model train set on track

Going, Going, Gondolas – Part III

e*Train Issue: Sep 2002   |   Posted in:

Mike Stella (Click here to read Pt II)

While boxcars, cabooses and other Lionel rolling stock continue to draw the bulk of interest in collecting, the lowly gondola continues to be an affordable and very collectable type of car to acquire. In Part III, we start by returning to the smaller 9″ cars that were “cheapened” from the initial #2452 series. Possibly, the cheapest of all and, yet, the most valuable are the #1002 Scout gondolas in the oddball colors of yellow, silver, and red. These are not “rare”, but do command a hefty price whenever they are found on a seller’s table. The common black #1002, and the easy to find Blue #1002, make a nice set of five cars to collect.

The next series of black gondolas are the #6012, the #6032, and the #6042. These are easy to find at most train meets but almost never come with a box. It is easy to understand why original boxes can often fetch more then the cars that go inside.

There are three gondolas that have the number 6112; they come in the common black, easy to find blue, and harder to find white. A number of years ago, some collecting buddies insisted the white car was very hard to find. In the following few months, I located half a dozen, all at about $10, and then stopped looking. Gondolas are still easy to collect.

The collection of gondolas continues with #6142 that comes in black, blue and, for the first time, in green. I often wonder why Lionel didn’t produce these cars in many more colors. Doing this would have certainly added to the fun of collecting them.

I end this segment of the 9″ gondolas with a few that have no markings at all! Some sellers try to say that these were “factory errors.” Not so; this was merely the ultimate way to save production costs. The four that I have are blue, gloss green, flat green, and military khaki. Only one of these seems to be difficult to locate and commands a premium.

This was to conclude the 9″ series of gondolas but, as I was double checking various guides to insure completeness, I discovered one small gondola that I had failed to include. I immediately ran out to my Lionel Railroad and searched the rails, then the shelves, and finally the box where excess gondolas are stored. I FOUND IT! I will save it for the epilog of this series on gondolas. However, if you can figure out which one I forgot and you are the first to email me with it before the epilog appears, I will find some way to award a reward.

Please Note: Part of the reason I enjoy writing articles about collecting trains is that I learn new things about the hobby from readers like you. If you would like to share your experiences, or notice any errors or omissions in any of my posts, please write to me, Mike Stella, directly at: [email protected].

(Click here to read Pt IV)