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Photographs can be of immense help in identifying variations in construction and design.

Don't assume that a vintage toy train was made by Marx.

Although Louis Marx founded his toy empire in 1919, it was not until 25 years later that he began manufacturing the model trains that would make him an iconic figure among American toy manufacturers.

In 1934, Marx purchased the Girard Model Works, which first produced the popular Joy Line series of toy trains.

But today, everyone who was a kid in the ’50s who still wants one has 10.

Some of these will be marked "Marx Toys and Entertainment Corp." Newer reissues, while fun to own, will not command the prices of authentic vintage models.

Keely Brown has been a feature writer, arts critic, columnist and business writer since 1998.

By 1938, Marx trains had begun to resemble model trains produced by upscale companies such as Lionel.

Marx began production of its ink-lithographed, tin train with 6-inch cars in 1935 and continued to manufacture this model for decades with few variations in basic construction.

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