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What's Your Approach To Collecting and/or Downsizing Your Collection?

nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
edited April 2012 in Collecting

Since November 2011 or so, I have started collecting Lego sets again after a 20 year hiatus. Can't believe all the cool sets I missed from the early 90's through 2011. Anyway, now that I'm an adult and am fortunate enough to have the discretionary income to buy pretty much all of the current Lego sets I want (within reason), I've started to notice that my collection is already getting fairly large and the wifey is starting to complain lol. Therefore, I needed to develop a simplistic approach to limit my collection size, while still being able to buy the latest and greatest.

So here's my plan: I will buy the sets I want, and then when they go EOL, I will sell each one (hopefully at a slight profit since I try to buy under MSRP). While I know it will be painful for me to sell some of the really cool sets such as the IF 10210, QAR 4195, MT 10219, EN 10194 and whatever large Technic sets I buy, Lego will (hopefully) always come out with cool sets to replace the ones I sold.

So that's my approach. Anyone care to share how they go about collecting? Do you keep everything, sell some stuff but keep others, stop collecting after reaching a certain limit...?


  • FollowsCloselyFollowsClosely Member Posts: 1,303
    Good luck sticking to that plan. Mine plan is similar, I buy two of each, and sell one later. However, that does not help with your end goal.
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
    I don't sell anything I am attached to. I learned that the hard way. I once had the Green Grocer and Cafe Corner, bought them both when they first came out. I sold both of them when they were selling on ebay for $300. Then this year ( a few months ago) I spent $550 on a NIB Green Grocer and $425+ to Bricklink a near replica of the Cafe Corner. I like to display my sets on bookcases. When I run out of room, I take apart and bag up the sets that don't interest me anymore but I don't want to sell. I am trying not to buy as much lately though, because I still have sets in boxes unbuilt. I am trying to focus just on CMF's, Star Wars and the modulars.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    My advice is if you enjoy them, then don't sell them. You (or your wallet and your wife) will regret it later.
  • vwong19vwong19 Member Posts: 1,191
    If I have a set that i don't display or has been updated by LEGO, then I will sell it. If I have a set that I sort of like that is 3x the purchase price, then I usually sell it. My son has a bunch of Hero Factory sets that he plays with now.... eventually when he out grows them I hope to get 25% of their value. :(

    I really enjoy assembling LEGO sets and selling them for what I paid (most of the time more)...
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited April 2012
    Thanks for all the replies; all very good ideas, and it's interesting to me to see how everyone manages their collection a little differently.
    I really enjoy assembling LEGO sets and selling them for what I paid (most of the time more)...
    That's the thing about Lego I think is so cool, and particularly unique. I can have the use and enjoyment of a brand new item that I like for two years or so, and then sell it for likely more than I paid for it, or worse case scenario, marginally less than I paid for it. I mean, what other product is like that? None come immediately to mind, at least that are as sure of a return on investment as Lego.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Administrator Posts: 6,754
    Sorry, would someone please explain the phrase "downsizing your collection" ?

  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Member Posts: 3,639
    edited April 2012
    Also applies for art, fine collectibles, classical furniture, exotic cars, quality musical instruments... basically anything that is unique, not being made anymore or hard to find on a whim. In most cases, they only appreciate more over time. Similar to Starfire mentioning he sold his CC & GG at $300 for a tidy profit, only to see it continue towards the $800+ range. So a great Lego set can be just like the other types of art mentioned, its value and appreciation gets better with time.
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    ^ Good point. It's nice that non-super-rich people (like me) can buy and sell Lego and make a few bucks, though. Unfortunately, my pocketbook isn't deep enough to take a gamble on a piece of art or limited production car that costs hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars :(
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
    @Brickdancer: She! I'm a she ; p
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks Member Posts: 1,367
    I understand exactly what you're talking about. I'm very lucky that when I finished our basement a few years ago I added a very large storage closet (about 6ftx12ft) and built floor to ceiling shelves in there. Adding LEGO has actually motivated me to start getting rid of other stuff, but I've already moved down to my second 4ft shelf and space continues to fill up.

    My biggest debate right now is what to do with boxes after I've built a set. Does it have any impact on resale value if the seals are broken on both sides? Being able to flatten them might free up some space. I've avoided it so far, but I don't want to waste space with empty boxes when I start running out of room.
  • emilewskiemilewski Member Posts: 482
    ^ I flatten but keep the boxes. My personal opinion is that breaking the seals on both sides does not lesson resale value. If you look at ebay/bricklink listings then either they have the box or they don't; not a big point is made about if both sides of seals are broken or not.

    I shudder at the thought of having to "downsize" my collection someday. I am trying to be at a point where I am only buying sets/themes I really want so that I will not outgrow my space for a long time. If I do need more space/money then I would sell the lets I am least attached to.
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks Member Posts: 1,367
    That's kind of what I figured, but was just curious what others do. I can't imagine it have a huge impact. I guess the bigger issue would be how much wear the box has. Being able to flatten them and put them in something might actually help reduce that wear.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    Yeah, break both ends neatly and flatten. I don't see it as a problem for resale. An open box is an open box. So long as the condition is good, there is no real difference. And as you say, the condition may be better if it has avoided knocks.
  • Steve_J_OMSteve_J_OM Member Posts: 993
    I don't have a lot of space for display at the moment, so I'm on a rotation policy - but I would never sell something I was still attached to. Sometimes sets I like have to make way for something new on display, but they are put safely into storage in the knowledge/hope that one day I'll have room for everything.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    My downsizing plan is to make hubby's casket of Lego! Joking of course, we have a long time joke about who will outlive who. Why downsize? We just challenge ourselves to store and display more efficiently, and keep buying.

  • DuchessaDuchessa Member Posts: 287
    I'm sort of downsizing. I've been an AFOL since 2000, but didn't buy that much between 05-09. I've sold/traded some of the sets I bought 10 years ago to pay for stuff I want but can't afford otherwise.

    One example: I traded my Santa Fe-sets for a boxed Café Corner without instructions (missing a few pieces) and a boxed Green Grocer (complete, no instructions). I'm not that interested in trains, and I wanted a complete lineup of modulars, so for me it was a good deal.

    I've also sold some other old sets that I'm not really that keen on, and used the money to buy sets that I really want. If you're not swimming in money, that's a good way of funding your hobby.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ Member Posts: 4,179
    My appraoch to downsizing is to cut out themes. I already exclude star wars and space, and am wondering about sutting a few others too in order to continue growth in the core themes.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,540
    I try to buy my sets discounted and that way I can always turn them around for at least what I paid for if not more. I use the profits from past sales to get bigger and better sets. I could never get my wife to agree to "Hey I am going to buy the Death Star" but she is fine with me using whatever money I make on selling Lego to buy more.
  • caperberrycaperberry Member Posts: 2,226
    I'm considering selling all my minifigs. They're cute but I find it restrictive to build to minifig scale.

    Should make some nice £££, but not much help with saving space in my tiny flat!
  • wRuBwRuB Member Posts: 86
    I've got the same problem too (no space!)so am trying not to succumb to good deals, but just getting what I want.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    ^ What have you got?
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    I sold out the whole Atlantis, Space Police, Ninjago (Red) and Kingdoms (spare sets) to make room and enough money to continue buying more. But in all this selling I also made some mistakes selling some City sets and some spare Batman 1 sets :( Wish I didn't....
  • joeejoee Member Posts: 42
    I just started collecting in late November '11. I decided to just focus on Castle and Space sets of the 80s. But now I feel I've gone overboard so I'm downsizing. I've decided to keep 1 of each set, (with a few exceptions), and then just buy "lots" of minifigs/pieces and incomplete sets via ebay and kijiji. I then rebuild and complete each set and them sell online in order to keep both a stream of income to finish up the collection I have found a certain joy of buying up a "lot" then figuring what sets it contains. For the newer sets I have a son that loves getting them (Star Wars and Ninjago) so that keeps me in the nowdays loop.
  • princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
    My downsizing 'stategy' goes a bit like this:
    Step1: Buy Lego
    Step2: Buy Lego
    Step3: Buy Lego
    Step4: Bank Manager complains that I am many thousands over my overdraft...
    Step5: Sell Lego
    Step6: Go to Step1
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    My appraoch to downsizing is to cut out themes. I already exclude star wars and space, and am wondering about sutting a few others too in order to continue growth in the core themes.
    Cut out Star Wars? What?!? :)

    I will say that we've done the same thing, abit painfully...

    I really wanted to build the PQ line, I thought it looked very Indiana Jonesish... So much so that I decided to sell it all, then I went and bought all the actual Indiana Jones sets... only to turn around a few months later and sell them all because I realized that the money they held would simply buy too many other things (including a nice vacation for my wife!)
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,333
    My appraoch to downsizing is to cut out themes. I already exclude star wars and space, and am wondering about sutting a few others too in order to continue growth in the core themes.
    A little piece of me just died. HeHe. I can cut out almost everything else but not Star Wars.
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    I am real strict on what I buy to keep, pretty much ships (boat), UCS Star Wars, Modular, and Castle. I don't venture outside these themes no matter how much I like a set. Keeps everything manageable.

  • Brewer51Brewer51 Member Posts: 248
    I, being a poor poor student, don't have the income to buy whatever I can. So I limit myself to sets that REALLY interest me, and that are on sale. I'm really into AC and PQ, and the City vehicles, but other than that it's modulars. Even though I haven't got one yet, but I plan too soon. I also have Shuttle Expedition because it looks cool, and Tower Bridge because I'm a little patriotic. I'm gutted that Big Ben looks pretty ugly, because I'dve bought it if they'd done a decent job on it. I also have a couple of sets I bought because I had them when I was little, but other than that I try to resist the urge of impulse buying.

    I did, however, since coming out of my dark ages, go mad on CMF's. I have one package left to come from BL and I will have completed sets 1 - 7.
  • UKtsumiUKtsumi Member Posts: 630
    As long as I have space in the cupboard, on the shelf I allow myself to buy.. - my shoe collection was kulled last week , along with all the kids hand-me-downs, and all the spare duvets/blankets - next will probably be the cd/dvd collection, just intime for may 4th.
  • andheandhe Member Posts: 3,916
    Choose a theme and stick to it. Don't kid yourself that the pieces will be good for MOCs when in reality you don't have time to MOC and just end up with loads of random pieces (I'm preaching to myself here).
  • monkeymonkey Member Posts: 235
    edited November 2014
    After recent deals and lots of temptation to buy more than I can afford I realised I need some way of placing the limits; no kids and very accommodating partner do not help! A good idea I thought would be to only spend money on lego when it is a really good bargain.

    But what counts as a really good bargain? Let's say with new, available lego (i.e. not-yet-rare sets), what is your mark for a bargain worth buying:

    sets that are "N%" (50%, or 60%, or 40% etc) off their retail price, or

    sets/loose pieces when the price per piece is no more than "Np" (say 5p, or 3p, etc)?

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