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Sir TophamHatt

Buying Models for Investment - Good or Bad?

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In the past few  years, I've been buying HO Japanese brass locomotive and interurbans by PFM, NWSL, KTM, etc  from the 1960s and 70s for my North American projects and what has struck me is that I've often paid pretty much the same price for an engine or interurban that it originally sold for back in the day. Clearly, they still command a fairly high price but they would appear to have had next to no value as an investment over the past 40-50 years.

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I remember being in awe of the Japanese brass American steam locos as a child, particularly the complex mallet and Shay types. I am sure that there was also a GWR Castle (Tetsudo?) My father was more in awe of the prices at the time. It was relative, back in 1967, you could buy a brand new Vauxhall Viva for about £670. You can add a nought to that figure now, because nobody put those in a glass case. The good news is that we can pick up some interesting models at a reasonable price and if we wish, run them as intended.

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Sad to say even Viva’s were not a good investment.......:D

 

A91EC660-2D8C-4E35-B1C1-1D4DC1D226A0.png.6285eb7760e7f61880b92d019e2a6fc1.png 

 

 

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I've always thought that the modellers and the collectors amongst us represent two entirely different markets.  It seems to me that the bulk of the 2020 Hornby stuff is aimed specifically at collectors whcih is not the market that they've been aiming at recently with their efforts to return to profitability.  I'm concerned that the effort that has gone into creating replicas of items from the past that won't ever see light of day on a layout could be the start of a downhill slope which none of us want to see.  I can't ever remember being so underwhelmed with a new Hornby catalogue since way before the one with Terence Cuneo's Clapham Junction on the cover.  I'm usually an optimist but this lot has stretched that to the limit.

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3 hours ago, gordon s said:

Sad to say even Viva’s were not a good investment.......:D

 

A91EC660-2D8C-4E35-B1C1-1D4DC1D226A0.png.6285eb7760e7f61880b92d019e2a6fc1.png 

 

 

Fair point, it does show how money has lost its value. I had a 1960 Bedford camper van which when it was new, cost £1500, the price of a 3 bed semi at the time, I paid £200 for it 20 years ago, even allowing for them climbing in value recently, £5-6000 is all it would be worth. You can easily spend that on renovating one in your own time. At least I am not one of those fools who must have a new or new looking car to show others how well I am doing. As my late father used to say: "Two BMW's on the drive and b****r all in the fridge." I buy things that aren't essentials simply because I like them, that way I won't ever be disappointed.

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I think that Middlesea John is also right. The problem with instant collectors items and their inherent price is that once the "Got to have it" brigade have spent their money, there will invariably be the rest of the production batch gathering dust, only to be sold later at a knockdown price. I was at a toy and train fair recently and we saw some of the latest steam cranes for sale at over £200. (not of my money, ever!) Looking around around the secondhand stalls, every one of them had piles of old steam cranes, boxed for about £25 and unboxed for as little as £5. I think all manufacturers should be looking at how they can attract the next generation of modellers and collectors.

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On 15/01/2020 at 16:27, Middlesea John said:

I've always thought that the modellers and the collectors amongst us represent two entirely different markets.  It seems to me that the bulk of the 2020 Hornby stuff is aimed specifically at collectors whcih is not the market that they've been aiming at recently with their efforts to return to profitability.  I'm concerned that the effort that has gone into creating replicas of items from the past that won't ever see light of day on a layout could be the start of a downhill slope which none of us want to see.  I can't ever remember being so underwhelmed with a new Hornby catalogue since way before the one with Terence Cuneo's Clapham Junction on the cover.  I'm usually an optimist but this lot has stretched that to the limit.

 

 

I think the collector market for Hornby is for those who just want to own a different item rather than buying for investment. 

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On 15/01/2020 at 15:26, gordon s said:

Sad to say even Viva’s were not a good investment.......:D

 

A91EC660-2D8C-4E35-B1C1-1D4DC1D226A0.png.6285eb7760e7f61880b92d019e2a6fc1.png 

 

 

Gee Whizz!

My mate, Carl influenced his dad into getting one of them in the early 80's, I had to help with maintenance and rebuilding of the thing.

The idea that something of that "quality" would effectively cost that kind of money today is absurd.

Hint: it was completely and utterly rubbish, no wonder the cleaned up in this country.

 

The only good thing about cars from that era was that you could work on them - you can't with today's overly complex things.

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Cars were, until well into the 1980s a 'luxury' item, by the standards of today rather crude and basic. But, they weren't throwaway items, people kept them going and did so to keep putting bread on the table. Once cars became relatively cheaper in the early 80s, more people bought them - to the further detriment of the railways. The payoff is, although modern cars are better in many ways, the scrapyards are full of the things thanks to planned obsolescence and irreparable little black boxes that cost more than a used car. If we really are going to 'go green ' and save the planet,we had better start making things that we can fix again. One 1967 Viva, bought second hand by my father in 1971, ran for 186000 miles with only routine maintenance and a salvaged gearbox until it was rear ended by a parcels lorry in 1982. Not a bad return on £350, even 40 years ago. I have worked on the 1970s incarnation of the Viva, mostly welding, they weren't good, nearly as water soluble as contemporary Datsuns, Fords and Fiats and of course, the 21st century bogeyman, plastics, were creeping in.

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On 09/01/2020 at 16:52, gordon s said:

 

Going back to my working days I commissioned around 15 locos to be built in 4mm. All were built and painted by a professional (well known) loco builder. Most of them were LNER locos, but generally they were of prototypical locos that weren't available RTR at that time or if they were, the quality of the RTR item left a lot to be desired. Naturally I'm very loathe to sell any of them, but looking at the prices of professionally built kit locos, I would be surprised to recover much more than I paid 15 years ago. I haven't checked recently, but when I last looked on eBay, similar locos were being sold for £200 - £300 which is less than I paid all those years ago.

 

Just checked on an inflation calculator and £300 in 2005 is still only £313, so inflation has been virtually flat over 15 years.

 

Er..£300 in 2005 is £450 in 2019 https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy/inflation/inflation-calculator

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I thought it didn’t seem a lot....:D

 

Must have been my fat fingers on an iPad. Thanks for the correction.

 

Perhaps you can have a word with all those eBay buys who don’t want to pay that sort of money. I guess they look at RTR items for £200...

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£200 isn't a lot nowadays. I do think it's a bit steep for what is basically a toy made in the third world, having worked in the aircraft industry, I can tell you that even safety critical parts are still made by the lowest bidder. £200 was more than I earned per week in my first post graduate job in 1990. But £200 does keep two of us fed for over a month, or pays the mortgage, or insures £30,000 worth of vintage motorcycles for a year. Much as I might want to, there is no way I could justify to myself paying someone to build, paint and weather a brass locomotive kit. I prefer to buy secondhand built kits as other posters or secondhand rtr when the dust has settled behind the collectors. As for stock, it's much the same, although I enjoy building kits or modifying rtr as wagons in particular still look a little chunky to me. Money wise, I consider myself quite fortunate, my gripe with the increased price of rtr is that I feel it discourages newcomers and particularly youngsters from the hobby. I'm not tight, I just like to keep a perspective and as much as I love railways, I have a couple of other things in my life that I love more.

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It’s an odd one, I’ve never bought any of my model railway stock as an investment, but I’ve always found comfort in the knowledge they remain a substantial value asset to the other half if I were to shuffle off suddenly. Everything has been bought with disposable income that I’ve squirrelled away over the past two decades, and as someone on here as mentioned, that money would have only gone on beer, or at a time cigarettes, or other random expenditures to which I would see no return further down the line.

 

When I recently valued my stock for insurance purposes (and for instructions for the wife if the worst was to happen), I found that the biggest ‘profit’ against the prices paid was for the mundane locos of 10+ years ago. Locos such as early releases of the newest Bachmann 37s, not only were they bought at a time when I could pick them up at shows for around £50, but they’re in numbers and liveries that’s are memories of a good many years ago and rarer seen on the market. To many people having started since then these are as good as new releases, but not as common. Sale prices suggest these are my biggest return on money invested, in some cases over three times their purchased price. But alas things change, and I dare say they are as lucrative now as they ever will be with future releases of the ‘next gen’ Accurascale 37 on the horizon, but that’s the nature of the beast. If I’d bought them to make profit I’d start to cash in on them now, but ultimately I’d have never have known these would be the ones to return the best value in ten years time.

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In terms of models retaining value, can anyone explain to me why Hornby Bulleid Light Pacifics don't seem to deprecate much price wise? 

 

This mainly applies to the rebuilds - the original condition models seem to be a bit cheaper. 

 

By way of comparison : I can go on Ebay and regularly find Merchant Navy rebuilds for ninety quid or thereabouts. With Light Pacifics, I can get original condition ones for about £95-£130. However with the rebuilds, I'm usually looking at £130 minimum, and sometimes quite a bit more than the present retail price (which is about £170 at the moment).

 

This also extends to second hand stalls at shows. Even from larger retailers, I can find plenty of the Bachmann and Hornby ranges from the last ten years or so, but rebuilt Light Pacifics seem almost unobtainable in this regard - they never seem to be on the second hand stalls. 

 

Anyone know why this is? It's a popular model, certainly, but even allowing for this it's odd how few of them filter down to the second hand market, or decrease in price. 

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I think we all have thoughts that our collection would be worth a tidy sum. If someone has the time and goes to all the trouble of selling them properly, then I guess a tidy sum would result. But its the disposing of the assets which in any field is the key, selling into the retail markets is where the profit is made. Selling to the trade will halve its value at least.

 

But when we buy items for our pleasure its difficult to see them as an investment especially if we are buying at retail prices. If you wish to invest go to an auction and buy at wholesale prices (if you can), dispose of the run of the mill items  (for a profit) and keep the best item(s). But then is this railway modelling?

  

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4 hours ago, SD85 said:

In terms of models retaining value, can anyone explain to me why Hornby Bulleid Light Pacifics don't seem to deprecate much price wise? 

 

This mainly applies to the rebuilds - the original condition models seem to be a bit cheaper. 

 

By way of comparison : I can go on Ebay and regularly find Merchant Navy rebuilds for ninety quid or thereabouts. With Light Pacifics, I can get original condition ones for about £95-£130. However with the rebuilds, I'm usually looking at £130 minimum, and sometimes quite a bit more than the present retail price (which is about £170 at the moment).

 

This also extends to second hand stalls at shows. Even from larger retailers, I can find plenty of the Bachmann and Hornby ranges from the last ten years or so, but rebuilt Light Pacifics seem almost unobtainable in this regard - they never seem to be on the second hand stalls. 

 

Anyone know why this is? It's a popular model, certainly, but even allowing for this it's odd how few of them filter down to the second hand market, or decrease in price. 

It could be a case of people wanting the locomotives that they remember, people who went train spotting in the 50s and 60s remember the late versions of those locomotives, a generational thing if you like. Many of the people who remember locomotives in pre nationalisation condition are no longer with us, and those who model an era before their time are a smaller sector of the market. I happen to be a fan of the original Great Western, although it ended decades before I was born and I have noticed that prewar liveried GWR locos are offered generally cheaper than the same thing in late British Railways livery. It's the same way with many things, 1940s cars are comparatively cheaper than 20 years ago, as the generation that bought them as a reminder of their first car have passed on or given up driving. For now, cars from the 70s and 80s are commanding higher prices. Good news for those of us who are different / awkward!

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On 08/01/2020 at 19:02, laurenceb said:

Bloke I knew had a model shop. People would ask his advice on what to invest in model wise. He always pointed them to a rack of cheapo dicasts. 90% or more of which will not survive being played with unlike "colectable" dicasts

Several pages on and I still think this is the best advice.

 

IIRC one of the so called antique shows on TV had a Corgi 007 Bond Aston Martin for silly money. Unplayed with, in original box etc. Now I remember them piled high in the department stores of the mid 60s. But will only have lasted as long as the film it was related to was in vogue - quite brief. The vast majority will have been junked years ago - as was all my very battered Dinky Toys by my parents when I left home. Another TV high earner was a Dinky fire tender from the 1950s, bought via an offer on a cereals packet and never opened - not the outer wrapping I mean, let alone the box. It would have needed an X-ray to prove the collectable was inside!

 

I've always disliked the idea of collectors in the hobby because it means that no modelling is done; the model has to be pristine, no weathering, no upgrading of detail and there was a period when far too many exhibition layouts had out of the box rolling stock. I think that has changed for the better but perhaps now with the super inflation of new prices there will be a new tendency to leave well alone.

 

As for O gauge, I do wonder about the market for super detailed brass locos at £3K and more. I agree with another comment that the cheaper RTR stuff has hit secondhand kit built model prices.

 

Paul

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On 15/01/2020 at 16:27, Middlesea John said:

I'm concerned that the effort that has gone into creating replicas of items from the past that won't ever see light of day on a layout could be the start of a downhill slope which none of us want to see.

That's only really the case if you consider Rocket and the APT to be "replicas of items from the past". Otherwise the only replicas are the tinplate 0-4-0s and the Duchess of Atholl, one of which is priced high to recoup its costs in one go, and the latter reuses most of its parts from the standard Duchess. The other anniversary items are merely preexisting items in specific paint schemes.

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The editor of a modell collecting mag said that a toy mint in box has failed it's pupose. They were ment to be played with

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