Most Valuable Lionel Trains – Top 3

Let’s check out the most valuable Lionel Trains.

Lionel Model Trains was one of the first companies to ever make model trains. Being in business for over 120 years, Lionel LLC as they are known have created countless model trains.

Ttoday we will find out which are the most valuable Lionel trains.

When Did Lionel Start Making Trains?

Lionel produced their first model train in 1901. This beautiful little model train “The Electric Express” was designed to be displayed at toy stores.

However 50 years later, by the 1950s they became the biggest toy manufacturer in the world!

most valuable lionel trains
This Lionel Train is a replica of the common 4-4-2. This would be priceless now.

What Is The History Of Lionel Trains

The company was founded by Joshua Lionel Cowen in New York City in the 1900s, producing their first model train in 1901.

Like many other businesses going through the Great Depression, Lionel Trains suffered great financial losses. However they managed to get back on track by the end of World War II, with die cast models and different features like, smoke and electric parts.

Now that we have some basic information about this great train model manufacturer, let’s all get aboard and proceed further.

Try out this pocket price guide! Extremely helpful for any Lionel train owner.

What Are The Most Valuable Lionel Trains?

  • The first most valuable Lionel train ever sold is a Lionel Standard Gauge Set from 1934, the complete set with 400E Locomotive and State passenger cars sold for … drums, drums $250,000! The auction happened in 2016 and to date it is the most expensive Lionel train ever sold. I know, we need to comprehend it. This is absolutely amazing and crazy at the same time I am sure there are many things hanging behind this train story and indeed it is a 85 years old piece of art.
  • The second notable sale, Hudson, which used to sit in Joshua Cowen’s office; the model train was sold for an astonishing amount of $77,000.00 .
  • The third most valuable sale of a Lionel train, which I have limited detailed information of. Are you ready. Rumours have it that nothing has ever sold higher than the above mentioned 700E Hudson. Actually the so-called “Brut” which is for sale along with the 213 Lift Bridge for one million dollars! The collector Al Cox owns them both, he acquired the 1950s 213 Lift Bridge by trading his Princess Elizabeth model train.

Other Interesting Lionel Train Info

The “Brute” locomotive was made by Lionel in 1927 and it is one of the most valuable train models as of today.

The locomotive is a Buddy L sized with three Build-a-loco motors and it was designed for a 3 ½ inch gauge two rail track system, being extremely heavy for a train model being quite impossible for a child to pick it up.

The model train was on display for a long time in the New York City’s factory showroom, the only transaction I was able to identify was when Bill Vagell sold it to Al Cox for $2000, according to a source.

The less expensive Lionel trains are sold today with prices ranging anywhere between $300 and $13,000.

According to this source, Lionel Standard Gauge Pre-War No. 378W Train Set has sold for $12,812 back in September 2015.

Another notable sale, theLionel prewar standard gauge gray 400E steam locomotive. This was sold with tender for $1050 back in April, 2016.

If you are aware of any others, please drop me an email


Lionel trains in my opinion are still the most well made, detail orientated trains in the world. Lionel trains are precise and showcase America’s National Rail better than any other brand. You can see a great selection of Lionel Trains HERE

Do you know how much a train weighs? Click HERE to find out.