Lionel Train Auctions

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Determining values of Lionel train collectibles

Determining values of lionel train collectibles:
Knowing the value of trains is of interest for beginning enthusiasts as well as seasoned collectors. Demand often determines the value of a train with some vintage Lionel trains selling for close to their original price and others going for much more.
The collectors' market is highest for trains made before 1969. Particular road names (such as Lionel Santa Fe or Lionel Union Pacific) may be in favor, increasing their value. Rare trains are generally more valuable as well.
As quality increases, so does value. Broken or missing parts, large scratches, rust, or chipped paint all have a negative impact on value. However, trains in poor condition are often sources for parts.
Remember that the grade of a train refers to the condition of the finish–electrical parts are considered inoperable unless a seller says otherwise. If parts have been replaced or restored, this should be clearly noted.
Determining values of lionel train collectibles:

Here are the guidelines for condition as established by the TCA (Train Collectors Association):

Mint-condition Lionel trains look completely new, are unused, and have all original parts.
Like new:
Lionel trains in like-new condition have no scratches or blemishes and are in original condition.
Lionel trains in excellent condition are clean, not rusted, and have only very small nicks or scratches.
Very good:
Very good condition Lionel trains have some scratches but no dents or rust.
Good condition Lionel trains have some scratches and dents.
Well-worn Lionel trains in fair condition may have dents, rust, or warping.
Lionel trains in poor condition are highly damaged, but good for parts.
Remember that values of lionel train collectibles also increases if it comes in the original packaging. Any train or accessory that comes in a sealed blister pack is highly valued by collectors. Among collectors, the value of a Lionel box can be greater than its contents; boxes have been known to sell for over $1,000, depending on scarcity and condition.
Ratings for boxes are New, Like New, Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Fair.