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  • Analysis of How to get Top Dollar for your Used LEGO Sets on Ebay


    When doing some research on Ebay for another article I did, Should I throw away the box from the set I just opened? I noticed some outrageously high prices for used sets on Ebay - way over the Brickpicker pricing. At first I just figured these were just some Buy It Now (BIN) listings that one poor sap jumped on, but looking through them, more than half were auctions where tons of people bid. I became curious as to why – what makes these auctions so appealing that people spend extra money over the average Ebay price on the used set?

    I decided to find out and report some raw data back along with some of my conclusions that would put together a good example of how to maximize what you can get for your used set on Ebay. For my data, I picked sets that are well retired and sell often on Ebay. I wanted these to be several different sizes and all have good used growth so we would get a wide range of results.

    I came up with six sets I decided to do:

    • 10030 SW Star Destroyer
    • 10143 SW Death Star 2
    • 10196 Grand Carousel
    • 10217 HP Diagon Alley
    • 6211 Middle Star Destroyer – went with this so I had a little bit of data on the same set – just large and small of it
    • 7741 UCS BatMobile

    Now I decided to look each of these sets up Used on Ebay. Old listings on Ebay only last for 90 days, so this is guaranteed to be recent data. I looked up the sold listings by “Used” and “Highest price plus shipping”. I took one BIN and one Auction from each and recorded all the details from them. From this we can discern two general things: What it takes to maximize profits on a used set and what it takes in a BIN listing to have someone pull the trigger.

    First a few of the rules of my search:

    • Sets are allowed to be incomplete (As this proves how well they created the listing) but cannot include any significant extras like other sets or minifigures.
    • Shipping is only included if it is a flat rate – otherwise we will use a control shipping amount of $10
    • All listings were from US- Not discriminating, just a control.
    • Sets that were listed as used but actually sealed are excluded.
    • Sets that only had one bid were disallowed

    Now for the data. The criteria from the listing I pulled are explained below:

    10030 Star Destroyer

    BrickPicker Used Set Price: $631.04

    BIN Listing Sold: $948 plus calculated shipping (10$)

    Percent over BP Price: ((958/631.04)-1) *100 = 50.2%

    • Included everything, box and instructions
    • Had an extended description of the item and how it was used under the Ebay condition of “Used” (This is something you can set up in your listing where you expand on why it's marked the way it is. It appears directly under the “condition” section at the top of the listing.)
    • Mentioned the pieces were separated in Ziplock bags
    • Details what's not there : Inner Boxes
    • Ebay Store
    • Described how he ships with insurance, and how the box will be packed.
    • Had a picture of each individual part of the set, instructions, box, pieces.
    • Doesn't mention smoke free.
    • Colorful
    • Mentions rules (these are things that a seller says about how payment must be, how feedback must be, etc,)
    • High Feedback and rating.

    Listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEGO-STAR-WARS-10030-IMPERIAL-STAR-DESTROYER-UCS-COMPLETE-SET-MANUAL-BOX-/321128057125?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item4ac4b94925

    Auction Listing Sold: $860 plus calculated shipping (10$)

    Percent over BP Price: ((870/631.04) -1)*100 = 37.9%

    • Included everything, box and instructions
    • No extended Description
    • Doesn't say how shipped
    • Described all parts that had wear and imperfections.
    • Up-close pictures of the box and instruction manual and the set itself 10 pictures.
    • Not Ebay Store
    • Described how it would be shipped: included insurance and delivery signature.
    • Pictures of all wear along with individual parts of set.
    • Smoke free
    • Ended 4:30PM PDT on Sunday
    • Not really high feedback

    Listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEGO-Imperial-Star-Destroyer-10030-Ultimate-Collector-Series-/310669058297?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item485551a0f9&nma=true&si=%252FZDV%252BMT2o3W%252Fhz0JThzyuYnz%252Bc8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    10143 Death Star

    BrickPicker Used Set Price: $534.20 although around $580 when sold (will use $580)

    BIN Listing Sold: $898 plus calculated shipping (10$)
    Percent over BP Price: ((908/534.2) -1)*100 = 70%

    • Everything included, box and instructions.
    • No extended description
    • Mentions separated in ziplock bags
    • Ebay Store
    • Describes whats not there – inner boxes
    • Explains how it will be shipped with insurance.
    • Detailed condition description
    • individual pictures of each part of the set.
    • No mention of smoke-free
    • Colorful
    • Mentions rules.
    • High feedback and rating.

    Listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEGO-STAR-WARS-10143-UCS-DEATH-STAR-II-COMPLETE-SET-ORIGINAL-MANUAL-/221225299902?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33820e2fbe&nma=true&si=%252FZDV%252BMT2o3W%252Fhz0JThzyuYnz%252Bc8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    Auction Listing Sold: $790 plus $30 shipping
    Percent over BP Price: ((820/534.2) -1)*100 = 53.5%

    • Includes Everything, Box and instructions
    • No extended description
    • Explains why selling the item.
    • No real description of the item.
    • No Ebay Store.
    • Shipping with Insurance.
    • Pictures of each part of the item.
    • Smoke Free home
    • Mentions Rules.
    • High Feedback
    • Ended 11:27PM PDT Saturday

    Listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lego-Star-Wars-UCS-10143-Death-Star-II-100-Complete-/161043619163?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item257ef29d5b

    Lego 10196 Grand Carousel

    BrickPicker Used Set Price: $836

    Auction Listing Sold: $910 plus $28 shipping
    Percent over BP Price: ((938/836) -1)*100 = 12%

    • Comes with everything but the box
    • No extended description
    • Detailed description of the item and assures buyer they are all in good shape
    • Pieces separated in Zip lock bags
    • Describes all imperfections
    • Explains why getting rid of it
    • Shows pictures of each piece and how its bagged separately.
    • Not an Ebay store
    • No mention of the shipping
    • Mentions smoke free home.
    • Very colorful
    • Mentions rules
    • High feedback
    • 5:09PM PDT on Tuesday


    BIN Listing Sold: $899.99 plus calculated shipping ($10)
    Percent over BP Price: ((909.99/836) -1)*100 = 8.9%

    • Includes everything but the box
    • No extended description
    • Describes some wear on the books
    • Describes how great the set is
    • Tells you how they are separated in bags by color
    • Not as Ebay store
    • No mention of shipping details
    • Shows pictures of boxed item and the parts inside
    • No mention of smoke-free
    • Colorful
    • High Feedback and rating

    Listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lego-GRAND-CAROUSEL-Set-10196-100-COMPLETE-inc-ALL-MINIFIGS-instruction-bks-/261217188213?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item3cd1c1f975

    10217 Diagon Alley

    BrickPicker Used Set Price: $176

    Auction Listing Sold: $248.35 plus Free Shipping
    Percent over BP Price: ((248.35/176) -1)*100 = 41.1%

    • Everything included, Box and instructions
    • No extended description
    • Pieces are separated by bag number in bags
    • Lightly touches on condition
    • Not an Ebay Store
    • No mention of shipping
    • Pictures of everything it came with
    • Smoke-Free
    • Ended 6:41PM PDT Monday
    • Low number of feedback

    Listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lego-Diagon-Alley-10217-Harry-Potter-Hagrid-Malfoy-Weasley-Hermione-minifigs-/121095099975?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item1c31d49647&nma=true&si=%252FZDV%252BMT2o3W%252Fhz0JThzyuYnz%252Bc8%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    BIN Listing Sold: $225 plus calculated shipping ($10)
    Percent over BP Price: ((235/176) -1)*100 = 33.5%

    • Everything included, Box and instructions
    • No extended description
    • Run on sentence through whole listing
    • Individual bags
    • Assures all pieces present
    • Not an Ebay Store
    • No mention of shipping
    • Pictures of each individual piece put together
    • Smoke-free
    • Barely any feedback at all

    Listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Harry-Potter-Lego-Diagon-Alley-10217-/171038391583?pt=Building_Toys_US&hash=item27d2aebd1f

    6211 Star Destroyer

    BrickPicker Used Set Price: $140.33, was about $155 last month (we will use $155)

    Auction Listing Sold: $284.99 plus Free Shipping
    Percent over BP Price: ((284.99/155) -1)*100 = 83.8%!!!

    • Includes everything but box
    • No extended description
    • Mentions it will come disassembled but nothing about bags
    • Says where he got it
    • Possibly incomplete and describes condition as Excellent
    • No mention of shipping or insurance
    • No mention of smoke free
    • Pictures of individual parts and booklets
    • Ebay Store
    • Ended at 9:49 PM PDT on Saturday


    BIN Listing Sold: $224.98 plus 14.99 shipping
    Percent over BP Price: ((238.97/155) -1)*100 = 54.2%

    • Includes everything but the box
    • No Extended Description
    • Describes condition
    • Never been played with
    • Doesn't mention how it will come (assembled or not)
    • Stock picture
    • Not an Ebay Store
    • Doesn't mention how it will be shipped
    • Smoke-free
    • High feedback and rating


    Lego 7741 – The UCS Batmobile

    BrickPicker Used Set Price: $107.60

    Auction Listing Sold: $152.50 plus calculated shipping ($10)
    Percent over BP Price: ((162.50/107.60) -1)*100 = 51%

    • Everything included but box
    • No extended description
    • Explained why selling
    • Says Mint-Condition
    • Says how shipped (disassembled)
    • Not an Ebay store
    • Pictures of separated piece and instructions – also shows pieces fully separated
    • No mention of shipping or insurance
    • No mention if smoke free
    • Low number of feedback
    • Ended 1:00PM on Friday


    BIN Listing Sold: $149.95 plus $18.95 shipping
    Percent over BP Price: ((168.90/107.60) -1)*100 = 56%

    • Everything but box and instructions
    • Extended used description
    • Says condition good
    • Doesn't say how it will be shipped
    • Ships insured
    • Up close pictures of the item
    • No mention of smoke free
    • Alludes to the fact they insure it
    • Ebay store
    • Colorful
    • Mentions rules
    • High feedback



    There is a lot of raw data here, but we can definitely come to a few conclusions based on the data collected as well as some educated guesses for how an Ebay Auction for a used set should be created. I tried to pull the same types of things out of each listing that I felt “made” the listing or were uncommon in normal listings and put the data together so we can go through each and figure out how much it really affects the price. These are the following:

    • Completeness: Everything included along with the instructions and Box?
    • Extended Description in the condition field
    • How it is shipped: In bags, disassembled, assembled, etc.
    • If the listing explains why they are getting rid of it.
    • If they offer a detailed description of the item.
    • If it comes from an Ebay store
    • If they discuss their shipping at all and offer insurance.
    • Detailed Pictures of the item itself
    • Smoke free home?
    • If the listing is colorful and decorated
    • If they mention rules: Payment rules, bidding rules, etc.
    • High Feedback score and percent. (Score is how many they have, percent is how positive)


    The implications here are pretty obvious, so we probably didn't need a whole lot of info here, but we do have a few interesting points. In the auctions, there were 3 that didn't include the box. This suggests that, while it certainly helps to have the box, don't assume you can't get top dollar for your item just because you don't have it. If you go above and beyond in other sections, this wont be a dark spot on your listing.

    Looking at the data for the BIN listings, you actually see some that don't have the box and one doesn't have the instructions as well. This suggests that BIN is more impulsive so making a good listing of that type may not matter if you get lucky enough that someone clicks that beautiful BIN button.

    Verdict: Not a deal breaker

    Extended Description

    The data suggests this doesn't make a difference for auctions as none of them have it. A few have it in the BIN section, but this doesn't seem to really matter there either, as it was only in 2 of the listings.

    Verdict: Don't waste time on it, though it wont hurt you.

    Describing how you are shipping it

    In the auctions, everyone of them mentioned how they were shipping it. 4 said in separated bags, where as 2 just mentioned it would be disassembled. In the BIN listings, half of them mentioned it would be in separated bags, but the other half mentioned nothing at all. To me, the biggest take-away from all this was that none of the listings that were included mentioned the item being sent still assembled. Most people buying used sets want to build them and don't want to receive them already together.

    Verdict: Disassemble your used set and put it in separated bags.

    Why are you selling it?

    4 of the 10 listings mentioned a short sentence about this, ranging from “we don't have room for it”, to “it has been in storage”. Nothing really definitive here, but sometimes I think it helps people understand why your selling something when they are trying to buy it. I don't necessarily like saying something negative about the set like “Its too big”, but just mentioning that you don't need it, or you need to make some space wont hurt anything.

    Verdict: Add something small. It may make the buyers feel a little more comfortable.

    Detailed Description

    The descriptions of these listings ranged from a few words to being very detailed. I think most of us would agree a detailed listing is really important, but a few of these didn't have much except “Complete, display set”. This makes it a little less important than I thought.

    Verdict: Important to have something, but past a few words not a huge benefit.

    Ebay Store

    I included this one just to see if people preferred to buy from an Ebay store or not. As for the Auctions, only one was an Ebay Store. As for as the BIN listings, half of them were from Ebay stores. That's not necessarily that surprising since most Ebay stores prefer BIN.

    Verdict: Ebay stores don't seem to make a big difference.

    Shipping Details/Insurance

    My feelings on this before looking at the data were that describing how you were shipping and shipping it with insurance could really help your listing. After looking at the listings it seems almost half of them did that. This probably means that while its not a requirement, it definitely can help. I would say around 20% of the people on Ebay ship with insurance, but 5 of these listings mentioned it so it seems more of the better listings on Ebay include this. Plus if you use it, you will save your butt in one of those times where the post office decides to lose your package.

    Verdict: Ship it with insurance and describe how well your packing it and mention that it's shipped with insurance in the listing. It's a win-win.


    The takeaway from this section is: If you aren't going to use detailed pictures of your used set, you aren't going to get top dollar. Now, there was one BIN that used a stock picture, but chances are that person just got lucky. I think this proves that you are throwing away money if you don't take your cell phone or digital camera and just snap a few extra pictures.

    Verdict: Take the time to take some good detailed pictures.

    Smoke-Free Home Exactly half of the listings mentioned they were smoke-free homes. I am not going to pay as much attention to the BIN since it only takes one person to buy. So looking at the auctions only, I see 4 of them mentioned that they were smoke-free homes. While leaving this out probably doesn't hurt your auction, mentioning it (assuming its true) takes just a few words and it will only help to assure your buyer, along with details about the condition, that its in good shape and that your a caring seller. I know I wouldn't decline to buy something just because they did not have smoke-free in the listing.

    Verdict: As long as it's true, mention it.

    Colorful Listing

    This is probably the thing I was least sure about when I started looking at listings. I generally don't care what the listing looks like – I am just worried about the product. However, I am just one person and not everyone shares my same opinion. I think a colorful listing can only help, but it takes time to get this right.

    Only 1 of the auctions had colorful listings. This seems to point to the fact that people care more about the product and the actual words in the description and the pictures you present. In the BIN listings, half of them had this because they were from Ebay Stores. I think this does help a slight bit for BIN because when people are about to take that leap of faith and purchase an item with a click rather than just bid. So a colorful, decorated listing probably helps your listing look a bit more professional.

    Verdict: For an auction, its not worth it unless you have set up a template earlier. In a BIN it can probably help, but may not make too much difference.

    Mentioning Rules

    This is a section I didn't think about until I actually saw the listings. Once I read a few that had some listings about how people have to pay, how they need to bid, etc. I thought it made the seller sound more professional and much more serious when they have it.

    However, only two of the auctions had it, so it definitely wasn't a deal breaker. Half of the BIN listings had it, but I think that goes back to the fact that BIN is a little different and the buyer is taking a leap of faith. So here, the more professional you sound, the better chance your listing has of selling in a BIN situation.

    Verdict: It's probably not worth it for an auction. However, for a BIN it may create a better sense of professionalism in your listing.

    High Feedback

    Obviously you can't control your feedback score more than just selling items and getting positive feedback. But I wondered if it required high feedback scores (percentage and number) to make the most money. The answer seems to be “no”. Half of the auctions were listed by a seller with low feedback (< 200). What's even more telling, is that one of them only had a feedback score of 4, and still got top price. I think this means that customer's don't pay that much attention to the number of feedback.

    I did notice that most of the feedback percentage scores were 99.5%. So that might suggest that the percentage matters a lot more, but its pretty difficult to have lower than ~98% feedback on Ebay unless you scam people, so it doesn’t tell us a whole lot.

    All but one of the BIN listings was by a seller with high feedback. I think this makes sense because, again, the buyer is taking a chance on the seller by clicking BIN. So they are probably more aware of the seller's feedback.

    Verdict: Don't worry about your feedback score unless the percentage is really low.

    Auction End Times

    I was a little curious about this, and will be looking at it later in another article. Most people feel that an auction that ends on the weekend is better. The data here shows half of them did, but the other half were during the week so this seems inconclusive.

    However, none of them ended in the morning, so I think its safe to say people don't like to wake up early to bid on auctions :).

    Verdict: Jury is still out, but don't end your auction in the morning.

    Further Analysis and Conclusions

    When I sat out to look a this, I thought we would see listings that got 20-25% more. But incredibly, we saw all of the top listings but the Grand Carousel hitting 40-50% higher than the average that comes from Ebay. This is incredible and really makes me rethink how I list used sets. There is a ton of money out there in Legos, as we know, but this just shows how much a good listing makes a big difference in your final price.

    Another thing we can surmise is that a good listing works just as well with an Auction as BIN. Definitely with an Auction you are taking a chance, but BIN generally may sit around a lot longer if you list it for 30-40% more than the BP used price. The BIN listings averaged 45.5% over the BP used price and the auctions averaged 46.55% over the BP used price. So you can get more for your auction (Up to 80% evidently on the smaller star destroyer), but your listing doesn't have to be quite as good to sell with BIN – you just need some luck with a buyer.

    So why was the Grand Carousel much lower than the others? Well, I decided to calculate the BP used price/BP New price to find out where it was at:

    • 10030 Star Destroyer 57% of new
    • 10143 Death Star 2 49% of new
    • 10196 Grand Carousel 67% of new
    • 10217 Diagon Alley 79% of new
    • 6211 Star Destroyer 46% of new
    • 7781 UCS Batmobile 43% of new

    Looking at this data, the Diagon Alley and Carousel have used prices that are very high compared to the new price. I think this definitely had an effect on the Grand Carousel. If the used price gets too high, its going to hit the New price ceiling and people will just buy new.

    But why didn't Diagon Alley see the same results? - Well it is a more recent set and cost's a lot less money so I think this shows people are willing to spend a higher percentage on a set that costs less.

    So there is all the data. What conclusions do you all draw from this? What do you think could be done to make this data more conclusive? Put your thoughts in the comments!

    Note: All of the information here are my own opinions and are pulled from my experiences. You may or may not have success with these methods.

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