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Perceived secondary market values

rampantsullyrampantsully Member Posts: 76
Hi, having only recently got into Lego , didn't have a dark age and not having children hadn't been info a toy shop in years, wasn't even aware of Lego Star Wars until my brother showed me his UCS Falcon. This got me hooked on Star Wars and the modulars. I purchased all the current sets I wanted and started looking for the ones I missed, and was shocked by the prices being asked on eBay , I say asked as after watching countless items inc Haunted House, Green Grocer etc for the past year or two it appears they hardly ever sell, with the exception of the aforementioned Falcon. It appears to me that investing in these items does not guarantee any sort of return, the book price might be 2 grand but getting it seems impossible. And it seems it's going to get harder to achieve a return these days with everyone buying 1to build and 1 for the lost, interested to hear your views on this.


  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 Member Posts: 1,431
    Nowadays everyone seems to think that just because something is retired that it automatically deserves a huge mark up. Since Lego is mainstream, there are so many people reselling that they just compete with ever increasing pricing. I think most of these listings end up getting resubmitted repeatedly and rarely sell. 
  • pharmjodpharmjod Member Posts: 2,916
    edited December 2015
    Depends on your selling price and as always your buying price. I could sell my town halls out at $475 each with free shipping and I doubt it would take even a month. After all fees and shipping that would still net me ~$180 profit. Same similar story with haunted house. If you had Green Grocer and Cafe Corner NIB and paid retail for them, you could undercut everyone by $200-$400 and it will sell quickly and still make a princely profit. Most people that have sets listed at sky high prices are just waiting for the price to rise to that level. They probably don't need the money yet so are content to wait. The real race to the bottom is in all the middling "crappy" sets. Just because you buy a set at a steep discount doesn't necessarily mean it's a winner and you are gonna get a big return on it. 
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    HH and GG sell perfectly well if priced right. There is demand for both from buyers and stock from sellers. If they agree on a price, a sale is made. In quite a few places it is free to list. It costs nothing to list and keep relisting until it sells (subject to other costs such as storage). So this is what many sellers do. It is only when they need cash flow quickly that they need to drop a price to sell if they are above what the buyers will go for. Otherwise their stock may remain stored until prices catch up with what they want.
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu Member Posts: 2,318
    edited December 2015
    Unless you're really lucky, by the time you know for certain a set is worth grabbing extras for resale, you're normally fighting to get one or two at a good price, if not miss the boat entirely. We got lucky with #60064, already retired, value just going up & up, we walked into a store that had a few, they had never moved any, so marked down for clearance. You can figure out with some sets that they are likely to gain value, but at the end of the day it's still a bit of a gamble sometimes.

    Of course there are also sets you know aren't going to do anything in the aftermarket, but some fools will dive on them because they're clearing them out for 25-33% of the original price. Those fools will figure that "Lego investing is a licence to print money, I'll wait six months & wack them up on eBay for double retail price, ka-ching!!!"
  • wrangler6915wrangler6915 Member Posts: 527
    A lot of it also comes down to how professional you are and good business practices.  Small things like free shipping and good packaging go a long way.  I'm able to command a premium on eBay due to a good feedback score.  
  • MynattMynatt Member Posts: 629
    I think most of these listings end up getting resubmitted repeatedly and rarely sell. 
    I used to think the same and then discovered that eBay had an "advanced" button where you can select your search results to be items that have sold recently. I once thought that items from comic con with such high prices never sell but with the sold recently option, you can see them all (or at least the past months). 

    The sold recently button also helps me see what certain items have been selling at recently so I know exactly how to price items. 

    While there are still a few of the absurd markings way above their current resale value, others still end up selling.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie Member Posts: 1,813
    Rarity can fluctuate as well. For example, take this eBay auction:

    I have no idea how many of these Duplo bricks were made. There are only a few for sale at Brickink or eBay, and this particular seller shows 5 sold since June 2012, averaging around $6 each. I found 15 of these recently - more than the total quantity available for sale at Bricklink and eBay combined. Unless I try to sell them they won't affect the market value of the ones that are for sale. 
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    As a seller, I'm only looking for one buyer....especially when I don't have an endless well of inventory.  So I price items to appeal to that "one" buyer, not the masses.  When I list I might get 60 viewers that pass at the buy-it-now price, but I only need one to bite, and quite often one does.  It doesn't matter to me if it happens after the third or forth time listing.   Statistically ebay views that as 1 in 4 listings sold for a 25% sell/success rate, I view it as 100%.

    Often times, too, I will list much higher then the going value just to gauge interest.  If it sells, great, if not, I was just gathering info and will relist based on that info.   Some time I'll just shelve the item until I think the market catches up to want I want it to be at....sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

    As far as the big ticket items go, I have done much better selling them at toy shows, then on ebay.  I have found that once a potential buyer can touch it, the value goes up
  • ecmo47ecmo47 Member Posts: 2,101
    Secondary market values are not "perceived", they are a well established fact. The current value of a NIB Corner Cafe is running about $1700.00 - $2000.00 per the sales data posted on Bricklink:

    and Brickpicker: 

    Will this set continue to rise? Probably.  Will it be a good investment? Depends on your patience and desire for a return. Very doubtful that you would ever loose money (and I'm quite sure your rate of return will be better than your IRA!) but the "fast money" days for this set are over. 

    There will always be completest with deep pockets that can pay the going rate.
  • ecmo47ecmo47 Member Posts: 2,101
    For every Green Grocery there are 100's of Construct-a-Zurg's!
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    ^^ but someone has to purchase my overpriced crap. I mean well researched investments. I reckon at least 25% of what I've sold this year has gone to people investing rather than playing.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    CCC said:

    I reckon at least 25% of what I've sold this year has gone to people investing rather than playing.
    Is that what they told you? In the same way that people go into a toyshop and buy the latest modular "for their three-year-old to build"?
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    No, this is based on people buying multiples of sets you wouldn't normally buy multiples of.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216
    ecmo47 said:
    For every Green Grocery there are 100's of Construct-a-Zurg's!
    Yes, and @Bumblepants can still get one off-the-shelf in Romania...
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,537
    ^Christmas is no time for jealousy!
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216
    edited December 2015
    Christmas is the perfect time.  Green with envy, and red with frustration!

    (And if you find a tattered VW Beetle and/or a Green Grocer, I'll happily pay original retail plus shipping!)
  • wagnerml2wagnerml2 Member Posts: 1,376
    edited December 2015
    The hobby will see a bubble of people who only see easy money.  When the bubble bursts, the rest of us will be left with a healthy market of collectors that has always been.

  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216
    Did you say bubble burst?!?! 

    Sell sell sell!
  • FauchFauch Member Posts: 2,662
    lots of people are already trying
  • Brick_BreakdownBrick_Breakdown Member Posts: 90
    I remember when i picked up my cafe corner of the floor of toy r us I was shocked nobody stepped on it. I walked away with $140 nobody could care less about it, because lego wasn't main stream. Got my eiffel tower on sale at the lego store for $150 cause they had to much stock, oh has times ever changed :(. 

    As far as haunted house goes ive had my eye on that set it selling very well and if you want on pick it up as quick as possible because it will be $1000 new in 2 years same goes for town hall. 

    Not all sets become valuable its tendency that the less popular sets become valuable like grand carousel, imperial flagship and town hall sets nobody could care less or bought when they were available and turned around after their retirement said "Hey, they are pretty cool looking sets now that i think about it" Ill tell you this if you dont own a town hall dont bother with it isn't worth $400 

  • pharmjodpharmjod Member Posts: 2,916
    Grand Carousel and Cafe Corner and Green Grocer aren't "worth" $400 either. Yet people pay 3 times that or more. Personally, I like Town Hall. I think it is an imposing structure, nice color and an important building in a city layout. Would I pay $400 for one? Probably not, but that's because I already have it. If you want it and can find a new one at $400, it might be wise to pick it up as I think it will only continue to climb.
  • Brick_BreakdownBrick_Breakdown Member Posts: 90
    Green Grocer is probably the best modular, Parisian restaurant is also very close.  

    grand carousel is 3.5k pieces with power function that alone is easily worth $400 I would take my carousel over my death star I any day. 

    Town hall wasnt worth the $200 I spent on it its empty and doesnt stand up to its other modular counterparts. though my line can be taken out of context. For those poeple who are interested in town hall they should get it now as it well keep climbing and the haunted house as well both sets are doing well as i said in my other post probably going to 1k eventually.
  • pharmjodpharmjod Member Posts: 2,916
    Grand Carousel is also fragile as heck too. It's pretty, just don't actually play with it. At the end of the day, LEGO sets are worth what someone will pay for them. Count me as someone that would rather have modulars be visually stunning with minimal interiors. I like the new modulars, but I feel they almost need to be added to with a second set to feel "substantial" especially when on the same street as the others. This is especially true of the new Bank. Looks great, but seems too small. 
  • RennyRenny Member Posts: 1,145
    Sealed copies of modular buildings are still being sold at high dollar amounts, it's just not as frequent as the many other used sets.  I've sold some of these high ticket items, and to me as a seller it was just about setting a price and being patient.  There are collectors out there that want their Lego sets in pristine, "back in the day" condition and are okay with paying a premium.

    Personally though I am so relieved to have moved most of those sets. A higher premium also introduces a higher risk of fraud.  What is there to protect a seller if some unscrupulous buyer decides to open say a sealed Cafe Corner, remove the most desired parts and then professionally reseal it and return it?
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