Determining the value
of an Old Lionel Train Set is based on its condition, meaning how
complete is the set? Does it have its original carton, all inner
boxes, original lionel stamped wraps for the cars and locomotive,
all boxes in good shape? Meaning they are clean, square and bright?
Lionel used a box flap retaining system that has torn the end off of
many of these original boxes. A box missing the end flaps is called
a telescope.. : ) Unfortunately, these have no real value. But they
probably did a good job of protecting the trains over the years. A
fresh looking set with all original contents is worth much more than
a Lionel Train set that is in average condition. and a Mint set,
while hard to find, will alswyas bring a premuim price. The set
shown below is a mont original set, shown wiht the inspection tags
for each car, not the green inspectiontag in front of the
locomotive, believe it or not, this small tag with the correct
aldder imprint from packing makes a big difference in the value of
the locomotive and set.
While condition is
eveyrthing, the desireability of the set is the balancing act of
determining the value. A common Lionel set in mint condition could
be worth the same as a rare set in poor condition.
It is best not to try
to clean your trains, it is easy to damage them by inproper
cleaning. Running condition is normally not important either, but
many Lionel Trains were made with a horn system that used a battery.
If the trains were put away with the battery still inside the train,
they normally leak over time causing corrosin and damage to the
trains. As you might imagine this makes an otherwise valuabe
train worth very little.