 1986 to a wealthy Detroit train collector who ran
the company until 1995. Beginning in the 3rd era, and continued into the
4th, Lionel offered its products in two distinct categories - the
"Traditional" line of less expensive and usually undersized trains aimed at
the children's toy market, and the "Collectors" line of more expensive and
increasingly full 1:48 scale trains aimed at the adult train collecting
market. The Fallen Flag series cars were part of the Collectors line.
Your car is based on the dies developed by the original company in the early
1950's for the "6464" series of boxcars. The cars represent a typical steam
era 40' steel boxcar, but are undersized in length, width and height to
correct 1:48 scale size. The original 2nd era 6464 cars are still quite
collectible, and many trade at 3-figure prices. The Collector series trains
from the 3rd and 4th eras were widely marketed at near wholesale prices,
lack the cachet of the original company, and have been overshadowed by more
recent full 1:48 proportioned models from Lionel and its current
competitors. So while there are still folks who collect Fallen Flag type
boxcars, that portion of the tinplate collecting market has sagged. (To put
it in HO terms, the situation is similar to a blue box Athearn car in
today's market.) Thus, if your car is brand new in the box (no evidence on
the wheel treads of having been run), I'd estimate its value around $30.
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