Ever since Lima Model Trains collapsed in 2004, collectors have been looking to stock up on the more unique models the company had to offer. What is interesting to note is the company was in the business of making train parts for the Italian rail system before they entered the industry of building model trains. The reason why this is so interesting is because the market the company entered into after the Italian rail system started building its own parts was the market of making toys. They offered boats, trains and cars. Many will argue they never stopped selling trains as toys, which is what led to the company struggling.
The reason why the models made by the company are sought after is because they are unique. The company produced over 100 different models in highly unique production runs. These were created specifically for stores such as the Cheltenham Model Centers D1015 Western Champion. This particular model is highly prized because it was one of the first production runs by the company in making trains for a specific buyer instead of just for general sale.
Another of the very popular Lima Model Trains for sale today is the General Motors 201 Class diesel locomotive. The Irish modelers desired this at the time because it allowed them to be able to create the first Irish scene specific RTR diesel locomotive. This was a production run which was created for Murphy Models of Dublin. The company has gone on to have Bachmann create a newer version of the Baby GM in 2008. The rich history has the original models being sold at high margins in auctions and is expected to go up in value over the years
Other limited edition pieces include the Class 50 Thunderer. This train immediately went up in value by 300% right after it hit the market. The price it is worth today is much higher because it is hard to find and if you are able to find it in good condition, you will be able to make even more money. This is a model that is best suited to sit in a scene rather than to roll down the tracks. This is partly because of the dubious quality, but also because you would do well to keep it in good condition should you want to resell it for a profit.
The original Lima Model Trains have a society of collectors, which believe they are highly valuable for a litany of different reasons. If you were looking to use the trains to drive around the tracks, you would do better to buy one of the recreated models sold by Hornby, Bachmann or Heljan. Not only will the quality be better, you will not have to worry about any structural problems the train might have. Since the trains were not made of high quality to begin with, the possibility of there being a problem with the old trains is very high. Save the original models as a collectors item instead.