Marx William Crooks locomotive

Marx William Crooks locomotive

In 1959, Marx attempted to cash in on the popularity of TV westerns by creating an 1860s style locomotive. Today, the Marx William Crooks locomotive is one of the rarer and more desirable Marx locomotives. You don’t often hear the words “rare” and “Marx” together.

The Marx locomotive was a recognizable model of the real William Crooks locomotive, a St. Paul and Pacific 1861-era engine that still exists today.

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Selling Marx trains

Since my advice on selling other makes of trains was popular, I thought I would give similar advice on selling Marx trains. Marx never got the respect that its competitors got, but its trains have built up a following over the years, and in the last decade as I’ve watched prices on competing trains slide, Marx has held its value.

Don’t expect to get rich selling off your Marx trains, but if you keep your expectations realistic, you’ll find an eager buyer, or ideally, at least two interested buyers so you’ll realize a good price at auction.

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Stunt Hacking: Why Charlie Miller hacked a Jeep driving on I-64

St. Louis-based security researcher Charlie Miller and his collaborator Chris Valasek got themselves in the news this week by hacking a Jeep driven by Wired journalist Andy Greenberg on I-64.

The reaction was mixed, but one common theme was, why I-64, where lives could have been at risk, rather than an abandoned parking lot?

I don’t know Miller or Valasek, so it goes without saying I don’t speak for either one of them, but I think I have a pretty good idea why they did it that way.

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The side-smoking Marx 666 locomotive

One of the best steam locomotives Marx ever made was its unfortunately-named 666. I have heard, but have no way of verifying, that Marx named it that because the locomotive “smoked like the devil.” And, compared to its contemporary offerings from Lionel and American Flyer, it definitely smoked better than anything Lionel had, and at least as well as anything American Flyer had, while costing a lot less than either.

Marx also produced the 1666, a similar-looking plastic locomotive, that smoked from the sides and the top. Other than that, it’s less desirable than the 666. It’s plastic so it has that disadvantage right away–diecast metal offers a bit more presence, and since metal weighs more, it has more traction, and thus, more pulling power.

The ultimate 2-4-2 Marx locomotive would be a side-smoking 666, and it’s right there in the Greenberg guide, on page 28, valued at a $20 premium over the standard top-smoking configuration. But there’s a problem, at least from a collector’s standpoint. It never came that way from the factory. Read more

Greenberg Marx errors: The Union Pacific 3824 caboose

Let’s pick up again with another error in the Greenberg Marx Trains Pocket Price Guide: The UP 3824 6-inch caboose. The guide lists the 3824 as a brown and yellow caboose, available on both a black or brown frame, valued at $20 in good condition and $30 in excellent.

The description is correct, but the price is only half right. Read more

Greenberg Marx errors: The windup 490

I’ve written before about the Greenberg Pocket Price Guide for Marx, and I frequently recommend it, especially to newcomers, because it’s very easy to end up spending $30 on a car that’s only worth $10. I know when starting out we prefer to spend our train money on trains, but by saving you from overpaying, the guide quickly pays for itself.

The guide isn’t perfect, though. One of the items it omits is the clockwork 490 steam locomotive. Read more

The price of Amazon

Slashdot posted a link to a New York Times piece that asserts that the full extent of Amazon’s existence hasn’t been felt yet, but it asserts that book pricing is becoming whimsical.

My experience disagrees with that. The market will stabilize. I think the cost fluctuations are because the market hasn’t stabilized yet.

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Scratchbuilding, Marx-style

I saw a modern-production Lionel box car in a hobby shop one weekend. I wanted it, but I really wanted it in Marx 3/16 style, so it would look right with my Marx #54 KCS diesels pulling it. But I face very long odds of ever getting that car in Marx 3/16 unless I build it myself.

So I started building. And you can too.

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Review: The Definitive Guide to Marx Trains, by Walt Hiteshew

A week go I wrote about the newest Greenberg Pocket Guide, which I recommended as a useful, if flawed, resource. Today I’ll talk about one of the best ways to fill in the gaps.

Several years ago, Walt Hiteshew released his Definitive Guide to Marx 6″  and Joy Line Trains on CD-ROM, priced at $29.95. The Definitive Guide covers every known 6″ car Marx produced and includes photos, pricing, and production history. Basically, everything known or that can be reasonably inferred about Marx’s most prolific line. When Mr. Hiteshew says Definitive Guide, he means it.
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Greenberg’s Marx Trains Pocket Price Guide, 9th edition: A review

I received my copy of the new 9th edition of the Greenberg Pocket Price Guide for Marx trains this past weekend. Marx used to print on its packages, “One of the many Marx toys. Have you all of them?” This book won’t completely answer that question, but at the very least, it gives you a start, and helps you avoid paying too much for the ones you don’t have yet.

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