Model train lovers to bid on area collection
NORTH LIMA — A large Lionel model railroad collection that was once owned by a longtime North Lima resident who owned several Dairy Queens is being auctioned by Basinger Auction Service.
Paul Basinger said the collection belonged to Ronald Rapp of North Lima, who died at the age of 82 in 2018.
“We acquired his extensive collection. The collection has a huge variety of more than 500 pieces. Some are older and others are newer,” he said, noting there is $50,000 worth of inventory being auctioned.
He said there is a lot of interest when word gets out about a model train collection by a prominent and well-known collector. Pieces include everything from cars and engines to train sets, train layouts and die-cast toys.
Basinger said the display is set up at the Basinger Auction gallery, 9983 Market St., North Lima, and is a 29- by 24-foot layout display with several levels.
“It has several levels and is a huge layout with many pieces. This is one of the largest train collections we have auctioned,” he said.
Bidding for the train collection is through 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with live viewing from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday at the gallery.
“Last Monday we had a viewing and there was a huge turnout of people of all ages. Many people were there to look at the layout,” he said.
Basinger said the auction service has auctioned other train collections before, including the collection of Anthony Romano, which were the smaller HO scale model trains. He said that collection brought in $30,000.
“True train collectors are usually looking for HO scale trains. The Lionel trains are wanted by collectors too,” Basinger said.
Basinger said people can go online and view each piece and place bids on the items.
“The internet has really helped us so people can see everything online. Some of the pieces come around only once in awhile. There are some older pieces from before the world wars and other newer pieces. Some are in the original boxes,” he said.
The company began using the internet in 1995 with Basinger saying it has helped business extensively with more people bidding.
Basinger said with previous model train collections, some pieces sell for $5 to $10 while others go for more than $500. He said some pieces in Rapp’s collection are hand-built such as a Golden Gate bridge-style piece the train crosses over.
Lionel train sets, pieces and accessories can sell for a few hundred dollars or for a few thousand dollars, depending on the rarity and condition of the piece. Basinger said he has sold a variety of train collections including a Mickey Mouse-themed collection for $2,000.
“It all depends on what collectors and investors are looking for. You will usually have something someone wants or is interested in,” he said.
Darrell Balakoff, president of the Youngstown Model Railroad Association, which is having one of its annual flea markets Sunday at Salem Center Plex, said members have died who have left their collections to the club or have them auctioned or sold.
“Because we know some of the people who have been members, their collections have some sentimental meaning to us. Their families have sometimes given us items,” he said.
Balakoff said Romano was a past president of the association so members were always aware of his collection and what he had.
The association has many model trains and displays that its members have provided and added to over the years. The association has an annual holiday show at its location in Austintown
Balakoff said the association members do go to auctions to see what items are available.