Lawrence Wisniewski

Here's my two cents worth regarding this increasingly annoying debate.  Six years ago, I was about as close to an ugly death as anyone would ever be.  I managed to survive in spite of medical expectations and now belong to the less than 20% of those who were given my diagnosis and are still alive after 5 years.  The treatment I was given has left me with a body that is in a weird downward metabolic spiral that is going to end God knows when, where, and how.  Since it's not likely to be something I will want to endure, I've drawn my line in the sand and that's that.

Through the benevolence of Providence, or perhaps just plain good luck, I still have the capacity to pursue my love of narrow gauge modeling.   Any other plans or dreams of what I could do with my retirement time and nest egg ended with my diagnosis and it's consequences.  I realized that it was finally ok to spend my life savings giving myself  much of the enjoyment that I had previously deferred for the sake of our culture's illusions about old age, and also for the benefit of those I had committed to care for financially.  Neither of these objectives turned out in the end to be worth much.  However, I did discover that the absence of ravenous relatives and other lower life forms watching me slide into near oblivion physically (I was left to fend for myself), brought with it a wonderful sense of peace and freedom from the short comings of those who were once (too) close to me.   Model railroading as many hours a day as I can manage gives me needed physical therapy for retention of what's left of my fine motor skills, and the mental stimulation needed to hold back the usual demons of old age.  As long as I can go to sleep thinking about finishing this or that project, and as long as I can leave a bit of paint under my finger nails, I will remain who I am.  

There are certainly reputable dealers out there and Ebay has provided me access to models and the paraphernalia of good modeling that two decades ago I would have had absolutely no access to.  I've watched the endless cycles of pricing and availability of all things model railroading come and go, and always they conform to the economic laws that govern our material existence overall.  I learned along time ago that when I walked into a hobby shop,  I did so with motives that were nothing compared to the survival needs of the person on the other side of the counter.  Some of you folks seem to feel that a cash offer of 50% for your toys is an insult.  If it is, it's not necessarily a greedy speculator at work and in any case, typically not meant to be insulting.  Consider the overhead that Dan in Florida or Fred in Pasadena has to contend with just to make your experience of buying and selling even possible in the kind of economy we exist in.  In case you haven't noticed, capitalism does not possess much of a conscience.  We all have to pay the piper, fair or not.  I've  seen model gathering dust on dealers' shelves sometimes for years.  That is a very high stakes gamble when it comes to small business capital.  The dealer needs and deserves some degree of insurance when it comes to swings in the economy and other lethal threats to business survival.  Most charge what they have to and not what they would like to.

I check Ebay each day for goodies and have been able to gather a good collection of Sn3 and HOn3 brass items that please me.  I've even bought some models especially to admire the workmanship displayed and for no other reason.  I'll grab bargains when I can and have never been tempted into the speculation game.  The behavior of a few vendors that grossly over price brass is usually met with slow or nonexistent sales.  These folks may be behaving badly, but what is unusual about that in human affairs?  The worst thing about estate liquidators is thier inability to read box labels and their musical chairs treatment of the engine/tender relationship.  Some times these folks will respond positively to polite e-mails advising them of which tender belong to which engine.  Try it some time.  They also like to preface all offerings with the cry of "rare" but then we live in America, don't we?   One must advertise, even if it's all baloney.  As far as describing estate liquidators as some sort of bottom feeder goes,  there are plenty of marriages marred by discord over how money is spent, and that certainly includes my own.  A model railroader's spouse may resent the hobby, feeling that the recently departed had neglected them in favor of some "toys".  I wouldn't be suprised to find that a not uncommon cause of brass mortality is being hurled into the wall by a resentful newly widowed spouse.  Under those circumstances, the recently departed persons treasures can easily wind up in shifty hands.  I am much more concerned about behaviors like those of the late Jordan, who apparently insisted his die work be destroyed and not sold upon his death.  We all lost big time with that one.

Finally, some of the comments given seem to suggest that the brass owner is besieged by predatory carrion eaters lusting after the collection.  Maybe so, but can anyone really say exactly what someone else's motivation is without risking a Freudian disclosure about the state of his own inner thoughts?  It seems like throwing stereotypes around has come to replace thoughtful observation more and more these days.  I have found that most people have no real appreciation for the art of brass unless they have tried their hand at metal working hobbies of some sort.  The excellent paint work we here all love often does an excellent job at hiding the brilliance and skill of the model maker.  I wonder how many brass models wind up as paper weights or door stops simply because an uninformed relative got a hold of them.  Some times this lack of public appreciation hurts our feelings, but it does offer a possible reason why folks following their commercial instincts hit us the wrong way.   They just don't see our emotional investment and fail to tread lightly.

Does any of us really believe that on our deathbed our last thoughts will turn to our beloved model railroad stuff?   I was close to death from massive red cell destruction four times and not once did I think of anything inanimate.  I wonder if you folks have considered what the impact of your fears may be having on young people reading your posts trying to find out whether model railroading is a hobby they might want to pursue.  Are you encouraging and enlightening them with your views on the character of those who have to try and facilitate a hobby that they have no real knowledge of?  I'm not a stranger to Ebay hassles and failures, but I don't find them particularly hazardous or difficult to defuse either.  Like any commercial exchange system, highwaymen lurk in the shadows.  Just stay away from  shadows and you will do all right.  Caveat emptor applies to all aspects of life.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Hu <player4656@...>
To: <>
Sent: Tue, Feb 18, 2020 11:12 am
Subject: Re: [HOn3] HOW MUCH?

I have a shay that took me five years to finally get in my possession. It was very expensive upon completion but it's a custom job. Full interior including window glass and engineer. NCE ready with sound etc. Fully painted and weathered. And it runs excellent!
Now when I say expensive I mean it was around 2K. So should I just give it away because so of you would think me "greedy"?
To that I say hell no! I'll never build the layout this was intended for. I will put it on Ebay and sell it off eventually.
Seems to me that greed runs two ways. Trying to get something cheap is also greedy.
People are free to sell for what ever they can get. You are also free not to buy it. That's how a market works.

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