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Collection Standards


Running our model trains is only a part of what the Toy Train Operating Society is about. Many of us are also avid train collectors. Collecting is a fascinating hobby because it offers an infinite array of specializations. Since the Pacific Northwest Division is located in Washington and Oregon, many of our members concentrate their efforts in collecting model trains and artifacts from Western railroading history. There is much to choose from!

Because prices on model trains, old and new, can easily reach into the thousands of dollars, collection standards have been established to allow comparisons of train values based on condition at the time of purchase. In 1983, TTOS established the following grading standards for use by TTOS members. The standards echo those of the TCA (Train Collectors Association), another national group involved in the hobby.

Grading standards are issued primarily to the finish conditions. Parts can be missing in all categories other than Mint or Like New. Missing and replacement parts must be noted in the description of the item. Refinished or restored pieces must be noted, and cannot be graded above Excellent. In between grades are not recognized by TTOS.




TTOS Grading Standards

MINT   Brand new, absolutely unmarred, all original and unused.
LIKE NEW Ln Free of any blemishes, nicks or scratches, original condition throughout, very little sign of use.
EXCELLENT Ex Minute nicks or scratches, no dents or rust.
VERY GOOD Vg Few scratches, exceptionally clean, no dents or rust.
GOOD Gd Scratches, small dents, dirty.
FAIR   Well-scratched, chipped, dented, rusted, warped.
POOR   Beat up, junk condition, some usable parts.