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Singer Neil Young to auction model train collection
[LOS ANGELES] Rock singer Neil Young is selling some of his most prized possessions - part of his model train collection.
The Canadian folk-rock star is putting more than 230 of his vast collection of Lionel trains up for auction in Los Angeles in December, some with estimated selling prices of up to US$9,000, Julien's Auctions said on Thursday.
Young, 71, best known for his Woodstock-era songs as well as "Ohio" and "Heart of Gold," has been a passionate model train enthusiast for more than 20 years.
His collection and vast layouts at his California ranch took off in the early 1990s as a means of connecting with his son Ben, who has cerebral palsy, Young said.
He also designed a remote control for trains that allows multiple trains to run at once, and a device that delivers realistic railroad audio to help his son get the most of out the hobby.
"It is just relaxing," Young told David Letterman of his hobby in a 2012 appearance on Letterman's television talk show.
Highlights of the Dec 9 auction include the Lionel Hudson factory prototype locomotive with a pre-auction estimate of US$4,000 to US$9,000, and the H.O.A.R.D tour psychedelic Vanderbilt Hudson locomotive which is expected to sell for US$3,000 to US$6,000, Julien's said.
Young is also selling some of his classic car collection.
They include a first in production 1953 Buick Roadmaster Skylark convertible 50th anniversary special edition, with a steering wheel hub saying "customized for Neil Young," that has a pre-auction estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
Young, who divorced his wife Pegi in 2014 after a 36-year marriage, said it was time for others to enjoy the items. A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit the Bridge School in California, which Pegi Young co-founded in 1986 for children with severe speech and physical impairments.
"Collecting all of these items has been my great joy. They have provided a source of inspiration, fun and creativity throughout my life," Young said in a statement.
"Now it is time to share them with others in the world whom I hope will enjoy and love them as much as I have."