Last month, I was offered an opportunity to view a model airplane collection before it went public at an official estate sale.
It is always a somber event to view the collection of someone who has passed away but it is also an opportunity to ‘re-discover’ model kits, engines, and other items that may have been out of circulation for years. In this case, without trying to be derogatory, the individual who had amassed this modelling collection over the years could possibly fit the description of a hoarder. And, unfortunately, a good part of this collection was literally wasting away due to undesirable environmental conditions. There was a lot of modelling stuff but quite a bit of it was unusable due to water, humidity, and mold issues. It was painful to see so much great modeling material literally wasting away. So, one of my goals upon first seeing the ‘hoard’ was to try and return as much of it as possible to the general modeling community to be enjoyed.
The collection was spread across two locations, a basement and a barn. There were boxes of kits on the dirt floor of the barn which had absorbed a lot of dampness and in the basement the kits that were on the concrete floor were in a similar condition. I opened up one metal storage cabinet and saw 7 or 8 really nice looking R/C kits sitting on end. However, when I pulled a couple of them out, I found that they were sitting in standing water at the bottom of the cabinet and the bottom 1/3 of each kit was waterlogged. They were ruined. The kit boxes on tables and benches in the basement were in better condition but many were not complete or had been partially started. There were many partially completed models hanging from the basement ceiling rafters and there were boxes of miscellaneous parts scattered all over. And then there were drawers and drawers of engines but they were individually wrapped in (oil soaked) paper towels and enclosed in individual baggies. There was no way to tell what was what without opening and un-wrapping each and every individual engine. In the barn there were also hundreds of plastic plane kits.
The individual running the estate sale was looking for someone to come in and purchase the entire collection in anticipation that they would re-sell the individual items on eBay. That was basically my interest but I didn’t want the plastic kits, damaged kits, partially built planes, or many of the engines. So they agreed to let me cherry pick what I wanted and then we came to terms on a price for what I selected. I came out with quite a haul of kits which included Control Line kits, R/C kits, and probably 100+ vintage Comet and other manufacturer stick and tissue kits that are basically ‘new in box’. And I now also have quite a collection of wooden props!
As part of my estate purchase, I took a dozen or two of the engines but they were purely a ‘grab bag’ purchase since I didn’t know what was in most of the plastic bags. It turns out that most of them are older, used R/C and Control Line glow engines from the 70’s to 90’s. I am not sure if any of these have any value.
The items I left at the house and barn were going to be offered up at the official estate sale. I am not aware of how that went. But I was told that ‘nothing would be left’ after the estate sale. There was an industrial size dumpster sitting in the driveway being filled up with stuff from the house and barn when I was there. I imagine the remnants of the model collection eventually made their way to it.
I plan to keep several of the kits and some of the spare parts, but eventually most everything will make its way to eBay. I am now faced with the arduous task of going through and cleaning up each kit and determining whether it is complete enough to be sold. I imagine this will be a slow process that I’ll tackle as time permits over the next year. As I prepare each kit for sale, I will post it on eBay so if anyone is interested, you might want to monitor my listings which can be found on eBay at seller moneill854.
I know there is a lot of great modelling included in this newfound ‘collection’ of mine and I hope that as I work through this process a lot of this modelling material can find a new life in the possession of folks who can truly appreciate its value.
Below are photos of the collection along with a sample of some of the individual items in it. Keep your eyes on my eBay account if you see something of interest!
(Click on photos to zoom in on them)