Model toy trains are among the most popular collectibles in the world since their first appearance more than 150 years ago. Christie's Toy Trains is a vividly illustrated guide to the history of toy trains, from its origins in the mid-19th century to today.
The first model trains appeared in Germany in the 1850s, following a railway boom in the early years of the 19th century. Simple, attractive, but surviving today only as watercolor renderings in vintage catalogs, these handpainted tinplate models bore little resemblance to the later US designs, which were on a larger scale, more brightly painted, and more obviously intended for use in the nursery. The golden age of toy trains from 1890 to 1914 saw the standardization of track and gauge systems, with the German manufacturer Marklin leading the way. At first available only to the wealthy, the locomotives and carriages gradually became affordable to the general public. During the post-World War I years until 1940, Lionel and American Flyer became the dominant manufacturers in the US. The post-World War II years saw the introduction of plastic and the successful launch of the Hornby design, still popular today.
Filled with 120 lush color photographs from Christie's archives and private collections, Christie's Toy Trains profiles the work of the great manufacturers and model makers of the finest toy trains from around the world and highlights the gradual refinements and superb details that have been achieved over the past 150 years. Today's collectors will not only be treated to a fascinating look at the best in model trains, but will also find practical advice for purchasing and restoring, as well as tips for constructing the bestrailway layouts.