model train set on track

Window Display and Animated Window Display Cars

e*Train Issue: Jan 2022   |   Posted in: , ,

By Bob Mintz, TCA #92-35064 Updated Winter 2022  

We have here an opportunity to help STANDARDIZE some formal categories within the hobby.

Since I was blessed with my last name, it would only make sense that I collect mint cars. Unfortunately, the collection did not stop with this series. The next obvious step would be aquarium cars.

I just received my Lionel freebie US Savings Bond car that is classified as a mint car.

Question is, is this really a mint car?

Should mint cars only be those that contain bullion or can we include paper currency too? Is a savings bond a form of currency?

If not, what should a paper type currency car be called?

Should aquarium cars only include fish or other underwater creatures?

If we consider mintcars to only be those that include either a paper or bullion currency, what do we do about the so-called “mintcar/aquarium style” load cars?

Stu Rankin has suggested that we split these into two categories as follows:

“Window Display Car”–Mint-type car containing a fixed/static non-bullion load.

“Animated Window Display Car”–Aquarium-type car where the moving scene is something other than the little fishes.

I would define a mint type car as one that has a vault plate door with combination lock; handle; and tri-spoked wheel; while an aquarium type car would contain either a vibrator or other motor or truck driven gear system that moves a continuous sprocket type film belt.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and this category is no exception. #16757 Johnny Lightening car hauler, which is clearly a mintcar by my definition, has the marking “3435” on it, which is the number of the original aquarium car. #52188 Carail 25th Anniversary Car Hauler with two autos  does not have a moving film belt, but has an aquarium body.

Oh well, that is what makes this hobby so interesting.

2028470 The Polar Express™
Present Mint Car

48844 Christmas Mint Car (S Gauge)