Model Railroads/Marx Train Set

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Marx Train Set
Marx Train Set  
QUESTION: I got this Marx Train Set in 1949 for Christmas.On the transformer is the model #709. It has 8 cars but I can't find any model #'s on
any of the cars. Can you give me some information about this set....like original cost?...was it top of the line or just an avg mediocre set?...What year was it made?...etc??
 I am passing it down it to my Grandchildren for Christmas and would like to tell them as much as I can about it!!

ANSWER: Hi!  Tom .  Thank you for your question. I'm sorry but I can't identify the set from the information you sent.  Marx sets were probably the least expensive train sets made in those years.  The transformers also were in all sets, whether they were the cheaper sets or the more expensive sets.  There are two ways to find approximate values.  One is to buy a book of values of Marx trains, but I should warn you that these books are only available second hand and are at a premium costing over $100 for a second hand copy.  Another way is to find a similar set as yours by looking for one on eBay and then seeing how much it sells for.  It looks like one of the better Marx sets as it has a crane car.  Most sets only had about 4 cars in the set.  I hope this helps.  Frank.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Frank...
  Other than that way too expensive "book of values",
isn't there any way to find out approximately when this
Marx train Set was made or an estimate of the original cost??.....Tom

Answer
Tom.  I'm not an expert on Marx trains, but even an expert would need to know the model #s of each piece to be able to give you a reasonable estimate of the value of each piece.  Most Marx pieces have a model # either stamped in the bottom or it is the number on each car.  If the pieces are not numbered it must be one of the very cheapest sets.  As I said Marx trains often appear for sale on eBay.  You can look at eBay and by watching the sales you should find trains similar to yours and you can note the prices they sell for.  You don't have to bid.  If you got the set as a present in 1949, and it was new,  it would have been made between 1946 and 1949.  Toy manufacturers did not make metal toys during World War II and production of metal toys especially toy trains restarted in 1946. I would estimate the cost of a complete set, with transformer, to be in the $20-25 range.  Unfortunately I didn't start in the model train business in this country until 1957, where prices were from $30-50 for an inexpensive set.  I expect it was made in 1949.  Most manufacturers, I worked for A.C. Gilbert (American Flyer) started manufacture of their sets from April through August for Christmas sales of the same year.  Remainder stock was of course held for the following year.

One last important thing before you give the set to your grandchildren.  Please check the power cord on the transformer.  Sets as old as yours often have power cords where the covering has worn and exposed the wires inside.  This can be a deadly electrical hazard, so please make sure the power cord is in good shape.  If not have a qualified electrician replace the power cord. Frank.

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Frank Edgcombe

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I CAN NOT DIAGNOSE equipment problems or ESTIMATE DOLLAR VALUES of your equipment, by email. I have been active in model railroading for forty years. I can answer, or find answers, to questions on most aspects of model trains, railroad equipment or buildings. I have a good knowledge of prototype railroads. I have been employed by five model railroad equipment manufacturers/suppliers and worked for a prototype railroad. I have served, twice, as the president of a local model railroad club. I have been employed as a Reference Librarian, at a university, for the last fifteen years and am used to tracking down resources for patrons.

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