American Flyer “Advanced President’s Special” Train Set, ca. 1930

Value (2009) | $6,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

I've had it forever and a day. There was a shoe store in Colorado Springs giving chances away on this train if you bought a pair of shoes. And my dad had to have a pair of shoes to go to work. It was during the Depression, and they couldn't afford it, but he had to buy the shoes anyway. And he won the train on this one chance, so the folks thought that their troubles were over because the train was worth a hundred dollars, and that was a lot of money during the Depression. But there was only one problem-- nobody had a hundred dollars for a toy. They couldn't even find anybody with $50. So they kept the train, and I played with it for years, and then my children both played with it, and they would put it around the Christmas tree at Christmastime.

Wow. Well, this is the original set box, and I know that you have all the little boxes for each car, and you've maintained it in amazing condition. It is, as we can see by the label here, the "Advanced President's Special." It's a flagship set of the American Flyer Company. Lionel were the big boys.


Lionel was the top of the line. The American Flyer was always trying to be as impressive. And with this, this is one of their sets that really impressed a lot of people, and it's one of their really signature sets with the Army-Navy cars, "West Point" on the baggage car, the Academy cars... just a wonderful set and a classic. This was made first in around 1928 and made well into the early '30s also. You know the year you got it?

1929-- Christmas.

Did you ever have this appraised?

After the kids left home and went to college, I had it appraised once, and that was, oh gosh, 30 years ago almost.

30 years ago.

Yeah, and the man said it was $3,500.

$3,500 30 years ago. Well, it's always been, as I say, a very desirable set, and I've done some research to try and figure out exactly what the market is today. Now, of course, things have softened up a little bit on a lot of markets. But it seems to me the flagship pieces in a lot of categories still bring a good dollar. The closest I've come to a recent price was about $7,000. Now, it does have a few problems. It needs cleaning. But I think at auction today it would easily bring in the $6,000 to $7,000 range.

That's incredible.

It's a great set, and I think it's one of the first American Flyers we've had.

Is that right?

Thank you so much for bringing it in.

Thank you, appreciate it.

Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Appraised value (2009)
$6,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Denver, CO (July 25, 2009)
20th Century
Box, Train

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