While most serious collectors of vintage toy model trains specialize by scale, gauge, or manufacturer, purchasing their engines, rolling stock, and sections of track on a separate basis, just about everybody got into the hobby via some sort of model-train set. Model-train sets range from basic starter sets with a locomotive, some track, a power source, and a few cars to all-inclusive collections that allow model-train enthusiasts to erect entire towns and rail yards, or recreate particular eras. There are also newer collectible sets that match locomotives to the vintage passenger cars they would have pulled, in the appropriate colors.
Vintage train sets from Lionel, American Flyer, Marklin and of course Marx model train sets are highly collectible, dating back to 1910. Lionel, after World War Two produced model train sets hoping to prove the relevancy of toy trains. Most infamous was the "Lady Lionel" set from 1957. Produced in pink with the idea of attracting girls to the hobby of model railroading. Marx model train sets also produced themed train sets around TV shows such as Tales of Wells Fargo and several military sets as well.
Collecting vintage toy trains can be challenging. As most collectors have learned "...just because its old, doesn't make it valuable." Knowing what to look for is as important if not more so than finding older train sets in good condition that were mass produced thus lowering, in most cases, there value. Condition of the train cars and the original box, probably more so than the train cars themselves, dictate the value and the price it will bring. A good place to start looking for vintage model trains is by visiting a repeatable dealer. Once you gain knowledge on what to look for and what you want to collect you can often times find rare jewels at pawn shops.
Trains and Toy Soldiers buys collections and has a good number of vintage toy trains to choose from. Stop by our store or give us a call 800-786-1888.