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The Dark Side of Collecting... Reselling?

vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,188
It happened to me back when Series 1 Minifigures came out in 2010. All the hype of getting these cheap $2 packets and no one sold them. I found a box at my local TRU finally and grabbed a bought about 8 and got a bunch of duplicates. The hunt was on... 

Like any diligent shopper I went online to find sources for buying and that was when I found Bricklink. I had been collecting for about 1-2 years so I only new of EBay as an after market. On Bricklink I was able to complete my Series 1 collection from what appeared like a safe buying environment. Unfortunately I still had a bunch of duplicates from my previous hunt. I wasn't into eBay so I decided for the first time in my life to try unloading my extras on Bricklink. To my surprise I was able to sell them at low market at the time fairly quickly.

I suppose that is when I joined the Dark Side... Selling my collection to others. I have since used selling to manage my unwanted and tired old sets, plus a few speculation sets.

Would anyone like to add how and when they became a reseller?

Comments

  • mrbigz8657mrbigz8657 Member Posts: 21
    I've been on eBay since 2006 selling mostly Disney stuff at the time to finance my Lego collection. My first Lego sale came during an unfortunately hard time in our lives and we needed money fast so I sold off my modular collection at the time the palace cinema had just come out but family first in my book. So when I started rebuilding the collections I sold off I noticed that I can fund a lot of it by selling other Legos. I mostly do Minifigures now but I'll sell the occasional set or two whenever the chance comes up 
  • yys4uyys4u USA SoCalMember Posts: 1,092
    I feel like this is more of a "casual" reseller thread lol
    I'm the same as you guys, I sell off parts or vehicles of sets I don't want, but only want the figures. Sometimes buy things on sale like BOGO and sell the other, or sell the figures. The first time I really started to resell complete sets was one Christmas when I realized I was rapidly running out of space, so I prioritized and sold off some Christmas seasonal sets and other small things. Since then I sometimes buy sets that are going to be discontinued and sell them later, but sometimes I hold onto them indefinitely because I like seeing a pile of unbuilt LEGO boxes in my room lol. 
    jesirosevwong19
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    although technically reselling, i wouldn't even say parts sellers are resellers as they are fundamentally changing the product.

    im not sure where the light, happiness, rainbows and unicorns were with those flipping minecraft sets to parents at christmas.  ;)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    @cheshirecat , I see your point, but there are many times when I am looking for parts on Bricklink and I stumble upon someone that has 60 Blue Train bases or 30 instructions for Fire Brigade. How is buying 30 sets to part out and 30 sets to sell on later any different other than the business model? The set seller prices and individual part seller prices go hand n hand. If there is a rare part or minifigure in a set, that affects both the price of the of the set and the individual parts and minifigures. 
    madforLEGO
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    The "Minecraft" quick flipping fiasco is no different than the  "Ticke Me Elmo, Zhu Zhu Pet, Cabbage Patch Kid" Holiday  Madness that happens almost every Christmas. I think parents expect this to happen every holiday season now. It really sucks, but there is really nothing anyone can do other than to make more to match demand or put a limit on how many you can purchase. We all know purchasing limits are certainty always circumvented. Who do you blame? The manufacturer that grossly underestimates demand, the resellers that buy up whatever product there is to quick flip, the retailer that breaks the street date on popular items and doesn't stick to purchasing limit rules, the employees that have back of store dealings with resellers or the parents that have the money to pay 3x the retail price for a limited product because they can? There is plenty of blame to go around. Each instance has a symbiotic relationship with the other.
    madforLEGOYodaliciousdougtsSumoLegogmonkey76
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited August 2015
    ^ It is possible to walk past an in demand toy and not think, i know I'll buy that for RRP and then sell it for 4xRRP tomorrow. Most bricksetters probably did. It's called not being a ~insert suitable word here~ Those people that are on the breadline, i can understand it. But there were people on this board talking about how many minecraft sets they bought who had very good jobs. I'm no angel but I try not to take advantage of people at every opportunity, and that's all those people were doing. It wasn't clever, it doesn't suggest any great intelligence.
    libelulex
  • YodaliciousYodalicious DagobahMember Posts: 1,366

    ^ You are not taking advantage of someone that has no obligation whatsoever to purchase whatever it is you're selling. Sorry, but you aren't. The people that paid $1500 for a Nintendo Wii on the secondary market because they NEEDED their kids to have it under the tree on Xmas morning made that decision completely on their own. That was their choice. They also had the choice to wait for a few weeks to get it at retail price. You can't take advantage of someone that has a choice in the matter.

    That may just be my opinion, but it bugs me when people who sell something are blamed, but those that chose to purchase it are deemed acceptable. And I'm not even a reseller...of anything, ever. The secondary market isn't how much someone prices something for, it's how much someone is willing to pay for it. That's why for years sports card price guides were just that...A GUIDE. Unless you actually get someone to pay $50 for your card, it isn't actually worth $50. The buyer that chose to pay $50 made that choice.

    We are talking about a toy and/or a collectible. Not the ability to buy food for our families.

    dougtsMasterBeefyryjaymadforLEGO
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    ^I think I am not making myself clear. I am not defending the actions taken by the few that put a sour taste in everyone's mouth. I think such actions deplorable to say the least. I just don't think that these type of people should be lumped in with casual resellers, people that sell off part of their collection to make room or because of an emergency. There are certain people that paint all resellers with a broad brush and there is no convincing them that all resellers are not evil.
    jonboy2000MasterBeefymadforLEGO
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    if a company so drastically underproduces an item, whether intentionally or because of flawed production scheduling or sales forecasts , there WILL be quick flipping.  As long as idiots exist who are willing to pay the markup rather than wait, there will be willing flippers looking to make money 

    the buyers create the existence of the market to begin with.  If idiots stopped paying above retail and just waited, quick flippers would cease to exist 
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    And yes, I used that word intentionally. That's my opinion of people willing to buy these types of things.  Either that or obscenely wealthy 
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
     Those people that are on the breadline, i can understand it. But there were people on this board talking about how many minecraft sets they bought who had very good jobs. 
    Sorry, I'm not buying into relative morality.  Quick flipping is either wrong or it isn't.  The financial circumstances or the internal motives of the flipper are immaterial.  Both flippers have the exact same impact on the marketplace
    MasterBeefy
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    ^I also do not buy that there are "poor" people buying x number of Minecraft sets or whatever to quick flip.
    dougts
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    edited August 2015
    I don't believe there are either, but relative morality should come in to it. Similarly I would say a banker dodging a rail fare is worse than someone who is homeless doing so, or a TV chef shoplifting at tescos is worse than a single parent. But that's subjective, but just how I see it. Similarly a judge or politician caught speeding, or drink driving is worse than your average offender. In my eyes, yet the offense is the same.

    And yes you need an idiot who's willing to pay 3xRRP and you also need an arsehole wanting to take advantage of them. Well done, you used all your wit and cunning to take advantage of an idiot. Give yourself a cookie.

    And that's all related to exploitative reselling along the lines of minecraft sets rather than the others pitfall mentioned.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,011
    ^ I like cookies.
    kiki180703gmonkey76nychromastonemithridate
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 936
    With the extra money you just made from selling that set, you can buy yourself LOTS of cookies...
  • wayneggwaynegg Texas,USAMember Posts: 394
    edited August 2015
    Pitfall69 said:
    ^I also do not buy that there are "poor" people buying x number of Minecraft sets or whatever to quick flip.
    It happens. When I was a struggling single dad with the sole charge of 2 young children (and no child support, because while the dad may be the most fit parent it's ludicrous to think the mom should have to pay like fathers do /sarcasm), I saw the opportunity Tickle Me Elmo presented. I had an in to buy six of them at retail and so blew my entire Christmas budget plus some of my bill money on those dolls. They were immediately listed on ebay and I averaged a little over $6,000 a piece on the free market. After adding the money back from whence it came, I started two college funds that my children would be able to have opportunity I could only wish for. Now they're both educated adults with far fewer boundaries to success than their old man. 

    Every time I see this type of thread and read the hateful comments some people have for those reselling a high demand toy, my blood boils a bit. In a very personal way it's as if those bashing on people who resell would have me feel guilty or ashamed of using the means which were accessible to me to lift my family up in a very real way which will last for generations to come. Well, I wont. 

    And you know, the funny thing is- those who complain the loudest often feed into inflating the secondary market more than anyone else. Which is why they complain in the first place as its directly impacting their liquid assets. But nobody is "making" you pay more for something. You can always choose to wait for a cheaper price or, and I know this is going to sound absurd, pass on it all together because it doesn't fit within your fiscal budget.

    dougtsblack_towrDedgeckopharmjodGurooojonboy2000mithridate
  • CircleKCircleK U.S. - Columbus, OhioMember Posts: 1,055
    waynegg said:
    Pitfall69 said:
    ^I also do not buy that there are "poor" people buying x number of Minecraft sets or whatever to quick flip.
    It happens. When I was a struggling single dad with the sole charge of 2 young children (and no child support, because while the dad may be the most fit parent it's ludicrous to think the mom should have to pay like fathers do /sarcasm), I saw the opportunity Tickle Me Elmo presented. I had an in to buy six of them at retail and so blew my entire Christmas budget plus some of my bill money on those dolls. They were immediately listed on ebay and I averaged a little over $6,000 a piece on the free market. After adding the money back from whence it came, I started two college funds that my children would be able to have opportunity I could only wish for. Now they're both educated adults with far fewer boundaries to success than their old man. 

    Every time I see this type of thread and read the hateful comments some people have for those reselling a high demand toy, my blood boils a bit. In a very personal way it's as if those bashing on people who resell would have me feel guilty or ashamed of using the means which were accessible to me to lift my family up in a very real way which will last for generations to come. Well, I wont. 

    And you know, the funny thing is- those who complain the loudest often feed into inflating the secondary market more than anyone else. Which is why they complain in the first place as its directly impacting their liquid assets. But nobody is "making" you pay more for something. You can always choose to wait for a cheaper price or, and I know this is going to sound absurd, pass on it all together because it doesn't fit within your fiscal budget.


    $6,000 a piece?!?!?!

    I sold two for 300 each and thought I was a rockstar. Dammit. 
    wayneggkiki180703pharmjod
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    edited August 2015
    And yes you need an idiot who's willing to pay 3xRRP and you also need an arsehole wanting to take advantage of them. Well done, you used all your wit and cunning to take advantage of an idiot. Give yourself a cookie.
    Point being, the arsehole has ZERO ability to create a quick flip market.  ZERO.  Only the idiot can do so.

    also, I don't think you could describe the action as in any way "taking advantage of". The idiot walked into the deal eyes wide open. They aren't such an idiot as to not know the RRP
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    cheshirecat said:
    I don't believe there are either, but relative morality should come in to it. 
    I think we will have to agree to disagree on this point.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,011
    I got $1000 a piece for mine.  We're talking about the 1997 Tickle Me Elmo, right?

    $6000 is ridiculous!
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,188
    $6000 for an Elmo? That is some disposable income from the buyer.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    edited August 2015
    Let's be honest $1000  is ridiculous too

     I think another point often lost in the quick flip debate is inventory reallocation.  Often times certain areas or stores or regions they have enough supply and others have a large demand with no supply available   Flippers are able to acquire product in one market and move it individually to buyers in other markets

     so in a sense they are fulfilling a market need that the retail supply chain isn't really set up to handle. I'm not saying this outweighs  or even lessens the downsides to the practice but it is another angle that isn't often discussed
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,011
    My two Elmos bought me a new engine for a '72 Chevelle.  I was a very happy seventeen year old.

    I still have one stored in my basement that I bought after Christmas the following year.  (Along with Tickle Me Cookie Monster.)
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,011
    ^  That is precisely what the issue is, plus once people think that's the 'it' toy, then droves of sheep 'need' to get it.

    They make that joke in Toy Story 2 about the supply deficiencies of Buzz Lightyear toys in 1995.



    I think I have a Tamagouchi still floating aroundy house.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,322
    edited August 2015
    I have no beefs with resellers.... but there are a lot of buyers out there that prove P.T. Barnum right.... there is a fool born every minute....

    http://www.bustle.com/articles/48471-what-are-tickle-me-elmo-dolls-worth-now-we-found-out-what-your-favorite-80s-and

    But some resellers or "investors" aren't exactly immune to this concept either..... 
    http://www.businessinsider.com/family-spends-100000-on-beanie-babies-2013-7

    I think that sooner or later there WILL be a LEGO bubble bursting.... especially when CMFs are being cranked out by the millions in 3 shifts in factories in China.  But a lot of LEGO "builders" won't care....

    TechnicNick
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446

    ash.jpg 18.3K
    SumoLegodougtskiki180703Dedgeckochuckp
  • wayneggwaynegg Texas,USAMember Posts: 394
    SumoLego said:
    I got $1000 a piece for mine.  We're talking about the 1997 Tickle Me Elmo, right?

    $6000 is ridiculous!
    Yep. And yeah. I thought it was ridiculous too, but I saw several go for more as it got closer and closer to Christmas. 
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,011
    Hmm.

    I'm definitely not a chinese jet pilot.
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,592
    Istokg said:
    But some resellers or "investors" aren't exactly immune to this concept either..... 
    http://www.businessinsider.com/family-spends-100000-on-beanie-babies-2013-7

    lol. they had way too much money to spend anyway.

    and wait, 100,000$ wasn't enough for their kids to attend college?

    kiki180703
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    When would "quick flipping" ever be considered wrong?   Maybe if the items were stolen and then fenced quickly on the streets, but if someone bought the set and chose to sell, and had buyers, it is a win-win.
  • sstoroesstoroe Member Posts: 156
    I honestly think even with all of the hype, that buying lego as an investment is going to be silly in the long run.  I buy what I like and if I really like the set, I will buy two. One to build and one to keep in the box.  I really like the box art.   Sometimes, the temptation it too great to sell it as in the case of Market Street.  That set was spectacular when it came out, but them after the other modulars were created, I did not even bother building it.  I left it on a shelf until I saw that someone would pay 1100 -1200 for it.  And I thought I can buy a lot of minifigures for that and it was gone.  :)  However, I am pretty sure that the ideas sets, BTTF, Ghostbusters and BBT will all go up in value, but I cannot see buying 20 or 100 of those as I am sure about 2000 other people already thought of this.  Also, I cannot even begin to think about telling my wife that she needs to look at 200 Ghostbuster sets in our basement.  :) 
    kiki180703jesiroseDedgeckomithridate
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited August 2015
    sstoroe said:
    I honestly think even with all of the hype, that buying lego as an investment is going to be silly in the long run.
    I get you may have some preconceived notions about what it means to invest in Lego, but you clearly don't have experience with Lego being part of your portfolio.  Any modern day investment strategy would be diversified (and have those diversifications also be diversified), having a percentage of the entire catalog being commodities (gold, natural gas, oil, Lego, etc.) is a key aspect.

    Let's take your Ghostbusters example.  If you buy one at full price with 5% tax, that's $52.49.  Assuming a few things: you hold it for a year, shipping is a wash, your time, storage and shipping materials are negligible and 30% overall income tax.  If it sells for $70, with 15% fees, you net $59.50, minus $2.85 tax = $56.65.  That equates to a 19% annual pre-tax return, and 13% after tax, which is...good, to say the least.

    Yes, there are MANY sliders there.  I really think I set the sell price too low (it likely will be higher).  The taxes might be too high.  The hold time might be more than a year.  Play with it all you want.  For my personal situation, after EVERYTHING (including all the negligible things I mentioned earlier) in real-life, accounting for all the sets that are diamonds and all the ones that are dogs, I have seen an after-tax revenue of about 40% APR for the past 4 years.  I put in $1 into the machine and I get $1.40 out that goes right into my pocket.

    At the end of the day, you need to be intelligent, choosy and able to know how much is too much.  This Game of Lego does not suffer fools.  If your wife would choke on hypothetical Ghostbusters sets in your basement, you're not doing a very good job of showing her the numbers.
  • FuddruckusFuddruckus Member Posts: 38
    I bought two Santa's Workshops last fall, one for my younger sister and one for my son when he's older.  While on eBay looking for other Winter Village sets for my son (and am glad I can get a Toy Shop for $80 instead of $240), I saw people were paying double RRP for Santa houses.  I noticed Lego.com said "we expect to have more in stock in February," so I listed the two I had on eBay.  I ended up making a total profit of $120, which went toward the purchase of two new ones in February.  I wasn't intentionally quick flipping.  I was being smart, and ended up getting rewarded for reading "available in February" and not "having to have this exact thing for Christmas 2014."
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