Letter link: Letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to Meccano Magazine • March 1933 (#2207)

Note that it's possible to link directly to the page. The page is listed as 82 of 84 in the progress bar at the bottom, but the page number in the magazine itself is 248, which is more helpful if people manage to find a hard copy.

I don't think it's copyright breaking to give the full text of the advertisement here:

Cash for four C.C.B. Red or Yellow " Break."— Tolkien, 20, Northmoor Road, Oxford

I checked the Letters from Father Christmas, and the Dec 21st 1933 letter (the same year as the ad), and "FC" mentions "We did lose a lot of railway stuff - goblins always go for that - and what we got back was damaged and will have to be repainted", in addition to NPB mixing up the dolls with the engines, and kids perhaps getting the wrong one compared with what they asked for. So it's possible that Tolkien wasn't able to get the particular train one of his boys was after at some point in that year.

In the 1932 letter "FC" also mentions that the goblins got a lot of the "Hornby things", so it seems Tolkien might have been having to come up with all kinds of stories to let the boys down gently that they couldn't get all the train stuff they wanted. I'm not sure the financial situation in 1932/33 in England, but the Depression was certainly impacting things heavily elsewhere.

Also fun is that, a few lines above Tolkien's ad, someone was offering "Four Sets Lott's Bricks" for sale at 10/-, which were mentioned in the 1923 letter to John as one of his presents (and with an offer for more the next year, if he has a timely request for them).