Summertime Trains

Sorry it has been a while since I have updated this page. After all it is Summer, and, well golf, you know! Actually golf isn't the only reason. We have been very busy this year, which is a very good thing.

I am still working on a Lionel post war collection that I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Normally I would be done with it by now, but between golf and a recent trip to Florida to pick up a train collection, I have fallen further behind.

The trip to Florida was very unexpected. You may or may not know we have been having technical problems with our auction site, choochooauctions.com. They aren't fatal, but they are serious enough that I wanted to visit our web hosts in Tampa, but didn't feel that it alone merited travel.

Then I came across a small collection in Orlando that the individual selling the trains refused to send, but offered to reduce his price by $500.00 if I would travel and pick them up. That was sort of a no-brainer there, so I took the opportunity to pick up the collection and visit our web hosts at the same time.

The trip went very well as I picked up the trains in Orlando, then flew over to Tampa for a meeting with our web hosts.

After talking with them I feel much better about choochooauctions.com's future. The problems should be resolved soon I am very happy to say.

I am usually very surprised at the amount of activity in the train market in the Summer time. Although it wasn't Summer, this past May was one of the best selling months we have ever had. May is usually pretty slow. But the train market just seems to flow from December to December pretty much unaffected by the hot Summer months.

This weekend (June 22) ‘The Great American Train Show" will be in Erie, which will be the first time that show has visited. It will be interesting to find out how the dealers at that show fair, as Erie can be a tough town to do business in sometimes in the Winter. (Thus that is why I got so heavy into Mail order and Internet.)

No, I won't be there as I don't do shows anymore. I probably won't even get to walk around as I have some other activities planned for this weekend. And that is why I am somewhat amazed how trains still sell in the Summertime!

For me between work, golf, yard work, and more golf, I hardly have time to fit anything in my schedule. Granted, I do golf to much. Usually I golf Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday in a typical week. But then again if there wasn't that evil game that some demented Scotsman decided to torment civilization with, I'd probably play with my trains much more in the Summertime.

Due to some full page buy ads I have become overwhelmed with train price lists of people wanting to sell their trains. I am at a somewhat helpless situation right now as I can't get to all of the lists that have been sent. I am looking for help in evaluating these lists. Please click here for more info.

Unfortunately most of the lists are for ‘newer' trains, which I do buy. However I am mainly looking for Lionel Pre and Post War, American Flyer Pre and S gauge, and older trains in general, which seem to be becoming harder to find these days.

It seems like the market has a glut of especially Mike's Train House right now. You can't believe the number of lists I have received for Mike's Train House items. I am almost to the point of refusing to purchase any MTH on the secondary market for this reason, although I opt not to do this mainly because that can close options.

The train market is very similar to the stock market and some people don't get that. I have had some people somewhat dissatisfied with offers given on MTH and some modern Lionel collections recently. Supply and demand is a big factor in today's train market, much more so than it would have been say ten years ago.

With MTH, Lionel, and others flooding the market with new merchandise over the last couple of years it is amazing to me that there is much value to newer items at all! My normal offer for newer trains has been 60% of current market. The key is ‘current market', which can be difficult to evaluate. There are of course many ads in CTT and OG Magazines, but the key is are those trains actually selling at those prices? I tend to think that some of the ads with high or near issue prices are not selling, but that is only my opinion based on full page ads we have run at prices lower than most. I gauge ‘current market' mainly using our sales history database. But of course we don't have every item MTH has made in our sales history, and some data is old.

Bottom line is that there is to much MTH and modern Lionel on the market right now. I know I've said this before, but it is becoming a big problem for me in I am being hammered with lists. But to many lists is a good thing. Not enough lists would be a bad thing. With any luck we will receive our share of older Lionel and American Flyer lists in the future.

Trains are made to play with anyway, although many people do collect trains as well. Hopefully you have found time in your busy Summer schedule to ‘play with those trains'.


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Revised 6/20/02
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