Mister_Loki

What are some advice you would give to a new AFOL LEGO Collector?

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These last two months i finally started getting into collecting LEGO again and I've been wondering what would be your advice in regards to collecting/purchasing LEGO. What are some well known strategies or in general things people should know about? I'm asking this since I want to get the most out of my money/experience while employing some common knowledge one should know while purchasing/collecting sets from the LEGO store directly or online for older ones like on bricklink. Any advice is appreciated!

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  1. Pace yourself and curb your desire to have everything, or even a "complete" collection of *anything*.
  2. The best places to look for used sets are eBay and Bricklink.  The worst is Amazon.
  3. It's chancy and takes a lot of time and effort, but you can sometimes get amazing old sets for really cheap in an eBay bulk lot, a yard sale, or a thrift store/flea market/etc.
  4. It is rarely cheaper to piece together an old set by buying individual parts directly from Bricklink than to just buy the complete set used on eBay or Bricklink.
  5. Lego's VIP program is roughly equivalent to a 5% discount.  You can often get a 20% discount on Amazon for new sets if you're patient, but that only applies to sets that aren't sold exclusively by Lego itself.
  6. The price threshold for good Gifts With Purchase when buying directly from Lego used to be about $85 USD, now it's about $150.
  7. See point #1.

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What is your aim?

  • Build a parts bank to build your own creations
  • Collect Childhood desires, those sets you had and sold on or could never get as a child
  • Collect newly released sets for display
  • Purchase as an investment to sell on in the future
  • Collect a certain theme (or themes)

Once I know the starting point, I can help :classic:

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  • Set a goal, if MOCing, or just displaying, it can have different buying strategy, buying parts, sets, or figures/animals etc.
  • If just collecting, stick to 1-2 themes you really like,or just be very selective in sets, can also apply to MOCs, like spaceship parts tend to be very different from Castles.
  • LEGO keeps pushing out UCS Star Wars, Modular Buildings, Fairground Rides, Expert Cars, Technic Supercars etc , can add up expensive over time if you want to collect them all each time.

 

Edited by TeriXeri

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6 minutes ago, Peppermint_M said:

What is your aim?

  • Build a parts bank to build your own creations
  • Collect Childhood desires, those sets you had and sold on or could never get as a child
  • Collect newly released sets for display
  • Purchase as an investment to sell on in the future
  • Collect a certain theme (or themes)

Once I know the starting point, I can help :classic:

Well my main aim is just collecting sets that look cool to me or have minifigures I want, also want to get some old sets that are not available anymore sometime in the future. So I guess points 2, semi 3 and 5.

11 minutes ago, icm said:
  1. Pace yourself and curb your desire to have everything, or even a "complete" collection of *anything*.
  2. The best places to look for used sets are eBay and Bricklink.  The worst is Amazon.
  3. It's chancy and takes a lot of time and effort, but you can sometimes get amazing old sets for really cheap in an eBay bulk lot, a yard sale, or a thrift store/flea market/etc.
  4. It is rarely cheaper to piece together an old set by buying individual parts directly from Bricklink than to just buy the complete set used on eBay or Bricklink.
  5. Lego's VIP program is roughly equivalent to a 5% discount.  You can often get a 20% discount on Amazon for new sets if you're patient, but that only applies to sets that aren't sold exclusively by Lego itself.
  6. The price threshold for good Gifts With Purchase when buying directly from Lego used to be about $85 USD, now it's about $150.
  7. See point #1.

Pacing is definitely one thing I should control, don't want to be the guy that gets every set in a theme at once. My strategy right now is to buy multiple sets that I want for the same price I would have purchased a larger one so I get more pieces and minifigures for my money. Last month I bought the 2021 Imperial Shuttle and for the same price I'll be getting myself multiple sets, so for now this is my best strategy for getting some things I want without going overboard. Have to be careful of how much i spend.

Edited by Mister_Loki

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54 minutes ago, Mister_Loki said:

Have to be careful of how much i spend.

Any thoughts about building or MOCing experiences or is this just about capitalizing?

Best,
Thorsten

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31 minutes ago, Toastie said:

Any thoughts about building or MOCing experiences or is this just about capitalizing?

Best,
Thorsten

I'm guessing (Correct me if I am wrong) by capitalizing you mean just casually collecting in general, then yes. Don't wanna start doing MOCs just yet. Probably in the future, but for now just wanna focus on purchasing sets that are cool or have minifigures I want like I mentioned above.

Edited by Mister_Loki

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Well collecting to build is entirely different than collecting to resell for profit. As such advice for one way is different than the other. Unclear on which one you are interested in? Either way it never hurts to shop around for good deals, yet hold onto your cash, even if you really want a set but the price is to high.

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If you don't want to overspend, then check sold prices for old sets on bricklink before buying. Then have a look to see if there is anything new and similar and compare the prices. There is no point overpaying for an old set if there is a modern equivalent that fits in with your collecting goals. Whereas if the old set is cheap compared to the modern one, then go for the older one if it still meets your goals.

If you are after expensive minifigures, do you have to have the official one or would anything that looks just as good and still made of LEGO fit? Some minifigures have one part that is very expensive, but more reasonable prices for the rest of the parts. If you have a slightly different expression on the face, for example, does it matter?

On 6/9/2022 at 9:46 PM, Mister_Loki said:

Pacing is definitely one thing I should control, don't want to be the guy that gets every set in a theme at once. My strategy right now is to buy multiple sets that I want for the same price I would have purchased a larger one so I get more pieces and minifigures for my money. Last month I bought the 2021 Imperial Shuttle and for the same price I'll be getting myself multiple sets, so for now this is my best strategy for getting some things I want without going overboard. Have to be careful of how much i spend.

This strategy depends on when you are buying. If you are going to be buying them close to retirement but cannot buy everything you want, it is often better to buy the big set at retail and the smaller sets after retirement from a reseller. Especially if the big set is an exclusive to one store. The reason is smaller sets tend to be available from multiple sources and so may have discounts during their retail life, and will also tend to be bought by more resellers so there is likely to be more competition on the secondary market. Whereas bigger, exclusive sets tend to be bought for investment at or near RRP with less of them on the secondary market and so the reseller wants a decent return on those ones.

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1 hour ago, MAB said:

If you don't want to overspend, then check sold prices for old sets on bricklink before buying. Then have a look to see if there is anything new and similar and compare the prices. There is no point overpaying for an old set if there is a modern equivalent that fits in with your collecting goals. Whereas if the old set is cheap compared to the modern one, then go for the older one if it still meets your goals.

If you are after expensive minifigures, do you have to have the official one or would anything that looks just as good and still made of LEGO fit? Some minifigures have one part that is very expensive, but more reasonable prices for the rest of the parts. If you have a slightly different expression on the face, for example, does it matter?

This strategy depends on when you are buying. If you are going to be buying them close to retirement but cannot buy everything you want, it is often better to buy the big set at retail and the smaller sets after retirement from a reseller. Especially if the big set is an exclusive to one store. The reason is smaller sets tend to be available from multiple sources and so may have discounts during their retail life, and will also tend to be bought by more resellers so there is likely to be more competition on the secondary market. Whereas bigger, exclusive sets tend to be bought for investment at or near RRP with less of them on the secondary market and so the reseller wants a decent return on those ones.

The thing is, I don't really care whether a set is close to retirement, i am a want it sooner than later type of person if the set in particular interests me. What I mean by that, and what I mentioned a few times in this thread already is that if the set has minifigures I want and a nice build(s) while also having a good price to piece ratio that's a win in my book. Thanks for the advice on old sets, but I don't think I'll tredge those waters anytime soon, not in a rush to get old sets through bricklink or ebay rn ngl. I'll stick to local or nearby sellers in my country for older sets if someone is selling a set i'd want by chance.

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1 hour ago, Mister_Loki said:

The thing is, I don't really care whether a set is close to retirement

If your budget is limited, then you should do. If there are a few sets that you are interested in buying, then you should prioritise buying the ones likely to retire first. Otherwise, if you buy one that has just be released instead of one about to retire then, in a year's time, the retired one will probably cost you significantly more whereas the one you bought will still be available for the same price.

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18 hours ago, MAB said:

If your budget is limited, then you should do. If there are a few sets that you are interested in buying, then you should prioritise buying the ones likely to retire first. Otherwise, if you buy one that has just be released instead of one about to retire then, in a year's time, the retired one will probably cost you significantly more whereas the one you bought will still be available for the same price.

My budget is not that limited (don't wanna go overboard though) so this is not an issue, if there is/are a set(s) i want atm then i'll prioritize it/them. Thank you again for the advice though, but whether a set is new or close to retiring doesn't bother me at all like i stated. There's always other means to get the sets if i missed them so I'm not that worried about availability or some higher prices.

Edited by Mister_Loki

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On 6/9/2022 at 9:46 PM, Mister_Loki said:

Have to be careful of how much i spend.

 

4 minutes ago, Mister_Loki said:

My budget is not limited though so this is not an issue, if there is/are a set(s) i want atm then i'll get it/them like i stated.

I must have missed something here. With an unlimited budget, then yes you can just buy what you want when you want. And in that case, buy it when you see it rather than waiting to ensure you don't miss out.

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24 minutes ago, MAB said:

 

I must have missed something here. With an unlimited budget, then yes you can just buy what you want when you want. And in that case, buy it when you see it rather than waiting to ensure you don't miss out.

I did not say that I had an unlimited budget though. I can have a good, but limited budget and also still not want to overspend. So, I don't understand your initial confusion? I might have been unclear, so do forgive me. Even though I am good at English what I want to express is not sometimes translated well into words haha.

In short I have the means to purchase something I want, but not to go overboard since there are other things I also have to spend/save it for which is what i tried to convey.

Edited by Mister_Loki

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Little late on this tread but here are a few thoughts

Add to your collection slowly, get sets you like, whatever your favorite set is today TLG will offer something better in the future.  Don't overpay for old sets, avoid resellers whenever possible, get your spouse interested in an alternate expensive hobby so your not alone, start looking for good places to hide Lego this stuff piles up quickly.  Avoid that yard sale $5 baggie of used bricks you will never use them, invest in a good storage system for these bricks as you didn't take this advice (no one does).  

Welcome to the hobby. 

 

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On 6/14/2022 at 9:11 AM, Mister_Loki said:

I did not say that I had an unlimited budget though. I can have a good, but limited budget and also still not want to overspend. So, I don't understand your initial confusion? I might have been unclear, so do forgive me. Even though I am good at English what I want to express is not sometimes translated well into words haha.

In short I have the means to purchase something I want, but not to go overboard since there are other things I also have to spend/save it for which is what i tried to convey.

So what you need to do is not exclusive to LEGO.  You need to budget. Decide what other things you must have and what you want to save. Put that aside. Then decide what you have left for hobbies and decide how you want to split that across whichever hobbies you have.

I've been buying LEGO a long time, and I always try to buy from a retailer while the product is on shelves rather than missing something I want and needing to buy from a reseller. To do that, knowing or estimating retirement dates is key to plan which order to buy sets you want.

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Don't buy sets just to fill out a piece collection for MOC's, its magnitudes cheaper to buy pieces you know you'll actually use on Bricklink/PAB. Its tempting to buy multiples of a set just to get more minifigs or whatever, but again...Bricklink is your wallets friend.

Learn how to use Rebrickable/Studio/Bricklink to order needed pieces efficiently (import model from Rebrickable into Studio, upload to Bricklink want list and order that way is how I do it).

Edited by woodford86

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Seek out sales and deals. 
Invest in a warehouse for storage and display space.

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