Advice to Disposing of Old Model Railway Equipment
It is a common occurrence. You are clearing out the loft when that long-forgotten dusty box in the corner is discovered. In it are the fond memories of childhood, the train set you received that Christmas many years ago. The additions obtained with pocket money, or subsequent birthdays and Christmases, add to this with extract track, carriages and locos. There were buildings, scenery and other details to transform the simple train set into a model railway. Then other interests took over, space became a premium and into the loft it went; perhaps the children/grand children may like it in the future.
Sadly things didn't go to plan, and there is no space for your previous model railway empire, nor interest in the family, so what happens?
The club often gets offered items, ranging from loco or two, right up to entire collections, to purchase or to offer to the membership to purchase. Unfortunately the club only has limited space, so is unable to purchase items. Additionally, many of our members either specialise in certain countries or eras, or already have many of the items being offered, so normally are unable to accommodate. However the club would be happy to receive donations of locos, rolling stock, books or equipment that can be sold at our open days or exhibitions to boost club funds.
The stark reality is (contrary to the impressions given on Cash in the Attic and other such programs, or many Ebay listings), the majority of older model railway items are worth very little. Technology and detailing has moved on, so that Hornby trainset from the 1970s and 80s really won't get much.
Controllers and other mains electrical items are particularly difficult to move on as they are often no longer up to current safety standards.
The good news is, there is market for second-hand model railway items. There are a number of shops which do purchase collections, although it should be noted that prices offered will not be high.
Suitable contacts include:
Locomotives, carriages and wagons will always have the greatest interest. Limited scenic items, such as decent quality road vehicles, undamaged buildings and well-made kits also have a market. Older track is often not worth retaining, nor scenic materials such as foliage.
Items to look out for:
Wrenn - there is an active Wrenn collectors market and some items can be valuable. The best option here is to contact a specialist
Very old Hornby, Basset Lowke and Marklin items also have a wide collectors market, but again, it is very much dependent on condition and rarity - a contact for these is below: