American Flyer Prewar Accessories Series – Article 6 Union Station
BY LEON SWEET
The American Flyer Union Station is the largest pre-war accessory cataloged by American Flyer. It appears only in the 1928 catalog.
The item appears in two places within the 1928 catalog, first in Billy’s Colonial City on page 14 and then again on page 32 with the other freight and passenger stations that were available in 1928.
I want to state that all photos contained in this article are of a reproduction station that was made in the early 1990s. It is reported to be an exact reproduction based on an original station that was owned by the maker of this item.
The station was described in the 1928 catalog as “This magnificent station is our largest model and is constructed throughout of durable material, base being of built up veneer wood. All landscaping details mounted on it are hand made. The building itself is a combination of clear white pine framework supporting heavy composition board walls which are painted in waterproof colors. All windows are transparent frosted glass with printed sash. Equipped with 4 interior lights and an additional one in the tower that illuminates the clock on all four sides. Two guilt eagles and 3 etched nameplates complete this magnificent station. The dimensions are: Base 18 x 30 inches. House 12 x 20 ¼ inches; Tower 17 ½ inches high.” The price was $15 and $16.50 on the west coast.
The station is truly a grand item and the only American Flyer piece that is close to it in scale is the Old Glory Flag Pole, which is actually taller than the tower of the Union Station.
As for why this item appears only in 1928, I cannot say for certain. I know that the person who reproduced this station indicates that it is a very time consuming item to put together, so maybe that is part of the reason.
Although I hesitate to state values of items because the values are subject to many factors, I have seen original 110 Union Stations sell for between approximately $2,000 and $10,000, with the higher priced ones being complete, in exceptional condition, all original, and selling several years ago when the market was stronger. The lower end of the price range was for stations in lesser condition that may have been missing pieces, had restoration parts added, or have had broken pieces.
Due to these stations being made of wood and having a large base with landscaping, typical condition problems include missing landscaping and broken and/or missing pieces to the building.