Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Collecting -- and collecting information 10

The Mystery Train (complete)
 When collecting information, whether on- or off-line, it's important to know the source.

I've been trying to compile information about Japanese tin toy trains of the 1950's and 1960's through some online detective work. There are no published reference books about this subject, and very few online sources, either. And since accumulating the actual toys to examine is cost-prohibitive, I'm using online photos (mostly from ebay) to determine the origins and makeup of these sets.

In Collecting -- and collecting information 9 I wrote about my attempt to identify a mystery train that had no markings whatsoever. And it was one of the few times I have been able to do so with the actual item in front of me. I had carefully looked at every photo of the train components and the set box from various online sources, and I couldn't find a brand. Handling the items allowed me to look at the set from every angle -- and I found no markings. The origin of the set remains a mystery.

So I was very interested to see the ebay listing below. (click on image to enlarge)
Nomura certainly made these types of trains, although of substantially different design. So how did the seller know this was Nomura set? Had I not examined the set myself, I might have accepted the Nomura attribution, perhaps with a question mark.

 The instruction sheet has no information about
who made this or when.
But I know better. Without any marks on the set, and no supporting documentation, I'm thinking this is just a mislabeled item.  It happens with some frequency on ebay. That's why the only information I'm interested in is the printing on the box.

It's important to know the source -- and which parts of the source are reliable.

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