Turner Auctions + Appraisals Offers Model Trains And More From Almosta Junction In Utah

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215 Lots of G Gauge Trains Go Up for Bid on October 30

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, October 12, 2021 – On October 30, 2021, at 10:30 am PDT, Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present model trains and more from Almosta Junction, a popular shop in Clearfield, Utah, owned by the late Ben Graham. The online sale in several parts will feature the complete inventory of the shop, now closed. This auction, Part I, includes many high-end, special edition model trains, most of them brand-new and in their original boxes, related accessories, diecast vehicles, and railroad books and manuals. Almost all trains in this sale are G gauge trains made by LGB (Lehmann-Gross-Bahn) or USA Trains. Highlights in the 215-lot sale include an LGB 72700 new old stock in custom wood display cabinet, an LGB hot air balloon store display, a Rio Grande Southern Work Goose No. 6, and several new old stock, limited-edition locomotives and tenders in custom wood cabinets.

LGB20821New Old Stock
LGB20821New Old Stock

Turner Auctions + Appraisals begins its online auction on Saturday, October 30, 2021, at 10:30 am PDT; sale items are available for preview and bidding now. The auction will be featured live on multiple platforms: LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, Bidsquare, iCollector, and Turner Auctions + Appraisals’ free mobile app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Apps (“Turner Auctions”). All are easily accessed through ‘Upcoming Auctions’ at the company’s website: www.turnerauctionsonline.com/upcoming-auctions.

Almosta Junction offered model trains to enthusiasts for over three decades. The store was owned and founded by Ben Graham, who passed away this year after a long and valiant battle with cancer. Born in 1941 and raised in Clearfield, Ben was the oldest of four brothers and one sister. Located in central Utah, Clearfield was near Ogden, a major railroad hub, and not too far from Promontory Summit, where the ‘golden spike’ was driven, commemorating the meeting of the first transcontinental railroad from Sacramento to Omaha in 1869. Ben’s family lived a quarter-mile from the train tracks, where big steam locomotives and coal burners of the Denver Rio Grande and Union Pacific railroads would chug by. Young Ben and his brothers found joy watching the trains and walking along the tracks: during the World War II era of their boyhood, the trains represented adventure, travel, and the excitement of the unknown.

As Ben’s brother, Sidney Graham, explained, when you’re four-feet tall, a Big Boy train and its lonesome whistle were a thrill to all us boys, perhaps to get a wave from the engineer or maybe even a horn blast as the train went by. Captivated by the railroad’s allure at an impressionable age, Ben never lost his desire, awe, and childhood dream of trains. Thus, like many other young boys of that time, he began collecting trains for a decade or so, happily receiving them for Christmas and birthdays. And under the influence of parents and grandparents who were products of the Great Depression and its years of scarcity, he and others of that era had “a propensity to be collectors,” said Sid.

Ben’s parents owned Clearfield Nursery and Landscaping, and the children were expected to follow into the family business instead of pursuing higher education. Although Ben had high hopes to learn to fly and go to the Air Force Academy, an eye exam at the eleventh-hour sadly dashed his plans. He was found to be a little nearsighted, which was then a deal-breaker for entrance.

Subsequently, Ben resigned himself to working in the family’s nursery business, which he did with all his siblings. When Ben’s parents retired in the mid-1980s, Ben, then in his early 40s, revisited the joys of his youth. He took over the building and set up his train shop, Almosta Junction, thus fulfilling a deep-seated and lifelong dream. Ben’s motivation was the love of model railroading, not any financial rewards. He was not only a model trains dealer, but a collector: for the many special items he acquired, he would order one to sell and one for himself. His knowledge and strong vendor relations were an invaluable asset, allowing him to obtain and offer unique and exclusive railroading items from manufacturers – not only rare and special, limited-edition model trains, but desirable displays as well. In fact, Ben had merchandise that even manufacturers could not get anymore. As a result, most offerings in the sale are described as “new old stock,” meaning that, while items may have been manufactured some years ago, they have not been owned previously. Other noteworthy offerings in the sale are the extensive selection of train-related books – many are rare, first editions and signed copies – that show a fascinating glimpse at early railroading in America, in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Over the 30+ years Ben ran his shop, he developed a strong following among train buffs, not only in Utah, but Colorado, Nevada, and beyond. He loved trains and he loved his business, welcoming fellow enthusiasts like the Ogden Hostlers, who shared the same railroading disease in their blood. Almosta Junction became a hangout for older train aficionados, where they would talk shop for hours. (And as a lifelong bachelor, there was no one to pester Ben to come home for dinner!)

Ben happily ran his train shop until his cancer made it impossible earlier this year. Diagnosed with melanoma a decade ago, he participated in a clinical trial of Nivolumab at Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. Called the “poster boy” for the drug’s success by his doctors, this new medication gave Ben an extra 10 years of life. Sadly, he passed away in April 2021.

“Ben’s passion for trains never left his heart nor his head,” said Sidney. “His forte was his ability as a dealer and collector to acquire unique and special railroading merchandise and memorabilia, sharing them, his expertise, and camaraderie with others in the model train community.”

This auction, Part I of Almosta Junction sale, features LGB trains, large, G gauge trains with wider track that can be used indoors or outdoors, for example in a garden. Handmade in Germany, LGB model trains are world renown. Here are some highlights of the upcoming sale (see details in online catalog):

Lot 14: LGB 20821 New Old Stock in Custom Wood Cabinet. Westside Lumber Company # 12 Shay. Limited Edition Number 328/500. Estimate $800-$900.

Lot 1: LGB Store Display LGB Hot Air Balloon Store Display. Estimate $500-$750.

Lot 7: LGB 72700 New Old Stock in Custom Wood Display Cabinet. Locomotive and two passenger cars in custom wood display cabinet with casters and plexiglas front with 51070 control and (12) 16000 curve tracks in hidden storage in base. Protective film still on plexiglass. Estimate $750-$850.

Lot 3: Rio Grande Southern Work Goose No. 6 Berlyn Locomotive Works New Old Stock. Estimate $300-$400.

Lot 18: LGB 20922 New Old Stock in Custom Wood Cabinet. NGG-13 Beyer-Garrett Locomotive Limited Edition Number 051. Estimate $800-$900.

Lot 120: White Pass Diesel Locomotive. LGB 22052 new old stock with shipping carton. Estimate $250-$450.

Lot 123: Rio Grande Southern Rail Bus. Hartland Locomotive works new old stock. Estimate $300-$400.

Lot 53: Seasons Greetings 0-4-0 Locomotive and Tender. LGB 25171 new old stock. Estimate $150-$300.

Lot 11: LGB 21832 New Old Stock In Custom Wood Cabinet. White Pass & Yukon 2-8-2 Mikado Limited Edition number 142 of 600. Estimate $750-$850.

Lot 168: Warner Brothers Acme Railway Locomotive, Yosemite Sam. Rootin’ Tootin’ Root Beer Tank Car, Foghorn Leghorn California Oranges Caboose, and (4) Looney Tunes Figures. LGB 72997 new old stock, but power pack and track have been removed. Estimate $250-$450.

Lot 122: White Pass Diesel Locomotive. LGB 2055 new old stock. Estimate $300-$400.

Lot 16: Bear Whiz Refrigerator Car. USA Trains FRC-906 new old stock. Estimate $75-$300.

Lot 186: Rio Grande Southern Books. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume I, by Russ Collman, copyright 1990, second printing 1999 Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume II, by Russ Collman and Dell McCoy, copyright 1991 Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume III, by Russ Collman, Dell McCoy and William Graves, copyright 1993 Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume IV, by Russ Collman, Dell McCoy and William Graves, copyright 1994 Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume V, by Russ Collman and Dell McCoy, copyright 1996 Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume VI, by Russ Collman, and Dell McCoy, copyright 1997 Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume VII, by Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, and George Cook, copyright 1998, autographed by the authors, Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume VIII, by Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, and George Cook, copyright 2000, autographed by the authors, Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume IX, by Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, and George Cook, copyright 2001, autographed by the authors, Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume X, by Russ Collman and Dell McCoy, copyright 2003, autographed by the authors, Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume XI, by Russ Collman, Robert McLeod, and Dell McCoy, copyright 2005, autographed by the authors, Rio Grande Southern. The Rio Grande Southern Story, Volume XII, by Russ Collman, Dell McCoy, James Ehernberger, and Gabriel Bradford, copyright 2006, autographed by the authors. Estimate $100-$250.

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ABOUT TURNER AUCTIONS + APPRAISALS

Based in South San Francisco, Turner Auctions + Appraisals was founded by Stephen Turner to expand and complement the capabilities of Stephen G. Turner Associates,an auction and appraisal consulting firm founded in 2004.Turner Auctions + Appraisals presents online auctions in diverse categories of personal property (www.turnerauctionsonline.com). Among them are Fine Arts, Decorative Arts, Asian Arts, Toys, Jewelry, Militaria, Ethnic Arts, and others. The company offers a range of auction and appraisal services for buyers, sellers, and collectors. Online auctions are held several times a month. Working with leading live and online auction houses on the West Coast since 1991, Turner is a professional appraiser of personal property and seasoned auctioneer. His areas of expertise include fine art, decorative arts, antiques & residential contents. The company welcomes consignments and appraisals.

For more information about the company, please contact:

Stephen Turner, President

Turner Auctions + Appraisals, 461 Littlefield Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080

415-964-5250 / [email protected] / www.turnerauctionsonline.com

For media inquiries or photos, please contact:

Jill Turner, Rodin & Shelley Associates / [email protected] / 707-944-2433

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James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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