Are Antique Model Steam Engines Worth It?

In any hobby, there is always specialization. There are always sub-niches or subsegments of hobbies, depending on the needs of people who engage in that hobby. This goes with the territory.

Just like with any other economic activity, there will always be people who have different needs compared to the rest of the people that are normally engaged in that market. This goes with the territory. One particular subsegment of the collecting market and hobbyists of the world that has been built around model steam engines involve antiques.

There are lots of collectors that are very interested in model steam engines that they can qualify as antiques. Now, if you’re thinking of getting into this segment of your hobby, you might want to pay attention to the following considerations. This can increase the likelihood that you would not get ripped off. At the very least, you would be protecting yourself from bad decisions later on.

Defining Antique

Now, the funny thing about antique collection is that it all rests on the central assumption that the item that you’re buying or collecting is actually an antique. Now, there’s a lot of subjectivity here because what may qualify as an antique for one person, might not be an antique to another. So a little bit standardization, as far as definitions go, can help you quite a bit.

So ask around how other collectors of model steam engines define antiques. Is there some sort of cut off? Are there a number of years that need to pass before something is an antique? Are there certain brands that tend to be categorized as antiques more often than others?

Pay attention to these details because they can go a long way in not only valuating your collection, but they can also dramatically impact whether you find a buyer for your antique collection or not. This is serious stuff because if you spend all this time, effort and energy collecting all these items and it turns out that they are not antiques, you might not have a market to unload your collection on.

Are You Buying For Collector Value or Actual Usage?

If you’re in the market for antique model steam engines and you’re thinking of actually using the steam engines, that’s going to play a big role in whether you are going to get more money when you sell your collection. The whole point of antique collection is really all about investment. When somebody buys an antique, it’s under the expectation that the price of each unit will go up in value over time. This is how most people handle and deal with antiques.

Now, if you are a hobbyist who is actually going to use the antique model steam engine you’re collecting, this adds a little bit of a complication into the mix. You may be using the items in such a way that can depress their value. You may be buying certain antiques over other types of antiques because you prefer to use the stuff that you buy. I hope these considerations are clear in your mind because they have a direct and material effect on the return on investment you get off these antique items.

Repair issues

Just like with anything else that is old, there is always the issue of repair. I know you probably would rather not think about this, but this is crucial to buying anything that is a little bit older. Whether you are buying antique furniture, antique books, antique automobiles or, in this case, antique model steam engines, repair is always a reality.

It may not be immediately needed now, but it may be needed sooner rather than later. So you have to ask yourself, how likely would it be that I need to get this repaired. If so, how do I get it repaired? Can I afford the repairs?

Do you see how this works? Once the repair issue is at play, all these other questions pop up and this can have a serious impact on whether it makes sense for you to pick up antique steam engines now instead of waiting  a little bit longer.

Refurbishment Issues

There are many antique items being sold in the market that are actually not antiques. They are refurbished. These are two totally different things. I know it sounds crazy, I know it sounds like they are one and the same, but you need to do some research into this because if you’re collecting refurbished items, you might be setting yourself up for some financial loss in the future.

On top of this, you need to pay attention to the related issue of durability. You know you’re buying something that’s older. You know you’re buying something that is second hand, but you’re also expecting that it would last long into the future. Are you justified in thinking that way? Pay attention to the durability issue because it impacts a second topic, which is the total cost of ownership.

Keep all these factors in mind because collecting model steam engines may be a lot of fun, but it can definitely be complicated if you start venturing into antiques. Antiques are very interesting, they’re definitely fascinating, but they do bring in quite a collection of complexities that you may or may not be prepared to handle.

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