Whas Up At Train City

My Son John is the first person I have ever heard use that term. You know, whas up! Actually it would be more like ‘whhhaaaassssssss up'. He had it down from the first time I heard it. Since, after much practice, I do a pretty good what's up myself. But it doesn't come quite as natural as my Son John.

Now, I am sure you are wondering if you even turned the page, what the heck I am getting at. Well, basically I don't know. But let's just see whas up at Train City in the following paragraphs.

I have some really exciting news for you train buffs out there. I have come to terms on not one, but two train collections which will be the largest and 3rd largest train collections I have ever purchased. Not to say something couldn't happen to foil these deals, but that is improbable at this point. These are so big that I will be completely out of money once both transactions are completed. (Anyone have some money I could borrow?)

They will consist of Lionel Post War, MPC, LTC, and some modern, MTH, Williams, Weaver, K-Line, LGB, etc., etc. There will be some really nice inventory coming our way.

The first collection hopefully will come through towards the end of April, the second is tentatively scheduled to be picked up in Mid-May.

Between the two collections there will be an enormous amount of inventory keeping us busy probably through the Summer.

I am trying another marketing area as far as buying. As you probably note I have not been very successful lately at purchasing American Flyer Trains over the past year. Especially since two years ago we were flooded with American Flyer. I am now going to place a full page ad in S-Gaugian in hopes of finding some American Flyer to buy. It's not that I make any more money on American Flyer. As a matter of fact usually you have to work a little closer. But I love the stuff, and am very hopeful to find some great collections to share with you AF enthusiasts.

I think this is the Weekend of York as I write this. Not sure because I sort of lost track of the show. Two years ago I made a statement on these pages that I wouldn't be going to York anymore because I could do better selling trains on E-Bay. Actually if you click here, you can read the whole article.

At any rate someone caught me off guard when they wrote about me making that statement on a train forum that I happened to run across. They thought that I was being arrogant, and didn't particularly like the fact that I would turn my back on the TCA like that.

I found it very interesting that someone would remember that happening. If I had to do it again, I would have stopped going to York much sooner! Especially with the Internet.

Now don't get me wrong. I love and respect the TCA as an organization. I advertise in the TCA journal, and encourage people to join. I love meeting people at York. I do miss some things about those shows. The things I don't miss are the packing up, then unpacking, then packing up, then unpacking again. I don't miss the extremely low offers for really nice stuff! I don't miss the utter boredom of standing at your table waiting for something to happen. (Especially when there is so much work waiting for me at home.) I really don't miss going home to mail orders for items that you had just sold at York! And I especially don't miss driving up I-83 to Harrisburg every day because you can't possibly get a room near York, Pa. during that show! And that isn't to say anything about the risks involved at transporting and leaving a large inventory of merchandise unattended every night of the show.

Two years ago when I decided to miss that York show I did an experiment and selected items that I would have taken to York, and over a week or two (I can't remember) I auctioned them on Ebay. Well from memory this is what happened: Instead of taking 500 items and selling maybe 50, I auctioned maybe 70 items and sold 70 items. I received easily more than I would have received at York due to the head hunters at York that unless they get a bargain, they wouldn't give you a dime for the stuff! I can't remember the percentages, but they were so much better that I decided right then and there that I had to open my own auction site. And of course I did. Thank goodness!!!

But like I said, I do miss York, so one of these days I'm going to return. Don't expect me to bring trains with me. I'll be there to relax, see some old and new friends, and maybe buy some trains. Hey, maybe I'll be one of those head hunters at York come October!

Choochooauctions.com had some controversy this past week. I actually found people talking me down on two separate message boards. What caused this chaos is that some of the Plasticville items we auctioned recently went for a good penny. Actually I was somewhat surprised, but pleasantly pleased by the winning bids! People in the Plasticville forum particularly were amazed and disbelieving.

Well, there was a ruckus more or less saying that I was fixing the prices. Now you have to believe me when I say that fixing prices is not in my bag. I start those auctions for two bucks and whatever happens from there happens. So I was a little astonished because the messages on those boards were getting worse and worse with time. I mean the York thing came up, and my grading was suspect, and someone even said that I beat my dog. Hey, I may beat my wife, but never my dog! Why, I don't even have a dog. We have a turtle, but she bites you if you get your hand anywhere close to the inside of that aquarium, so gee!

I guess my point is, be nice guys. I mean rumors can do a lot of damage, and those forums were starting to sound like a lot of gab at a PTA meeting on Tuesday night.

If you have dealt with me over the years I think you know I don't play games. I would never think of fixing a bid in an auction, nor do we over grade.

I once knew a couple of coin dealers when I was in that market who would go to coin shows, buy up a whole bunch of coins, then go sell them in their magazine ads at 1 full grade higher than they actually were. They did this for a living.

I can honestly say I don't know of any train dealers who use this practice. But I suppose you could make a living at that.

My philosophy is that you can make a much better living at actually having repeat business. And how in the heck could you have repeat business if you screwed the guy the first time?

One thing that was so refreshing to me when I changed to trains a number of years ago was the honesty of the train guy verses the coin guy.

Don't get me wrong, there are many honest numismatists out there. But there are a whole bunch of cheats in that hobby as well, at least many more than I have found in trains. (At least back then.)

But you guys that are always looking behind you wondering who is going to try to screw you next, don't bother doing that here nor with most train people. The vast majority of train hobbyists are extremely honest.

I think there is a gene that us train lovers have. And along with that gene is another one called the honesty gene. I've had a total of 7 bad checks in the train business in all the years I've been in business. And every one of them was made good. I find that amazing and wonderful.

And I hope that those of you who like to spread rumors will maybe think or investigate a little more before doing so. Unfortunately the bad things are the ones most remembered by people, even if they are untrue.

Well that's about it for today. As you leave, please leave your offering in the basket at the back of the Church.

And that is whas up at Train City!!!

If you have comments or feedback regarding this article or any subject having to do with electric trains, please feel free to visit our message boards, where you can discuss topics related to trains with other train enthusiasts.

 Back to Archives

Revised 04/20/01
For questions or comments, please email or call us at (814) 833-8313. Fax: (814) 838-3237
Train City, 3133 Zuck Road, Erie, Pa. 16506
All Rights Reserved