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Is Your Toy Train Worth More than Silver?

Vicky Parry 6th Jan 2022 2 Comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Your toy train could be more valuable than precious metal.

A leading personal finance guidance platform has revealed the valuable toy trains that people might have stored away at home, as well as how profitable collecting toy trains can be, with the average Hornby set increasing in value by 1203% over 50 years, 20% more than silver.


Hornby train sets

toy train set

To demonstrate how profitable a toy train collection can be, the platform, Forbes Advisor, compared the original price tag of five Hornby train sets in 1972, with their private resale asking prices almost 50 years later in 2021/2022 (inflation was not applied).

  1. The Railway Children Set – 1972 price: £7.73 / 2021 price: £140
  2. Flying Scotsman Set – 1972 price: £10.45 / 2021 price: £18
  3. Freightmaster Set – 1972 price: £8.51 / 2021 price: £89.99
  4. Express Passenger Set – 1972 price: £9.68 / 2021 price: £99.99
  5. Night Mail Set – 1972 price: £11.20 / 2021 price: £95.00

Analysing the percentage increase of the five train sets, Forbes Advisor discovered that model trains increased in value by 1203% on average from 1972 to 2021. Interestingly, when comparing these stats with other valuable assets, an investment in model railways has been found to be more profitable than silver.

When looking at the cost of silver per ounce, data reveals there has been a 1005% increase** from 1972 (£1.54 per ounce) to 2021 (£17.02 per ounce), which is 20% less than Hornby’s railway sets.

the most Valuable train sets

Additionally, Forbes Advisor partnered with toy expert Peter Jenkinson to identify the most valuable train sets people may have in their homes:

  1. Marklin 0 Gauge Loco – £850
  2. Bachmann Spectrum G-Gauge – £700
  3. A complete set of station staff in the original box, including stationmaster, military policeman, guard waving flag, porters with trolleys and various pieces of luggage –  £550
  4. Thomas the Tank engine Hornby clockwork train 1983 – £500
  5. Bournemouth Belle made by Hornby Dublo, 1963 – £500

Jenkinson advised that Thomas The Tank Engine pieces from the 1960s, or celebratory pieces from its 60th anniversary in 2005 with original packaging, are toys which are likely to increase in value. A full breakdown of the research, and a guide to buying collectible train sets, can be found here.

What the experts are saying

Financial expert, Kevin Pratt, of Forbes Advisor, said:

“We all must wonder now and again if we have any ‘cash in the attic’, as the popular BBC TV (and from 2022 Channel 5) programme styles it. And the rising popularity of vintage toys means we don’t need to rely on finding a piece of Ming-dynasty porcelain that once saw service as granny’s fruit bowl or a forgotten masterpiece by JMW Turner. Humble toy trains from recent decades can command prices into hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

“Key things to look out for when you’re rooting around the loft, garage or shed are the condition of the items – ‘mint’ might make you a mint – and collectibility. So if you do a bit of research on an unearthed attic asset and discover it is rare and much sought-after, you could be onto a winning ticket.”

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john white
john white
1 year ago

I have a hornby oo boxed vintage flying scotsman train set, product no R584 in good condition, the box is a bit battered. Is it worth much?

2 years ago

I loved the train set I had as a kid, it wasn’t one of these sadly.

Last edited 2 years ago by Joanne

Jasmine Birtles

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