There’s a saying that the only rare Marx train is a broken one. But when it comes to Marx train accessories, that’s not true. One rarity is the Marx 2150 Hollywood Bungalow, also known as the Marx Modern Bungalow. And it’s a shame it’s rare and expensive because it’s a beaut. But it’s fun to talk and learn about at least.
The Marx Marx 2150 Hollywood Bungalow, also known as the Marx Modern Bungalow, was a Sears exclusive in 1938. It cost 98 cents and was only available one year, making it rare and valuable today.
The Marx Modern Bungalow
The Marx Hollywood Bungalow, also known as the Marx Modern Bungalow, dates to 1938. For such a short-lived item, it had a lot of aliases. It was a Sears exclusive, in the 1938 Christmas catalog, priced at 98 cents, or about $20 in today’s money. Sears and Marx had a close relationship. Marx named its postwar Oak Park station for the hometown of a Sears executive.
It came in two versions, with or without a detached garage. Sears marketed it to girls as a miniature dollhouse or to boys as a train accessory. But either version worked reasonably well for either purpose. The train accessory version has lights and diecut windows with glazing. It came with miniature furniture and a 4-inch Chrysler sedan made of pressed metal.
Initially the furniture was tin lithographed and made by Marx. But they quickly switched to sourcing diecast miniature furniture from Tootsietoy.
The version with the detached garage had a base of 11″x17″. The one without the garage had a base of 9.5″x9.5″. The house was about 4.5 inches tall. That’s 18 feet in O scale, making it a reasonable representation of this style of single-story house with a pitched roof.
The base itself is an interesting take on the Lionel scenic plot. It’s solid tin, lithographed with a design, rather than using flocking like Lionel did on its scenic plots. In 1938, Joshua Lionel Cowen would have said it looked cheap. But today, the look is novel. It’s simple and colorful. And it was much closer to the right scale than Lionel’s tin bungalow.
The Marx bungalow looks great on a tin train layout, but it’s rare and expensive. When you can find one, expect to pay no less than $200 for it.