With three boys in my house, we’ve accumulated a lot of LEGOs over the years. I’m not complaining, mind you, as building with the small, interlocking colorful blocks not only entertained my sons for hours at a time when they were young but also taught them problem-solving skills, introduced them to the basics of physics, and sparked their creative imaginations.
Sadly, however, when they got to be teenagers their interest waned and three huge bins filled with the bricks just sat in the corner of their closet, taking us space. So in the summer of 2012, I made a big decision—it was time to offer those LEGOs a new home. In a true light bulb moment, I decided to try and sell them on ebay.
And why not? In the past, we had plenty of luck selling old toys, sporting goods, and baby equipment on the online auction site but we were downright shocked when Spider-Man 2 Doc Ock’s Fusion Lab 4857 that we had purchased for $20 in 2004 received more than 300 views and sold for a whopping $56. Allow me to do the math. In just eight years, the set appreciated 180 percent. (Current price on Amazon is $149.75!)
But Spidey and his nemesis wasn’t the only set that sold for some serious cash. The Make and Create Designer Set Wild Hunters 4884, a menagerie of African animals, retailed for $30 in 2005 and sold for $46 on eBay, a 53 percent gain.
What the heck was going on? Curious, I hit the Internet to do a little research. It seems selling LEGOs online is big business. Although you can sell bricks by the pound and mini figures individually, it’s the complete set with intact directions that can really bring in the big bucks.
From collectors to moms just looking to get a good deal, people still love LEGOs! And selling your kids’ old LEGO collection makes good business sense. If you’d like to cash in, here are a few tips to follow.
Organize all your LEGO bricks.
Since we had thousands of LEGO bricks, I honestly didn’t know how to begin the process of selling them. So I had my boys sort through all their LEGO bricks, putting them into categories—plates in one pile, mini figures in another, wheels in a third, and so forth. It took all day but it not only made it easier and faster to locate specific bricks when building an individual set but more enjoyable as well.
Find the direction booklet.
Sure, you can sell a LEGO set without the directions as most are available as PDF files on the Internet. But including the original direction booklet in your sale increases interest as well as the overall value.
Besides letting your twins have one last hurrah before putting it up for sale, building the set is the only way to ensure that it’s complete. Are all the mini figures included? Are all the bricks genuine LEGO parts and in good shape?
Photograph the completed set.
Now get out the camera and snap some pictures including several clear and sharp close ups (especially of the mini figures). Don’t take the easy way out by photographing the pile of bricks on the floor. Sellers who photograph completely built sets get more money for their items on average than those who don’t.
Write an accurate description.
When posting it online on eBay, take the time and look at how others write their LEGO listings. You will find that the more detailed the description, the more action the auction will receive. Be sure to include the set’s full name and product number. Is the box included? What shape is the direction booklet in? Any pages missing or torn? If some of the bricks are scuffed or chipped, let the buyer know.
Price the opening bid low.
This was a tough sell to my son who thought if we began the opening price higher, we’d get more money. But in online bidding, the opposite is often true. Low opening bids often attract way more interest and usually drive up the price.
Have realistic expectations.
Popular sets like LEGO Star Wars, Harry Potter, anything with pirates or Super Heroes will get top dollar. For all other sets, figure on getting anywhere between 30 and 60 percent of retail, depending on its popularity and its current condition.
Think ahead to the future.
Sets that contain the original box sell for quite a bit more than those without. (If we had only known I would have stored them in my garage!) Same goes for direction booklets in pristine condition. Teach your children to take good care of their toys and their toys will someday take good care of them! From now on, put all LEGO directions in a file folder for safe keeping. And to make it easier to resell, store single sets in individual plastic containers or baggies.