Selling Bus Models
I often get emails asking what's the best way of selling models, often these are from relatives of deceased family members who are left to dispose of large model bus collections. Many will have little or no idea of the value of the models or how or where to dispose of them.
Below I'll try and answer a few of the frequently asked questions.
A common question is how do I find out the value of a particular model, well there are several options but all should be taken as a rough guide only.
1. The Model Price Guide: There are several different printed lists giving guide prices for a large range of die-cast models, the cheapest of these is the annual Model Collector Price Guide, this covers all the main model bus ranges from the likes of EFE, Corgi Original Omnibus, Creative Master Northcord & Britbus, it also covers the older Dinky Matchbox & Corgi Toys.
The prices quoted in printed guides are based on those you'd expect to pay a model dealer and are for the best mint & boxed models.
The price will also greatly affected by not just the quality of the model but also that of the box, if this is damaged it will greatly reduce the selling price, unboxed models will be worth only a faction of a mint box one even if the model itself is perfect.
Model Collector Magazine Price Guide
2. eBay: This has become a popular choice for those looking to buy or sell models, so searching for a model that you have by it's reference code may well yield similar ones on the site and give you a pretty good idea it's value. Generally speaking eBay is a buyers market and there will often be more than one example of each model available, prices archived are therefore likely to be lower than those quoted in printed guides.
3. Model Dealer sites: The Modelstore & Pufferwillies both have large stocks of older models and searching these sites may again give you an idea of the current value of a model.
Where to Sell Models
1. Model Dealers: There are several model dealers who specialize in model buses and may make offers on individual models or whole collections, generally speaking dealers will offer a flat price per model when dealing with large collections of standard release models, they will probably offer more for the rarest commissioned models, but you need to remember that the dealer is running a business and will need to make a profit and cover his overheads, so don't therefore be surprised if your offered considerably less than the prices printed in a price guide.
Daves Diecast Models | Hattons Model Railways | The Modelstore.co.uk | TTC Diecast | Pufferwillies | S & J Models
If any other dealers would like to be listed here please email for a free site or email link insertion
2.eBay: The good thing about eBay is that it has a big audience, so listing your model here will give you access to a large number of potential buyers, the bad news is that there's a strong likelihood that there will be numerous identical models to the one you are selling, so buyers are unlikely to bid high or buy it if the asking price is high. There are also fee's for listing each item, which are payable whether of not you sell the model, if you do sell it eBay will also take an additional commission. (see selling on eBay section below).
eBay UK | eBay USA
3. Model Auctions There a few auction houses that specialize is toys and models. They organize regular auction events and will auction models or larger collections on your behalf. Obviously they will take a commission which is typically between 15% to 22% of the items selling price plus VAT.
Vectis Auctions | UK Toy Auctions
These models must be worth a fortune
Sadly the truth is that the majority of the current model buses are probably worth less than the price originally paid for them when they were issued. Many of the early models produced in the 1990's by both EFE & Corgi OOC were produced in very large volumes, several thousand examples of each model certainly wasn't unusual. Today the majority of new models being released are only runs of a few hundred rather than thousands and reflect the now much more depressed model bus market.
Yes there are some rare models out there that are hard to find and thus can archive a premium price but generally speaking these are the exception rather than the norm and in most cases these are models that were commissioned by third parties rather than standard retail releases.
Remember also that these model buses were aimed at adult collectors and not children unlike the now highly collectable Dinky & Corgi Toys of the pre 1980s, the vast majority of the model buses will therefore still be mint & boxed and certainly won't have been played with in the sand pit or buried in the garden, thus supply will in most cases still be greater than the current demand.
eBay Buying &
The model bus community across the world uses eBay increasingly.
With a little care and courtesy it can be a very good way to both sell
and acquire models. A little thought before you act can often bring
rewards, and it is hoped that you may find one or two of the following
Whilst most of what
follows applies to all in the eBay community, the words on postage are
written from a UK perspective, and if you live elsewhere you are
strongly advised to check the conditions of use for the postal service
in your country.
If you consider buying, ALWAYS check the seller’s feedback before
NEVER be afraid to ‘ask the seller a question’ before bidding.
MIB = mint in box -
MIMB = mint in mint box - MINMB = mint in near-mint box
ALWAYS question the words ‘mint in box’, or ‘mint and boxed’ –
there’s the suggestion that the model is being described as mint, and no
guarantee whatsoever that the box is mint, or even close to it!
If the model and/or box isn’t described as ‘mint’, do you know
what prevents the seller from applying the word to the sale?
CHECK you are happy to pay the Postage and Packing charges shown:
if they are not shown, consider the ‘ask the seller a question’ option
to ensure you are not likely to be surprised.
CHECK there isn’t a surcharge for paying electronically (Paypal,
etc.). Such surcharges are contrary to eBay’s Terms and Conditions in
UK and those who demand such surcharges should be reported by way of the
link at the foot** of this page:
as much as you are prepared to pay – in that way you will never be
disappointed at being ‘pipped at the post’ in the last few seconds of an
Here for more details from eBay.
Remember that a starting price of up to 4.99
GBP attracts a lesser listing fee than 5.00 GBP. Likewise 14.99
is cheaper than 15.00
ALWAYS put EFE/OOC/CMNL
etc. and the manufacturer’s model number in the ‘Item Title’ line – many
people can’t be bothered to sift through auctions beyond the main
‘Title’ search because of the huge number of distractions in the
Be very careful with selling a model from one manufacturer, and
including words for another to increase the chances of buyers picking up
on your auction. eBay frowns on this: see
Here for more information, and be
Offer as much information as you are able to about your sale –
e.g. date of issue, destination, registration/route/fleet numbers, and
ESPECIALLY details of certification where appropriate.
NEVER use the word mint if you then qualify it, e.g. ‘mint model
apart from small chip on the roof’, or ‘box is mint apart from a small
split in the window’.
ALWAYS describe the condition of both the model and the box.
Always include the box in the photo’, and the certificate if
Be wary of putting ‘box only opened for photo’’, or words to this
effect – it immediately puts doubts into buyers’ minds. Equally a ‘mint
model’ in a ‘box never opened’ raises obvious questions!
Be careful in how you describe an
OOC model that was originally retailed in a shrink-wrapped display case.
Such OOC boxes are best described as mint only if they retain that
original shrink-wrapping. ‘Shrink-wrapping removed for photo only’ may
one to avoid if you collect MIMB models
Use a ‘reserve price’ carefully, as it will often put off
Take advantage of ‘Free Listing Days’ and ‘Free Buy it Now’ days,
but be aware that your auction may face much greater competition for
Think carefully about how much you intend to charge for Postage
and Packing. After ‘Negative Feedback’, excessive P&P charges are the
next biggest obstacle to attracting buyers.
Pack every model with special care: whether you sold it for 1000
GBP or 1 GBP, the potential consequence of negative feedback will be the
same if the model or its box arrives damaged! That additional bit of
cardboard protecting the window of the EFE model is well worth the
effort, and the constant thought that Corgi and CMNL Perspex showcases
are extremely vulnerable (Corgi outer wrapping as well) should be
UK postage*: remember ‘proof of posting’ is free, and yet carries
compensation up to 32 GBP. Recorded Delivery also attracts insurance of
up to 32 GBP, and the assurance that delivery of the item can be quickly
proven. Special Delivery offers the potential for compensation of up to
Always remember that, technically, the contract lies with the
purchaser of the service: if you offer ‘free’ postage, it is you that
are liable when it comes to sorting out any difficulties – if the
postage is paid for by the buyer it is their responsibility to accept
the information/paperwork from you to sort for themselves. You may, of
course, feel that it is a part of your service as a seller to sort these
things on their behalf: often the easiest thing to do.
for full details.
Postage from other countries: please refer to the website for your
own postal service.
Here for more details from eBay.
BUYING AND SELLING
Both sellers and buyers are generally anxious to avoid anything
less than positive feedback. Potential problems are best identified
before the sale ends by correspondence between the two parties. If
someone with extremely poor feedback bids on your item, don’t hesitate
to make it clear to them that you will expect funds to clear before the
item is dispatched. If your item arrives with the buyer damaged, or you
receive a damaged item, you are best advised to correspond to resolve
Above all be polite and courteous in your correspondence at all
times. The placement of negative feedback should be a point of last
resort, never a means of ‘getting your own back’.
More problems are caused by the premature placement of negative
feedback than almost anything else on eBay. Remember: the majority of
eBay users are reasonable and friendly people, and appreciate time taken
to discuss reasonable difficulties, and then enjoy the consequent
resolution of problems without resorting to a generally unnecessary
Feedback slanging match.
Above all, have fun – if your service is good, and your
appreciation of well conducted transaction noted, you will come to enjoy
a loyal following on eBay, and make many friends.
Here for more details from eBay.
Neither The Model Bus Website, nor its proprietors, can accept
responsibility for any inaccuracies in the above information, and cannot
be held liable for difficulties arising from any such inaccuracies. The
words are meant as a guide only, and primarily as friendly advice.
* Information deemed correct as at
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Type variations - what should a
model manufacturer do?
by Rod Blackburn
An ever popular discussion point amongst model collectors is
what prototypes model manufacturers should be considering to
produce. There are frequent demands for obscure liveries and obscure
prototypes for which commercial returns in volume sales seem highly
unlikely. Judging by recent discussion on the Internet, there is
even a feeling that these obscure types likely to appeal to only a
few buyers should be priced as cheaply as those with a greater
market appeal, even though the same or possibly greater research
resource is required to ensure accuracy in these rare cases.
Given that the supply of prototypes produced in significant numbers
for multiple operators that have not already been produced in model
form is fast running out, what is the manufacturer to do? One
approach, adopted by EFE with its London Transport STL and OOC with
its Midland Red D9, is to go ahead with a model with limited
variations, but whose prototype had wide public exposure and which
thus might be expected to generate wide nostalgic interest and
perhaps sales outside the regular collector market. In both the
examples quoted above there are minor casting variations that are
possible that may increase the sales potential. A second approach is
to select a prototype of significant technical interest or visual
appeal, criteria which might apply to EFE's Leyland TD1 and OOC's
forthcoming AEC Q double decker. The TD1 was arguably the first
modern bus and has a number of livery possibilities, but I have
heard that the models have not sold all that well. Perhaps not many
people remember the originals. The Q was a very interesting vehicle
and the few double deckers that were sold (23) went to a number of
operators so there is some scope for livery variation, but not all
of them had the same body and even those with the majority MCW body
were not all the same. Compare the upper deck rear window of the
London version with that of the provincial MCW body. OOC will have
to stretch credibility a little, although not as much as using the
Q1 five bay body casting to represent many six bay bodied six wheel
trolleybuses. It will be very interesting to learn how well the Q
Providing the manufacturer allows for them, casting variations can
significantly extend the sales potential of a base casting. EFE's
long wheelbase RM model is a good example of this with its two and
four headlamp versions with and without platform doors. The original
short wheelbase casting design did not allow for those variations so
we are unlikely to see an RMC.
EFE's first venture away from its original RT, the Leyland bodied
PD, provides another interesting approach to variation. By producing
two top halves and two bottom halves EFE were able to offer four
distinct vehicles: low- and high-bridge versions of both the PD1 and
Variant sub-assemblies for EFE's Orion bodied vehicles and both
EFE's and OOC's utilities have extended the possibilities for the
base castings considerably. Although in the latter case credibility
has again been stretched by applying the Park Royal body to chassis
which never carried it.
A variation which I think would be hard to produce economically is
the difference between wide and narrow versions where a chassis was
available in 8' and 7'6" variants. So far as I know, this has not
been attempted. I have seen it suggested that an approach to the
width problem could be to make the model a scale 7'9'' wide, but I
think this would be a poor solution as there would be no distinction
between the two types in the same fleet, such as RTL and RTW in
London. The OOC Bristol K scales at 7' 9" and, at least in that
aspect, is not a satisfactory model.
and short wheelbase versions and front and rear entrance bodies are
also difficult variations to plan into a single casting. These
complexities made it necessary, for example, for EFE to choose a
specific version of the Bristol F Lodekka. The choice of the FLF was
probably guided by the fact that it was the most numerous variant in
A body style that was seen in many parts of the UK and that has not
yet been produced by a diecast manufacturer is the immediately
post-war Crossley. There were slight variations in the window shapes
that would preclude accurate representation with a single casting of
all fleets where it appeared, but the Crossley body was produced by
other manufacturers, notably MCW, and applied to other chassis, for
example Guy and Leyland, which might increase its sales potential as
Some purchasers of models are modellers as well as collectors and I
believe that manufacturers could maximise the sale of castings if,
when faced with the sort of dilemma outlined above, they were to
choose a prototype which offered the maximum scope for modification
for the modeller to produce his own variations if desired. For
instance, if a Crossley body were to be produced, the window shape
associated with the Manchester style cantilevered platform would
easiest conversion to the two alternative shapes for the rear side
windows. On the other hand the two possible variations for the front
upper deck windows could probably addressed by producing the
un-swooped windows as were seen on the bodies supplied to Luton,
which also had the Manchester stepped style rear windows. This
suggests that a model of the Luton vehicle could be converted fairly
easily to any of the other versions, but the manufacturer would
still have to choose between the low- and high-bridge versions
(Luton had both) unless the EFE PD solution was adopted. And some
such Crossleys were 8' wide. Perhaps not attractive to a diecast
manufacturer for what might not be a very big seller, but certainly
a possibility for a resin kit, where some modelling skill might be
expected in the purchaser.
Of course, in the end, if your interests lie in producing a model
fleet representative of the types that were to be seen in a
particular real fleet it is likely that you will have to have
recourse to kit building, conversion, or even, dare I suggest it,
scratch building. For example, it has certainly given me much more
satisfaction to convert a 7'6" EFE RT to an 8' RTW than I would have
had if I could only have had incorrect 7'9" RTs, but at the very
least application of an alternative livery might increase the number
of ready made models that will fit your fleet. If you do it
yourself, the variations are in your own hands and the satisfaction
is enormous. No need to carp at the manufacturers then.
This article is reproduced with the permission of the author, Rod
Blackburn. It originally appeared in November/December 2001 issue (number
78) of Australian Model Bus, the journal of the Model Bus
Association of Australia. Whilst the journal of 2001 does not
reflect the standard of today's journal, you may be
interested to see the whole of the November/December 2001 issue.
This is available as a 1.36Mb PDF file
here. The MBAA maintain a website