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I mostly sell small sets picked up at yard sales and flea markets. When listing them on ebay I refer to them as 100 % complete because all of the pieces are there. I assume they are original pieces.
Recently I was checking out some Modulars and saw that people who bricklinked Cafe Corner also called that 100% complete.
To add more confusion, I picked up a large mixed lot hoping to sort out sets and sell them. I'll try my best to match color shades, molds, etc to the proper set, but I am bound to mix pieces between the 50+ sets in the lot. Can I call these 100% complete? I just want to be as honest when listing without saying I may have accidentally stuck a yellow 2x2 plate from 1985 into your 2001 TIE fighter.
For those of you that sort and sell, how do you describe the sets?
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I see this with bricklink'ed sets on eBay as well, where 100% complete is not really accurate. Specifically with the part types (such like those selling #10190 as 100% complete but using regular windows vs train windows of the period, and white hoses without tabs etc).
Also on older sets where part types are type 2 instead of type 1 (like eyelets and clips)
So as a rule of thumb when it doubt ask a question and do not assume with some sellers.
I know of a seller that was putting in mixed type clips and eyelet saying the set is 100% complete. Technically if the set has all of the parts to build it, regardless of part type, or color even, it could be thought of as complete but I do not like that because it is not 100% accurate.
I sell old LEGO sets. I try to match the brick to the time period for shading reasons and that some parts of the period are much different than parts today.
A good example was a 375 castle I got from someone who clearly replaced some yellow brick with new brick. How could I tell? Not just any shading differences, but there is some brick with the holes in the reenforcing posts that can be seen looking at the bottom of the brick, that is a newer brick. Also they had bley plates instead of classic (old) gray. Drives me nuts that I have to replace those, but if a brick is missing a sprue mark I tend to overlook that. I'm not getting that crazy over sprue marks, though I know some that do.
But I always try to ensure that the set has the right 'type' of the part for that time period and note if it does not.
That said, I don't think it's fair to suggest to a buyer that the parts to a set are original if you, as a seller, can't be 100% sure of it. Because unless you bought the set new and never mixed it with any other sets, you have no way of knowing.
Plus (aside from the obvious old gray vs new gray) the 1x1 eyelet type pieces and 1x1 clip pieces have variations from their inception to now, I think they are on type 4 if I am not mistaken. To some collectors that matters a lot.
Now, if you had to go to a garage sale, yard sale, BrickLink, etc, in order to complete the set then you don't actually "own" it. Even if you check off all of the above criteria.
Game changer? I hope so.
@Pitfall69 I can tell you that Captain Red Beard that came in my #6270 does have that solid stud head and the rest of the minifigures all have hollow stud heads. I know this for a fact because I opened it brand new in 1990.
I can't win here! I want to give the buyer the best product but don't want to lose 50% of my profit. I got burned on a classic Kings castle. I was 99.9% certain I pulled the correct pieces from a small mixed lot but I put the disclaimer on. Mine sold for significantly less than other past auctions. I spent hours reading mold numbers and comparing studs and supports. I could have earned the same just picking the right color and forgetting about everything else.
Let us go back in time. The year is 1989 and it was a great year for Lego fans. This is the year that the Pirates theme was introduced and the first time we actually had a female minifigure with lipstick. This female pirate minifigure came in the legendary #6285 Black Seas Barracuda and #6251 Pirate Minifigures set. All female heads with lipstick were solid studs until 1991 I believe. 1990 was the last year for the solid studded female with lipstick head. By 1990, all other minifigures had hollow studded heads. By 1991, all minifigures had hollow studded heads.
My guess is that Lego was trying to use up their supply of solid studded heads, so some made it into sets with hollow studded heads. I can only imagine that Lego had a lot solid studded female with lipstick heads left over and used them in #6071 Forestmen's Crossing, which was only available in North America supposedly. This might explain the "rarity" of this little gem ;)
The heads in the few Pirates sets I have are a mix of solid and hollow studs. Although my childhood collection was all mixed together, the Pirates were the only minifigures in my collection to have non-smiley heads. So in some cases, I know exactly which heads came in which set:
Captain Red Beard from #6251: solid
Woman from #6251: solid
Brown beard from #6251: solid
Eye patch and stubble from #6257: hollow
I also have four of the heads with the long mustache and stubble; one from #6235, one from #6251, and two from #6257. Two of these are solid and two are hollow.
In the case of that head, I don't know for sure which heads came with which set. But I bought #6235 and #6251 at a shop in Germany while on vacation there in October of 1989, and #6257 some time later in the US. With three of the heads in #6251 having solid studs, this leads me to believe the sets bought in Germany had solid stud heads, while the set bought in the US had hollow stud heads. Obviously, I can't say that for sure, but it's a definite possibility since the numbers work. It would be interesting to get more information on sets bought in Europe vs. North America to see if it has any bearing on solid vs. hollow studs.