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SV Lionel Retired 5/21/2001

By G. Adamson, Ft. Pitt Div. LOCKON

For those who use Dept. 56 Snow Village items on their layouts, the bad news is that D56 retired the Lionel Train Shop and the “Couldn't wait til Christmas” accessory last November.

Unless collectors can find leftovers at dealers or at train shows, they must now purchase them on the secondary market, usually at a premium price. This item was first produced in a limited edition 5000 run for Allied Model Trains and then offered in the regular line with different windows and different address number on awning. How can you tell the difference? The scarce one has the number 4411 (AMT's street number) on the awning while the common version has trees on the corners and a wreath above the door.

Other lighted SV buildings retired by D56 in 2000 were: Starbucks Coffee House, Smokey Mountain Retreat, Farmhouse, Hershey's Chocolate Shop, Gracie's Dry Goods/General Store, Center for the Arts, Stick Style House, Farmer's Co—op Granary, Harley Manufacturing, Lucky Dragon Restaurant which had just been introduced last year, Silver Bells Gift Shop, and Elvis Presley's Graceland. The latter two were intended as one year event pieces anyway, but Graceland was rejected by many collectors because of its $165 pricetag.

Retired SV accessories included old favorites: Taxi cab, Nativity, Caroling at the Farm, Starbucks Coffee Cart, Kids Love Hersheys, Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Carnival Ticket Booth, Farmer's Flatbed, Uncle Sam's Fireworks Stand, and, of course, 2000 Santa Comes to Town.

The big news for Dept. 56 is that it is celebrating its 25th anniversary by releasing limited edition items and also pieces available only to attendees at the ariniverary celebration in St, Paul, Minn., August 17-19. A replica of the Lowell Inn in Stillwater (where according to legend some friends were inspired to conceive the original Snow Village) will be available for $85, the only glossy piece. Orders are being accepted until April 2 but one must pick them up at the event. Among other event pieces offered is a matte finish replica of D56's first studio, the Architects and Engineers Building, now an historic landmark in downtown Minneapolis, for $100.

For further information on the anniversary event, phone 1—800—548—8696.

This year D56 is offering a limited edition piece in each village with allocations (typically 12 of each) to dealers to create a scarcity. Many dealers have advance order signup sheets for customers, so one may have to search dealers to find a piece not already promised. Only 30K Candlerock Lighthouse Restaurants will be produced for Sncw Village. Pricetag is a hefty $110, but it does have an operating light. The design is quite unique because what looks like a huge party boat on the side is really a lounge.

Because D56 introduced a new subvillage for SV this year, there are fewer offerings for downtown SV displayers. The Town Hall ($96) is quite tall and impressive and has a complementing accessory called “Tree Lighting Ceremony” ($65). The compan1 answered comsumer requests with Frost and Son 5&lO ($68). Also there are the Palm Lounge Supper Club ($95), the lavishly lighted Holiday House ($90 plus another lighted front yard accessory is available), and the only reasonably priced building, Crosby House ($50).(Some customers have expressed sticker shock over rising prices, and the company indicated it wanted to have at least one lower priced building which would entice gift-buyers.)

The new Bucks County, a rural rather than small town scenario, includes: Bucks County Horse Barn ($72), BC Farm House ($75), Abner's (John Deere) Implement Shop ($85), Timberlake Outfitters (licensed piece $75), and Totem Souvenir Shop ($68).

In the subsidiary Halloween line are Creepy Creek Carriage House ($75) and Hauntsburg House ($95).

D56 is debuting a line of rolling wheel classic vehicles which may prove popular on train layouts except that they cost $20 apiece. They include: ‘58 Corvette, ‘50's Hotrod,'57 Chevy BelAir, ‘50 Ford Fl Pickup, ‘54 Willys Jeep, ‘49 Ford Woody Wagon, ‘59 Chevy Impala Convertible, and 50's John Deere tractor. A Bucks County Horse Trailer will cost $17.50. Only dealers which purchase the company—made display platform reportedly can sell the cars.

The SV accessory list includes: Abandoned Gas Pump ($37.50), Windmill by Chicken Coop ($55), old Pickup Truck ($30), Yesterday's Tractor ($30),Elvis Presley Sign ($30), Elvis Autograph ($25), Pedal Cars ($27.50), Road Billboards ($40), Christmas Tree Trimming ($15), Bucks County Water Tower, ($32.50), BC stable ($65), Family Canoe Trip ($48), Lighting Jackolanterns ($32.50) 2001 Space Oddity animation ($125), On the Beat (update of old “Calling All Cars” $35), Santa Comes to Town 2001 ($40).

These should begin appearing on D56 dealers' shelves next month. Midyear releases will be announced in May and shipped in the fall.

In May, Dept. 56 announced a Stardust Drive-In Theater ($68) with 12 changing pictures on screen and an accompanying Refreshment Stand ($50) complete with six speaker racks, all part of its annual midyear introductions. Other Snow Village intros are: Christmas Lake Chalet ($75), Tudor House ($60), Halloween Haunted Barn ($75) and three $25 accessories: Happy New Year, Fun in the Snow, and Holiday Fun Run.

Yankee Stadium ($85) was also announced for Christmas in the City series. All these should be shipped by late fall.

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