Wednesday, May 1, 2019

LGB # 2040 -- more than one loco

In 1968 Wolfgang and Eberhard Richter opened the L-G-B part of the company Lehmann Patentwerke with an 8-page catalog offering 3 locomotives and 9 cars ( 3 passenger cars, 3 open/flat cars 2 boxcars and one tank car), 6 different track items, 3 cable sets, 4 figurines, 1 throttle and 1 transformer. The big headline on the front page was " Das War Noch Nie Da" (verbatim "that was never there- yet") which translates somewhat into "You've never seen anything like this" or Nothing like that ever existed".

On page 4 they showcased their very first ever garden locomotives in a scale yet unheard of in toys : 1 : 22

Page 4 of the very first LGB catalog from 1968
The life size models for these locomotives where loco KL 1994/1889 Bn2t Nr.1 of the Austrian Salzkammergut Railway (LGB 2010), the loco 2774/1892 Bn2t Nr.2 of the Steiermaerkischen Railway (LGB 2020) and the loco Krauss XXXII 2700 1923 Nr.4 of the Huettenwerke Siegerland
Life size model Krauss 1923 for the LGB 2040 steam loco
The Krauss locomotive was very similar to the two Austrian locomotives but had a slightly longer boiler. Eberhard Richter saw the general similarity in those types and the chance of making one model and get 3 locomotives out of it by changing cabin color, smoke stack form and offering lighting or not. And so was born the LGB 2040 No. 4 -- and as well the 2010 and 2020.

LGB manufactured the 2040 until 1975. Meanwhile the LGB 2010 (affectionately known as the Stainz) and somewhat less the LGB 2020 turned real shooting stars. Customers couldn't get enough of the cute little locomotive , available as set or single. The price was decent ( DM 95.00 or US$ 30.00) and you didn't need a wooden plate or anything to mount it on. Tracks worked on almost any surface, soil, garden, driveway, floor - you name it. With the lowest price and pretty basic configuration for the 2040 (no engineer, no light) the demand turned more and more to the 2010. The ongoing "Wirtschaftswunder" in Western Germany, namely the enormous economic growth spanning 3 decades helped LGB to sell more and more every year, expanding their offerings from 3 locomotives in 1968 to 20 locomotives (steam,diesel,electric) by 1978.

By then the LGB 2040 was retired for a while replaced by the 2015 and ever more configurations of the 2010. So, when Wolfgang and Eberhard needed a number for the newly constructed Crocodile the number 2040 was just coming in handy. In 1993 they had sold so many locos and had come up with so many new types, series and configurations that LGB expanded the numbering system by one digit to 5 digit numbers.

Hence the Crocodile got the LGB # 2040 and thus became known as such. No matter what configuration or coloring scheme she came in.

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Benevolent Angel -- Frau Grimm and the OLD LGB Parts Department

Klaus' Plea: I want to keep you informed and entertained with our blogs without ads or the need for subscription.It takes great effort and time  to entertain the blog sites. Please support us in our endeavor of keeping the blogs ads-free, the LGB history alive and promoting this delightful avocation by donating any amount you feel comfortable with. Send me a check or go to our Go-Fund-Me page at .

Wolfgang(left),Klaus Baumann (center) and Eberhard Richter

THANK YOU for keeping the LGB hobby alive!! And God Bless!

Your donation will help in our efforts to have a new blog at least every week!

The Old LGB Parts Department
At the Old LGB factory at Saganer Street in Nuremberg LGB entertained a parts department that until today still has to find its match. It was most important to Eberhard and Wolfgang Richter to offer every part that was needed to built their LGB locomotives as a spare part for purchase to their customers.
It was in 1968 that they had started their Lehmann Grossbahn manufacturing model trains and at roughly DM 300.00 for a train, A German hobbyist had to spill out the modern equivalent of  US$ 950.00 for a Stainz Starter set. It was therefore of utmost importance to provide spare parts on such a luxurious object and preferably at low costs so customers would not loose interest in a hobby that was sort of expensive in the first place.

A look at the LGB 2018D blowup sketch of the loco shows the enormous number of parts that goes into e.g. the Mogul (shown is page 1 of 4 pages). And remember, there were no computers, no internet. Nothing to help you remember or look up the number of a spare part the customer would ask for. And these blow up sketches were NOT part of the train/loco when you bought it. So, lets say you were missing the bell from the loco. You went and called LGB parts department and said" I need a bell for my LGB loco". Yeah, right. Which loco? Did you know you had a Mogul, a Stainz, a Field Railway loco? This is were Mrs. Grimm comes in.

Mrs. Nelly Grimm was the angel of the repair and parts department. She is the wife of LGB head Meister of Production/Manufacturing Rolf Grimm. Mrs. Grimm had an extensive knowledge of each,every and any LGB spare part ever made. Not kidding. You lost a tiny screw on the bottom of a Salzburger steam loco 2010- she knew and did mail you the right one. You needed a bumper for the blue electric loco 2030? She knew and mailed you the right one. You called and said:"Mrs. Grimm, My Steyrtal loco (U-Series) has its dome cracked, do you have a new one for me. And she would know to ask,:"Is it the one with the ring around the dome or without?"' and you would get the right part. Mrs.Grimm breathed LGB parts. They were here blood and soul. She didn't have to check any blow up sketch, no manual, no list. She knew them by heart. 50.000 parts. By heart. And that is only for locomotives. Add to this the passenger cars, freight cars and box cars. AMAZING!

You can imagine how well liked Nelly Grimm was. She and her husband Rolf were invited to almost every important LGB occasion. Be it a toy fair, a company anniversary, LGB Club affair, big LGB dealer parties. Wherever the who's who of LGB was invited, Nelly Grimm and her husband where right there at Wolfgang Richter's side. Always humble, always very nice and more than often bringing a self-made cake to the occasion so nobody would go hungry and the event would  - for sure - have a "gemütlichen"( homey) feel to it. It might happen that people who collected LGB trains did not know (of) Wolfgang Richter or later his son Rolf Richter as the CEO. But everybody knew Mrs. Nelly Grimm.

Today, Nelly Grimm and her husband Rolf just celebrated his 80th  birthday anniversary. They still live in the same house with their beautiful garden and their LGB train layout.  I don't know of anybody within the (German speaking ) LGB community that would or could ever forget her. I think we all wish she would still be reachable to give us that fantastic help when we need a spare part on a LGB loco that we can just describe as :" That thingy on top of the round body with the wheels on"...

Mrs. Nelly Grimm -- a big Thank You from a far away place, the USA, to you and your husband. And a wistful thought back to good old times....

Klaus' Plea: I want to keep you informed and entertained with our blogs without ads or the need for subscription.It takes great effort and time  to entertain the blog sites. Please support us in our endeavor of keeping the blogs ads-free, the LGB history alive and promoting this delightful avocation by donating any amount you feel comfortable with. Send me a check or go to our Go-Fund-Me page at .
THANK YOU for keeping the LGB hobby alive!! And God Bless!

Your donation will help in our efforts to have a new blog at least every week!

Monday, March 11, 2019

What happened on March 16 1995

March 16 1995 was a Thursday. And you ask yourself what made this day special? Well, in world history terms-- mainly nothing. Nobody famous was born or died.


in LGB history terms, 3 guys met on a plane..................   

Klaus, as you know, is by trade a Lufthansa flight captain for A 340. Now retired,  in 1995 he was in the dream years of his career.  LH  456 was to fly from Frankfurt to Los Angeles departing FRA around 10.00 a.m. and arriving in LAX around 13.30  or 1.30 p.m.. Klaus had worked with LGB by then for well over 10 years  having established close relations with Wolfgang Richter himself and the LGB family.
In the early 1980's Klaus was introduced to the Massoth company by Klaus Baumann, then Vice president Sales&Marketing LGB. Klaus  had developed and pre-designed the firebox for the Mogul and had built a prototype firebox in a Mogul. Klaus demonstrated this prototype to Mr. Massoth Sr . Mr. Massoth Sr saw this and said: "This has to go to Nuremberg (LGB) instantly. They are working on putting a cab light into a Mogul 2019S and need to see this."

The following day Klaus traveled to Nuremberg demonstrating this prototype to Mr. Ruhland (Head of Molding), Wolfgang Richter and Rolf Richter. The idea was instantly accepted. The Massoth Co. was chosen as the manufacturer for the firebox electronic while Klaus was to deliver  a producible reflector for the firebox as to ready the unit for serial production. The Mogul 2019 s was the first model train worldwide to feature the firebox light and was presented to the market in 1983. Gradually the firebox light was implemented in many more LGB steam locomotives.

So- as you can see, Klaus knew the top tier at LGB quite well as well as the guys at Massoth. Now, Klaus did all this important work for LGB while being a flight captain. As Klaus likes to say:" On some flights you really have time to think a lot. Technical stuff is what I do best next to flying".

Fast forward another 10 years when in 1995 Klaus was approached by Christoph Massoth who had joined his father's company by then. Christoph wanted to accompany Klaus on a special flight  from Frankfurt to Los Angeles with the goal in mind to get some sound recordings. The focus was on Disney Land in Anaheim/CA which featured a real life Mogul. The sales rep for LGB of San Diego had worked out the meeting arrangements.

Christoph was to fly on a so-called 'cockpit-ticket' which put him in the observer seat behind the Captain and Co-pilot in the cockpit of the A 340. While boarding Christoph told Klaus "Somebody else is on this flight today who we both know" and pointed out Rolf Richter among the passengers ready for boarding. Rolf  was to fly to San Diego on a regularly booked First Class ticket and was completely unaware of Klaus being the Captain and Christoph being another passenger.

There you have it.  No multi-billion company does permit what happened on March 16, 1995 : 3 men who did and were to impact LGB in awe-inspiring, extraordinary and also shocking ways on the same flight to further the abilities of LGB trains.
And to top it all off Klaus did invite Rolf into the cockpit for landing.

Courtesy trains
The Disneyland visit was later cancelled due to repair problems with the Mogul. So Klaus called Knott's Berry Farms and was able to arrange a visit and recording admission  for Knott's Berry Farms' real life narrow gauge steam loco in their amusement park. Rolf Richter left Klaus and Christoph to see to his LGB business in San Diego.

Rolf Richter passed away in 2009. Christoph Massoth retired in 2012 from Massoth Co. and went into sheep breeding and herding.

And Klaus? Klaus retired from flying in 2001 and went to establish a series of technical companies of which TrainCraftbyKlaus is still active and operating. As of March 2019 Klaus is again open for installation, restoration and repairs of LGB trains. Call him for an appointment for your LGB treasures. And please check out our blogs TrainCraftbyKlaus and  TrainCraft Trove.

Thank You for Your Support!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story - Conclusion

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

A collection of special trains or Starter Sets may have its own charm. At least as long as one doesn't buy huge volume of one kind (of loco) and store it in the basement hoping for increasing value overtime. There were some fine trains out there like the Pinzgau train (LGB# 20520) or the Furka-Oberalp train (LGB# 20512) mirroring the archetype nicely. Optically pretty 'advertising' trains were the Nürnberger Lebkuchen train (LGB#20526 - Nuremberg gingerbread train), the Philips Train (LGB# 20412) as well as the beer trains Lütgenau (LGB# 20536) and Schweiger (LGB# 20539). Then there were special train(sets) for the American market like the Marshall Field Train (LGB# 20534) and the Dodge City Little Billy Train (LGB# 20701).

"Auflage" = edition volume

The Red Train (LGB# 20401 RZ) and the Blue Train (LGB# 20301 BZ) were supposed to tie in with the success of the Anniversary train (set) which to some degree they did. There were many, many other train sets; and the Lehman factory did not like at all the fact that quite a number of sets went straight into the basement of collectors rather than into the living rooms of LGB beginners. Regarding this subject my opinion has always been that LGB could very well afford to 'give' the collector a highly subsidized train set once in a while when they were making good money out of him (all the other time of the relationship).
The 'cherry on top' of any collection, of course, was the Golden Train (LGB # 20100) of which just 200 were made due to severe problems during the process of steaming the leaf gold onto the Stainz loco. Original plans were to make 1,000 train sets; now you do the math and figure out how many of the  low and high sided gondolas are still living 'single lives' at LGB fans' homes or are trailing behind ordinary LGB locos...

The collector's dream: the golden train LGB# 20100 NB from 1991. Volume originally planned: 1,000. Executed: 200

Of course there was a lot of rubbish among the special trains and special cars. I don't want to name them here to not insult anyone belatedly; but everyone will know what I am talking about..( this is in reference to some pretty ugly circumstances involving a big discounter in Germany and the authorized LGB dealership in the late 80's and early 90's. And the eventually "unsellable" golden train'set'. Yours Truly)

Sadly, the long planned LGB-Museum in Nuremberg never realized. When the factory extension was built on to the existing LGB lot  in the early 90's a museum was part of the planning but sadly wasn't built. Now other things are more important...(remember, this article is from 2006. In 2012/13 the famous Spielwaren Museum= Toy Museum Nuremberg added a wing for LGB which is serviced and managed by the LGB Booster Club. See LGB Yarner blog 05/2013). Twice in the past there was a " LGB-Museum" at convention boothes, once in 1988 - 20th anniversary LGB- and in 2000 jointly with Uwe Klöting at the International Train Show in Cologne. I (HJN) furnished and managed both which was a lot of work as well as a great honor.
Today you'll find a lot of LGB layouts offered by estates. More than once I received calls from people telling me that their grandfather had passed away and that they wanted to sell their inherited LGB collection. I always asked immediately if they or their children wouldn't like to continue the hobby themselves. Their responses told me that the LGB 'bug' obviously could not be passed on and that they obviously have different interests today. Sad, but nothing you can do...
The driving stock out of these estates are often unfit to go into or extend collections. They have been played with - which they were destined to be, not to forget. Often, driving stock from outdoor layouts was intensly operated; meaning they suffered from weather, screws are rusty and the plastic became brittle or broke off already (parts). In case very rare pieces are part of such a layout (collection) one can try to buy those and restore them. But even the repair department of LGB at the factory - which brought new shine to old driving stock in years passed - have now run out of  historic spare parts. Some (collectors) buy bad looking items at a flea market just to use them as spare part provider.
Maybe the (LGB fan) who has a nice historic LGB portfolio should start thinking about how and to whom he wants to pass on his collection. To see these items end up on eBay is just a pity.

I do hope I was able to take you with me on (my) journey into the world of LGB and want to focus one last time on our (LGB Friends of Much) motto: "back to the roots". To quote a famous citizen: "there is magic in all things new" and I say " but also in many old things, too." Just like no one would get the idea to collect modern cars they do like to see Oldtimers in their garages. They (oldtimers) represent craftsmanship and their engineering is traceable. They are just like-able and something special. Just like you can transfer this thought to LGB ; back to the roots - wholeheartedly  and with enthusiasm.
H.-Jürgen Neumann

Monday, February 24, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story - Part 8

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.
Fine example of the work scope of the"Design Tuning" department. Matching the LGB car "VWSport" the Diesel loco was made by the department. Special limited edition of 3.

(....utilizing the LGB 'tuning department') I had a specialty loco made for me matching my VW-Sport freight car # 4090VW, based on the Diesel loco 2062 and thus had a beautiful complete trainset. Some of my color 'options' like the duo-colored, green/brown and the complete on brown Saxonian car LGB# 3050 were adopted into the LGB product line. The complete gray (car) is still a specialty in my Saxonian train(set).
Nowadays there a collectors who chose their special subject. "Coca-Cola' is one typical example and such cars were bought in addition by those who collect everything Coca-Cola not just model trains or LGB. It was the same for items with teddy bears regarding the Steiff collectors. Collected were: tank cars of every (labeling and color) description, beer cars as well as the various kinds of "Stainz" and her sisters. LGB fans who concentrated on a specific theme on their layout - I don't identify them as collectors. They rather operate  a layout modeled after the Swiss theme, Austrian or German State Railway. And last but not least, technical advance turned some older models into  " passé " models. On a fully digitized layout some of the old locomotives from 1968 don't even operate anymore. And digitizing them would inevitably damage their collectors value. Those who stocked up on green and red Crocodiles in the early years will discover upon trying to sell them today that they are compared to the newer ones with digital driving and sound decoders - and not necessarily to their advantage... This led to a considerable decrease in collecting. At least for driving stock manufactured in such big numbers that they are not considered a specialty in the collector's mind. But there are still exceptions; I am thinking of the LGB Club Rhein/Sieg special cars for their annual meetings with editions of 100 each. Also, editions of 1,000 worldwide are still considered low from a collector's standpoint. Surprisingly, lot size(s) don't always have a significant influence on the (collection) value. The LGB Anniversary Trainset 1981 edition was 20,000 and still increased in value sharply during the following years. Cars by Lütgenau or Roskothen with mini editions of 100 did not show any upward trend. Then again, they don't come on to the market, really.
Example of a STEIFF special train set in friendly yellow with 'limited' bears

 (To define )Collector's values isn't quite easy. There are collectors' catalogs of which the "Christmann Collector catalog" (out of print since 2008 or so, today's "manual" is the "Kompendium for LGB Collector and LGB Friends"  2012) ; but prices printed in there can only be reference points. First of all the condition of a loco is crucial; second someone missing a (loco) in his collection and really wants to have that will be more apt to pay a higher price. And on the seller's side one has to to go the extra mile and look for that person. Within the last years the auction-house eBay has establishes itself  in this area. It is really very interesting (to see)  what (kind of ) LGB driving stock is offered there. But, the condition is important and if that can be determined by looking at it - I dare to challenge that.

I can very well imagine that the thought of starting a 'historic" LGB collection will strongly increase over time. Like the LGB Friends of Much concentrate on the first 10 years of LGB, ranging from the Stainz to the Crocodile, packaging (was) in grey and yellow, brand new locos, blank (no sound) models, and the technical equipment of the first years make for a nice and manageable collection. Old packaging from the very beginning convey a fine sentiment of the dawn of LGB in the early years. The very first manual switches, aluminum tracks and other accessories from the beginnings are also part of this (collection to be). Add to that the literature of those early years. In Sinsheim, in 2006, we displayed  such a small collection in a glass cabinet and the brochures shown, those from the early years, were met with big enthusiasm. Complete this collection (to be) with the special collection of the 1977 and 1978 PRIMUS Series. The 4-axle American low sided gondola LGB # 4061 in green is a rarity -  collectors would give their eye teeth for it... ( Yours Truly could not find any note of that color scheme ever made by LGB/ may be from the tuning department. What I did find was the #4061 from 1991 special edition in dark red with a bottle of champagne as cargo given to very dear business friends, edition 100, and very rare.) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++to be continued+++++++++++++

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Life Time Story - Part 7

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

Nonetheless until just a few years ago some collectors bought at least one piece of each new item released and  procured every single specialty driving stock from the USA (that were made for the US market only). Precisely those last of the well-offs' and  aficionados were robbed of their pleasure by the "eXtra-Shop" as it regulated and limited exactly what these shoppers didn't put up with (in the first place).(Yours truly info: this ill-fated idea - eXtra-shop- was implemented in 2003 to prevent customers  from developing their own shopping habits and trying to fixate them to some dealers (in Germany and 5 other German speaking small countries around Germany) who had the 'distinction' to become an "eXtra-shop" dealer. They had to accept an LGB terminal in their shop that did NOT work with your regular PC system to communicate with LGB headquarters. Remember, in 2003 the internet was full-blown, was attracting huge numbers of investors, and Facebook was just around the corner, everybody had email, and there was just no necessity to go to a brick-and-mortar-dealer to get what you wanted. Instead of embracing the new world, Rolf Richter chose -again- a step back in time, one that surely didn't serve him well at all. In the  2006 LGB catalog the "eXtra-shop" was listed as the 17th (!) subject on double-page even after 'railroads' and 'assortment policy'.)
This was actually the end of the 'collect-everything - collection'. In addition, the yearly quantity of  new items grew into infinite numbers and became unaffordable. This comes to show how important it is for long-term success to have a marketing strategy and marketing psychology, knowledge about your customers' wishes and their sensitivities; hence, the dramatic drop in sales for some model train manufacturers is mostly 'home-made'  within the last few years.
Top: Anniversary Train " 100 years of Lehmann" from 1981. Despite a big edition it was special. More cars were added on in the following years, see below.
Bottom: The anniversary cars "1,100 Years City of Duisburg" from 1983 displays advertising by Roskothen company on the other side of the car. Limited edition of 100 makes it a rarity in every LGB collection.
During the 'hot' years of collecting some  freeloaders tried to hop on the LGB train, as well. Big dealers had their "own" train manufactured at the LGB factory or "their trains" like "Schweiger" company in Nuremberg, or the Lütgenau company with their "Dortmunder Bier" beer train. It sure was triggered by the success of the LGB Anniversary Train of 1981 which was issued for the "100 Years Ernst Paul Lehmann". Already the optics prove that the "100 Years Lütgenau" anniversary car (LGB # 3007Lü) as well as the "1,100 Years City of Duisburg" by the Roskothen company were just trying to get a piece of that act. (By the way, edition of 100 cars each). And LGB itself hopped on that bandwagon -again- with their next four "Car of the Year" models to go with the Anniversary train.
Top: After the first Schweiger train was issued in 1985 (in yellow) on the occasion of "150 Years German Railroads" LGB# 20528 this set was issued in 1987 in red with a blue dining car (LGB# 20535). The loco was packaged with these three cars-without track or transformer.
Bottom: A year earlier, 1986, the Schweiger train came in green (LGB#20533) edition of 1,150 and 1,500 for the 1987 version.
Top:The add-on cars for the Lehmann anniversary train from 1981. The left car is from 1982 right from 1983. Edition 10,000 each while the anniversary train had 20,000 made.
Bottom: Add-on car to the 1981 Train set on the left from 1984 and on right the end car 1985. Edition for ea. car 10,000.

Private workshops manufactured quite a few number of novelties and oddities, container trains and -cars, hinged-lid cars with engravings, paint jobs and re-labeling (with some really professional outcomes) and other driving stock. While some got their blessings for their 'work' from LGB (like the Baumann of Neustadt /Aisch company and their re-painting-jobs) others drew the anger of LGB when repainting complete series of small electric locos. Not without reason regarding the harsh liability laws especially in the USA that had to be followed.
Top left: The Florsheim freight cars from 1982 with an edition of 500 for the US market, a grand rarity today. Top right: the specialty car "Stuttgarter Hofbräu" was a 'private initiative' and not made at LGB factory.
Bottom left: new in the LGB program: LGB delivered the basic package # 20531, the design for the container was up to private initiative. Shown here is a well done variation "Capri-Sonne" by the Schuhmann company (Capri Sonne was an orange based lemonade brand in Germany). Edition of 100. Bottom right: container car from the package of Breuninger company.
A novelty for the model train industry was the 'design-tuning-department', already mentioned earlier, which was established in 1995 at the LGB factory and was available for the creative LGB fan for roughly the next 5 years. It was based on the idea that you could create your customized model from an otherwise limited choice of LGB models, e.g. with a special labeling for a birthday, anniversary or other special events. I made quite some use of this myself even though it turned out to be quite pricey. Then again there was quite an effort to be made until the special edition was created resulting from the customer sending in his engine or car. It had to be dismantled and often the housing or body had to be replaced by a 'raw part'. After a short while you could have tuned any LGB- model. I had my OBB Diesel loco 2095 tuned to an" Orient Express" loco to  function as the 'tractor' for my before-mentioned train set # 20277 by replacing the smaller looking U-series.++++++++++++++++++ to be continued +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The LGB Collector - A Lifetime Story Part 6

The following is a translation of "The LGB Collector", an article by H.-Jürgen Neumann from Spring 2006. Mr. Neumann published it in his own IIm-Online News web page. You can read the original article  at and use a Google translation or similar. To avoid mixing-ups in context with Yours Truly you will find "(HJN)", the abbreviation for H.-Jürgen Neumann,  in places were the original author refers to himself since the article is about his lifelong journey being a dyed-in-the-wool LGB fan.

Then, at one time the base frame was done, tracks were laid including a Staging yard ( or Fiddle yard; a collection of model railway tracks that are invisible to a viewer)  . Then fate interfered: in 1985 I founded the LGB Club Rhein/Sieg and at the same time the Club magazine "Spur II Nachrichten" (Gauge II News) with the very first issue focusing on collecting; which in later issues was taken up again and again and also reporting about things past and currrent issues.
Regarding my basement layout - it was sort of neglected due to my many tasks for the Club and the magazine and sort of still looks the same today as is did back then.
Spanning 20 years now my task was to organize Club meetings, appearances at conventions, Club travels, memos, membership management and administration and many more. The magazine required the biggest time input since I wrote many articles myself and I spend many evenings editing, layouting and publishing the magazine. (In 1985 there were no PC's and cheap printers to help with publishing,  all work-type,composition,drafting, had to be prepared before going to a printing press. That didn't change in Germany until the late 90's). Always being pressed for time to publish an issue by mid year and at the end of a year. The magazine "Spur II Nachrichten" gained an excellent image over the years. It was independent and critical, calling things by their name which didn't always go well with the person in focus. But all criticism was always factual and objective and predominantly right on spot.

After 20 years, in 2005, I decided to pass on the leadership of the Club into new hands and chose as my successor(s) a board of active club members - it was quite a relief from all that work. And I felt that even more when the new board decided in 2006 to cease the magazine due to costs and other reasons and publish a new magazine under their own management. This decision led to a huge alleviation for me even though I also was feeling a bit of sorrow as did many of the readers.

Well, back to the subject of collecting. (In the 80's)When I was working for a big auditing firm and traveled all of West Germany and West Berlin it set the perfect stage for collecting LGB trains specifically those who were from the early years and were no longer manufactured: I was traveling to many big cities and could stroll through the toy stores right after work; and back then I had a lavish allowance for my travel expenses covering my financial needs. I remember it very well being in Mannheim purchasing 6 green BP tank cars. In today's money a very good investment!
Flea markets and toy markets also offered  interesting old items. Always sought-after were the little plain colored electric locos and the first locos with "Heuler" motors. Pieces like the old tank cars were readily purchased.
When the 'old-timers' were no longer available the collecting fervor diverted. First people looked for color variations. Lehmann (always) took quite some liberty with their color schemes. A car that was just painted in light red came in medium red with the' next edition'. The labeling showed many discrepancies, too. Passenger coaches were labeled in Arabic numerals then in Roman numerals. Labeling was done with labels, then by embossing, then by pad printing.
Primus 1977-78: blue Diesel loco # 20860 followed by a black Shell tank car # 40860 and a Coca Cola car # 40832. The "8" inbetween the LGB number was reserved for Primus. Left: The first Coca Cola Specialty Car # 4072 issued in 1985 and was much sought-after from the start. Limited edition of 2,000.
At one time models were sought after that were made exclusively for the US market, for other foreign countries, or in limited editions. A red Old-timer Street Car  for Austria, a red-white streetcar passenger car "Chocolat Suchard" and in particular the driving stock  of the "Primus" series built from 1977 to 1978 became exciting - and about which I (HJN) will write a special article in the near future (which Yours truly will translate and publish here as well in our near future).  Many models for the US market could only be sold in the USA due to concession and royalty reasons. I do very well remember the first "Coca-Cola" car LGB # 4072 issued in 1985 that was highly sought after and highly paid for here in Germany. Then there was a "Orient Express" LGB# 20277 consisting of a gray steam loco of the "U"-series  and 3 different coaches (base car was LGB# 3062) and was almost unknown here (in Germany).
Of course a vivid bartering ensued with LGB friends in the USA. Huge quantities of "old-timer stuff" was purchased here in Germany via intermediaries and shipped to the USA. At the same time collectors here procured US specials via acquaintances directly from the USA. It wasn't always perfect due to the long transportation route (America and back) transport damages happened easily - but what were one supposed to do?  Broken grab bars on the Coca Cola car and bruised rivets on the Orient Express cars can tell a thing or two about this. Calling on LGB company to establish a kind of "Collector's Service"  went "DOA". One of the reasons for that was that 'collectors' were synonymous with 'scalpers' which was in part due to our American LGB friends since their profiteering with LGB models was quite obvious. ( Note from Yours Truly: what we Americans call having a smart sense for business is often already understood as profiteering in German mentality). The most startling stories were told - about LGB rarities stock-piled in bank safes and many more.

With increasing prices of LGB items the collectors craze went down reciprocally. To purchase several LGB driving stock items of the same item type just to store them in the 'collector's shelf' became financially impossible. Add on the space problem that every collector had to face at one time. Back then 'old-timers' often were sold to be able to afford new items - which was certainly regretted later. +++++++++++++++++++++++++to be continued++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++