The Rarest Lionel Boxcar of All???
By Mike Stella
Now there’s a title that grabs you and begs to be proven inaccurate.
Is it a Rutland Solid Shield with split door painted on a blue shell?
Is it a green 6464-50?
Is it a ___________ (fill in your rarest boxcar here)?
No, No and No!
As is often the case with legitimate rare pieces, this Lionel boxcar is not be found in any price or rarity guide. Authors of these type of books only seek out good color pictures of well known pieces and never desire to stir the collectors pot.
Also, as with many rare pieces, this item came from a former Lionel employee (before the big purge). The reason this car even exists is due to a few (very few) employees that recognized the extreme oddity of saving of few of those cars from the factory “crusher” which destroys factory errors and prevents them from showing up at a local Michigan toy train meet.
So, what is this rare car? How did it come to be?
It’s a #6-19234 New York Central “Girl’s Train” boxcar painted blue instead of lilac.
When Lionel remade the famous Girls Train freight set in 1991, the entire run of NYC boxcars came from the painter in the incorrect robins egg blue that was the same color used on the caboose.
A Lionel dilemma. What to do?
Collectors would never accept a remake that used the wrong color. DESTROY THEM!!!
Send them to the crusher. Except one for me (Richard Kughn) and another for me (Nick Degrassia) and may be just one more for…
The Girls Sets were released with the correct lilac NYC boxcar and the few blue boxcars that survived remained pretty much a secret until both Richard Kughn and Nick Degrassia sold off their collections.
How many actually survived? I’d like to say only two (then I’d own 50% of them) but we may never know. Probably less then 5, probably. I think it fortunate that some Lionel employees actually collected trains.