Lionel #1536 Mickey Mouse Circus Train Set, ca. 1939
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $12,000
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (3:04)
Dolls, Toys & Games
GUEST: It was given to me by my aunt before she passed away. It was laying around the house and she said she just wanted to get rid of it. I told her not to, because of its age.
GUEST: But she said, "Go ahead and take it." So I took it. And then I just hung on to it. And these people came by and they were buying toys. And, uh, they offered me $900 for it.
GUEST: So that piqued my interest a little bit more. I looked in some books, but they always say if it's in this condition or that condition, and I don't know what condition it's in.
APPRAISER: First, let's talk about what we have here. It's a Lionel #1536 Mickey Mouse Circus Train. And we have it in excellent condition. There is a little bit of wear on the train. But it's one of the greatest whimsical Lionel Disney pieces. If you look down the side of the train, there's all the Disney characters lithographed on the sides. It's just fantastic imagery. And then, one of the great things about the train itself is you have Mickey shoveling coal in the tinder. It's animated, and as it goes along, it shows Mickey shoveling the coal, which is very comical. It just has such charm.
GUEST: I've never had it running, so I've never seen that.
APPRAISER: Also, a wonderful part of the set is its original box. Now, we haven't shown everything. There's also a ticket booth, and lots of cutouts of characters. Inside, we also have the large composition Mickey ticket-taker. Now, all that fit inside this box. This all breaks down. It's a plaything, and it's made out of cardboard.
GUEST (laughs): Yeah.
APPRAISER: So a kid would open it up on Christmas and probably set it up once, and the cardboard gets thrown away and they play with the train. So you do find the trains, but very, very, very rarely do you find the tent. And that's what makes this set really good. Now, there's a little bit of condition issues. On the tent there's a few little tears, and wear on the edges and things. But it's not a really huge deal. It's well preserved, the whole thing. In all your research, did you come along any pricing?
GUEST: Well, in one book, it said it could be worth from $1,000 to $3,000. Then I saw another book and they said $700 to $2,000. So it was all over the place.
GUEST: So it's hard to tell.
APPRAISER: Yes. And you have to be, at this level, very picky about condition. It's not mint. A mint example would obviously bring a little bit more. This example is extremely fine. And it's one of the greatest Disney Mickey Mouse toys from the '30s. It's desirable to more than just a Disney person. Lots of people love this toy. The proper auction estimate for the condition that we have here is $10,000 to $12,000.
APPRAISER: And it could bring, you know, a little bit more.
GUEST: Whoa. That's a lot more--
GUEST: --than I anticipated. If I'd had sold it for 900 bucks, I'd have really been upset.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.