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Hi Yesterday my wife and I visited her aunt her husband uncle Bob sadly died five years ago he had a layout in his shed . We were away at the time so missed the funeral any way recently her Aunt found out I was interested in model railways not some thing I shout about but at the same time no something I hide either . Aunt wants to sell the layout and the stock she and daughter did try to sell it not long after he had passed away however the enquiries they had only wanted certain items . Trying to deal with all the other things that crop up when someone passes away they found this difficult so it got left it in the shed until now. Well you can imagine what time and conditions have done to the trackwork . It is now scrap which leaves the stock . Having a quick look most of it is old and not in good condition there are about five or six loco's that maybe alright and a few coaches the rest might be good for some spares .

The thing that struck me and not for the first time is what happens to our model railway collection when we pass. I like many have spent a small fortune on my collection and when the layout is built will amount to quite a lot more than than uncle Bobs . At the moment no one in my family is interested in model railways and my wife says should something happen to me she would move to a smaller house . So I'm building the layout in a way that it can be dismantled reasonably easy with may be cutting the the bus wire at the baseboard joints and unbolting the baseboards. Then there is stock everything that I have bought new I have kept the boxes . However I can't imagine my wife or any of my family members getting all the stock into the right boxes. The only way I can think is to put small labels on the underside of the stock with a four digit number and a corresponding label to it's box. Also keeping a record of the item and how much it cost I know that the items will loose there value but it might aid them in the difference between the quality and worth of the stock.
This also may assist for insurance purposes . As to Uncle Bobs collection there were a couple of loco's and some coaches that I was interested in but most of my spare cash is being spent on the shed construction at the moment and I'd rather not offend them with an offer they might feel was unfair .

What happens to your collection when you can't use it anymore. Jim
 

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Jim,

I would suggest that your post above is fairly typical of must of us in this hobby.

In terms of labelling, that's exactly what I do. Indeed, I record all of my collection on LocoShed which I developed for the purpose.
Every item in LocoShed has a code/number and there are reports which will print these out as labels for sticking on rolling stock. Further info about LocoShed here: LocoShed, but suffice to say, it will let you record all kinds of information about you items such as history, maintenance, documents, videos, instruction sheets etc
 

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...What happens to your collection when you can't use it anymore.
On the general front, making a will is also very helpful to those left 'clearing up'. Having had to deal with an intestate estate in the family I write this with some feeling. You don't really want to be remembered for leaving a mess which someone else has to sort out - with some difficulty.
...I'm building the layout in a way that it can be dismantled reasonably easy with maybe cutting the the bus wire at the baseboard joints and unbolting the baseboards...
Something I realised in the above event is that a 'private build' (nothing to do with model railwayin this case) is not necessarily straightforward to dismantle, when you don't have the builder's insight into 'how it was done'. What I would have welcomed was outline instructions on the constructional scheme to guide disassembly and removal with minimal damage to the property sale value. This should be lodged with the will, and duplicate copy stored in the 'build' location. (And that still wouldn't help with that borough council's recycling centre only admitting local council tax payers thereby in possession of the 'magic ticket'. Bit of a problem with the property now vacated over a year due to death of the council tax payer. A knee fall at the council offices got me a concessionary magic ticket, at a price. It's a complete mystery that there is so much fly tipping in that borough...)

...which leaves the stock . Having a quick look most of it is old and not in good condition there are about five or six loco's that maybe alright and a few coaches the rest might be good for some spares ...there were a couple of loco's and some coaches that I was interested in but most of my spare cash is being spent on the shed construction at the moment and I'd rather not offend them with an offer they might feel was unfair...
Specific to this, I helped a friend with some model railway disposal just before we plunged into lockdown, mainly 1960s Triang Hornby and Wrenn, in good working order but clearly used condition, most with tidy boxes. Dealer offers were poor, one was frank enough to say "It's past it, no real demand unless there's a rare item as new in a pristine box.". And lately some Triang TT rolling stock came my way from a friend of a friend: finally shifted at miniscule valuation.

I feel that if you help with the clear out, and explain the situation and the resulting modest offer for the items of interest, that's fair enough.
 

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Although not as fully-featured as Graham's tool, I have built myself an MS Excel document saved in a cloud-sync'ed folder which has key information about rolling stock stored in it. I've included a screenshot of one such piece below. This also allows documentation of other key bits of info which may be useful, such as whether the item is boxed, is 'in progress' of being modified, etc. I've got a similar sheet for locomoives which includes such info as whether a DCC chip is fitted, what type, etc.
Building Automotive tire Vehicle Tire Plant


Although not directly the subject of the thread, the second-right column is where I have placed an estimated value against each item for insurance purposes. This could also be used to act as a guide for expected resale value for someone managing an estate should something happen. That said, I am aware that we all tend to over-value our own purchases, and whilst one could achieve the 'insurance' purchase price, it is often only 'for the correct buyer' (hence don't judge my estimation of the above wagon too closely :p ).

The layout itself is a tricky one, as it very much depends on what space one has available to how practical it is to 'build for dismantling'. For the sake of argument a layout which is highly integrated into an attic space would be more challenging to break down than one freestanding in a garden shed. In that sort of situation it might be that buildings/track/etc could be salvaged, but the layout itself cannot.

Regards,

Cameron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your replies Some very good points. LocoShed sounds interesting and I will have a look much the sort of thing I was thinking of but more advanced .

I do have a will though at present the railway is not in it and as I said no one in my family is interested though that could change as the grandchildren grow older.

I have also thought about recording the layout build so as to explain the construction and how to dismantle it . As for selling the layout not sure we/they would find a buyer does anyone actually by them .I suppose a suitable time period could used when thats expired that would be the time to skip it.

As for helping to dispose of Bobs collection my knowledge is not the best and finding the time to go through everything with that in mind I just feel would lead to disappointment for them.
I have given my opinion to them and will leave it there as Bobs daughter runs a business so is better at selling things than me.

Thats a very detailed record not sure that would help with the family a simple numbered with a brief description might be better in my case though if the interest was there then that would be different .

The layout will be in a purpose built shed which is under construction so access will be good . Of course maybe it could be sold with the house should the buyer like the idea.

Some ideas to think about thanks again for your replies .Jim
 

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Although not as fully-featured as Graham's tool...,
Thanks Cameron, just to add that LocoShed does also store pricings as well: purchase price, replacement cost, insurance value, sold price, sold to etc as well as currency conversions and decoders from system-maintained lists.
The whole thing is data-driven so you can pick and choose whatever elements you want stored against each category. Any that don't exist, we can easily add.

Just a word on 'values'. I think most people are highly optimistic about values. Most of our models are produced in sufficiently high volumes that they are not unique. At most, their value is no more than the purchase price because they are certainly not 'rare'.
Unless something is a one-off, like a brass kit, built by a well known builder for example, none of our stuff has much value and certainly doesn't appreciate in value.
Personally, I think hoarders (aka collectors) do the hobby a dis-service by creating a false market of demands which in turn, causes prices to go up for everyone because collectors are often motivated by 'having' something rather than by the cost.
 

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I went to the Exeter toy show on Sunday about half of which were railway stands, however there was a vast amount of 'tat' items that are very old, some Wrenn stock which does better but I did not buy any as I have hundreds of them and do not want improbable private owner wagons so in fact I like old Hornby Dublo bodies and later Wrenn chassis but even then prices are low, the 1960 circa technology has been left completely behind and Triang was cheaper stuff in the first place, anyone who has old steel track will find it scrap/worthless and when you consider what was spent on this stuff back along the disappointment of the bereaved spouse is very likely, so that leaves the collectors who want mint, boxed and pristine models - or newer stock that works better and is dcc ready.
 

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...Personally, I think hoarders (aka collectors) do the hobby a dis-service by creating a false market of demands which in turn, causes prices to go up for everyone because collectors are often motivated by 'having' something rather than by the cost.
I was going to write 'there's two sides to this coin', but actually it's more like 'six sides to this die'!

It's an annoyance when:
Something useful to me personally becomes the in-thing to have, and disappears before someone - which would be me - who actually enjoys operating gets their hands on it, or sufficient of it.
Something with novel or interesting technique or features which I am not interested in purchasing - but of which I would like to read informed critique in case it then appears in a model of interest - appears to only sell solely to collectors; and there's not a shred of information about how well or not it works, from those that operate their models.
And the bidding up the price effect as already mentioned.

Then again:
The choice now available in RTR OO, and generally improving quality, is supported by collector's purchases which expand the market well beyond what would be sustained by those buying for operation on a model railway*.
Collectors grow old and die, and good as new items at sensible prices can sometimes be had as a result.
There's a value to the boxes, I'll take that 'hobby subsidy' on something that would otherwise go in the recycling.

*It has been suggested to me by several retailers over the years, that active N gauge modellers that build layouts and operate them, are significantly greater in numbers than the relative sales of N and OO might suggest. There simply isn't much in the way of collecting activity in UK N, certainly nothing similar to that in OO.
 

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*It has been suggested to me by several retailers over the years, that active N gauge modellers that build layouts and operate them, are significantly greater in numbers than the relative sales of N and OO might suggest. There simply isn't much in the way of collecting activity in UK N, certainly nothing similar to that in OO.
Probably because it is so small that most people can't see it!
 

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I occasionally mention the purchase-value of my collection (450+ items); and my gut tells me that the folk listening think that I'm joking :unsure:.
I'd have to admit that in Australia, my HO three-rail, 1920's Germany collection will have difficulty selling.
I have seen absolutely no enthusiasm from younger members of the family to share in this hobby, let alone someone asking if I will leave it to them after I go.

The only options that I have left are:
  • Leave it to an entity like a museum etc or;
  • Leave it for my family to resolve as they see fit.
I don't see it as a waste of money. Many people spend a similar amount on a one-off event like a wedding. Others will smoke, drink or gamble similar amounts of money. Some might buy something like a boat that they use maybe 2 or 3 times a year. I've spent about 3000 on an online game over 7 years, all that did was use up a lot of my time.

Buying this stuff now and the challenge of building a collection is what makes me happy. I'm still able to afford all the necessities of life.

Anyway, live in the moment and enjoy your MRR hobby. I only hope that after I'm gone, someone will go through all of my collection and see at least some of the 'magic' contained in it.
 

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...I don't see it as a waste of money. Many people spend a similar amount on a one-off event like a wedding. Others will smoke, drink or gamble similar amounts of money...
Quite, a hobby that keeps you interested and active, with no direct risk to health, is a proven good thing to have in your life.

... I only hope that after I'm gone, someone will go through all of my collection and see at least some of the 'magic' contained in it.
My counsel. Best to accept that what you enjoy may not be shared by anyone. I was quite surprised when a senior member of our family died, that the superb motor maintenance facility he had built up over the years was of no interest, even when advertised among the 'petrolheads', such as classic car groups. All gone within a week of the property being sold. Sorry if that sounds negative, but think about it: you won't know...
 

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Prior to our move to France I had a 20' x 10' garage quad oval layout which was more or less a permanent fixture, I had forever home in my mind when I built it, bad mistake!
When we moved I had to destroy the base and fixed track, apart from the pointwork and skip it.

My next layout will be in sections, probably the laser cut type, so as to make it easier for whoever has to dispose of it when my time is up.

On the subject of disposal, I recently bought a massive amount of stuff including the layout from someone returning to the UK for health reasons. Well over 10 grands worth of stuff for just £1,000, that was all that he wanted for it, all DCC sound and great rolling stock too. My lucky day I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
On the subject of disposal, I recently bought a massive amount of stuff including the layout from someone returning to the UK for health reasons. Well over 10 grands worth of stuff for just £1,000, that was all that he wanted for it, all DCC sound and great rolling stock too. My lucky day I guess.
At least it to someone who will appreciate it that would be my wish
 

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Article about this in the Feb. 2023 Railway Modeller magazine in the Talking Points section.

I have just got to the grand? old age of seventy and a half, [do you remember a time when it was important to recognise the half year additon?]

I am already thinking of starting advice and inventory for my wife Lynne and my daughters.
 
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Yes, There was something that I contributed in that edition of RM. It does make sense to compile a list too, I have done that since I started my last layout. I also included what I paid for each item, scary when it's all added up!
 
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