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 Post subject: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
I really, REALLY want to hear what Paul Harvey would have called ".... the REST of the story!!" behind this eBay auction:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pair-Baldwin-Lo ... 1101872226

More photos at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pair-Baldwin-Lo ... 7675.l2557

NO indication is given as to whether these plates were offered up for sale by a current or past owner/custodian of the locomotive, whether these plates were parted from the locomotive legally during some past "gray area" in its history, or whether these were stolen at some point.

Or, for that matter, whether these are the authentic Baldwin-made plates or not.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on eBay, for those with more money than sense:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Willamette-Buil ... 1225077840


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
Mike Del Vecchio, former Railfan & Railroad assistant editor, reports on Facebook:

Quote:
The NH&I had been looking to obtain the original builder's plates for years, not really knowing if either or both event existed.


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:11 am
Posts: 23
If you look at the seller's other items they just posted the builders plate from #9. It seems like an interesting correlation that they have original plates from two engines on the NH&I roster.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-America ... 1615wt_873


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:41 pm
Posts: 814
Location: Bowling Green, KY
I honestly was unaware the plates on the engine are reproductions.... Not to say they are not, I was simply unaware. They're nice reproductions!


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
jdorn wrote:
If you look at the seller's other items they just posted the builders plate from #9. It seems like an interesting correlation that they have original plates from two engines on the NH&I roster.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-America ... 1615wt_873


Note the extremely disingenuous fashion in which the fact that this locomotive is currently preserved by an excursion line is deftly talked around--just as with the other auction:

Quote:
This coal-fired locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company (#70402) in October 1942 for the United States Army. Built at Schenectady, NY as the 4023, very little is known about the locomotive's early years other than it served in naval supply service for a brief period during the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1952 the locomotive was transferred to the United States Transportation Corps training facility at Fort Eustis, Virginia where it was renumbered 616. Retirement of aging motive power led the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway in Central Virginia to purchase the 616 on August 15, 1958, which it renumbered as their 9. It and three other government-design 0-6-0s shared freight duties well into the 1960s.

The 9 entered passenger service during the Bicentennial summer and ran in this capacity until its flue time expired in 1981.


It sure sounds like, unless demonstrably proven otherwise by a bill of sale or other provenance, this eBay consignment place is being used to "fence" stolen property...... Is there anyone from the railroad or its previous agents that can attest as to where and when these plates may have been separated from the loco(s), and under what terms?


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:44 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2004 5:48 pm
Posts: 344
Location: Hickory, NC
I posted the link to the ebay auction on Facebook, and a collector replied that the railroad sold reproduction builders plates in the gift shop for years, and he had a photo of one that he paid $40 for a mere 5-7 years ago.

I really hope that no one paid $3k for either a stolen real pair, or a pair of reproductions.

Interestingly enough, in the current auction, the builders plate is indeed called "vintage." To me that, at first blush, that implies that it is the real deal. But on further reflection, that is really just crafty marketing...

Very suspicious.

Matt Bumgarner


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
Well:

1) This goes a long ways towards demonstrating why, when you fabricate a replica, you leave an unmistakeable way to tell it's a replica in later years. I seem to recall one railroad stamping "STOLEN FROM XY&Z RR" into their replica plates mounted on the locos.

2) I would love to see someone with an eBay registration sign in and pose some hard questions to the seller. Something like "Hi, we own this loco; these plates were stolen from the loco on [date]; here's a copy of the police report; would you like to return them before we press charges?" or the like. But that's just wishful thinking. My experience has been that half the time when awkward questions are legitimately raised, the seller either ignores or deletes the queries, or worse yet seeks punitive retribution against the inquisitor by eBay.


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:12 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1055
Location: Pacific, MO
I just sold an exact replica (investment cast in steel) of a Frisco Coonskin number plate on ebay and stated in the the listing several times that it was a replica.
I was disappointed at the low price it brought, but it WAS a replica after all.
Weighted 50 lbs!
I used to put nasty comments on 1522's "Jewelry" after somebody filched our headlight wing stencils and glass (replicas). I made some up out of Masonite that looked real enough and put the "stolen from 1522 by a lowlife scumbag" message on the back.
We also had a pattern and sold replica builders plates, but didn't mark them as such since they were flat plates and weren't an exact replica of the original which we never had. We had these made.
Gotta really watch what you're buying out there.


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:59 am
Posts: 14
If the builders plates that were auctioned off are replicas from the 1990's they will have an imprint on the back on the plate stating that they are replicas. The inscription is cast into the plate (i.e. would be difficult to remove) and reads:

In Celebration of the Centennial of the
New Hope & Ivyland Railroad
and the Rebuilding of
Baldwin Locomotive No. 40
Construction No. 58824

By the mechanics of the Strasburg Rail Road
and the
New Hope & Ivyland Rail Road

June 22, 1991

I have one of the replica plates in my possession.

Jeff Smith


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
Posts: 514
Location: Scranton, PA
Thought I have no inside information, there is always the possibility that these plates were acquired legally from the NH&I in one manner or another at some point in history.

If I'm not mistaken the whistle from NH&I 1533 was given to an individual by RR management in the early 1990's.

Dave Crosby

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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
This post seems to have been overlooked.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Mike Del Vecchio, former Railfan & Railroad assistant editor, reports on Facebook:

Quote:
The NH&I had been looking to obtain the original builder's plates for years, not really knowing if either or both even existed.


Had they been stolen from the NH&I, they would have known that they existed. It sounds like the engine did not have them when it was acquired by the NH&I.


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:59 am
Posts: 14
Keep in mind that the NH&I has been through many owners since the engines were acquired in the early 1960s. There has been at least one bankruptcy, countless management teams, a volunteer organization or two, a government owner and at least one operator that worked under a lease agreement. There have been some blemishes along the way without a doubt.

Current management probably doesn't have definitive information on what happened to the original plates. All they know is that the plates were not on the property in the early 1990s when they assumed ownership of the operation. To claim they were stolen at that point (or now) might be difficult to prove. Likewise, for someone to prove they were a gift of some previous management of the NH&I might also be difficult to prove.

It is rumored that the winning bidder is going to return the plates to the NH&I. Assuming that is true, I hope the railroad does something nice for the individual and I'm glad to see the original artifact returned to the NH&I.

Jeff Smith


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
I would be more than happy to work with the presumption of innocence with regards to these plates, until two factors come into play:

1) Plates from TWO former NH&I steamers are consigned, one after the other, through the same eBay dealer, who:

2) ... is in fairly close proximity to the NH&I area (as opposed to, say, deep southern Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, or what have you).

I accept that it's entirely possible that the plates were acquired by someone through legal channels, as a gift from a railroad official, in exchange for favors or debts, or whatever. But what utterly appalls me about this, and many of the hardware collectors out there by now, is that whatever manner they were obtained (let's be outrageously generous to him and presume one die-hard collector managed to track them down decades after they were "liberated" from the VBR/Cliffside), not only did they HAVE to know the locos still existed (look at all the other stuff they provided about the locos' histories!), but they felt that they had more of a right to their ownership and/or the money to be garnered than the rail preservationists who currently own said locos. Seriously, is the railroad management so offensive to the plate collector that he can't offer them at least the right of first refusal? (Yeah, that's possible, too. I've been witness to too many grudge "p*ssing matches" over the decades.)

Okay, yeah, maybe, MAYBE it's possible that someone found this stuff in the bottom of some drawer after Daddy or Gramps died. What does that say about the late collector as a "custodian of history"?

This topic arose here a decade ago:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5665
and
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5680


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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3725
Location: Maine
I'm betting there are tons of number plates, headlights, marker lights, builders plates, gauges, ...you name it... in Grandpa's cellar and attic. "When we sell the house, we'll hold a lawn sale..."

Pennsylvania alone must be a treasure trove of unwanted relics.

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 Post subject: Re: NH&I 40 Builders Plates Sold on eBay: $3,050
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
Assuming your supposition is true, they'd better hurry the heck up and hold that sale.

The recent high prices for British steam loco nameplates aside, the last of the folks who can legitimately be nostalgic for the last of mainline steam are now collecting Social Security, or just about to. They're downsizing, not buying. Cliches about senior citizens living hand-to-mouth aside, they are wealthier than most of the members of the generations below them probably have any legitimate expectation of being at that age, thanks to a combination of politics, intergenerational transfers of wealth, and demographics.

The last couple railroadiana auctions and shows I've had a chance to attend/see "prices realized" lists for show rather seriously depressed prices, with merchandise moving slowly, not at all, or at prices considerably below the "norm" for certain mainstay items (the Rainey/Kyper EBT book, standard PRR lanterns, etc.).

If you're holding on to this old stuff for "the money it'll bring," think again.


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