My Collection


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Originally I had started to display my collection in the living room, even going so far as to build a wall unit with glass shelves to hold the trains. This was great for the first eight trains but when it went beyond that I was asked to move to the basement.

We live in a townhouse and the main room in the basement is approximately 500 square feet.  I Asked my wife if I could use all of the wall space and she said yes…so I eagerly obliged!

In the picture below:
Large scale trains from Gauge 1 to Gauge 3 from Voltamp, Carlisle & Finch. Knapp, Lionel, Beggs, Ives and Elektoy from America and Marklin and Bing from Germany.  Most of the trains displayed here are close to 100 years old.

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In the picture below:
Ives manufactured toys, including toy trains from the late 1800s to the early 1930s when they were bought up by Lionel.  To be honest, as I progress with collecting, my interests go further back in time.  The older the better!  Ives was making O gauge trains before Lionel so it gave me the opportunity to have some trains that were made between 1906 and 1930 which is where my Lionel O gauge collection starts…at around 1930.

The trains below were manufactured by Ives between 1906 and 1915 and are mostly clockwork powered. The bottom 3 shelves hold a a Marx train with flat cars carrying vehicle loads, a Circus Train from Hoge circa 1935, while the bottom shelf holds an articulated Marx copper-fronted Mercury set.

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In the picture below:
I ran out of room in the main area of the basement and who really needs a storage closet…right?? So this is my official “spares” room.  The pieces on the left side are those which don’t really “fit ” physically on the shelves in the main room and the right is my streamliner collection.

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In the picture below:
Streamliners for instance are not my favorite…I love steam engines, but I have acquired a few of these shiny trains because they represent a unique point in history. It was like the “future” had arrived…in 1935!  The reason that I state these are not my favorite is that they look too new to me.  I like toy trains that look old.

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In the picture below:
I have also acquired a few “non-train” pieces over the past few years, simply because I could not resist the “look”, the patina, the history of these early toys.  The car on the top right is a car made by Hafner before he started making trains.

The horse-drawn fire equipment and the cast iron train on the shelves below is representative of the types of toys made by various manufactures in the late 1800s.

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In the picture below:
Before toy trains were made in America they were being made in Europe.  One company from Germany was called Marklin.  All of trains on the shelves are from Marklin and most date from the 1930s.
What I like about Marklin is the tremendous variety of pieces, the quality of the construction and most of all… the patina.  These pieces look more “antique” than a Lionel piece of the same time period.

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In the picture below:
Another prominent company from Germany was Bing.  At one time, Bing was a much larger company than Marklin but they were defunct by 1932.  The trains on the top shelves are from Bing and Marklin.

I especially like the Bing freight cars that were made in Germany but for the US market and sport American road names and advertisements on their sides on the first lower shelf.  I have a few of these cars in 4 wheel and 8 wheel varieties.

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In the picture below:
Above the TV are an Edobaud passenger set from France with gauge one bodies on O gauge trucks and above that is a Marklin one gauge passenger set pulled by an PLM loco.

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In the picture below:
The ceiling shelf holds a JEP Fleche d’or passenger train from the 1930s, while the wall shelf displays an early Marklin bridge being traversed by an early Ives train.

The top of the lower shelves is adorned with a Scale Lionel 700e Hudson from 1938 with its oak display board.

The freight train immediately under the 700e is a Bing freight set that is American lettered but was made in Germany for the American market prior to WWI

The remaining lower shelves hold Ives trains from the 1910s and 1920s

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In the picture below:
If you wanna be on these shelves, you have to be pulling coaches! A collection of colorful passenger trains from American Flyer, Ives, Lionel, Dorfan and Hornby.  The trains on the top few shelves are early American Flyer clockwork locos.

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In the picture below:

From top to bottom in the picture below:
Left corner: A Lionel armored tank locomotive with car with unusual French and Austrian locomotives on the lower shelves
Middle: a Bub electric profile locomotive with 8-wheeled freight cars from the 1930s.
The shelves below hold 1935-1941 trains, with Lionels prewar OO gauge sets at the top followed by trains primarily led by Hudson locomotives.  The middle has a Lionel made- Ives branded electric profile train in beige and maroon.
Right Corner: More obscure European trains

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In the picture below the shelves in the distance display Lionel tinplate freight cars from the 1930s.  The closer shelves hold some early American Flyer (Edmonds-Metzel) trains from the mid teens.

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One thought on “My Collection

  1. Richard Sappelli

    I see you have some very exceptional toy trains. It was a good decision on your part to collect only the very best trains that you could and you have done famously. I see many hard to find trains that you have “found” and you are to be commended. Keep on going. Thanks for the look see.
    Richard Sappelli, TCA, LCCA. Penna.

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