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Opening sealed antique sets - wonderful or painful ?


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#1 drdavewatford

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:11 PM

I have a sealed 7191 UCS X-wing set. I bought it almost 10 years ago in a sale, put it away, forgot I had it, and recently rediscovered it at the top of a wardrobe.

Thing is, while I'd now like to build it, I'm sweating at the thought of breaking the seals on a mint "antique" set !

My wife says I should keep it sealed as a collectors item and go buy another (unboxed) set on eBay and build that instead, but this seems a bit extreme......

Am I alone in feeling pain at the prospect of opening a sealed old set ?

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#2 soc399

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:49 PM

According to the Bricklink price guide, you will lose at least 50% of the value by opening it.  On the other hand, it will cost you a minimum of $200 to get the set on Bricklink, although it might be cheaper on eBay.  I bet the stickers are one of the big reasons why the new set commands such a premium, so keeping those on the sheet and in mint condition will probably increase the value.  I have a few new sets still sitting around in the box, so I understand the desire to keep them mint, but I say open it.  Lego is meant to be built, and a complete set with instructions, stickers, and box will still be a valuable collector's item.

#3 Bman_145

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:50 PM

Im not one for keeping things in boxes. It's your set, and was meant to play with. Who cares what "value" this set might hold in its market.

The real decision is do you want to look at a box for the rest of your life, do you want to make a slight profit on this item, or do you want to play with the toy you bought years ago?

It's a tough call, but my vote is to open the thing and have fun!

#4 Athos

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:55 PM

Well an opened/used one appears to be going for between $200 and $300 on bricklink. The new/MISB? are going for about $450 to $700. I'm deliberately leaving out the outrageously priced ones at around $1,400... A new one sold for $450 this month. 4 new ones sold in the last month for an average price of $488...

So I'd probably hold onto it. Or put it on bricklink and try to sell it. If you get the average price you'll still have got a 300% return on the MSRP.

Go out and buy an MMV...

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#5 CP5670

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:58 PM

I buy old MISB sets off ebay all the time due to their perfect brick quality, but have no qualms about opening them. In fact, the first thing I do when I receive them is to open the seal and straighten out any crumpled manuals and catalogs inside (in the 7191 set you mentioned, it is quite likely that they will be in this state). I often leave the sets in storage due to space constraints on my display shelves, but intend to build them in the future.

There is a long thread in the Pirates forum about this issue that you might want to read.

#6 Captain Green Hair

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 10:03 PM

Open it up, build it and swoosh it like Kimt does! :grin:

I see no reason to keep Lego in a box, it's ment to build and play with so that's what i'd do.
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#7 5150 Lego

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 10:05 PM

View PostBman_145, on Feb 19 2009, 09:50 PM, said:

Im not one for keeping things in boxes. It's your set, and was meant to play with. Who cares what "value" this set might hold in its market.

The real decision is do you want to look at a box for the rest of your life, do you want to make a slight profit on this item, or do you want to play with the toy you bought years ago?

It's a tough call, but my vote is to open the thing and have fun!

I'm with Bman 110% on this. personally, i never quite understood buying a set then putting it away for years in hope it will one day turn a profit. I say "hope" because nothing is garranteed. The worlds economyis not at its greatest right now. There's nothing to say that somthing could possible happen (Major disaster, war, colaping economy etc) that would drasticly drop the value of said set. Heck, lego could decide to release 2 more up to date versions whitch would also hurt the value. What happens then? Your just left with a box of bricks to look at. Anyways, there's no garrantee when you would sell it either.

There are quite a few MIB that have been trying to seell on brickshelf for years. one seller i was talking to had a MIB 4884 techinc super car. Market for this was (and might stil be) around $400 USD. Problem is he's had this selling now for over 5 years with no biters.

I say open it up, buil it and enjoy it! You don't have to play with it or anything. Build a glass box for it to be displayed in and sit it on your coffee table if you like. let others enjoy your hobby, and you never know, you might even meet a fellow LEGO collector that you invited in for coffee and cake!
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#8 drdavewatford

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 10:42 PM

Thanks - some excellent responses already ! I think I will probably build my X-wing, just like I recently bought a MISB Imperial Star Destroyer off eBay, unsealed it and built it. Opening the ISD caused me less pain because it's a newer and less rare set.

Incidentally, is MMV "Medieval Market Villiage" ? That's a great set, but I just started to build "Green Grocer", and then it's "Cafe Corner" next..... Maybe MMV later in the year.

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#9 brickzone

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:16 PM

I guess you could consider selling the sealed one and buying a good condition used one if the price difference was sufficiently significant.

#10 Fluyt

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:31 PM

I'd suggest you sell yours and buy a new (not misb) one with the money. You buy a used one for about 225$, you bought yours for let's say 150$ (probably less since you bought it on sale), so you're down max. 375$, you'll maybe sell your misb one for like 475$ (not sure how the demand is on misb sets, so they're just estimates, probably a bit of a low guess, judging by the BL prices), you get get a profit of a 100$ (probably more) and you got the set for free basically.
I don't care much for misb sets, I open mine, but if I somehow had an expensive misb set, I'd do it this way. I mean you'll open it anyways, so why not buy a used one and make a few bucks while you sell your misb one.

Edited by Fluyt, 19 February 2009 - 11:35 PM.


#11 Dadster

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:42 PM

I'd sell it and buy a used one if you really, really want to build it.  But do you really?  

Or is it the fact that you've got a Lego set unopened and you want some serious play time?!  




Sometimes...sometimes the sets in the store talk to me.  Just the barest of whispers, mind you, but they're just begging to be bought and built!!  Oops - did I just say that outloud?


#12 CP5670

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:43 PM

View PostFluyt, on Feb 19 2009, 06:31 PM, said:

you get get a profit of a 100$ (probably more) and you got the set for free basically.

That depends on how particular you are about brick quality. The condition of a used set can be highly variable unless it is specifically advertised as a built-once display model, and even in that case there may be some yellowing on a largely white set like this X-wing, if the previous owner has not taken precautions against that.

I personally see no inherent value in MISB sets, but the guaranteed perfect quality of the pieces is worth the price premium to me in most cases. I often end up noticing a lot of small flaws in used sets when I buy them, which takes away some of the fun of the building for me. :tongue:

That being said, UCS and Model Team sets are more likely to have been display models than sets from any other theme, so the gamble may be worth taking for those particular themes.

Edited by CP5670, 19 February 2009 - 11:43 PM.


#13 Buttons

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:31 AM

If a 10 year old set is antique then what do you called a 50 year old set?
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#14 The Green Brick Giant

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:43 AM

I'd sell it and then with the money buy a used one.

#15 Athos

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 01:07 AM

View PostThe Green Brick Giant, on Feb 20 2009, 01:43 AM, said:

I'd sell it and then with the money buy a used one.

That's a nice way to split the difference...

Steve

#16 Capt. Kirk

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 01:18 AM

View PostButtons, on Feb 20 2009, 01:31 AM, said:

If a 10 year old set is antique then what do you called a 50 year old set?

Prehistoric...  :wink:

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#17 Algernon

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 02:11 AM

I don't think I've ever OWNED an antique set MISB. WAY too pricey.

#18 The Who

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 02:11 AM

View PostButtons, on Feb 20 2009, 01:31 AM, said:

If a 10 year old set is antique then what do you called a 50 year old set?

Artifact......Or a box of plastic--Special Plastic.  :wink:

Anyway, I hate leaving boxes unopened. Especially old ones. Or rare ones.

I just bought Watto's Junkyard last year, and, though the box was slightly torn, I just sliced the seals and built it along with the Bounty Hunter Pursuit.
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#19 xenologer

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 05:36 AM

I open everything I buy.
Consider that bricks built 50years ago are still completely compatible with those made today.
(color and cotroversial quality issues aside) they are still the same toy. In fact I'll often rebuild old sets using online instructions and parts on hand.
With that in mind, I see no special value in an old set being MISB and actually hate the way prices inflate so senselessly.
The only possible benefit of a MISB box is the convenience of not having to bricklink for that 1 last missing brick...

Really, how silly is it? People trading MISB boxes back and forth for higher and higher values; but if it never gets opened and played with you may as well be owning just a cardboard box, its worthless as LEGO in such a state.

Go ahead and open yours.

#20 Algernon

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:02 AM

View Postxenologer, on Feb 20 2009, 05:36 AM, said:

Really, how silly is it? People trading MISB boxes back and forth for higher and higher values; but if it never gets opened and played with you may as well be owning just a cardboard box, its worthless as LEGO in such a state.
It's not worthless: you can wait two years and sell it for a profit!  :grin:

#21 CP5670

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:27 AM

Of course, the question is how much of a profit you would make, and whether you could invest your money into something else and do better. You have to also factor in the time involved in buying the set, and later in listing and shipping the item over ebay. I would rarely find it worth the hassle when you consider all that, but there are some people who run full-time businesses just buying and selling old sets on ebay and make a living that way.

The appreciation in value varies a lot among sets. There are late 1990s sets for which unopened copies still sell for around their original MSRP, and there are other sets that have doubled in value in just three or four years. It can often be hard to predict how this will turn out, and it does not always reflect people's opinions of the set.

#22 simonwillems

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 11:56 AM

Well, this is quite an interesting topic.
In the process of collecting Lego I have bougt some really cheap MISB sets off my favourite online Dutch marketplace from sellers that were unaware of the collector's values of things. So I have about 10-15 MISB sets ranging from 1988 - 1997.
While I love building old sets I try to find used copies of them (with box and instructions) to later sell the MISB ones. This idea can be a solution, only thing is: the sealed sets I have are so rare (like the 1788 pirate set for example) that there are no replacement sets to be found in the state I like them to be....
So that leaves me with boxes to look at instead of build sets....

I recently succeeded in buying a used copy of set 2140 and put the sealed one on the market, but it was not really easy to sell it for the price I desired so that in the end I traded it with somebody for a 10193 Medieval Market Village, which I thought to be a good trade.

But the best thing still, is to open the sets you have and do the things with it Lego intended us all to do with bricks.

#23 legotrainfan

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:11 PM

Oh, that MISB-thing is really a difficult question to answer! Well, I myself have a handful of MISB sets, but not any special or really expensive sets. I keep them in MISB condition because I'm running out of space and have nowhere to put them. I do open sets that are in production right now, and even though they are big, I open them and put them somewhere. Really paradoxical since I said I was running out of space. Well, the difference is: the small sets are old ones and the others new ones. But I think I'll open the old ones sooner or later. Keep them in MISB condition when you are going to sell them, because you'll make more profit when the bricks are untouched. I myself often prefer buying older MISB sets because then I know those sets are complete and all the bricks are in perfect condition without any broken or discoloured pieces. Another question you have to ask yourself: If you decide not to open the set, how long do you want to keep it sealed? I mean no one lives forever, and maybe your grandchild will have the pleasure of opening it; a pleasure you denied yourself.

Edited by legotrainfan, 20 February 2009 - 08:34 PM.

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#24 TLV

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 04:54 PM

This MISB problem came along when I had too little time and too much lego. I have several MISB set from the legends series that I never got around to open. Now they are worth so much that I would never dare open them. My rationale is simple, I could easily trade or sell that rare MISB set for something bigger and better, like say my black falcons fortress for a medieval market village hopefully.

Of course, I wish I had opened them in the past when I first bought them, so that they will give me hours of fun, but now that so much time has past, I feel its too late and I'd much rather make use of the inherent value of MISB sets to get me even more lego.

#25 Captain Green Hair

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:13 PM

BTW, the most painfull thing is when you have put on clean socks in the morning and then step into something wet in the bathroom, that's painfull. :tongue:
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