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My Dad was a model railroader for over 70 years; he was also a hoarder. At age 95 he passed away, leaving me his massive collection of model trains, track, books, scenery, kits, magazines, locomotives, and parts, all dispersed randomly across the five-bedroom house he’d occupied for over 50 years. It took me nearly three years of weekends and vacations to complete the excavation, during which time I organized, photographed and packed his collection into 55(!) moving boxes. Still, there was a catch; Dad secured my promise that I would not sell the entire lot to some scheming collector offering ten cents on the dollar in exchange for his prized possessions.
How do you sell stuff you know nothing about, to experts? This blog is about my experiences as a reluctant model railroader.
So far, I’ve learned the following:
- Unless you know what you are selling, you cannot describe it well enough to sound credible. I’ve had to crash-learn a highly technical hobby; painstaking research is required.
- Things will go wrong at the worst possible moment: For example, while packing delicate items for shipment to a customers, sometimes they break apart in my hands.
- Model railroaders are (mostly) the kindest, gentlest people you will ever meet; I’ve befriended model railroaders all over the world; their stories are surprisingly sentimental and moving; it’s not just about the trains.
- As friends pointed out, Model Railroading isn’t just a hobby; it’s a disease. God help me.
- Acceptance: By putting my hands inside the gloves of my father’s hobby, I have grown to understand him, and myself, in ways I’d never expected.