Do you have bins and bins of mixed up LEGO sets and loose pieces in your kids rooms? Or maybe in the attic, and always wondered “what am I going to do with this mess?” Do you ever come across listings on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp or other platforms selling mixed up used LEGO sets and think “maybe I could make a few bucks?” If you enjoy sorting out LEGO pieces by color and by type or if you enjoy breaking down already built sets to re-build, selling used LEGO may be a good opportunity to make some extra bucks while doing something that you enjoy!
If you are trying to sell used LEGO, you can sell in one of the following ways: (1) Sell bulk loose pieces by weight, (2) Sell incomplete sets as is, (3) Sell complete sets and (4) Part out to sell individual pieces. By spending more time to organize the parts, you could make more money when you sell them. However, this can be much more tedious work. You can sell used sets on various selling platforms like the Facebook Market Place, eBay, BrickLink or even on AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) Facebook Groups that are dedicated for buying, selling or trading LEGO.
Before jumping into selling used LEGO sets, you should think what you want to accomplish by selling used LEGO sets. Do I need to quick and fast cash? Do I want and enjoy spending time to sort out or breakdown sets or re-build used LEGO sets? With this in mind, let’s look more in detail about how you can sell used LEGO sets and pieces!
But first, how to organize…..
If you have a bit of OCD and enjoy sorting out loose LEGO pieces, this might be a good way to spend few hours with a podcast or your favorite TV Show in the background. However, if you don’t enjoy sorting out loose LEGO pieces, well, I think I can help you relieve that anxiety of sorting out hundreds or maybe even thousands of LEGO pieces. If you’re interested, read on!
First, if you have complete, or almost complete sets, you would probably want to separate them aside whether you want to sell them or keep them for yourself, you can decide later. Second, sort the loose pieces by types (i.e. technic pieces, slopes, pins, plates, etc). It is much easier to find pieces later on if they are sorted by types rather than color. When you sort large amount of loose pieces, it helps to break them into smaller chunks. Take few handful of pieces at a time, sort them by types. This really helped me to overcome the anxiety of “when am I going to finish all this?!”.
And ultimately, if you have lots of pieces to store, you should get some plastic parts storages like these ones which will help you find pieces quicker. But you can also use clear plastic cups or small organizers like these ones for more small piece collections.
Ways to sell used LEGO sets and pieces
The easiest and quickest way to sell used LEGO, especially loose pieces, is to sell them in bulk by weight. It’s simply taking the loose pieces and putting them in a zip lock type of bags and charging by the weight of the bag filled with miscellaneous types of pieces. Looking through recently sold listings on eBay, prices for unsorted loose LEGO pieces can range for about $4 to $7 per pound. In comparison, sorted loose LEGO pieces can be sold for higher pries at around $8 to $11 per pound. You probably will end up making less money compared to other ways listed below, but you are also spending less amount of time. And let’s be honest, time is money!
The second way of selling used LEGO is to sell mixed up used LEGO sets as is. This does not require checking if all the pieces are there. But you will need to provide fairly accurate description of existing condition – i.e. “about 90% complete with only 2 minifigures and no instruction book included.” Obviously, this way of selling is for sets that are already built, but you would not be spending much time to check if all the pieces are there. It is still a quick way to sell used LEGO but requires you to provide description of what is missing and take pictures for the buyer to see. Compared to selling complete sets, you will need to have these sets listed at discounted prices in order for them to sell. In addition to local marketplaces such as eBay, you could also sell incomplete used sets on BrickLink with accurate description and pictures.
The third way of selling used LEGO is to sell complete sets. Unlike selling incomplete sets, you will need to spend more time in going through the pieces to make sure you have all the necessary pieces to build the set completely. Although this requires more effort and time spent, the profits can be much higher as well depending on the market for that specific set. If you go through the work of sorting out and accounting for all pieces in your LEGO set and you find that it is not complete, you will need to see what is missing and order those pieces through sites like BrickLink to complete the set. This means that you will need to spend more money to buy missing pieces which can impact your profit. You will need to calculate if spending more to complete the set will bring more profit than selling incomplete sets as is. Selling complete sets will require more time to inspect, buy missing pieces (if needed), take pictures and disassemble to package.
Also, some used LEGO sets you purchase or find in your attic may be dusty and might require you to wash or wipe down the pieces as well. Having all minifigures and instructions will add more value to the complete sets and in some cases minifigures will have much more value than the actual structure of the LEGO sets (see 75170).
The last method of selling used LEGO sets is to sell piece by piece through selling sites like BrickLink, Brickowl or eBay. Selling individual piece will require the most amount of work to part out, sort, and inventory the pieces to be sold. Also, the time to sell all the pieces may take a lot longer than if you were to sell used LEGO sets as a whole. The profit margin is most likely the highest by selling individual pieces but it would take the most time to sell.
How much do you enjoy spending time on LEGO?
As I mentioned earlier in the article, you should really think about how much enjoyment you get out of disassembling, sorting, organizing or re-building used LEGO sets. Not everyone enjoys spending several tedious hours to sort out loose LEGO pieces into different types and colors to be organized. When I first bought a 40 pound lot of mixed up used LEGO pieces, I almost had an anxiety attack when I realized how tedious the work was going to be and how many different types of pieces were there. My dining room was full of loose LEGO pieces for months before getting help from my wife, who enjoys sorting and neatly organizing LEGO pieces into different types and colors. I have stayed away from buying large lot of loose pieces since then.
On the other hand, if you enjoy building certain themes, you may want to spend more time to check for completeness of the sets, buy missing pieces and ultimately complete your build. I had an opportunity purchase several early 2000s Star Wars sets for a very good price. But they were dusty and needed to be checked for completeness. I ended up spending little bit more money and a lot of time to clean, check for missing pieces, buy missing pieces and re-build. Even though it took close to 20 hours to do this, I really enjoyed the process and re-building cool Star Wars sets with my son. Ultimately, I ended up selling them in few months with about 250% ROI.
Minifigures Minifigures and Minifigures
Finding the right minifigures within used LEGO sets will certainly add to your profitability. There can be a whole article dedicated to buying and selling minifigures as it is a big collectible world in itself. But for the purpose of selling used LEGO sets, complete or not, having some or all minifigures on the set will be crucial for selling at higher prices as well as a quicker turnaround compared to not having any minifigures. Some people may even consider not having all, or some, minifigures or instructions as incomplete even though the structure is 100% complete.
For some sets, the value of minifigures will be much greater than rest of the set. As an example, in looking at the set 75170 The Phantom, the value of 2 minifigures (Blind Kanan Jarrus and Grand Admiral Thrawn) is close to $100 compared to the ship itself is only $30 as you can see in the screenshot of BrickLink used price. Understanding the value of minifigures is really important factor whether or not you want to buy and sell used sets. If I see any interesting listing of used LEGO sets, my very first question is if there are any minifigures and if they can show the pictures. And often times, that will decide whether or not I want to consider purchasing used sets.
The profitability you should expect from selling used LEGO sets will vary greatly depending on the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into the process. Whether you are just trying to make some cash from the long forgotten LEGO sets your children left behind when they went away to college, or you are trying to make a side income business from LEGO reselling, there is no doubt that the market and potential is there. Furthermore, the more you go through the process of selling, the more you will learn along the way and most importantly, see what works best for you and your desired outcome.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure you check out one of our LEGO roundup articles such as Every LEGO Star Wars Helmet Set Ever Released!