Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present The Craig Miller Collection of Trains & Toys. Assembled over 50+ years, the remarkable collection includes many rare and unusual items from U.S. and international makers, both antique and modern. Many items are in excellent to like-new condition. Offering over 175 lots, the online sale features makers such as Lionel, American Flyer, Dorfan, Ives, C&F, Elektoy, Converse, Kusan, Williams, Sunset 3rd Rail, MTH, Varney Sirus, Atlas, Rich-Art, Pride Lines, McCoy, Creswell, Cohen, Buddy-L, JAD, Kingsbury, Marklin, Bing, Edobaud, Paya, Lima, Buco, and Japanese brass. Train accessories, toys and numerous reference books round out the sale.
Craig Miller spent his childhood in New York, where he, like many young boys, enjoyed toy trains. When he was 12, his father moved the family to Saudi Arabia for a job at ARAMCO. Although his train set went with him overseas and was displayed in his bedroom, Mr. Miller temporarily lost interest in trains as he attended high school in Beirut, Lebanon, then university in upstate New York and Utah, where he met his future wife, Dusty.
The young couple settled in Washington, DC, and Mr. Miller began a 27-year-long career with the Department of Transportation, working in highway safety. It was there in Washington that he rediscovered his interest in toy trains, a passion that has grown steadily over the years. After finding a toy train in an antique shop in Arlington, Virginia, he began to attend numerous train meets on the east coast, including the semi-annual events in York, Pennsylvania, of the Train Collectors Association, where he has been a member since 1971. As his collection grew, Mr. Miller purchased many trains at train meets, at antique stores in the early days, and on eBay more recently.
In the 1970s, Mr. Miller transferred to the Department of Transportation’s regional office in San Francisco, California, retiring in 1994 to Santa Cruz. His enthusiasm for trains continued, frequently shared by the Over The Hill Gang, Bay Area toy train enthusiasts who met weekly for 15 years.
Mr. Miller’s collection of toy trains and accessories is diverse and eclectic – “anything railroad,” says Mrs. Miller of her husband's interests. His assemblage features examples from around the world, ranging from tiny Z-gauge trains by Marklin to huge Buddy-L trains that are large enough to ride. Nevertheless, a focus has been on popular O-gauge and standard gauge trains, and passenger cars in particular.
This auction alone offers lots from 31 different manufacturers: among them are pre-World War 1 makers like Elektoy and Carlisle & Finch; rare lots as from Doggenweiler of Santiago, Chile; and more recent reproductions of now-defunct train manufacturers. Although Mr. Miller has greatly enjoyed collecting – and still does – he decided recently it was time to move some of his acquisitions on to others, who hopefully will enjoy them as much as he has over the past five decades.
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