I think I just missed a pretty nice Lionel prewar set today. I spotted it on my way out the door. Unfortunately, a guy was hovering over it, talking on a cell phone.I couldn’t get close enough to it to get much of a look at it. The locomotive was a streamliner type, and the passenger cars all had nickel journals. The whole set had the early Lionel latch couplers that predated the automatic box couplers. So I’m guessing the set was from the 1930s.

I couldn’t gauge condition but it seemed pretty good. The price was more than I had intended to pay for anything, but I know the locomotive alone was worth close to the asking price, and the passenger cars alone had to be worth the asking price, if not more.

The guy obviously had no great love for old Lionels. What I don’t know is if he was doing a friend a favor or if he was out to make a buck.

I wanted that set. I didn’t need it, but I wanted it.

I suppose I could have offered $20 more than the asking price, if I were that sort of person. But that’s not how God wants us to act. So on my way out the door, I took the guy aside, told him he was getting a good deal, that if he weren’t about to buy it I would have jumped on it, and congratulated him.

I also told him, in case he was wondering, that the second pile of Lionel stuff that was next to it was overpriced. I had paid $35 for a similar lot a few months ago. This lot was priced at more than four times that.

He thanked me, and I left.

I still can’t help but think the set would have meant a lot more to me than to him. Losing it stung a little. If doing the right thing felt good, losing out on that felt worse.

But I have an American Flyer passenger set I bought a while back that I still need to put in working order. I guess you call that compensation.