Lionel Model Train was one of the first companies to ever make model trains. Being in business for over 120 years, they’ve created many model trains, today we will find out which are the most valuable Lionel trains.
When did Lionel start making trains and what is the history behind the Lionel Trains?
The company was founded by Joshua Lionel Cowen in the 1900s, producing their first model train in 1901. About 50 years later, by the 1950s they became the biggest toy manufacturer in the world.
Like many other businesses going through the Great Depression, Lionel Trains suffered great financial losses, however they managed to get back on track by the end of World War II, with die cast models and different features like, smoke and electric parts.
Now that we have some basic information about this great train model manufacturer, let’s all get aboard and proceed further.
What are the most valuable Lionel trains? Buckle up.
The first most valuable Lionel train ever sold is a Lionel Standard Gauge Set from 1934, the complete set with 400E Locomotive and State passenger cars sold for … drums, drums $250,000! The auction happened in 2016 and to date it is the most expensive Lionel train ever sold.
I know, we need to comprehend it.
This is absolutely amazing and crazy at the same time, I am sure there are many things hanging behind this train story and indeed it is a 85 years old piece of art.
The second most valuable Lionel train sold I was able to find was the Brass Prototype for the 700E Hudson, which used to sit in Joshua Cowen’s office; the model train was sold for an astonishing amount of $77,000.00 .
The third most expensive Lionel train, which I have no information that ever sold higher than the above mentioned 700E Hudson, is the so-called “Brut” which is for sale along with the 213 Lift Bridge for one million dollars.
The collector Al Cox owns them both, he acquired the 1950s 213 Lift Bridge by trading his Princess Elizabeth model train.
The “Brute” locomotive was made by Lionel in 1927 and it is one of the most valuable train models as of today.The locomotive is a Buddy L sized with three Build-a-loco motors and it was designed for a 3 ½ inch gauge two rail track system, being extremely heavy for a train model being quite impossible for a child to pick it up.
The model train was on display for a long time in the New York City’s factory showroom, the only transaction I was able to identify was when Bill Vagell sold it to Al Cox for $2000, according to this source.
How much the less valuable Lionel trains cost?
The less expensive Lionel trains are sold today with prices ranging anywhere between $300 and $13,000. According to this source, Lionel Standard Gauge Pre-War No. 378W Train Set has sold for $12,812 back in September 2015.
Lionel prewar standard gauge gray 400E steam locomotive with tender was sold for $1050 back in April, 2016.
If you are aware of any others, please let me know in the comments section.