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Identify whether the train has a particular theme or design.

If the train has a theme linking it to space exploration, such as the Cape Canaveral Train Set, then it was made during the 1960s.

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.

Collectors sometimes see this mark and identify the toy company as Mar, not realizing that the “X” is also part of the name.

Likewise, design and construction are key to identification.

The earliest Joy Line Marx trains looked more toy-like.

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.

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Marx introduced his trademark line of electric and clockwork tinplate trains in 1935. Look for the Marx logo on the underside of one of the train's cars.

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