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Trains from the Attic

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Trains From The Attic
How To Find Toy Trains.

Part 2

Here's an Interesting story about how my father bought a fantastic Lionel train.

My father, Cole Gibbs, goes back to Pennsylvania a few times a year to visit his mother and attend train meets. The train meets here in Arizona are mostly social functions with few trains for sale. It is a rare occurrence when we buy anything for our collection at a meet here in AZ. The meets are still worth going to, but for socializing, not to buy trains.

Anyway, while my dad was on one of his trips back east, he stopped in a bar and ran into a man who had worked with my grandfather. The two of them talked for a while, and my dad told the gentleman he came to Pennsylvania to visit his mother and buy toy trains.

The man told my father he had some Lionel trains from before 1920 including a large glass station, and a big brass steam engine. My dad asked him if he was interested in selling the trains. The man replied he didn't have the time to sell them and didn't need the money anyway. My father got the man's telephone number, and told him he would call him the next time he was in Pennsylvania.

Over the next two years, my dad called him every time he visited his mother. Each time the owner told him he was to busy or hadn't decided to sell the trains and to call back later. Finally after two years the man invited my father over to see the trains and my dad bought them.

Lesson: Always get the owners phone number. This way you can call them. Be polite; but persistent. I friendly reminder that you are still interested in their trains will keep you in their mind so when they do decide to sell, they will call you. My dad had someone GIVE him a boxed 763E Hudson because my dad kept asking about the train. I keep a book with every train call logged in it and go back through the book calling everyone who didn't sell me their trains asking about them. I also send thank you notes on fancy note paper to everyone I try to buy trains from. I write the notes as soon as I get home from looking at the trains. I have yet to buy any trains because of the notes, but stamps are cheap and sooner or later it will work. I don't send many notes out because I buy almost everything I look at. A later Finds article will deal with how to get reluctant sellers to part with their trains.

Here's a picture of the train:

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ã 1999, 2000 by Terry Gibbs. All rights reserved.