model train set on track

Best $50 Investment I Ever Made!

e*Train Issue: Oct 2002   |   Posted in:

By Bob Mintz

Yup, even in these lean times, I can look back to the first stock that I ever purchased, and even though the company itself is bankrupt, I can still say that I made, in my opinion, a good buy.

The year was 1980 and I was working for a CPA firm that included a Wall Street brokerage firm as one of its’ clients. It was a late Friday afternoon and this brokerage firm had exactly 4,999 clients registered with it. The owner mentioned to the brokers that he would sponsor a party when they reached the 5,000 plateau. It was 3:45 and the market would close in 15 minutes.

I checked out the price of (LIO) The Lionel Corp., not to be confused with manufacturers of our beloved trains. They had already sold the trademarked name by this time.

It was selling for $7 a share, so I decided to buy all of 5 shares. With the $15 commission, I paid a grand total of $50, and asked my client not to have the shares held in street name, in other words, to actually give me the certificates. And to make things a wee bit more complicated I wanted individual shares. Hey, the employees got their party because of my “fling.”

END OF THE LINE: On Wednesday, June 2, 1993, the Lionel Corp, famous for the model trains that it once made, announced it would go out business, closing its financially troubled chain of discount toy stores.

The Edison NJ based retailer, under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since 1991, had been unable to reach a plan of reorganization with creditors, who voted in favor of liquidating the company’s remaining 28 stores in seven states.

Lionel Corp. had operated Kiddie City stores in Edison and Cherry Hill, N.J. and in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia, as well as Playworld stores in Florida.

“In order to maximize the recovery for creditors and all other interested parties, Lionel will negotiate with the creditors’ committee toward an agreed program for an orderly liquidation,” said the Lionel announcement.

All of us reading this may purchase Lionel trains from the past or the future, but not many of us will have consecutively numbered stock certificates unless Wellspring Associates goes public of course.

Good buy/Good bye