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Collecting and managing pre-2000's Lego sets
I'm new to the forum, but have been checking Brickset long time now.
I have several Lego sets in my collection from different eras, but I'm more concentrated on 1980's and 1990's ones. I keep my modern and older sets separately as well, because of many changes Lego has made in moulding and colors.
I'm quite picky when it comes to condition of these sets and authenticity of the bricks. Even though I'm trying to buy only the sets that are in very good used condition, there are enaugh cases, where some of the bricks are broken, in bad condition, or some of the bricks are replaced with the new, modern ones. So, I need replacements for these and for that I use mainly Bricklink. It's easy as long as the bricks are gray (or in other discontinued colour), or the bricks are discontinued by Lego, but it comes very tricky with the most common bricks, as no one separates old and new mouldings - I'm trying to get bricks that are in the best condition possible, but on the other hand I need those to be old-moulded. Only way that I've found working so far, is to buy way more bricks that I need and hope that some of these are old, but in good condition.
Has anyone encountered similar problem managing their sets? Are there stores out there, that separate different eras on the same bricks?
PS: Sorry about my bad english - it isn't my native language.
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Yes, this is huge issue to for me. For me it's mainly 70's and 80's that I have trouble with. 60's are much easier to tell apart and much easier to search for (although not necessarily easier to find). I find the difference between 90's and 00's to be pretty minor and easy to deal with.
80's seem to be hardest to find for me. The bricks are largely ID era bricks. The PIP is often on the stud, not the side. Trying to find and buy ID bricks that say LEGO rather than ©LEGO is hard. I normally do what you do, which is buy extra and hope enough are correct. Currently I'm trying to complete a #6986. It came incomplete with a bunch of knock-off parts and mix of really old and new elements. I'm nearly done, but am still looking for tiles. I keep striking out on those.
Yes, there are Bricklink seller that separate out their inventories in to these different eras. Most tend to focus on early eras. Although I have found a couple to seem to do later as well. Terms to help you can search are things like: Pat Pend, obscured, void, id, side pip, and pip.
Something to keep in mind is that eras and styles tend to overlap. Sets that were made in the late 70's can have a mix of obscured and void style bricks. Early 80's can have both void and id era bricks, LEGO and ©LEGO style id brick during the early 90's , etc.
I'm aware, that the styles of bricks are overlapping, since Lego used whatever they had in stock, when producing their sets. It's not only slightly different mould, but you could find even plates, grooved and without groove in the same set.
I do not separate so much pre-2000's bricks and do not make much difference between void and id era and so on. Maybe it's because of lack of knowledge.
To me, it seems, the big difference in moulding came in early 2000's among other major changes in Lego. It's the difference in colour - white and yellow seem to be the most noticeable. In moulding the differences, as I've noticed, are the knock out marks on underside edge of bricks and plates.
There are also pieces that have the word "old" as part of the identification number. Here is the common 2x4 brick (part number 3001). You can see that Bricklink has identified 6 different types, three with the word "old".
Most of these parts will be from the 60's and 70's but perhaps it will help you.