Antique Toy Trains
Originally gifts to amuse young boys, toy train sets have become a staple under the Christmas tree and a treasured collectible among adults. Most popular from the late 1800's until around WWII (when the popularity of real-life rail travel began to wane), many train sets commemorate actual railroad lines, which are reproduced in painstaking detail.
Lionel trains are a great favorite, collectors also flock to trains by other manufacturers like American Flyer, Louis Marx and Ives Corporation.
Prior to WWII, two sizes (measured by the distance between the outer tracks) predominated: standard gauge (2 1/8" wide) and the smaller, more affordable O gauge (1.25" wide). Some postwar trains, built with a high degree of authenticity and automated and remote control features, are as much in demand, if not more so, than the earlier models.
Prices can vary widely, depending on scarcity and condition.