Bookmark and Share

Archive News Story

Found - Master Carton for ZW 275's from 1951 - Member Dennis Chandler CM 20

A Very Special Lionel Box by Dennis Chandler CM20

Lionel Electric Trains are not only the toy of the 20th century but a fascinating study of American culture. There is no collector who has it all or knows it all. That is why we share our passion and knowledge through organizations such as the LCCA. Together we may come close our dream of knowing as much about The Lionel Corporation as humanly possible. 

I have been immersed in the hobby of enjoying Lionel Trains as far back as I can remember. At my age, that is not very far. Seriously though, no matter how many trains I have seen, boxes I have opened, researched items in my collection, books I have read and websites I have visited I never saw or even knew about the treasure I acquired at the most recent train show I attended.

It all started in the spring of 2013. As a sidebar, I make an effort to attend every train show possible to search for something special. As I struggled through crowded isles, looking at loaded tables and greeting friends I was drawn to a young man behind a table of trains who had a music related shirt. We struck up a conversation since I play professionally and previously worked for the Gibson Guitar Company. We shared a few musical war stories and then began to talk trains. He told me about a ZW master carton he had that I might want but he did not bring it to the show because it was too large. He said he got it a long time ago when part of a collection he bought was contained in this box. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a ZW master carton. We agreed on a price sight unseen.

He said he would bring it to the next show so I could see it. The next show came and went as did all the rest of the 2013 shows and 2014 shows. Then came March 22, 2015. It was a time warp. As I neared the end of my journey through the maze of tables and trains a voice from behind a table yelled, “Dennis, is that you?” Of course I responded, “Who else would it be? Nobody would claim to look like me!” It was the young man who I met in 2013. We began to discuss music once again. At the end of our music discussion I asked him whatever happened ZW master carton he told me about two years ago. He said, “It is in the car. I didn’t want to bring it in if you weren’t here. I’ll go get it.” 

He sent one of his table partners out for it. A few minutes later the box arrived. Needless to say I couldn’t believe what I saw. Of course I immediately paid for it. It now has a special place in my collection as the FIRST box I have that I never knew existed until I saw this one on March 22, 2015.  

The pictures tell the story better than words. However, there are facts worth mentioning. First all the flaps are intact with NO TAPE!  There is no dirt or staining just natural aging. There is no writing. The inside is exceptionally clean. The original Lionel mailing label is still legible. But the most fascinating discovery of all I did not see until I got home and looked at the bottom of the box. The box is dated 1951 as shown. America was involved in the Korean conflict. Lionel was a patriotic company as evidenced by its contribution during World War II. On the bottom of the box is the US shield that reads; HELP U.S. MOBILIZE, SAVE AND SELL THIS BOX AS WASTEPAPER.
I have another 1951 Korean War era set box. It is set box number 1463 WS and it has the same shield. 

What is the moral of this story? Simply this, as my friend, the late Carl Gardner sang as the lead singer of The Coasters in 1957, “Keep SEARCHIN’”. There is always another Lionel train waiting for you but as Dion and the Belmonts sang, “WHO KNOWS WHERE WHEN?”

Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Chandler, CM 20
Pictures by Dennis Chandler CM 20