Well I did it now!
By Jerry Loman
A week ago I saw a car on eBay that I have wanted for some
time (since 1980) and it was driving me crazy. I let my wife,
Jae Lynne; know that it was something I had to have. So she
was relatively prepared.
I posted a tickler bid in the beginning just to keep the seller
from backing out and selling it off line. My tickler proxy
of $200.00 was good for the entire week so I was thinking it
would go off cheap given the lot description and pics.
I had sent for additional pics and seeing the excellent condition
knew it was the one car I wanted. The day of the auction end
there was fair warning in the house that I not miss out on
an opportunity to make a final bid. So just before it was to
go off we had another discussion about the worth of this car
and how much I was committed to tender in the final moments.
The end was coming near and the price suddenly jumped to $1,500.
I quickly upped the bid and again someone else again stomped
on my bid. Seeing this I upped it so that I was now just under
$2500 which was going to be my final bid knowing that I could
get it for roughly half the price of my perceived value.
Again with only seconds to go a bidder tendered another bid
inching it just under my final maximum bid. I quickly placed
a bid adding another $99.01 with only seconds to go thinking
for sure this time I would not be kicked out. The site suddenly
flashed a final cost and to my surprise it finished out at
$3888.91 KC8 s the winner. Whoa!*****@@??///
I quickly went back to my bid page and almost dropped of the
chair. I had bid $250,199.00.
I got it all right. But soon after the auction end there was
a flurry of activity from other bidders who were trying to
contact me about my great buy and did I want to now sell it
for more along with cash and trade offers that exceeded my
Well I have not seen it in person yet but it is being shipped
from a little mountain village called Lively, Virginia. The
seller had listed it for estate liquidation. The car was owned
by one person and now I am the second owner. I had just paid
a record price for a Hafner car.
4 wheels, one in each corner.
Now for the rest of the story;
In 1980 when I was a relative newcomer to the collecting biz
I met a person in Chicago who was a toy train collector and
he was doing research for a museum. His name was Arno Uhlhorn
now deceased. He had heard that I owned a set of 8 wheel Hafner
trains that was unique and he had been meeting with the son
of a Chicago toy train company founder for "The Hafner
Manufacturing Company". His name was John Hafner, now
deceased. Arno Indicated John wanted to see the cars so I brought
them to Chicago to a toy train meet that was in conjunction
with a TCA (Train Collectors Association) club meeting that
occurred about once a month.
On my next trip down from Milwaukee I brought the set of cars.
John was happy to see them as he had never seen a set prior
to that day. He did show me a piece of stationary that was
their company letterhead decorated along the edges with the
colorful Overland Flyer cars so prized by collectors today.
John recalled the many colorful variations of the wonderful
lithographed toy trains and the conversation turned to one
set in particular that has eluded collectors for ever.
He was not positive of the nature of the origin but did know
that the cars were marked Pittsburg Flyer (PITTSBURG) spelled
incorrectly. This was a passenger car. John's speculation was
that there was a set of 4 wheel cars made for a sales man to
market or maybe a special request by a store company like Gimbels
or Kaufman in Pennsylvania.
This was popular at the time to provide identity to a particular
store chain. John was not aware of the specifics of the set
or what the consist was. John had already had feedback regarding
a red car marked Pittsburg flyer over an ERIE railroad herald
that had already surfaced after 60 years hiatus. He also speculated
that there was a baggage. So there was some proof of a special
car made and it was the only known example.
Ever since collectors have been trying to find another car
or determine the nature of the set.
The car I bought is another unknown 1 of a kind dark blue
car Marked PITTSBURG FLYER over a Baltimore & Ohio herald.
In excellent condition. This is the highest known price paid
for a Hafner 4 wheel car. I sold the 8 wheel set of cars and
engine in 1982 to the late Bill Sanchez and are now pictured
in the book, Greenburg’s guide to Early American Toy
Now you know the rest of the story.