SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Turner Auctions + Appraisals will present the Stephen Zito Collection of Model Trains on Saturday, Sept. 12, featuring O Gauge trains and accessories from a wide selection of American and international manufacturers. Amassed over 30 years by an avid collector, this online auction offers over 150 lots. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
American manufacturers include Lionel, MTH, K-Line, Williams, American Flyer, Rail King, Weaver, Pride Lines, Atlas, Thomas Industries, Allstate, Industrial, Dorfan, Sunset Third Rail, Thomas Industries and Marx. Among international makers are Bing, Märklin, ETS, LGB and Hornby. The sale includes a wide range of models, locomotives, passenger coaches, freight cars, tenders, gondolas, cabooses and Christmas trains. Among the accessories are bridges, control and floodlight towers, goods wagons, a forklift loader, water tower and tank, cattle loader, stations, stockyard, building kits, switches, scale vehicles and more. Greenberg Guides and other reference books complete the sale.
Turner Auctions + Appraisals will begin the online auction on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 10:30 a.m. PDT.
Born in New York and raised in Arlington County, Virginia, Stephen Zito graduated from Columbia University, majoring in Comparative Literature. “Thereby unemployable,” Stephen says, he went to work 58 hours a week in a copper foundry in Union, New Jersey. Diligently attending New York University nights, weekends and summers, he earned a master’s degree in Graduate Cinema Studies.
With these credentials, Stephen began a long and successful career in the TV and film industry. He first worked for the American Film Institute as editor of the AFI Catalog of American Film, then as a programmer at the AFI Theater, and as an editor at American Film Magazine. Moving from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, he joined the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as the founding editor of Emmy Magazine.
Subsequently, his writing career expanded in new creative directions: he started writing movies of the week, wrote The Escape Artist for Francis Ford Coppola, resumed writing movies and miniseries, and worked on a number of TV series as a writer-producer. Before retiring to the San Francisco Bay Area, he worked on JAG, the American legal drama television series with a U.S. Navy theme, for eight years, most of them as one of the co-executive producers.
Zito’s postwar Lionel childhood led to a lifelong interest in model trains.
Assembled over 30 years, Stephen’s eclectic collection includes a wide array of model trains, sourced from auctions, train meets and selectively on eBay. While he bought what he liked, he says condition and rarity were always a priority. After a time, he became a collector of collections, purchasing the contents of a storage locker and part or all of three smaller collections from Bay Area collectors. A member of various model train associations such as the Train Collectors of America, he has enjoyed the friendship of other collectors over the years.
Zito says part of his extensive collection is going to auction now “with regret, but time and space are at a premium as life is downsized.”
Here are some highlights of the upcoming sale (see details in the online catalog):
Lot 61: O Gauge MTH 20-3039-1 Hillcrest Lumber Company Climax Locomotive and 20-91028 Hillcrest Lumber Company Caboose. Both in the original packaging well shelf worn. Estimate $400-$500.
Lot 148: O Gauge Weaver Lehigh Valley Streamline passenger cars. Weaver 1516 Lehigh Valley Pullman-Bradley Deluxe Coach; 1519 Lehigh Valley Pullman Bradley Deluxe Coach; 2102 Streamline Lehigh Valley John Wilkes 4-6-2 Pacific Locomotive All in original packaging with shelf wear. Estimate $200-$300.
Lot 47: Lionel 6-18018 Southern Mikado and tender with worn box and Styrofoam. Estimate $200-$400.
Lot 3: O Gauge Sunset Third Rail Brass Santa Fe 2-8-0. Number 1951, in the original box. Painted. Estimate $300-500.
Lot 147: Hornby Stephenson’s Rocket Set. Live steam. Estimate $200-$300.
Lot 88: O Gauge K-Line K2521 D&RGW F7 A-B-A and K4421 (6). K-Line Rio Grande Heavyweight Observation Granite Canon, Heavyweight Pullman Harrison Lake, Heavyweight Coach, Heavyweight Castle Peak Diner, Heavyweight Baggage, Heavyweight Gunsight Lake Coach — all in original boxes and shipping carton. Estimate $200-$400.
Lot 91: O Gauge Lionel New York Central Aluminum Streamliner. Estimate $200-$300.
Lot 92: O Gauge Lionel 6-11838 Warhorse AT&SF Hudson Freight. The outer box is present with wear, inner box and rolling stock boxes have no wear. Estimate $200-$300.
Lot 62: O Gauge K-Line KW3470-1295CC NYC Suburban Tank. In original packaging with shipping sleeve missing its flaps on one end. Estimate $200-$400.
Lot 129: O gauge ETS Czech tinplate train set in a wood box. 172B/540R Christmas Train in original wood set box. Locomotive and tender are red/black/silver, green baggage car, blue II/III passenger car, and green passenger car. All have Lionel-compatible couplers. Full circle of track, K-Line transformer. Looks to have minimal use. Estimate $100-$200.
Lot 100: O Gauge Lionel Pennsylvania Railroad 6-51702 Smoking. Brass body, die-cast cupola, die-cast coil spring trucks, puffing smoke unit, illuminated interior, original packaging with shelf wear. Caboose looks like it had not been out of the box. Estimate $100-$200.
Lot 126: LGB 21011 Christmas Handcar. Estimate $80-$120.
Lot 122: Märklin Gauge 1 5500 Set with Diesel Loco and 2 cars. Estimate $100-$200.
Lot 101: O Gauge Lionel 6-18953 New York Central PA-1. In original packaging. Box has shelf wear. Estimate $100-$200.
For more information, contact Stephen Turner, president of Turner Auctions + Appraisals, at 415-964-5250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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