The Auction of
Richard Kughn's Collection

by James Flynn

There was no sign of an economic recession on the 9th and 10th of November. At least not at Lafayette Mall in Indianapolis, Indiana where Stout Auctions sold items from the collection of former Lionel owner Richard Kughn. A 20,000 square-foot vacant store space was used for the auction. The auction site was well-organized. Items for auction on Friday were arranged on one side of the room, and Saturday's items were on the other side. Chairs for the prospective buyers were facing Friday's lots, and were turned around for the next day.

Both Dick and Linda Kughn were in attendance for the entire two-day auction. It must have been a high water mark for Greg Stout, as he powered through both days without a single break. Some heavy-hitters were in attendance, and they came to buy.

Example of AF artwork shows diversity of collection. This was from the cover of a Harness-race set; sold for $1,600.

This American Flyer dealer poster sold for $1,400.

The preliminaries included short comments from both Dick and Linda. Dick stated that his recent health problems helped inspire this sale. He also stated that Carail is still an on-going business. The items for sale were only about 25% of his personal collection, most of which was in a warehouse.

Some of the items, such as a pallet of American Flyer original artwork, he did not realize he had. This pallet brought about $100,000. Dick went on to comment that collecting is an enjoyment, and he was sharing his collection with others by selling these items. As far as his health goes, he looked very good. He socialized and signed many catalogs and receipts. 

Linda commented that this was like a family reunion that you didn't have to bring a dish to pass. She also stated that she hoped all enjoyed the items being sold.

Internet users were able to place bids up until Thursday night. These bids were tallied and a proxy bidder in attendance at the auction would signal a bid for items as needed. There were a few Internet users who won bids. During the auction, Dick sat on the side with a group of people who recorded the winning bid amounts for every item.

Auction "Principals", ready to start the first lot.

Greg Stout, Richard Kughn, and author James Flynn

Auctioned items included hand-made Lionel postwar prototypes, un-run production samples, volumes of documentation, original Lionel drawings, original American Flyer catalog and advertising artwork, a large amount of parts, and other Lionel, Ives and Flyer collectibles.

Some of the final bids were extremely high, such as the 35105 Gilbert American Flyer HO handcar in clear-pack box. This piece is extremely rare, and it sold for $17,500. In addition to the winning bids, buyers had to pay a 10% premium. The legendary Madison Hardware sign, which used to hang above the door at its original location in New York, sold for $37,500 (delivery not included).

The Prosperity Special, a very rare Standard Gauge train built by Ives, sold for only $7250. This set is supposedly worth around $20,000.

The highest bid went to Saturday's lot of binders full of Lionel set documentation. This documentation included data on uncataloged department store sets, which identified department stores, quantities made, dates, contents, and even included a schematic of item placement in set boxes. This lot sold for $43,000.

Gracious co-hosts Linda Kughn and Sherry Stout.

This American Flyer Grand Central Station sold for $7,500.

Bins of dusty Lionel  production sample parts.

Other high-lights included:

American Flyer:
ATSF Alco PA artwork: $4,250 
HO B&O F-3 AAA-BBB set: $8,500 
Cardboard Union Station: $7,500 
Military artwork: $18,500
Most original artwork averaged $1,200 to $2,000
for each item

Black 763/2226wx with boxes: $4,900
Swinging lantern man display, unopened: $6,000 
6817 flat with light-orange scraper: $12,500 
Manufacturing set #166, ex+: $4500 
816 black RS hopper sample, un-run: $18,500 
Prototype Missouri Pacific F3 B-unit: $7,750 
Prototype Florida East Coast F3 B-unit: $7,100 
0044K, 0045K, 0046K, 0047K kits: $7,250 
#4110WS Electronic set boxed: $24,500 
#13078 Boxed presidential set: $21,000 
Dealer 027 and Super-O display: $12,500
211 flatcar on presentation board with
plaque to J. L. Cowen: $3,500
White Carail engine: $3,600
Blue Carail engine: $3,500
18010 Pennsylvania scale turbine: $1,100
5160 Race view stand, mint: $450

The Lionel 921 Scenic Park Set sold for $7,000.

There were no fights, but smelling-salts had to be delivered after some of the lots were sold. Toy Trains, and the Lionel and American Flyer trademarks, proved to be the investments-of-choice in an unstable economy.

James Flynn is President of Marx Trains and is a collector of Marx and Prewar Lionel.