Hollis and J.J. have been friends and classmates even before J.J. and I met at the Art Center College of Design www.artcenter.edu Hollis was J.J.'s best man at our wedding and J.J. then became Hollis' best man at his wedding. Our friendship is one of the longest spanning over 40 plus years.
Yesterday, we got together with Hollis and his wife Ginny, and after a delicious Chinese dinner, we stopped by at his "train house" so that I can take photos.
Hollis has been collecting toy trains ever since we can remember. When our sons were small, we would go to his house and the boys enjoyed seeing his toy train village and get to operate some of the trains.
Today, Hollis has a collection of over 300 train sets, all pre-World War II. Hollis told us that his collection is focused on American Flyers rather than Lionel which most of collectors prefer. Their value depends on condition and rarity. He told us that one of his friends pays an average of $20,000 to $50,000 per set. The highest price his friend paid was $253,000 for a single complete set.
Hollis' collection is housed in an undisclosed, non-descriptive location with security systems in place. We walked in and you are immediately taken into another world of fantasy and wonder. I can understand why Hollis loses time when he is in his train house. I can easily see myself playing with his trains for hours.
This is his work room where he restores trains and manufactures parts, if necessary.
This is where some of his prized collections are displayed. Original boxes are important part of the collection.
This is Hollis with his first toy train set at age 3.
His wife's restored art work is hanging on the wall while she shows us the original box.
Aloha -- Cathi