6 Sell Your Trains

This page modified 4/14/2021

CONTENTS – below on this page
A. Getting Advice
B. 8 ways to sell (Outline)
C. 8 ways to sell (Details)
D. Determining Value
E. Used Train Dealers – Phoenix Region
F. Used Train Dealers – National

Information on this page provided courtesy of Dallas Dixon

A. Getting Advice

  • The question frequently arises “How Do I Dispose-of or Sell My Old Trains” in the Phoenix, Arizona region.
  • You have several options — as outlined below.
  • For more opinions, Google phrases similar to “best way to sell my used model trains
  • For an informed, unbiased, no-obligation EVALUATION of your LOCAL options about selling, donating, etc in the Phoenix AZ region, you can contact Dallas Dixon, the Past President of the Paradise & Pacific Model RR Club.
Grand Canyon Model Railroaders train show, Feb. 2012

B. 8 ways to sell (Outline)

  1. Relative/friends
  2. TCA Auction (Train Collector’s Association)
  3. Ebay
  4. Sell using local auction company
  5. Sell to a used train dealer
  6. Sell at a train show yourself
  7. Craigslist / Garage Sale / Newspaper Ad / Bulletin Board
  8. Donate to a worthy model railroad club

Trainz.com’s ‘Selling Guide‘ elaborates on these options

C. 8 ways to sell (Details)

  • (1) Relative/friends: Before you sell the trains, ask yourself, “Is there any relative for whom the trains would have SENTIMENTAL value?” If the train belonged to a fondly-remembered grandfather, some relative (or friend) may cherish it. Once Grandpa’s trains are gone, they’re GONE.
  • (2) TCA Auction: The Phoenix TCA Desert Division holds several auctions each year. Their commission is 20% to non-members. They offer free pickup and storage of your entire collection, big or small, and their TCA Auction Page has more details and contact information.
  • (3) Ebay: You tend to get more money, but lot’s of TIME and WORK to list, pack, and ship.
    • Ebay agent: will list your trains on ebay for you, for a percentage (usually about 1/3)
  • (4) Local auction company: Sometimes local auction firms will accept trains.
  • (5) Sell to a used train dealer: You can meet these people at local train shows. We’ll list a few below on this page, if they allow us to list some contact information
    • There are only about 3 train stores remaining in the Phoenix area, and currently none of them are buying used trains, due to Covid cash crunch.
    • If you have a LARGE collection, there are NATIONAL firms that will come and buy collections. Trainz.com’s FAQ page explains how this works.
  • (6) Sell at a train show yourself: You can rent a table at most local train shows; but you may need help properly pricing items.
  • (7) Craigslist / Garage Sale / Newspaper Ad / Bulletin Board: These tend to attract “bargain hunters”, and you don’t know who you are dealing with.
  • (8) Donate to a worthy model railroad club: Most clubs will accept donations. Usually they will sell these trains at a train show to raise funds.
    • One of the most ACTIVE clubs is the Paradise & Pacific O-gauge MRR Club in Scottsdale. Their layout operates for the PUBLIC 363 days per year (closed only Thanksgiving & Christmas). They can put your donations to good use — to help with their maintenance expenses.
    • You can view their narrated VIDEO . The guy doing the narration is Dallas Dixon.

D. Determining Value

  • This is difficult; so many variables.
  • American Flyer S Gauge, Lionel O gauge, and LGB Largescale tend to have more value as used trains. Used HO and N gauge is usually less in demand.
  • You can sometimes find an “ebay completed listing” to see what a similar item sold for.
  • There are printed price guides you can find on Amazon (and other places) for American Flyer, Lionel, and LGB; but these only give you a “rough idea”.
  • See also article Appraising the Value of Toy Model Trains

E. Used Train Dealers – Phoenix Region

  • TCA Auctions (see Item 3 above)

Chris Allen (W. Mesa) TCA #95-40580

  • Contacting: Use president@tcadd.org (from TCA (Train Collectors Ass’n) Contact Us page.)
  • Chris buys trains himself and can help you locate several other buyers he is aware of in town.
  • Chris will consider purchasing N ga. HO ga. S ga. O ga. & Largescale.
  • Chris specializes in O ga.
  • Chris reminds you that when selling to a local train buyer, they are no different than a retail store. Don’t be insulted if they offer you well below the market price. Overhead like selling on eBay, shipping and the cost of selling at local trains shows can eat up to 20% of their profit. Their livelihood is the remaining margin. If you want the most money, you must do the most work.

Chuck Eral (N. Scottsdale)

  • Contacting: Use cell 480-332-8120 or web page.
  • Chuck’s web page Boxcar Auctions of the Southwest says he will buy American Flyer S gauge, or help you sell it on ebay.
  • You can ask him about other gauges.

Rob Kaminski (Scottsdale) TCA #17-73117

  • Contacting: Cell 480-737-7255 or email RobKaminski90@gmail.com
  • Rob will consider purchasing N ga. HO ga. S ga. O ga. & Largescale.
  • Rob specializes in S ga.

There are MANY other local dealers (some don’t want their phones or emails listed), but you can find them at trains shows.

F. Used Train Dealers –

• Following are a few firms that advertised in recent train publications. There are many more.
• Most of these firms advertise that they will travel to pick up LARGE collections.
• Note that most of these are in the EASTern part of the US.