Looking for help in So Cal to appraise/sell inherited HO brass collection

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carrollnash

New Member
Hello - I have inherited 70-odd brass HO model trains. I have zero knowledge, but have created an excel spreadsheet with all of the information I have from each item. I've had two bulk offers to buy, but worry I am undervaluing. For someone with no background in model trains, finding specifics online has been almost impossible. I'm in Los Angeles and am hoping to find someone who I can pay to look at what I have and give me some ballpark estimates (either actually LOOK, or at least look at my list). All items purchased 25+ years ago and held in storage. I plan to sell everything. Manufactures include: Overland Models, Sunset Models, Iron Horse, Lambert Associates, The Coach Yard, S. Soho & Co, Erie Limited Corp, Westside Model Co, Cascade, Hallmark, Great Brass Fleet, Wasatch.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Hello - I have inherited 70-odd brass HO model trains. I have zero knowledge, but have created an excel spreadsheet with all of the information I have from each item. I've had two bulk offers to buy, but worry I am undervaluing. For someone with no background in model trains, finding specifics online has been almost impossible. I'm in Los Angeles and am hoping to find someone who I can pay to look at what I have and give me some ballpark estimates (either actually LOOK, or at least look at my list). All items purchased 25+ years ago and held in storage. I plan to sell everything. Manufactures include: Overland Models, Sunset Models, Iron Horse, Lambert Associates, The Coach Yard, S. Soho & Co, Erie Limited Corp, Westside Model Co, Cascade, Hallmark, Great Brass Fleet, Wasatch.
Sorry I don't know anyone in California. There are some really good brand names in that list. The bulk offers are usually undervalued because those folks are looking to resell them at a profit. What you need is a brass price guide such as Brown's. https://www.amazon.com/Brown-Book-Brass-Locomotives-3rd/dp/0801983959. Note this is the 1994 version so the prices would have to be adjusted for the inflation the government claims isn't there. I believe there are more recent versions or different brands of brass price guides out there.

Oh yeah, here we go. https://www.amazon.com/Brass-Model-Trains-Price-Guide/dp/1615396020. More searching might turn up something even more recent .

If one considers $300 minimum for each loco might be a low end starting place. Many (most) brass locos that are 1980s and newer are worth much more. Last one I bought was a Sunset Model 4-6-6-4 and thought I got a killer deal for $950. A W&R Model of the same type is $3000. What things sell for on ebay can be a good indication (sell for not what they are listed for).

I'm sorry I'm so booked right now, or I would look at your sheet for you.
 
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carrollnash

New Member
Another question - Looking online at brasstrains.com. I found the same piece: Sunset Models - EMD E7B Diesel. Valuation is $80, but shows brass unpainted. Mine is painted. Is there a standard % increase for painted versus unpainted?

Thanks!
 

Sirfoldalot

Curse You, Red Baron!
Staff member
Sorry, but I have just NOT had much free time to try and help you at the moment.
I will try and see if I can come up with a way to work with you.
I first need to have excell installed on this "new" computer, then go from there.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'll offer my thoughts on both your questions as the should relate to any type of model, brass or plastic.

Builder versus Railroad/Owner: There are, and at one time a number of Builders (manufacturers) of real Locomotives and they would produce Demonstrator locos, usually painted in an advertising scheme of their own, for the use and evaluation of Railroads who showed an interest in buying new equipment. Railroad/Owner would, should apply to the individual Railroad paint schemes applied to the model, but would also include any of their specific modifications, or varieties of included ancillary equipment fitted to the locos, of their choosing, known in the modelling world as RRoad specific detail inclusions. There is also a sub species of locos owned by leasing companies who don't have an actual Railroad. They too will normally have their own paint scheme, or sometimes have retained the paint scheme of the Railroad they came from if purchased, used. They usually have the original RRoad's name painted out and replaced with the lessor's name or mostly their "Reporting Mark", a series of letters assigned to them to identify that owner.

Painted v Unpainted value. This could be a little harder to judge value of. When model makers offer unpainted versions they usually come with additional detail parts to finish the model in a Railroad specific type of that loco, of the buyers choice. Painted ones in a specific Railroad scheme will have had it's details installed or sometimes supplied, also painted, to be applied by the modeller. If an unpainted model, they usually sell new, at the same price as one already painted. If model manufacturer painted, the scheme it is painted in can substantially affect it's resellable price, particularly depending on the demand or the sought afterness of the loco model. This is also affected by how many might be "in the market" for it at any given time. So..pot luck.
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Yes, wading through all the abbreviations can be tough even for those of us who know something about them.

Another question - Looking online at brasstrains.com. I found the same piece: Sunset Models - EMD E7B Diesel. Valuation is $80, but shows brass unpainted. Mine is painted. Is there a standard % increase for painted versus unpainted?
It depends if it is factory painted, professionally painted, painted/decaled well or just painted. The just painted ones can be a % decrease.
 
I haven't done business with any other Los Angeles-area hobby shops since Allied Model Trains in Culver City closed its doors in the summer of 2015 (after 69 years in business!), but I've heard good things about The Original Whistle Stop in Pasadena. They may offer appraisal services and/or consignment-sales. Also check Arnie's Model Trains in Westminister, which claims to be the largest model train store in Los Angeles and Orange County.
 
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Selector

Well-Known Member
It's a tricky business to be sure. Was the model popular by subscription and were many sold? Was it used extensively? Does it show the wear 'n tear, such as with worn paint, chipped paint, sintered wheel treads showing brass through the plating, bent railings, missing parts, lights that no longer work? Has it been 're-motored' with a more modern drive mechanism to improve performance (this one point is very significant with brass models across importers because some were decent runners while others were plugs who caused their disappointed new owners no shortage of pain. We call them 'shelf queens'...because...well...you figure it out.) Even so, the market drives the value. Someone who strongly desires to restore a favourite brass model might want another just for parts, or he may want a second to augment or fill out his roster of a certain railroad's locomotives of that type. IOW, the price varies depending on the desirability and reputation of the model.

It may be a royal pain, and a daunting and time-consuming project, but if you can steel yourself to do it, selling each piece by listing it, rather than by selling bunches or lots, will net you the most value. eBay is a good place. The brass market has gone soft, and the prices generally reflect it. Modern ABS plastic shells and detailing, plus the improved drives and switch to Digital Command Control among enthusiasts have relegated the older brass to the fenced in compound with a central slag heap. Not in every case, but in many.

Good luck.
 




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