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Ward Kimball’s Trains on eBay

February 14th, 2008 · 1 Comment

I couldn’t help but feel sorrow today when I saw multiple auctions for portions of Ward Kimball’s train collection for sale on eBay. (It is sad to see anyone’s trains go after they die.)

I had the extreme privilege to meet Ward at my work in 1981. When I was introduced to him, he seemed to be genuinely happy to meet me, like I was somebody, though compared to him, I was not. Soon after, when I learned of his accomplishments, I was ashamed that I had not known who he was when we met. But it was not until years later, when I resumed my childhood interest in American Flyer, that I found out that in addition to him being a famous animator, Ward was also a avid train collector. (Toy and prototype!)

You would think that there would have been a Ward Kimball Train Museum or something, rather than pages upon pages of eBay auctions. But it kind of brings to mind the question, what will happen to my trains when I am gone? What will happen to yours? If fortune blesses us with normal life spans, will there be anybody left that cares enough about our trains, to buy them on eBay after we have moved on?

I could expand on this theme greatly, but I am left with the thought that I hope that the people fortunate enough to own portions of Ward Kimball’s collection appreciate them and the man who once treasured them. I could ask for no more for my collection when I am done with it.

Chuck

Tags: Main Line

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Rocketman // Nov 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    I met Ward Kimball in 1987 right after the first Great Toy Train Layouts book appeared. I called him when I was in CA to visit my son. Ward invited all of us over the next day to his home in San Gabriel. When we drove up to the driveway, their were full size railroad tracks right to the sidewalk. In the spacious backyard was a full size roundhouse with several full size Civil War engines inside. He said they ran them up to the sidewalk every christmas. Ward was a great host with a great and interesting sense of humor. He autographed my Great Layouts book on page 43. He took an ink stamp pad and imprinted his thumb on the page and then proceeded to make a characature of himself wearing the large black frame glasses he was so famous for. I can’t believe the toy trains didn’t make it to a museum. The Civil war engines themselves must have been worth millions, and they could have financed a museum with millions left over. As I remember, he had at least 3 buildings with toy trains and layouts. He also had a little garage with a full size turn of the century fire engine inside. It symbolized the singing group he started; I believe it was called the Firehouse Five Plus One. He also had lots of former Disney props. Great Memories

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