Imagine the following scenario. Joe Smith, a retired mechanical engineer from Woburn, MA, who collected thousands of model trains over the last 30 years, passes away at the ripe old age of 85. He leaves behind a widow, Jane, 6 kids, 12 grandkids and 4 great grandkids and, not surprisingly, boxes and boxes full of n-scale models — locos, rolling stock, building kits, track and electronics from dozens of manufacturers.
Throughout their 55 years of marriage, Jane attended her fair share of train shows but she most definitely is not a train fan; she doesn’t have a need for all the trains and none of her family members have any interest in model trains (save for a few locos and box cars to run under the Christmas tree). Jane needs to down size (she plans on moving in with her oldest daughter and her family) and so she really needs to off load these models. She could donate them to her husband’s local train club. Instead, she donates Joe’s module layouts (a mix of industrial scenes and bucolic scenes complete with hobos gathered around a fire pit) to Joe's train club but decides to sell his n-scale models. So, now what does Jane do? She has several options depending on whether she has some kind of inventory list of what's in all those boxes.
No inventory list: low-ball dealer bids
If Jane doesn’t have the time or energy to make an inventory of all of Joe's locos, boxcars, hoppers, gons, etc. and research their value, that’s okay. Dealers are more than happy to buy trains (sometimes sight unseen) in bulk; but since they don’t know what exactly they are buying, dealers typically only offer sellers a fraction of what the trains are worth.
Inventory list: higher dealer bids
However, with any luck, Jane’s husband knew about the TroveStar N-scale Model Trains Database and used its collection tracking / personal inventory
functionality to keep track of his collection. The N-Scale Model Trains Database on TroveStar
lists (as of the publication date of this blog article) close to 48,000 locos, rolling stock, structures and accessories. The collection tracking / personal inventory feature on TroveStar makes it possible for train enthusiasts to easily create a list (along with a market value) of all their trains. In one-click, they can populate their inventory list simply by searching the database for the item they own and then adding that item / database listing to their inventory list. If Joe did in fact use TroveStar’s collection tracking functionality, Jane can simply print and / or e-mail a copy of this personal inventory to a local dealer who will be able to give Jane a better price for these n-scale models since he knows what he is bidding on / what’s inside all of those boxes.
Inventory list: one-click classified listing
Of course, if Jane wants the best price of all and is willing to sell the items herself and mail them at her local post office, then she can list them on the
N-Scale Enthusiast – TroveStar Classifieds.
The Classifieds is a peer-to-peer, fixed price marketplace that offers collectors and modelers an easy way to buy and sell n-scale inventory. With the push of a button, Jane can turn Joe’s inventory list into Classifieds listings. TroveStar tracks what’s sold and will send Jane e-mails notifying her when to make a post office trip to mail items to buyers. (You can learn more about the Classifieds by reading Q&A with N-Scale Enthusiast’s George Johnsen about the NSE / TroveStar Classifieds.)
Inventory list: documentation for insurance claims
Joe’s personal inventory list could also be used for insurance purposes. If Joe’s train collection were destroyed in a fire or stolen, this list (complete with market value and pictures of each item) can be used for reimbursement purposes.
Inventory list: e-Bay minimum bid or buy-it-now pricing
If for some reason Jane decides to use an e-commerce site like e-Bay to sell the trains, the TroveStar inventory sheet Joe created, which contains a monetary value for each item, can be used to help her decide on the minimum bid or buy-it-now pricing.
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