Price Guide and Valuation for Antique Lionel Trains

Lionel Train

Are you looking to sell your antique Lionel trains? Perhaps you have found a goldmine at your neighborhood garage sale! Or maybe you’ve discovered a box in the attic filled with these antique Lionel trains. How do you determine their worth?When it comes down to it, their worth, or their selling price, will depend on several things, not the least of which is how much the buyer is willing to pay you to get it. The most motivated buyers will naturally pay more than someone who is not passionate about it.The last person you want to sell your antique Lionel train to is one of those people who post ads saying “I buy trains!”. These people are in the business of paying the lowest possible cost, and then selling as high as possible. You most likely will not get a good price here.Who you DO want to talk to is true collectors of antique Lionel trains. They are most likely to give you a fair price, and in this group of people is where you are also most likely to find a motivated buyer. You may have a local group of collectors in your own area. Hobby shops that deal in antique Lionel trains, or provide parts and accessories for them, can guide you in finding the true collectors.Now that you know where to find a buyer, here are some tips to help you put a price on your antique Lionel train.The Train Collectors Association has strict grading standards that are followed by the true train collectors in determining valuations. They divide the entire range of conditions into seven categories, ranging from brand new and unused (mint condition) to junk, with some usable parts (poor condition). The seven categories are: Mint, Like New, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor. Your train will fall somewhere into one of these categories.In addition, there are two excellent guides published each year that can help you to determine a value for your antique Lionel train. These publishers are well respected in this field, and have been publishing these guides for many years. The two guides are:TM’s Lionel Price and Rarity Guide – Volume 1 or Volume 2, depending on the date your Lionel train was manufacturedGreenberg’s Pocket Price Guide to Lionel TrainsThere are certain things you can do which can make a big difference in your selling price. If your train is in mint condition, plus you have the original box, you will get the highest price possible. So don’t ever throw away the box if you have one. Also, clean your train so that there is no dust, grime, dirt, or old built up oil on it. A clean and shiny train that doesn’t move can often command a higher selling price than a dirty one that works. In addition, sometimes just cleaning it up and making minor repairs can restore that old train to a more valuable condition.It also pays to learn how to repair and restore vintage lionel trains. With some of these collectible trains, doing the simple repairs can actually bring you thousands of dollars more when you sell it.So you see, there is a lot that goes into putting a value on your antique Lionel train. Your best bet to get a great selling price is to do your research on your train, check the established guides, make contact with a collectors club, and present a restored, clean and shiny train to a passionate collector.

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