Neil Young’s Model Trains Bring in Nearly $300,000 at Auction
Neil Young sent a portion of his extensive model train collection to the auction block on Dec. 9 — and as expected, the items found eager bidders, with the set fetching roughly $300,000.
The Los Angeles sale included a number of one-of-a-kind pieces, including a Lionel Hudson prototype locomotive and a H.O.A.R.D tour psychedelic Vanderbilt Hudson locomotive as well as a 50th-anniversary edition 1953 Buick Roadmaster Skylark convertible with a steering wheel hub reading "customized for Neil Young."
This auction was intended in part as a benefit for the Bridge School, the non-profit Young helped support for years with his ex-wife Pegi. According to Reuters, "a portion of the proceeds" was earmarked for the school, and there were definitely plenty of proceeds — the Vanderbilt alone brought in $10,000, while the Buick sold for $400,000. While the total sum Young's collection earned wasn't reported, the trains alone brought in nearly $300,000; other items available in the lot included some of his guitars, amplifiers, and microphones.
A longtime model train enthusiast, Young has spoken at length about his fondness for the toys as a boy, and he picked up the hobby in earnest during the '90s as a way of bonding with his son Ben, who has cerebral palsy. As Young told Gibson in a 2008 interview, he was ultimately inspired to help develop a whole new control system for the trains to make it easier for Ben — and others like him — to work with them.
Now, according to Young, it's time to share some of that happiness. "Collecting all of these items has been my great joy," he said in a statement announcing this auction. "They have provided a source of inspiration, fun and creativity throughout my life. Now, it is time to share them with others in the world whom I hope will enjoy and love them as much as I have."