If you are new to the world of online reselling, this question is likely one of the first questions that you will have when you start looking into LEGO investing.
The idea that you can buy a set for $100 and sell it for $300 two years later may seem intriguing, but you likely want to see proof.
Understanding how to check the current value of a set is a crucial tool that is necessary to get into LEGO reselling.
What do I mean by ‘value’?
I don’t mean the Recommended Retail Price (RRP). That is an arbitrary number that doesn’t really tell us the true worth of a set.
A LEGO set is worth whatever the buyers in the market are willing to pay for it.
If buyers don’t want to pay RRP, then retailers will discount it to drive sales. If the item is scarce but demand is high, then sellers can raise prices far beyond RRP because buyers are willing to pay more.
Value is the price that an item could be sold for at a given time.
How do I check current value?
You can check the current value by finding out what a set is selling for right now on various marketplaces.
The important piece to remember is that we don’t want to see what people are listing the set at. We want to see what it’s actually being sold at. Many LEGO resellers will list items early at high prices and then wait for the market price to rise to meet their listed price. Don’t make the mistake of spotting a set on eBay for a high price and believing right away that it’s worth that much.
Checking sold listings on eBay
To check the actual prices that sets are selling for on eBay, follow these steps.
1. Search for the set on eBay.
2. In the navigation pane on the left, scroll down until you see the ‘Show Only’ section. Check the box for ‘Sold Listings’.
3. You should now see a new search results page. However, you will notice that the price of each item is shown in green. These are items that sold, and the price in green is the price they sold for.
4. Check the first 10 or so sold listings to get an idea of the price that the set you are looking at is actually selling for on eBay. There’s no need to write down all the prices and calculate an average, but do check multiple sold listings and take a rough average in your mind. Notice if there are any outliers (e.g. one sold for a cheap price because it was damaged, or because the seller didn’t know the value). By checking multiple sold listings to get an idea, you will avoid outliers causing you to make mistakes.
That’s it! Now you have a rough idea of the true value of the LEGO set on the eBay marketplace.
However, each marketplace is different, and the value on eBay doesn’t necessarily mean that you couldn’t sell this item for a higher price elsewhere.
Checking the value on Amazon
Amazon is different, and arguably quicker to check value on once you understand how the Amazon marketplace works. But an important caveat to keep in mind here.
Don’t check the value of a set on Amazon if you intend to sell it elsewhere. Always check value on the marketplace you actually intend to sell the set on. The reason I call this out here is because Amazon’s prices are usually much higher than eBay. Therefore if you use Amazon prices to make your buying decisions, and then you can’t sell LEGO on Amazon (most people are restricted from selling LEGO on Amazon. More on that later), then your calculations will be off, and you could make bad decisions.
We can’t easily see the exact prices that items sold for on Amazon. However, since the sales volume of LEGO on Amazon is so high, we can make some good judgements by using two key pieces of information.
The things we need to know in order to decide on value on Amazon are:
- Best Seller Rank (also known as Sales Rank). This is a number that tells us how well an item is selling on Amazon. It is viewable on the listing page on Amazon. Lower is better, and as long as the sales rank is not too high, we can have some degree of certainty that the item is selling well.
- Buy Box Price. If we know the item is selling well, then we can assume that it is selling at the price shown in the Buy Box of the listing. The reason for that is that the Buy Box is usually one of the most competitive prices available on the item. Also, many buyers don’t realize that they can click a button on the listing to view all of the sellers selling the item. Many people just buy the item from the big BUY button on the listing page. Hence, we know that if an item is selling, it is likely selling some units at the Buy Box price.
So how do we check value?
We quickly make sure the Sales Rank is not crazy high (do a search online to see sales rank charts for the Toys & Games category), and then we check the Buy Box price. If there is no buy box, we can check the lowest listed price.
That’s it! That is the price that we can use to determine current value on Amazon.
Note – there are tools that can greatly improve this workflow, and give us much more information about the marketplace on Amazon. We’ll create more content about those tools soon, but for the purpose of quickly checking value, the sales rank and buy box price is enough to get started.
Checking the value on BrickLink
Another great place to check set values is bricklink.com. BrickLink is a LEGO marketplace, and you can often find great deals there.
To check value on BrickLink, follow these steps.
- Navigate to bricklink.com and search for the set in question.
- Click the tab for Price Guide. Make sure to look at the boxes for ‘New’ sets.
- Review the chart for ‘Last 6 Month Sales’. This is useful to know, but it doesn’t give us the true value we are looking for, because the price has likely risen during that time. We want recent sales, and six months ago is too long.
- Look at the box for the previous month and the current month. Check the quantities sold, the minimum price, maximum price, and average price. Use these numbers to get an understanding of sales of the set on BrickLink.
There are also many other ways to check value. This is an introduction, and we will talk more about it in upcoming content.
This doesn’t cover other marketplace sites such as Mercari or Facebook. But the bottom line is – we need to learn about what the item is selling at in the marketplace that we want to sell it on. Use whatever tools you can to get that information, and you will have a good idea of value.
Go out there and get it!
If you found this useful, make sure to check out our YouTube channel, where we share frequent tips and strategies for LEGO investors and online resellers.
Also, join the free Facebook group! This is where you can connect with other LEGO investors and learn from them.
Do you have any other tips for checking value? Let us know in the comments below!