Toy Trains From The Attic

Stories About Buying Toy Trains

Christmas is a time for toy trains. We haven't set up trains around the Christmas tree for years. Actually I haven't even had a tree in 9 years. It just isn't important. To me the important things are getting together with family and eating lots of food. It is a family tradition to get together at my fathers house on Christmas eve and eat light food mostly sandwiches, pickles, and pastries. I know it sounds disgusting, but you don't eat it all at the same time; you snack on the different items.

Anyway each year my father and I exchange some kind of train related items for Christmas. Usually its tools, a train engine or car, maybe a streetlight or floodlight tower.

This year I found something on ebay that I could not resist buying for my father. I was looking through the listings when I read this:

"Lionel 402 Replica - HO Scale"

It had been bid up to $11.00. Now I am familiar with the little Avon 381 and 400 locomotives but was not aware of a 402 being made. But the price was only $11.00, so it was probably just junk. After all, It had been on auction for 6 days and had only received two bids. Having nothing better to do, I checked out the auction. Here's the seller's description:

LIONEL 402 REPLICA - HO SCALE - THIS IS NOT A WORKING TRAIN - IT IS A CAST REPLICA - WE ARE NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT IT IS OR HOW OLD IT IS, SO PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BID - IT IS MISSING A PIECE ON TOP(SEE PICTURES) - BUYER PAYS $3.20 SHIPPING.

I looked at the pictures. I recognized it for what it was. I had seen one of these somewhere before (its shown in the second edition of the TCA book on page 223), and knew what it was. I placed a bid, and became the high bidder at $11.50.

After thinking about it for a half hour I raised my bid. I was worried that someone else would see it, know what it was; and out bid me. Three hours later I raised my bid again. The more I thought about it, the less I was willing to risk missing out on this fantastic piece of Lionel history. No one else placed a bid after mine, so I bought it for $11.50.

lionel paperweight

The seller's description said something was missing from the top. It should have two headlights. The base is also missing. It should have a cast base with lettering on it. The lettering says "Made by the Lionel Corporation New York."

You can't see it in the picture, but this item was originally silver plated. This is the big clue to what this neat little engine is. In 1925, Lionel celebrated 25 years of being in business. 25 years is the silver anniversary. The 402 was the top of the line engine in 1925. Now you should know what this is. It is a Lionel 25th anniversary paperweight.

The lesson here is some Ebay sellers have very poor titles. Also, sometimes they list their items in weird categories. Another Phoenix area collector bought an 1899 Lionel Catalog on Ebay, that was listed in the books category. The 1899 catalog is the only known surviving catalog. It predates train production, and the seller did not associate it with Lionel Trains.

Here's some eBay Advice.

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