|A great N scale starter set in the 1960's. And one that appears to be|
making an appearance on the collector's market.
The April, 2013 meet had a remarkable amount of the smaller scales (as I noted in What we saw: a change in scale). This meed that trend continued, and I think it's also related to the other thing we saw an unusual amount of -- low-end train sets from the late 1960's. And it all has to do with the passage of time
A little background on scale
Toy trains come in a variety of sizes, that has generally decreased over time. Here's a quick overview. The last column, "Years Popular" is something of a judgement call. It represents the time the gauge was commercially viable in the general toy market. Standard and S gauge gear is still being made today, but its designed and marketed to the niche collectors market.
|Name||Scale||Track Width||Years Popular|
The smallest scale returns in a big way
Last meet I remarked about how much H0 scale items were available. This time there was much more N scale trains for sale, mostly from the 1960's. And while there was plenty of loose cars and engines, there was also a significant amount of box sets from Aurora, Atlas, and Bachmann and other early N scale manufacturers.
But if you refer to the chart above, it makes sense. The average toy collector (be it trains, dolls, or board games) is after the products of their youth.
|A Lionel entry-level passenger set from 1966. One with all |
the pieces intact like this example have decided
increased in value.
And now in 2013, the middle-aged collector is looking nostalgically back to late 1960's - early 1970's. Right when N gauge really took off with inexpensive all-in-one starter sets (like the one I received). No wonder it's coming back!
The smallest sets return, too
The original Lionel Corporation manufactured toy trains until 1969, when it sold that part of the business to General Mills. The late 60's saw a number of modest 027 starter sets offered -- sets that would have been a youngster's first train set. They were all there, and commanding some good prices, too!
Has the market started to shift? Two points of data don't necessarily mark a trend. We'll be returning to York in the spring with great interest.
NEXT: What we didn't see -- old favorites.