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Megablok: Looking for advice on selling large Castle collection
So I was huge into legos in grade school and jr. high. I was incredibly OCD about the sets, so I still have the boxes (some are torn, but most are in good shape), and the instructions (good to mint).
As far as I know, all the pieces are present. I was really good about keeping track of them, and I generally kept all the sets assembled and organized in my closet, with occasional destruction so I could rebuild them. In 7th grade I used a couple sets for a school project, and about a dozen pieces got stolen, but I was able to reorder the pieces directly from lego.
Eventually I partially disassembled the sets and threw all the parts in a large tote. So now I have a tote filled with the loose pieces of a bunch of complete sets.
It would take me a weeks to reassemble all the sets to make sure all they are all 100%. I had most, if not all, of the Dragon Master and Royal Knights series, and about 3/4 of the following series with the witches and bat helmets and what not (The big castle set included).
So what I'm wondering is, since I have all the boxes and instructions, the pieces are in great shape, and as far as I know every piece is present, how much money do I stand to lose by selling them as one big mixed lot?
If I can make a few hundred more by separating the sets, I do have enough spare time and pot that over the next couple weeks I could rebuild them. But if it's just $100-150 more, I may just say screw it and sell them all mixed up in the tote.
I'll post again with a list of the exact sets I have with pics, and the price I'm going aim for on ebay.
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You'll stand to lose a decent amount. You, yourself, can claim that they are 100% complete, or can make your best guess. However, the buyer will not know, and will not be willing to pay as much money if all they see is a pile of bricks.
Simply put, a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of LEGO, unless it's built and looks to be all there, than the person will usually not pay as much taking into consideration that the set(s) are most likely not 100%.
I think once you get us the list, like you said you are planning on, than we will be able to advise you much better. It definitely depends upon which sets you have, and the amount they are worth.
If they are a combined worth of $100, than I say, throw them on the Bay in a tub. If they are a combined worth of $1,000, it definitely makes more sense to go over them with a fine toothed comb and make sure of what you have.
What it will ultimately come down too, is if you can make more money by doing something else, in the time that it would take for you to sort all the LEGO, than don't do it. If the opposite is true, sort.
You might also find a lot of collectors on these forums that are interested in your items, and will also be curious about the item's completion state/condition.
It will be far more worthwhile for you to sort and assemble the sets yourself and sell them individually, (though of course there is the danger that you may enjoy yourself so much that you'll not want to let them go!) But time is money. If you have the time to do this you'll earn more money, if you want a quick sale with a single box to ship you'll need to be ready to accept far less money.
I sell a ton of used sets. The risk you you run into assembling and disassembling sets is that some bricks may get lost or damaged. For me, it takes more time to do that then it does to just look at inventory on Peeron or Bricklink. There was one time I put together a set and forgot a piece or two. I had to send the buyer the missing pieces. I was embarrassed plus I had to take more time and money to mail out the missing pieces. I also add the extra pieces that came with the set if I have them, but I add a disclaimer saying that the complete set may or may not contain extra pieces.
It's work, but working with Lego to me is fun, even if it is time consuming. Afterall, that is really why we are here correct? To enjoy Lego.
- I'm much less likely to buy a mixed lot that claims it is 100% complete.
- I think using Peeron or Bricklink to check inventory is fine for newer sets, but for an older set it really is best to reassemble yourself, especially when parts are mixed together with many other sets. It is just too easy to miss a number or part looking at the Peeron list.
- A picture is worth a thousand words, especially at conveying condition.
Two other considerations you should keep in mind, however, in deciding whether to sell in bulk or as individual sets:
- There's possibly added cost in boxing and shipping multiple sets versus one big set.
- The sets are worth more sold individually only if you sell them all (or enough to clear what you would have collected in bulk). There's always a risk that some sets might not sell, in which case you are worse off.
But those who sell often should comment on this and share their thoughts based on experience. My comments regarding selling are purely theoretical.
That's the downside of selling everything as a single lot. However, by doing so, you avoid (1) the time it would take to sort all of the sets out and make sure that all of the pieces are present, and (2) the risk of ending up selling the most desirable sets you own and getting stuck with the least desirable ones. I don't have as much experience in selling castle sets from the eras that you're talking about, but, in general, I have rarely had trouble selling every castle set that I put up for sale.
One other consideration is the number of individual sets that you would have to sort before selling. If you haven't sorted out all of your sets before and don't have a sorting system in place, don't underestimate the time that it will take you to sort everything out and don't assume that sorting out 30 sets is just as easy as sorting out 5 or 10. In my experience, if you don't have an established sorting system, the time it would take you to sort 30 sets would be orders of magnitude greater than 5 or 10. When I look back at my first few sorting endeavors, I shudder at how inefficient and slow I was back then.
I guess the full proof way to make sure your sets are complete is to check the inventory and then assemble.
I'm not quite sure if there is a thread dedicated to this or not, but in my experience, you can't simply just order bricks from Lego or take bricks from other sets to complete a set. The way Lego has made bricks has changed over the years. A new black or white brick made today is a lot different than a white or black brick made in the late 70's, 80's, and possibly 90's. Colors have changed and the molding processes have changed. I would be furious if I ordered a Classic Space or Castle set and every other gray brick was replaced with a newer brick. I even pay attention to little things like the walkie talkies. The molding process changed on those over the years as well as the 1x1 clips.
I am so anal, I have tubs of bricks labeled by decade. If Ineed to complete a set from that era, I grab bricks from the corresponding tub. I don't have new dark and light gray mixed together.
I'm sure there are buyers just as anal as I am and a pile of bricks would just turn them off. That is why you don't just simply build the sets, you look at the inventory as well.
And what does taking "inventory" entail? Isn't that what I would be doing by rebuilding?
Ok, time for pics.
Bad news first: With four or five of the bigger castle sets, I forgot that 17 years ago I wasn't interested in the whole box, just the back part where they show alternate ways to assemble the set. So I cut that off and taped it to the the inner part of the box, throwing away the front and sides. If you want to ask me what I was thinking, you're going to need a time machine, because I have no idea.
Here is an example of one such box:
and here are all the boxes. On the left are the ones with just the back piece. Two or three in the middle are somewhat mangled, and on the right half are boxes that are in pretty good shape.
Now for the good news, all the instructions and pieces are in tip top-shape:
(Sorry about the blurriness, need to work on my camera skills before I sell these)
Here are some random sets from some underwater series, not sure if these are valuable
List of my castle sets:
So yeah, I'm leaning towards rebuilding and
Here are the pictures I tried to post above
On the issue of the inventory, if you go to Bricklink and pull up the catalog listing for each of these sets, there is a link that you can use to access an inventory list of the parts that are (according to BL) in this set. These inventories are generally accurate and provide an easy way to gather the parts for individual sets together without having to sit down with the instructions and dig through your bins to find the parts you need while constructing the set at the same time.