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Is My Used Lego Worth Anything? Junk or not Junk?

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Used Lego is unlike other collectibles in that it always has some value, regardless of rarity or condition. However, it may not be worth the time and shipping necessary to get rid of it.

Lego

The Lego Difference

The truly great part of Lego is that most pieces are interchangeable. Even if several blocks from a set are missing or damaged, a Lego enthusiast can put sets back together by collecting different parts. There are actually several professional Lego brokers, like The Plastic Brick, who buy any used sets and bricks, and reconstitute sets from them. There is also a thriving Lego trade on eBay. You can also sell it on Kijiji. Toronto is a big enough city that Lego moves fairly quickly on Kijiji.

Lego is also different from other collectibles because collectors still want to play with it. Very few collectors keep Lego in its original packaging (what’s the point?). Because of this, Lego does not decline greatly in value if it is opened or slightly used. Most collectors just want it to be in good enough condition to build.

Lego Value

Along the same lines, Lego values work very differently from other collectibles. Other collectibles tend to become more valuable with age, as the number of available items decreases. However, since most collectors collect Lego for fun, age is not nearly as important as fun. In fact, the most valuable sets are newer Star Wars sets that include minifigures, as opposed to decades-old house-building sets. In general, cute, fun, pop-culture-referencing sets with lots of minifigures are much the most valuable available.

Steps for Preparing your Collection for Assessment

  1. Rebuild all sets according to their instructions, as well as possible. Try to include at least 80% of the original pieces, including minifigures.
  2. Look at the remaining pile. Separate out any mechanical pieces: gears, crankshafts, motors, and batteries. Put any potential e-waste in a bag by itself, and other mechanical pieces in another bag.
  3. Separate out any unique “base” pieces. The bases are necessary for many sets and are generally more valuable.
  4. Separate out the remaining minifigures. Minifigures are worth quite a bit, and can be sold without any other Lego pieces. Try to include appropriate props for each minifigure, like weapons ,hats, tools, etc. Minifigures are best to sell in thematic sets. Group your minifigs by the “world” from which they came.
  5. Weigh the remaining Lego. Miscellaneous Lego typically sells for about $12 a kilogram.

Be Realistic

No-one likes throwing away something they love, but sometimes your Lego will not be worth the price to ship it. Even worse, it may not be worth the opportunity cost of your time to sort and sell it. Junk removal companies can take it from your home for much cheaper and dispose of any e-waste.

Written June 15, 2014 by Christopher Luciano

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