Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
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Hi! As I said in my introduction, I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and am facilitating a grant to help people with TBI (traumatic brain injury) start their own micro enterprises. My current client has a 40-year collection of Legos, some unopened kits, some opened, that he would now like to sell to help pay his medical bills still lingering after his car crash almost 2 years ago. But we don't know where to start marketing. This forum is great, and we would love ANY kind of help. We are part of the BrainWorks grant through the University of Alaska Anchorage, and you can google this to see we are legitimate! It sounds like we have to establish online legitimacy and presence, but not sure how to do that and what it means. Also would appreciate tips on photographing the collection for sale, as we are going to start inventory this week. We hope to read your answers soon! THANKS!
Shopping at LEGO.com or Amazon?
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eBay is probably easier to get started with (less of a learning curve) but the fees and eBay rules can be tricky if there is any problem with a particular sale. Can be hard to make profits with all the fees too.
BrickLink.com is a site that is basically a LEGO-only selling site with thousands of sellers around the world, however the learning curve is higher since the site was originally made years ago and has some legacy design issues. There is a great community of folks on the forums there who are generally willing to help new people figure things out if asked politely.
One issue I can see right off is being in Alaska, shipping costs are going to be a concern to send anything out to the other 49 states or Canada, which could be a competitive disadvantage with other sellers.
However there are a few successful BrickLink shops in AK so I guess it can be worked out.
You will make more on BrickLink (as fees are about 3%) rather than eBay (closer to 10%, I think). BrickLink is also easier to follow a "list high and drop the price til it sells" approach than eBay.
However, you the BrickLink community is generally LEGO fans that hold themselves to a high level of quality and don't tolerate a lot of the crap you see on eBay (excessive shipping, clone bricks mixed in, poor condition bricks/sets, etc.) So the BrickLink buyer is more likely to raise a fuss about something like a "mint, sealed" box having a dinged corner.
Yes, since it is a LEGO-only site there are some "hardcore collectors" out there who want perfection, so make sure to note any "imperfections" and be willing to adjust asking price appropriately.
Sometimes there can be a price differential between eBay and BL, and it might make sense to investigate what specific sets are going for at each site before deciding where to try to sell them.
On the photography angle, I have heard that trying to get natural sunlight works well (possibly getting to be in short supply that far north this time of year), or else try to use lights from multiple angles like TV / movie shots use (say one main light from the front, and one softer light from the side to soften the harsh shadows, maybe even a soft light from above as well). Maybe look up how to make a "light tent" for ideas.
On reflection, if you have the set number, you can check the average selling price on Bricklink, but beware - bricklink buyers will be fussy!
Good luck :)
This doesn't take into account the task of checking the completeness of sets, ie any pieces missing. However, since that could be a huge task, I think a first pass assessing what appears to be there might be more manageable.
This could still be a large amount of work. But I think if this were to be done and the result made available here, this might lead to more specific and thus more helpful comments.
For photographing it needs to be decided if you are selling them togather or by the single set. If the single set place in the middle of a table and get a good picture from several angles. If you go and sell the whole collection pick out the most valuable sets and put them up front to showcase. Take as many pictures as needed to get the message across that there is alot of value in this auction.