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Selling without box

mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
[Apologies in advance if this has been discussed before. Couldn't find an appropriate thread.]

Lego set boxes can be quite heavy and bulky, and every now and then potential bidders on eBay or customers on Bricklink ask if I would consider shipping without box (but the parts still sealed in the plastic bags) to reduce shipping costs.
I also assume that many Lego consumers (not collectors) dispose of the box anyway.
I thought about creating an eBay auction for an item explicitly without box, just to see how the response would be. But before I do that, I was wondering if anybody on this forum has experience with selling Lego sets without box?

(To define the topic clearly: I'm really asking for experiences with selling new sets without box. Not for opinions/personal purchase preferences regarding box/no box. :)

Comments

  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    edited November 2012
    In my limited experience of selling without box, it doesn't save much weight at all on the medium sized sets (lot of air in those boxes!). What it does save is a fair bit of space, so if you're using a shipping company that charges by volume then you'll be quids in, shipping by weight (e.g. Royal Mail), not so much.

    Probably makes a bigger difference on smaller sets as you may be able to send them in jiffy bags as a large letter as opposed to boxes, but we're talking very small sets here.
  • mressinmressin Lego City... erm LondonMember Posts: 843
    @atkinsar Good point. I found that costs for packaging material can be an issue. I found it quite expensive to buy shipping boxes, if I can find them at the right size at all (as some Lego boxes can be quite thin and at the same time rather long). Jiffy bags are much cheaper, e.g. at Poundland, you can get three large Jiffy Bags for GPB 1.00.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,035
    It is not clear from your description if you are planning to run this auction without box because you don't have it, or because it does save on shipping. If you do have the box, I would mention in the description that a without-box option is available to save on shipping fees, and the buyer can just let you know their preferences. This way you would attract both those buyers who want the box, and those who don't care for it.

    If you don't have the box, then just list the set as it is, mentioning there is no box. I wouldn't make this sound negative though, like the set is seriously lacking, but focus on saving on shipping. You would probably get a little less then with a boxed set, but it shouldn't be much of a difference.
  • SirKevbagsSirKevbags Fairy Land Member Posts: 4,030
    I would say the big saving is in not using an outer box to stop the Lego box getting smashed up. Sadly many eBay sellers just post without an outer box anyway
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    most shipping costs are by weight, so excluding the box usually has a pretty negligible affect on the shipping cost. The exceptions would be selling multiple large sets that go over the allotted size requirements and/or kick in oversize fees.

    I've had a few buyers ask me to ship sans box after the sale is complete. I generally give them the shipping costs both ways, and most elect to keep the box in the end, though some have opted to save a couple dollars and have me ditch the box.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    mressin said:

    (To define the topic clearly: I'm really asking for experiences with selling new sets without box. Not for opinions/personal purchase preferences regarding box/no box. :)

    To answer this question.

    I've done it both ways, many times...

    On the larger sets, leaving the box off doesn't save enough weight to matter most of the time, the weight of the LEGO bricks is many times that of the box. What it can save is volume, so if you're shipping a large set and are paying for size, this can make a difference since many sets are 50% air.

    On the smaller sets, such as 7639 City Camper, I can send that set in a #2 poly bubble mailer via 1st class mail if I debox it, but it has to go via UPS Ground or USPS Parcel Post if sent in the box, because the box sends it over the 13oz weight limit. That is a huge shipping difference for a fairly cheap set.

    I recently shipped a damaged box Fire Brigade to Canada. The buyer asked me to debox, shipping went from $40 to $38. For a $165 sale, saving $2 is really not going to make or break it, so he had me send it in the box.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,711
    Id say that with empty boxes sellers Im torn.
    I just do not know if they are one of those people breaking into boxes for the parts, then resealing them and getting their money back and then reselling the sets without boxes, or if it is just like something like you are saying. Possibly cheaper to sell without the boxes to those who may not care if they get a box or not.

    I can say that before this box emptying scam really took off this is a nice way to find those that want to break apart a cargo train set and sell all the 'cars' separately, same with the Maersk train and EN before that ( I was getting my extra EN Passenger cars from sellers on eBay)

    The way you could test is come up with a price you want for the set, and list the set as a fixed cost on eBay..
    Best case, you sell it and prove your point, worse case is you are out whatever the cost of the Fixed price listing is.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,405
    I have sold a few sets without the box. 2 sets were the first Hogwarts castle and Chamber of Secrets. Both were sold with instructions which makes a difference in the size of the box. You don't want to fold the instructions or damage them in any way, so you have to use a box. I was able to use USPS Priority Medium Boxes for both and it was around $8 w/ shipping confirmation. I sold a Chamber of Secrets w/ box and it came out to be around $12 with shipping confirmation. Not that big of a savings if you ask me.
  • The_Sly_FoxThe_Sly_Fox Member Posts: 42
    I have to agree with Akunthita's comment.
    If you have the box, list the item with the option of having it, or not having it to reducing shipping.
    Having done this a few times, I have found the buyer always wants the box.
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    I don't care about the box.. Takes up too much room to save them all.
  • CupIsHalfEmptyCupIsHalfEmpty CanadaMember Posts: 547
    In my personal experience, I've found that the boxes that are the size of the VW camper are exactly the correct size to ship from Canada international small parcel surface. What this means is if they want the box in mint condition I have to upgrade the shipping which doubles the cost. So when I sell a set like that, I offer free shipping world wide, since it's about $30 to anywhere in the world from me, but if your outside North America, the free shipping is without the sealed box. If the customer wants, they can pay the difference to get the mint box, but in my past experience they'd rather get the free shipping.
  • thorniethornie Member Posts: 245

    I don't care about the box.. Takes up too much room to save them all.

    I have a closet filled with boxes and I'm starting to feel the same way. I don't think I'll ever sell my collection, and even if I did they aren't MISB, so why bother? Saving boxes is starting to feel a little silly to me.
  • shaunshaun Member Posts: 1
    Hi there guys,
    My son has a mixture of Lego sets. Unfortunately the boxes were thrown out. I was just wondering if this affects their resale value at all. I have all of the pieces and instruction manuals. Thanks
  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,830
    yes it will, but very much depends on the set.
  • TinKnockerHimesTinKnockerHimes Member Posts: 76
    If you can put them back together and sell them that way you will get more attention than leaving them in a pile, as for not having the boxes it can effect some people bidding on them if they are looking at them from a collectable view point. Selling them in a tub on eBay will not get you as much as put together
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    build them, and take pictures with the built set and instruction book(s), then list them using those pictures. Be sure to point out that the instructions are included, and assuming no pieces are missing, be sure to highlight the fact that it's 100% complete.

    in most cases, there isn't much difference in used sales prices with or without the box, but that is very set-dependent of course
  • hoyatableshoyatables Northern Virginia, USAMember Posts: 867
    I agree, once an item is used, the box doesn't really matter all that much. It does give me a little additional peace of mind that the owner cared for the LEGO and that the set is likely complete, contains all the original pieces, etc. But usually once it is used, I'm just looking for 100% complete and with instructions. Box is gravy.

    There are some that really care about the box though.
  • shaunshaun Member Posts: 1
    Thank you all! I bought some shoe boxes to put them in. I'll have my son build them and then take pics :)
  • hantothantot UKMember Posts: 263
    personally i only buy lego with boxes, even though i intend to build and display... I never know what to do with the boxes after though!
  • burnsiderburnsider Member Posts: 75
    With some of the bigger sets like the modular buildings or structures, having a box is important. Come Christmas time buyers like to wrap these sets and stick them under the tree. Likewise, for birthday gifts, boxes are almost a must.

    For the casual builder, no need for boxes, but if you have a nice large set, especially a discontinued one, see if you can buy a box to get the most bang for your buck.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    burnsider said:

    Come Christmas time buyers like to wrap these sets and stick them under the tree. Likewise, for birthday gifts, boxes are almost a must.

    This is so true. Have you ever tried to neatly wrap a Ziploc bag full of Lego?

    Otherwise, if they're already opened (and played with) then I shouldn't imagine the lack of box affecting the price much.
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    I have sold many sets without their Boxes. What I did was build the sets and took pictures and mentioned the sets are 100% complete including the extra parts they come with. It actually depends on the Buyer. Some are into Boxes, I personally do not bother to keep Boxes for Lego sets which I know I will never part with :P
  • Hi Everyone, I'm new here :). I got my first set in 1986! lol :) These are "My" thoughts on Lego Boxes. If your going to buy a Lego set that is made before the Mid 1990's, Yes, it makes the set more collectible, as well as the original Instructions, stickers that came on the set, whether they are unused on the original sheet, or stuck, and peeling on old bricks. The Lego ropes, and accessories for Minifigures as well. If your buying for your child. Which I commend you on being a cool parent! :) The truth is this, Old Lego Boxes when they were being made like many collectible toys from the 80's the story about the original boxes for these toys is the same. The original boxes with Lego were not the collectible quailty box these new sets come in now. Those boxes destructed very, very easily. So if your purchasing an older set that is pre Mid 1990's. Yes the big Original box is a big deal. For "new" lego sets, I don't think it takes away from the value because, the boxes for many, many sets made in 2000 and up, the boxes can be found, aren't as rare as the boxes for older sets, and in some cases are literally a dime a dozen. I personally would pay a lil more for a set that has new pieces, and all unused sticks, unassembled minifigures, and no box, cause one, or several usually emerge. Because boxes for even more popular sets, are not that rare. Some people do hype them though to get more for them. But I think most boxes for new sets someone asking over $150.00 U.s. is too much. I've only seen Lego Boxes from the late 60's and 70's in excellent condition sell for over that.
  • BustinBustin Member Posts: 286
    edited February 2013
    Well I only buy new as a gift, so used purchases to me I'm not interested in the box.
  • rchaddrchadd Member Posts: 187
    I picked up a used Shuttle Adventure #10213 for £75 its complete and with instructions. I am wondering if I should get a box...the cheapest I could get on bricklink is 25 euro (including postage from germany). Is it worth the expense of getting a box? Would it significantly improve the future resale price?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,727
    ^ I somehow doubt the value would go up by £20 just as you have the box. Not for that set.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,405
    When selling my used Lego sets I'm always asked if there is a box. Yes, I sell plenty without them, but I'm my experience, the used sets with boxes sell better than without.

    A big reason to have a box with your set is not so much for collectibility ,but for gift wrapping and overall "wow factor". If boxes weren't important, then toy aisles would be filled with stacks of clear plastic bags filled with toys. Parents will pay more for Legos with boxes even though they know there child will probably just throw them away after they open the present.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,405
    edited February 2013
    BTW, is it collectability or collectability? Is it even a word lol :)
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839
    If it's for my own display/personal use...no box required. I figure, if i'm buying aftermarket on something, the liklihood of selling it, is close to nil. I can see the box being important...but it definitely depends on the buyer.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,727
    Pitfall69 said:

    If boxes weren't important, then toy aisles would be filled with stacks of clear plastic bags filled with toys. Parents will pay more for Legos with boxes even though they know there child will probably just throw them away after they open the present.

    The box there helps you to know that you are getting a complete set, in new condition. It also shows off what the set will look like once complete. If nothing was boxed it would be harder to tell what set you were buying, and also very difficult to check everything was in the bag.

    Things are very different for second hand sales, especially through bricklink or the like, where you are told what the set is by the seller. Having a box for an opened set does not guarantee it is complete like it does (at least should) in a store for a new set. The presence of a box might suggest it has been cared for, although I take nothing for granted these days and ask the seller. I'd prefer a set in excellent condition with no box than a boxed used set that the seller won't confirm the condition.
  • jockosjunglejockosjungle Member Posts: 701
    hantot said:

    personally i only buy lego with boxes, even though i intend to build and display... I never know what to do with the boxes after though!

    I wait until I get a big box like Shuttle Adventure, flat pack the smaller boxes inside it, and stick it in the loft.

    Never massively sure why I do this, I'm tempted to BL the boxes to be honest as I'll never sell the sets I have for display, and the others will end up in a lego box for my kids to play with
  • wagnerml2wagnerml2 Belleville, IllinoisMember Posts: 1,376
    I sell almost exclusively used complete sets. I have found that listing with the box normally does not add to the overall value of the auction. I usually don't even include them unless its a very hard to find set like Cloud City or the like.

    My system is simple, I build the sets and photograph them with the instructions and the figures. Stick the photo in a folder on my computer with the set number and name. I then bag the set and instructions in a proper sized Ziplock Bag. Label the bag clearly with set number, name, with figs and inst and any missing pieces. Then, when I want to list it, I just pull the photograph and plug it into my turbolister template. Its become a very efficient system!
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,405
    ^I sell mostly used sets like I said before. On the flip side, I will only buy sealed sets because I know the majority of people aren't as anal as I am when it comes to preparing a used set. You are right, boxes don't add that much to the overall set price. What it adds is: The ability to wrap the gift easier and get that wow factor when someone opens it, the piece of mind that probably it is a genuine set and not bricklinked, and for some people, a set is NOT complete without the box.
  • rchaddrchadd Member Posts: 187
    CCC said:

    ^ I somehow doubt the value would go up by £20 just as you have the box. Not for that set #10213.

    don't you rate this set for future resale?
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