If you’re collecting model steam engines, you need to listen up. I know you have taken a lot of care, time, effort and energy in collecting your pieces. I know that it’s been a very exciting process. You probably were looking forward to shopping online, picking out the very best pieces. It’s great. Believe me, I’ve been there and this is amazing stuff.
The problem is, if you overlook certain factors, whatever time, effort, energy and passion you invested in your hobby would have simply gone up in smoke. That’s right, you would have essentially just wasted your time. I don’t mean to depress you and I definitely don’t mean to discourage you from your hobby, but you really need to get realistic.
You need to make sure that you factor in the 7 considerations below because it’s too easy for you to spend all this time, effort and money, only to end up with an empty bag. Believe me, it happens all the time. So please keep in mind the following.
Bad Storage Practices
Can you imagine buying an amazing Ferrari or a Maserati and leaving it out on the street? You know that people race on the streets and that chances are, somebody’s going to slam into your car at high speed sooner rather than later. Sounds crazy, right? Sounds foolish. Well, that’s exactly the kind of situation you’re setting up for yourself if you don’t store your model steam engines the right way.
A lot of collectors focus only on laying out their collection, enjoying it, but they don’t invest enough time, effort and energy in disassembling everything the right way and then storing it away for maximum durability. You have to pick up the right storage practices. I know it’s a hassle, I know it’s a headache, but this can pay off handsomely in the future by preserving the value and, more importantly, your enjoyment of your collection for a long, long time to come.
Shoddy Maintenance or Upkeep
Model steam engines may be a lot of fun. Believe me, they can be very shiny, they look great, they sound great on the tracks, the whole nine yards. But the problem is, having a steam engine hobby is not just about the enjoyment. It’s not just about laying everything out, expanding the landscape and just having a grand old time watching the trains go round and round.
It’s a great release of stress, definitely, but you need to also pay attention to the stuff that you probably don’t like. I am of course talking about maintenance and upkeep. You need to make sure that you handle this responsibly. Make sure that you set up regular maintenance. Make sure that each piece is regularly inspected because you’re dealing with a system and, if a small part of the system breaks, the whole system starts to suffer.
Buying Unbranded Model Steam Engines
Now you may be thinking that a model steam engine is a model steam engine. You might even be tempted to think that once you’ve seen one steam engine, you’ve pretty much seen them all. Believe me, I can see where you’re coming from because if you’re that type of collector, your focus is just on enjoying the hobby. Your focus is just on the emotional engagement you feel when the trains are going around and everything is working really well.
But the problem here is that if you buy unbranded or off brand items, these items might contribute to the deterioration of the overall quality of your collection. You have to understand that there’s a reason why there is such a premium paid for branded products. When a product manufacturer goes through the time, effort and energy to develop a solid, trustworthy brand, it’s because they know that they can get their investment back through the higher premiums they pay.
The upside here for the consumer is that when they buy a brand, they can rest assured that they will be buying in at a certain higher minimum level of quality. All that is lost when you buy unbranded stuff. You might think that you’re saving a lot of money now, but whatever money you save now is actually lost in the future when something happens to your collection as a whole.
Throwing Away Containers and Packages
You might be thinking that you run your model steam engines for quite some time. You might be thinking that they’re already suffering wear and tear. You might not even think much about their overall collector value. Be that as it may, it’s always a good idea to keep containers and packages. You should not throw them away. Seriously.
Why? Even worn down or broken model steam engines can still fetch a handsome price in the future as long as they are in their original container and packages. I know this sound crazy. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but when it comes to certain brands, it really all boils down to availability. They’re that rare.
So do yourself a big favor and make sure that you don’t throw away containers and packages. I know this is a hassle because you’d rather keep your home’s interior space nice and tidy, but believe me, when the time comes to cash out, selling your model steam engines in their original containers and packages can definitely pay off handsomely.
No Brand Research
Again, it’s always a bad idea to think that once you’ve seen one model steam engine, you’ve pretty much seen them all. This is wrong. Pay attention to brands. There’s a reason why there is such a thing as a brand hierarchy and brand distinction. Distinction and hierarchy have matching dollar values.
No Advance Research in the Collector Market
If you’re collecting model steam engines on a purely random basis, you might not be able to cash out handsomely as you expect. You might be under the false assumption that as long as you buy branded steam engines, then you’re good to go. Absolutely wrong. You need to do some advance research because certain models may not cost much now, but can cost quite a bit in the future. So do a little bit of advance research and save yourself a lot of grief and wasted financial opportunities in the future.
Buying Broken or Easily Broken Refurbished Units
Refurbished units are always a crap sheet because you don’t know what went on with them. You don’t know what exactly is wrong with them or what got fixed. You also don’t know if they got fixed correctly. There’s just so many open questions regarding these units that they might not be worth your time.
I know you’re trying to save money. I know you’re trying to make sure that you budget is affordable overall. Believe me, I understand all these concerns. But if you’re really serious about getting a fat payday when the time comes to sell your collection model steam engines, you might want to think twice about buying broken or easily broken refurbished units.