Ok, I'm guilty, I'm a postwar nut. Postwar standard gauge though.
I've seen some great discussion on Post WWII standard gauge on the Yahoo Groups lately. I want to keep that going.
Why do we like it? One word: MYSTERY. Everyone loves a mystery. Did you see the amazing little Wakeling cars Arno grabbed off of eBay last week (see below)? It was said that they were prototypes and that they were the only one's produced and the manufacturer died. Sounds like some drama to me. Great ideas that meet an end too early (or their creators) are almost always interesting.
Forget about the money they might be worth, they are really cool looking and I have never seen them before. Did the manufacturer die? Did he make any more? Did he make any variations? How do they work? What do they look like on an operating pike? Were they easy to make? What was the inspiration?
There is a ton of incredible standard gauge that was not produced by Ives, Lionel, American Flyer, Boucher and so on. Much of these are one off's or very low production. They are typically amazing models that are as good as anything Lionel would have produced, sometimes better. Most of the time, the really crummy one's fall apart and don't stand the test of time. The really great one's appreciate a little in value and a whole lot in innovation and creativity.
Some day there may be a "Pebble Beach" of toy trains (AKA York) where we can pull up our one of a kind items and put them through their paces. At the moment it's just the "Seen at York" part of the TCA Quarterly.
Not everyone collects 400E's and 200 series boxcar variations. Rich Art, Jim Cohen, CMT, Jerry Williams, Forney, Roberts Lines and more are some of the amazing creations out there. Check out the little engine above I found in a 1964 TCA Quarterly. Just friggin amazing. Has anyone actually seen one of these things? That seems to be the question every time I see a new piece of standard gauge I have never seen before.....