A Personal Guide to Collecting Postwar 6464 Boxcars— PART TWO
By Mike Stella
With the initial four "plain Jane" cars introduced in 1953 out of the way, Lionel started to use brighter paint schemes and produce some very colorful boxcars that are a delight to collect. A few have many variations that can be easy to find or impossible to find.
The first boxcar for 1954 is the 6464-125 NYC Pacemaker. I can remember seeing the New York Central publicity pictures of an entire train of these colorful boxcars pulled by a roaring Niagara 4-8-4. What a sight!
My regular 6464-125 Pacemaker boxcar.
I bet more than a few operators have put together long strings of these cars to duplicate that scene. There were many ways Lionel created variations in freight cars and one not to be overlooked is the use of paint. It was always less expensive to use a plastic mold in a boxcar's primary color and then mask and paint a second or third color to achieve the end result. Sometimes Lionel painted every color on a boxcar and this creates variations that often look a lot nicer.
The painted Red 6464-125 looks decidedly different from the red mold boxcar.
The second 6464-125 NYC shown has both the Red and the Gray painted on the body. The rubber stamped lettering used also looks entirely different. Not much attention seems to be paid to this particular painted variation, so examples can be easy to obtain without a lot paid.
This 6464-150 has the horizontal "grooves".
The next car in 1954 is very colorful, comes in many variations, and has one variation that is eagerly sought and quite costly. The 6464-150 MP is one of my favorite boxcars. Lionel cut horizontal "grooves" in this car to aid in getting a clearer masking of the gray stripe. Later, the grooves were not utilized. The size of the gray band changes.
Three different 6464-150s.
“XME” logo comes and goes. Sometimes the boxcar door is a solid yellow rather than "split." Data changes and moves around. The most valuable variation has the "BUZZ SAW" MP logo in the far right panel on the left side of the car.
"BUZZ SAW" in the right panel. Not rare but HTF.
I have been lucky two times with this car. A friend “GAVE” me this car for my collection many years ago. It is the one pictured and one I'll always treasure. I obtained a second boxcar a while back at a big public train show. The seller had an entire table of different 6464s all priced at $50 each. I picked up this rare car late on the second day of the show and gladly paid my $50! In a weak moment, I listed it on an Internet auction and it sold for almost twenty times my cost. Sought after? Yes. Costly? Yes. Impossible to afford? NO!! If you keep looking you may spot one like I did.
"Eagle" on the left side of car, truly different.
Most 6464-150s have the word "EAGLE" on the right side. One variation has it on the left side. My example also comes on a gray mold which means Lionel painted on the blue color. This is different from the previous boxcars shown and once again really makes for a different looking car. I don't collect different body mold color variations but in the four decades I've been collecting, I have never turned one down that happens my way.
White mold means all colors are painted. Makes for a great looking car.
A 6464-150 on a white mold really has a unique glow to it. There are many variations of the 6464-150 that I cannot show you because I don't own them. Some Price Guide author once wrote that a good collection ought to have about eight representative variations of the MP Eagle 6464-150.
"Grooves" or "NO Grooves" take your pick.
That is about what I have. I must take a minute to thank a number of unnamed fellow collectors that let me take their “for sale” 6464-150s home to compare them with what I already owned, with the promise to purchase if I didn't already have that particular variation. That is how I ended up with eight or nine different boxcars without having to purchase duplicates.
Before I finish PART TWO of this series, I need to add the 6464-175 RI. Here is a strange boxcar.
The common 6464-175 Rock Island with BLUE lettering.
Lionel reverted to a simple Silver boxcar and dropped the -175 suffix? Lionel reused the Rock Island stamping from the 6464-75 boxcar. This was quite a setback compared to the previous three colorful boxcars. But, as with the very first 6464 boxcar, Lionel made a desirable variation by changing the color of the lettering.
Compare the BLACK lettering with the BLUE lettering.
Normally BLUE Lettering on this boxcar can sometimes be found BLACK. Collectors pay a much higher price for this black lettered variation. As with the 6464-1 WP, I have found it easy to obtain a bright silver boxcar with blue lettering but have never seen a shiny, crisp black lettered variation. I cannot explain this. I can say it is a lucky 6464 collector that obtains either car in great condition.
Here are the second 10 6464s in my series.
As I look at the number of 6464 boxcars I have, I begin to envy those collectors that only desire one of each number! Ending Part Two. I have made it through eight 6464 numbers and shown over 20 different cars.
"Collecting" Lionel is FUN!