Ives Toy Train, ca. 1915
It was originally my great-great-uncle George's. And he was kind of an eccentric bachelor. He had given the train to my grandfather, and from my grandfather it was passed on to my father, and we just thought we'd bring it down today and find out what it was worth.
I'm sure you've heard of the company Lionel. Lionel was the major American train maker. But predating Lionel were Ives trains. Ives was one of the...probably the greatest American toymaker from the 19th century. They made cast iron toys, banks, wonderful things. And then they started making toy trains, starting with the clockwork, and then graduated to the electric. What's wonderful about the Ives trains, the engines were cast iron, so they have that massive, wonderful feel of real trains. But what Ives fell in love with in the 20th century was the ability to do this beautiful lithography, which these cars exemplify. These are finished in what we call green wood grain surface, and they're just beautiful. He was able to emulate the wooden train cars of the period. It's a real find in this condition, and apparently your father told you this had some value, which is why you've preserved it.
Absolutely. It was one of his most prized possessions. He had told me forever that if anything ever happened, make sure I got the train.
And what did he tell you it was worth?
Approximately two years ago, I think he said he thought about $800.
In this condition, in this beautiful box, I would say the value on today's market would be more in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. So it's a real gem.
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