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Investing in Vintage Lego


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I am wondering from the more seasoned collectors and investors what their view of vintage lego is.

Firstly, how old does Lego need to be before it is considered to be vintage? Are we referring to sets that are 10, 20 or 30 years old?

Secondly, does the set need to have the box? I know of collectors who have kept the box even when the set has been played with but if you have the complete set, does that not constitute the greater portion of the value?

I also wonder what your views are on sets that are "almost complete" or "complete with substituted parts". I have seen a number of listings where this is noted however it is better to says so than to mislead the customer.

I am raising this topic as I have been purchasing some old sets from my childhood and the more I look, the more I learn about the "Vintage Lego" market. I can see the Lego Movie also sparking interest in the old Space Lego sets and the old Sports Lego sets as well..

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I consider "vintage" to be 1980's and before. The set doesn't have to be brand new, it doesn't have to have the box. Just like buying used sets for investment (which does work, BTW), it's always better to have the box and instructions, even if they aren't completely in-tact. 

 

For old sets, the box and instructions can command a huge portion of the price of a set. Often the bricks are not very "rare" or hard to find, and the set can be easily BrickLinked. 

 

I dislike sets that are "almost complete" or "99.999% complete", especially if the seller doesn't specify what pieces are missing. It can be very frustrating for buyers to not know which ones are missing, especially with larger sets.

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I consider "vintage" to be 1980's and before. The set doesn't have to be brand new, it doesn't have to have the box. Just like buying used sets for investment (which does work, BTW), it's always better to have the box and instructions, even if they aren't completely in-tact.  For old sets, the box and instructions can command a huge portion of the price of a set. Often the bricks are not very "rare" or hard to find, and the set can be easily BrickLinked.  I dislike sets that are "almost complete" or "99.999% complete", especially if the seller doesn't specify what pieces are missing. It can be very frustrating for buyers to not know which ones are missing, especially with larger sets.

I agree with the age of the set before it is vintage. Sets 5 to 10 years old are not vintage. Sure they are old and no longer for sale in stores but so are sets from the 60's and 70 's.

On the part not complete sets, you are right about the patrs not being identified. If they are going to list a set, they should check it is complete against any of the online sites. If they identify a part or two is missing but tell you which ones, you may already have that piece in your collection to complete the set.

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I inserted my answers in bold below.

I am wondering from the more seasoned collectors and investors what their view of vintage lego is.

Firstly, how old does Lego need to be before it is considered to be vintage? Are we referring to sets that are 10, 20 or 30 years old?

I would say vintage sets are sets that are from the 1980's and before.

Secondly, does the set need to have the box? I know of collectors who have kept the box even when the set has been played with but if you have the complete set, does that not constitute the greater portion of the value?

The original box and instructions of older sets can really help the value of the sale. Most of the time the box/instructions are rare/hard to find since the set is older. 

I also wonder what your views are on sets that are "almost complete" or "complete with substituted parts". I have seen a number of listings where this is noted however it is better to says so than to mislead the customer.

"Almost complete" is okay as long as the seller specifies what pieces are missing. This can really help out the buyer and increase the chances of a sale.

"Complete with substituted parts" is okay. I personally prefer the sets to be 100% original, but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter too much to me.

I am raising this topic as I have been purchasing some old sets from my childhood and the more I look, the more I learn about the "Vintage Lego" market. I can see the Lego Movie also sparking interest in the old Space Lego sets and the old Sports Lego sets as well..

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  • 1 year later...

So I'm hoping someone here knows more about 1980s LEGO than I do. A friend of mine says his mom found a LEGO set from when he was a kid that is unopened. It is 6030 Catapult. She sent me a pic and the box looks pretty mint. I'm going to look at it this week and might make her an offer but I don't really know what to look for. Were LEGO sets back then sealed like today? Were the parts in plastic bags like today? Anything else I should be aware of or look for?

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So I'm hoping someone here knows more about 1980s LEGO than I do. A friend of mine says his mom found a LEGO set from when he was a kid that is unopened. It is 6030 Catapult. She sent me a pic and the box looks pretty mint. I'm going to look at it this week and might make her an offer but I don't really know what to look for. Were LEGO sets back then sealed like today? Were the parts in plastic bags like today? Anything else I should be aware of or look for?

 

As I recall growing up, the boxes were mostly the punch tab-type boxes.  I am guessing the same holds true for this one (although my memory is spotty after 30 years) - if so, it should be easy to check if the box is factory sealed. 

 

I do remember all the parts being in plastic bags, but most of (if not all) the bags were perforated with holes throughout.  You shouldn't hear any Lego loose in the box for this set.

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So I'm hoping someone here knows more about 1980s LEGO than I do. A friend of mine says his mom found a LEGO set from when he was a kid that is unopened. It is 6030 Catapult. She sent me a pic and the box looks pretty mint. I'm going to look at it this week and might make her an offer but I don't really know what to look for. Were LEGO sets back then sealed like today? Were the parts in plastic bags like today? Anything else I should be aware of or look for?

The 2 minifigs in that are certainly a plus. They're in a few other sets like the Black Falcon Fortress 6074. Not sure what it might be worth though.

I could be wrong, but I don't remember there being plastic bags in the smaller box set when I was a kid in the 80s.

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