SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The ongoing dispersal of the massive Conti model train collection continues Sunday, December 3 at Turner Auctions and Appraisals. The 238-lot catalog focuses on various eras of Lionel O gauge and offerings from niche competitors along with modern and classic Standard gauge. The sale is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.
The Conti collection developed during the course of 75 years, with a distinct focus on Lionel O gauge. Many items appear to be new in box, while others clearly were acquired from dealers at train shows. Most modern items are boxed, while older examples tend to lack original packaging.
One notable exception to this pattern is a Lionel no. 392E and 392T steam locomotive and tender with a three-car passenger consist. The set comes with individual component boxes but no set box and appears to be in fair to good condition. The set was offered in Standard gauge from 1932-1939, and this example seems to be from the middle of the production period. It is estimated at $500-$1,000.
Built only in 1952, the Lionel no. 2345 Western Pacific F3 is considered very difficult to find, though most sophisticated collections have them. This set includes a B-unit with blanked-out portholes, an unfortunate cost-saving maneuver on the part of Lionel. With a clean battery compartment (many are found corroded), the unboxed F3 A-B-A set is estimated at $400-$800.
Released in 1956, the Lionel no. 2378 Milwaukee Road F3 A-B diesel set is also highly sought-after by collectors. This example has reproduction boxes and flaking to the A-unit’s nose decal but is otherwise in good, unrestored condition. It is estimated at $750-$1,000.
A modern Lionel LLC-era no. 6-18045 Commodore Vanderbilt with RailSounds and TrainMaster Command comes with a shelf-worn box featuring artwork used for the 1996 Lionel Corporation catalog issued soon after the purchase of the company from Lionel Trains Inc. owner Richard Kughn. The art was created by noted rail painter Mike Danneman, and the set is estimated at $400-$600.