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Investing in desirable parts using Pick A Brick and Bricks & Pieces

FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 250
I'm interested to hear anyone's experience investing in desirable parts using Pick A Brick and Bricks & Pieces.

Minifigures and animals are the main reason I buy certain sets.  I finally realized that I could try to buy these items directly from Lego.com PaB and BnP at a fraction of the price of the entire set.  Prices for the parts on Bricklink are a notable percentage above Lego.com.  Bricklink prices for minifigures and animals from years ago seem to be quite high.
This suggests an investment opportunity: buying desirable parts from Lego.com, holding them for a few years, then selling them.  Parts are smaller and more dense than entire sets, so investing in them is more efficient for storing and for shipping when selling.

The inspiration for this came from buying the baby elephant from #60302.  Instead of spending $90 on the set, I decided to try Bricks & Pieces for the first time.  The baby elephant was there for $7.80 so I gladly bought two.  The effort for someone at Lego to pick two elephants would be essentially the same as them picking ten, so why not scale it up.
The price disparity became clear when I wanted the tiger suit skater from #80109.  There are very few for sale on Bricklink at $20, though all of its parts are available at BnP for $7.14.  Since I'm going to buy one for myself and it would be minimal extra work for Lego to pick more for me, why not buy a few extra.

I'm conflicted about this because I don't like paying high prices to scalpers and resellers for sets I missed out on, so I don't want to be "that guy".  But I look at how few animals are available on Bricklink from older themes (2018 City Arctic, 2017 City Jungle) and wonder if I could fill a demand for these parts after a few years.  In four years, perhaps I'll wish I had six baby elephants and not want to pay the higher price to get them, wishing I had bought more at $7.80.  Yes, FOMO is plaguing me again.  But $60 for the tiger* from #60162 only fuels that FOMO.

* The tiger might not support the investment idea.  #60162 was a Toys'R'Us exclusive, likely increasing its scarcity.  Perhaps the tiger was never on BnP because of the exclusive.  The set cost $150 at the time, which may have deterred other buyers (as it did me), increasing scarcity even further.

Comments

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,712
    edited February 2022
    IMO The more people that view something as 'desirable' for business purposes means less profit and more inventory (but less chance to buy at BnP) as everyone think they are worth it to 'invest' in (actually I'm surprised LEGO doesn't find and shut these people down as, per their Terms and conditions when buying parts via BnP that they are not be used for commercial purposes.. like say.. BL stores) The fact that LEGO sees so many people doing this on BL is likely one reason why they are combining BnP with PaB, which will make these parts even more accessible to the masses, increasing stocks of them everywhere. Goats, Tigers, and Dairy cows are expensive because no one thought to invest in them and as a result any stocks out there were reduced over time. But the secret is out and now you have multiple sellers on eBay  (and Im sure on BL) buying 200 each of elephants, baby elephants, lions, cubs, sheep and whatnot to sell (which is also why those parts are hard to come by on BnP), rendering the dream of selling at a scarcity 'rarer' actually, pardon the pun, before LEGO likely redoes them which will only create more sellers with the millionaire dream of making it big on reselling parts.
    Will you make money? I'm guessing yes, but just like with the reselling market of Retired LEGO sets, as more and more people buy parts, just like retired sets bubble, the profit margins dwindle. Combine this with ever increasing US Govt changes on EFT income reporting (if you are in the US), then you have even less profit and more paperwork come tax time. So it really depends on if you are going full tilt or trying to do it casually.If casually Id say do not worry about it as in most cases any gains may not be worth the effort.
    Marshallmariogmonkey76
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,523
    As it becomes more widely known, there will not be much money to be made. Every time a fleshie head appears, it starts high on BL but soon reduces as the people with 100s compete with each other. Prices soon drop to 10 or 20 percent above LEGO's price at which point you are not making money but still doing the work. They are also much stricter on licensed parts than they used to be, and there is not much to be made on most unlicensed parts. Even animals aren't worth much compared to their LEGO price - look at the reindeer for example. If you want to make money, go back in time and buy the cheap licensed parts.
    Marshallmariogmonkey76
  • asherkobinasherkobin Member Posts: 194
    I'm a little lost about the announcement that Lego was going to combine pick-a-brick with bricks/pieces. I'm in the US and those still seem completely separate (i.e. no change from before). Do you know what I'm talking about?
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,552
    @asherkobin they instituted it in Europe first; I can't remember when they're going to do the US- or if they even set a date. But it's coming. I'm sure someone who knows more is probably answering as I type this! ;)
    Astrobricks
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 969
    I did an order on March 1 and it looked like the old way still, so I'm sure it will change eventually.
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 250
    I placed two orders soon after hearing about the upcoming change.  I wanted to lock in the current prices in case they increased.  My first order finally arrived.  Those sheep are so adorable, ordering only four was not enough.
    Thanks to the input from this thread, I only ordered as much as I wanted for myself, nothing extra as investment.  I'm not willing to operate at a scale that would produce a noticeable return even if values increased by a good percentage.
    560Heliport
  • MarshallmarioMarshallmario Madison WIMember Posts: 328
    And you don't have to be "that guy"
    560Heliport
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