Currently there is some discussion of prices of prewar trains on the Toy Trains Yahoogroup. One commenter lamented the fact that his 0 gauge cars didn't get any bids on EBAY even though they are in good condition. In another post, someone suggested that the prices for more common prewar trains are falling as older collectors unload their collections and flood the market with prewar trains. Only the rarities command top prices, one person commented.
I'm not so sure about this. First of all, if you limit your examination to prices realized on EBAY, that, I think, will not provide an accurate gauge of the actual value of vintage trains. For some reason, it seems to me that a lot of collectors with deep pockets do not use EBAY for buying and selling. In watching yesterday's Philip Weiss auction, I was amazed at some of the high prices realized, and not just on high end rarities, but even on boxes full of a jumble of accessories and parts. If I had a collection of prewar trains to sell, I would NOT use EBAY to dispose of them. Rather, I would sell them at auction. When I go to toy train auctions I think I see a lot of people with deep pockets buying stuff at prices that exceed what the items would go for on EBAY. When you watch these auctions live it's amazing how many lots are won by bidders on the floor vs. online bidders. There are simply a lot of people who frequent auctions with pockets full of money. I've seen this many times.
The lot in the photo is part of an IVES set - loco and four cars. The cars are AF body IVES transition cars. Including the 18 percent buyer's premium, this lot went for almost $8,000 yesterday.