We buy and sell used hobby products but not all used hobby products.
We buy and sell used O scale, HO scale, N scale, and HO Marklin items. We do not deal in S scale or G scale equipment. We buy and sell models and support products for model railroading as well.
We only want train products that are in basically clean and operational condition because we only sell product that is basically clean and operational. Please don’t bring us broken items, though items that need a little service are okay. We will service them and put them up for sale.
We prefer model product that is complete (including decals and instructions!) and has not been ‘started’ in any way but we will sometimes accept assembled kits depending on condition.
We will determine the price we think we can sell the product for, which is usually but not always about 80% of the ‘buy it now’ price on E-bay or the current sale/discount price if the item is still available or listed on sales sites (but sold out). For Lionel items, there is a published price guide and we go by that.
We will pay you up front one half of the anticipated sales price of the item, less our cost of making it marketable (service cost or repackaging cost) if those costs are significant.
Rail Tales will take product on consignment in one of two ways:
1) In-store display: items given to Rail Tales for in-store consignment will remain on display until sold, returned to the owner as unsold, or removed by the owner. The owner will receive half the sale price (before tax) and may set the sale price if desired.
2)E-bay (New for Summer 2014!) Rail Tales will sell your item on E-bay for you. We will research and suggest a minimum price but you can determine whatever price you wish as a minimum. E-Bay and Pay Pal between them typically take about 15%* of the sale price. We take 20% or so. The customer gets 65%* of the sale price. (*These numbers were revised for 2015 due to E-Bay and Pay Pal price increases!) It usually takes between 30 and 45 days from the time we have the item in hand until you have your money. It can take longer if we have to re-list an item or if it is being shipped outside the U.S. We will test and service any working item prior to sale and there may be a fee for this; the item is being sold under the Rail Tales name and with our reputation behind it. If the item does not sell, we charge a minimum 10$ fee for our time plus any listing fees.
3) On-line market (planned): Rail Tales is planning to eventually construct an on-line store for consignment goods. This is NOT an auction! The seller will provide pictures and a sale price. The sale price should also include an optional shipping cost. Rail Tales will handle the sale, including all responsibility for payment (such as handling credit card transactions and fees) and will in turn take a 15% cut of the sale price. Rail Tales will allow sellers to leave product for buyers at the store for pickup at no additional charge. Rail Tales will NOT be responsible for shipping. Once we have all the details worked out, a contract will be available for review. Rail Tales reserves the right to inspect operating systems for functionality and to charge the seller to repair any defects (so make sure it works before you put it up for sale!!!).
What is that old stuff worth?
In general, O scale Lionel, Marx, and American Flyer trains and accessories are valuable. They are not generally ‘buy a new car’ valuable but most are ‘night on the town’ valuable. Condition is important and rarity is more important.
In general, HO and N scale product made by Tycho, Life-Like, Bachmann, Roco, AHM, Hornby, and IHC and similar makers that is more than 20 years old is worth very little. We are sorry but most of these products were poorly made originally even by the standards of the day but there are a few exceptions. Track of this era is brass and worth something to recyclers but not to model railroaders.
In general, HO and N scale products made by Athearn, Kato, Atlas, Mantua, Riverossi, Arnold, Con-Cor, and Fleischmann more than 20 years ago still have some value and a few have quite a bit but few qualify as ‘collectible’.
In general, HO products made by Marklin have some considerable value, though in many cases the value is higher in Europe than the US. Many items are too expensive for us to purchase.
Rail Tales does not generally buy and sell handmade brass locomotives and rolling stock- these items are outside the price range of the average consumer.
In general, all train products made in the last 20 years have value which depends entirely on the quality of the item and its rarity.
If you want us to make you an offer on your item, bring it by the store Friday or Saturday or leave it at the store with your contact information. Usually we can give you a ‘quick price’ on single items at no charge. If you want an official offer, we have to evaluate the item, which amounts to an appraisal. For operational items, this includes an evaluation of its functionality.
If you reject our offer, we reserve the right to charge you for the appraisal but we will give you a written offer. This offer is not binding after 24 hours unless you accept it. The minimum charge is 10$ with a fee rate of 20$ per hour.
Due to the time involved, we have to charge a fee on the appraisal of any collection unless we purchase the collection from you.