I am looking for a little advice for selling LEGO's. I came across a huge lot at a yard sale last weekend, and I am in way over my head! My son loves and plays LEGO's all the time, but I don't know much about all of the different sets, and for sure not anything about selling them. Well, over the last week I have done a bunch of research and figured out what most of the sets are, and research into selling them. I was mostly just search Ebay, (is it OK to say that here??), but then I came upon this site and bricklink as I was doing my research.
My question and what I could use some advice on is the best way to sell LEGO's for a novice? I know I could sell them as one huge lot, but that I would make a lot more money (it seems) if I break them up into sets and minifigures. Some of the sets are the Christmas Train, Arkham Asylum, Batmobile 7781Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix with Dolores, Star Wars Clone Turbo Tank, Battle at the Pass, Indiana Jones, Airport 10159, Old emergency Hospital, star wars stuff - lots of minifigures, Corner Cafe 10182, viking ship, and lots of random bricks.
Most of the sets do not have boxes or instructions and most of them are missing pieces. So they would be "as is" sets. For example, if I were to sell them on Ebay, is it best to start at a really low bid to get interest, or to start it at the minimum price I would be willing to take? Is it best to sell the minifigures separate, or in lots of 5, or with their partial sets?
I know that is a lot of questions. I am also going to look into selling on here and bricklink - but I am guessing that Ebay is easiest for a beginner? I already know Ebay, just not anything about selling LEGO's.
Thank you SO much for your help, I really appreciate it!
Wow, you certainly DO have a haul there. Cafe Corner alone is an incredibly valuable find.
Now, what to do with it.... Yes, a bulk lot on ebay is an option, but if you have already researched and figured out what you have, and that you have some real rare and valuable sets as you indicated, you don't want to go that route. But it will take more work on your part of course. If you are fan it can be a labor of love...or it can become a labor of hate depending on your temperament.
Splitting out minifigs from sets will generally make you more money. You can sometimes get as much for the minifigs as the set and keep the bricks (or sell them as a bulk lot later). Or if you can "complete" a set with most pieces and post on ebay or bricklink then that will be profitable.
Are all those sets in one mass pile of bricks and minifigs, or are they separated? You could go through the online part lists for each set, inventory what you have and what you are missing, and then acquire the missing pieces on bricklink and then be able to sell them as "complete" for a higher profit. That will take a lot of work and time of course. I assume you are not up to that.
Listing a set, complete or "as is", etc can be done via Bricklink or Ebay or even the marketplace here on Brickset. For Bricklink you can see what others are charging for the set that you have and then list it and people will either buy it or not at that price. They will take 3% and PayPal will take 2.9% or whatever it is. Ebay you are familiar with and you will sell more quickly, but they take a much higher cut (9% I believe). The marketplace on Brickset will have no fees.
For Ebay and bids, there are different schools of thought. I am told that what works well is to start the bidding low to get buyers "hooked" and then you may get a higher price than if you started the bidding high. But it is a gamble that does not always pan out. I would list at the lowest you are willing to accept for the set. Others may have other suggestions.
As to minifigures, I think it varies depending on what they are. For cheaper minifigs I have had better luck bundling them. For desirable ones it probably makes sense to sell individually. If they do complete a set it depends on the set if it is more valuable with or without the figs (many just want the figs).
When you list (wherever you list) do be as specific and descriptive as possible. Include the set number in the description. Provide multiple photos.
I would not be surprised if you start seeing offers for some of the above sets you mentioned above immediately from those on here. :)
I wouldnt split out the minifigs unless you want to be left with a bunch of parts you can't shift.
With that value I'd split up the sets, i.e. count the pieces of each and see what's missing. There will definitely be hundreds of dollars benefit, so seems worth it.
If there are too many bits missing and its a low value set, I'd just give up and leave it as mixed Lego. If it's a higher value set, I'd keep going til I've worked out what's missing, and then you can either buy the parts to complete it, or sell it, listing out the parts that are missing - most people are happy to pay high prices for listings like that, although it's not as reliable as completing the set.
Having said all that, if you listed it as mixed lego on ebay and included the model numbers of cafe corner and the other mains sets I bet you'd get a decent price for it, for very little hassle.
Thank you to all of the others for the advice, that is really helpful.
For instance, if a set is 95% complete, the time and effort needed to complete it will not be too great and I'd approximate that a complete set would yield as much as 15% more in selling price. As the completeness of the set decreases, I think the time and effort outstrips the potential increase in fetching price.
The reason I ask is because I am contemplating starting to buy sets as investment for resale later. But wanted to hear from those who have done it, or are doing it. I would not want to associate something frustrating (potential for financial loss) with a hobby that I truly enjoy. Thanks for your input.
I should note that I do not buy large scale LEGO clearance for resale. I spend a modest amount on sets I like, when I can find them on sale. At least that way, even if they end up not being worth much after they EOL, I can still enjoy them.
That being said, there are some nice rewards from it, if you have the money to invest and you can risk it. I've lost money (after fees, shipping, etc.) on a number of sets, and broken even on others. When you consider the risk factors, the time it takes to turn them over, etc... it sometimes isn't a good deal.
Then there are great deals where you double your money in less than a year. If your Magic 8 Ball is working, you can pick them and make a killing. But sets that seemed a "sure thing" haven't been, and others have surprised us all.
The trick is picking the winners from the losers, and just like betting on horses, you just never know.
Personally, I'm slowly unwinding my investments... I will keep in it on the side, but the scale grew to a level that I'm not comfortable with, considering that The Lego Group can change the rules any time they want.
For example, Fire Brigade was "supposed" to go out last year, it has stayed around another year and I believe it may be here yet another year longer. I have over 60 of that set put aside. That is a lot of money to be sitting around, "hoping" to make money later. If I had 5 or 10 of them, I wouldn't care so much, just put them in the upstairs closet and forget about them for 2 years.
So my suggesting is to start small, buy a few things and see how you go with it. Don't empty the 401(k) to buy Lego, if it were that easy, everyone would do it. :)
My end goal? Keep it a self-funding hobby, buy 4-6 copies of each set that I want to "bet" on, and sell those to buy the following year's sets, but no more.
That really is the trick... I suspect that since many hobby resellers don't actually keep "books" on the subject, they don't know or don't realize the actual return on investment or hourly rate they are earning. Many I suspect are really not making much after all is said and done, if they value their time at anything.
I keep thinking I'll sell used sets, but after I add up my time to sort them to make them 100% complete, I find it simply isn't worth the effort.
LFT, do you rent a storage space for those 60 boxes of FB ? Is it air conditioned ? I can't imagine your family living in a house full of hundred of boxes that they cannot necessary touch
For awhile, they were stored here, until that got crazy. Now most of it is stored off-site.
I suspect that if/when I get more into the "business" of reselling LEGO, I will have to make a "Fact-Finding" business trip to Denmark for a LEGO Inside Tour!
LFT, have you done it yet?
I also collect cigarette / tobacco cards and I used to be able to buy some specific cards for 50p-£1 in the UK, and then sell them for £50-£60 each in the US. Subjects like Sherlock Holmes, Bobby Jones, Babe Ruth for the US market, Don Bradman for the Aus market were relatively easy to pick up for small money in the UK but sold for what I considered a fortune via ebay. I remember once picking up five cards of a 1900's actress for £5 a piece, and sold them to a guy that now lives in her house for $150 each. Babe Ruth cards could be bought for £2 and sold for $100. Sherlock Holmes cost 50p and sold for $75. It was so easy. Then other people got in on the act and ebay became more well known. Local prices went up and selling prices went down as the market became flooded. The Sherlock Holmes cards I could buy for 50p and sell for £50 now cost about £1.50 and sell abroad for about £1.50. I don't think I have bought or sold that one for at least six or seven years, it is simply not worth it. One good thing about this sort of stuff is that space is not really an issue. You can easily get £2000 worth of decent stock in a shoebox.
At some stage, lego investment will be the same. It will simply not be worth buying at RRP or small discount, storing it, listing it, posting it, risking chargebacks, etc for little profit. Of course, buying at massive discount will be better business for longer.
Once you're doing regular shipping, you can start to just buying packing supplies, which is SO much easier than trying to reuse shipping boxes, or find free boxes.
I get my shipping supplies from uLine. They are not the cheapest in the world, but they do ship $300+ orders for free to me, they have every box size you can imagine, they have high quality 3" tape for a good price, and lots of bubblewrap! :)
But doing that only makes sense if you sell a lot of stuff. I sell about 50 Lego sets per day, so I can justify having organized packing materials so it is very quick to pick, pack, and ship stuff.
For the smaller stuff, like Ninjago spinners, booster packs, polybags, I have various sizes of poly bubble envelopes, which are about 10 cents each purchased 500 at a time, those are a dollar each bought at Office Depot, but if you need 500 #0 or #2 poly bubble envelopes, Valuemailer is your friend on that one.
I have a LP2844 Thermal Printer, so when payments come in via PayPal, PayPal just spits out the 1st class USPS label with the address and postage right onto a 4x6" thermal label, no muss no fuss. Free delivery confirmation and the Post Office picks up every day. For UPS, same thing, 4x6" thermal labels, they pick up every day.
There is something to be said for volume, and for what my two part time girls cost me, I save in that scale of buying supplies and automation.
If I sold 5 Lego sets per week, and didn't have all those supplies, then it would just be a big fat pain in the rear. :)
Selling is more hassle than I want in my life, so I'm not going to do it, but it's actually a good suggestion. We have no kids but we have godchildren as well as family friends for kids, so if it turned out that a set didn't do well, we'd always have a supply of nice presents for birthdays and holidays.
50 sets a day is pretty good going! Do you sell mainly online through eBay and BL?
I also have several thousand polybags of various types I got on clearance, so those add up as well.
Actual boxed sets? 5-10 per day.
If you have a property with an empty barn or empty garage you are set indeed. I'm in California where storage space is pretty expensive. Texas is a lot cheaper which makes the expense make more sense. Plan now how you will sort and store everything as it will cost you a lot of time later constantly reorganizing.
At some point I think you will find it only makes sense to do the larger more expensive sets. There will be less work and better profit per set. I've done Ebay volume in the past where my daily shipments were 100+ per day (not all Lego). Time wise it was just not worth that much effort but it was a great learning experience. Maybe in the beginning its ok, but later on only the higher profit sets make sense. This is assuming you already have a job.
If you are a stay-home-mom, I think its a great opportunity. You could start out by "completing" sets and selling NIB smaller sets just to build up some equity. Go onto Bricklink and get the extra parts to complete your sets. Its worth it.
And like anything, to be really good at it you have to enjoy it :) As far as I can tell, everyone one here that resells are really into the hobby. Tough to do it otherwise.
(I am not a reseller and do not ever intend to be one, but I find the business side of this forum to be quite interesting.)
where's the beef here? are you just trying to find ways to be offended?
I like the sound of LFT's setup, but this is just not worth it for me with the volume I sell.
I thought this didn't flow quite right and, knowing these forums, assumed a thread merge. It would be nice if a marker post could be added for merged threads.
I am new in the forums and this is my first post.
The Lego fever only hit me a couple of weeks ago at a friend's house when they showed me their sets. I loved Lego when I was a kid and I guess I still love them now.
I wanted to start collecting just for the fun of it and keeping in mind I would want to sell later in the future.
Which sets would probably be the best to sell in a few years? I'm guessing popular movie/series themes like star wars or lord of the rings would be worth a lot more in some years. Or more general themes like the monsters. I also like trains and just bought the Maersk train before it goes out of production.
Thanks for any help!
I'd also like to know more about Lego deal hunting, but for now all I know is to look in Amazon. This very website has done a great job allowing us to compare the prices simultaneously between the different stores.
Look at it this way, if you buy sets you don't like just because of the resale value then you're wasting your time for a relatively minor return (in the scale of things).
Also never hurts to grab a few Lego exclusives... :)