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    The Life and Times of a Bulk LEGO Lot.


    I deal with bulk Lego more than any other type, I find it relaxing, I get to spend some quality time with my seven year old, and it is very profitable so long as you don't over pay or spend to much time on it. Time, time is the killer of an otherwise perfect lot. While there is no single solution to speed the process of finding value in a lot, there are several ways to speed up the process of sorting and building, thus finding the value quicker. Take the lot below, it is roughly 20-25 pounds of seemingly random lego and while I did get many sets of instructions with it, some of the sets were without instruct

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    Regardless of whether you get instructions or not with a lot like this one (completely mixed) I use the same techniques to figure out what sets I have. I will start sorting a bulk lot as I wash it, sometimes before. The most effective way to tell what you have (unless you have the instructions) is to know your mini figures. With my first run through I pull out every mini figure and mini figure part I find. Say hello to Ten Numb, he was one of the first figures I found and he is only in set 6208. Looks like I have a B-Wing.

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    Stickers are the next method I use to identify sets. Some like a license plate will actually give you the set number. Same goes with printed tiles. A quick note about stickers, they HATE to be washed. I will try and pull any piece out that has a sticker on it before washing. Washed or not as I find pieces with stickers or printing I sort them into a tray.

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    The same goes for any unusual pieces, as I find them I set them aside in trays or boxes depending on how big the lot happens to be. I will also sort out some of the more common bricks and plates by size and shape, while I don't generally sort by color if you find it helpful by all means do so. An average tray of sorted plates looks like this.

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    Makes your pile smaller and whenever you need a plate of any size you know where it is. I will do the same with bricks, rounds, smalls, and all the other more common pieces. When I am done I will always have a few pounds of random unsorted pieces that don't seem to fit in with anything. With those I just put them in a box and dig through it as needed.

    Sometimes, even with a lot as random as this one, you luck out and will find pieces of sets or even ones that are near complete. It's not something that happens all the time but it's worth mentioning. Just be alert, for every chunk of a set that I have found I've also run across two or three altered sets or flat out MOCs.

    Anyone who has ever processed a bulk lot will know that they always come with non Lego. As I'm sorting anything that I don't think is Lego goes in its own box.

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    Saving non Lego was a painful lesson to learn. While sorting one of my first bulk lots I took a quick look at the head to the creature from 7255, and thinking "no Lego looks like this" tossed it in the recycling bin. Oops. At least I could still sell Grievous. So, trust me, keep your non Lego until you're done with the lot.

    I have always found it difficult to wait to start building so while I'm sorting a lot I tend to start assembling sets. I'll even work on several at once, I keep each one in their own box as I go.

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    I got all the bins from one of the nicer lots that I purchased, each set was in its own bin with its instructions. That has only happened once so don't expect it to be the norm. And I have no idea why this pic seems to be sideways.

    With the first bulk lots that I processed I would only consider a set "worth the trouble" if I could get $20 or more for it, sometimes if much of the value was tied to a single figure I would just sell the minifig and be done with it. Over the last year or so my son has started helping me and I've had him do some of the smaller sets on his own, he enjoys it and when selling a bunch of $10 sets you wind up with the same amount of profit as you get from selling one more expensive set. A word of caution though, wait to sell the smaller sets until you've sold all the larger ones, it saves having to Bricklink pieces for an expensive set after using them on cheap one. I will still sell a mini figure to save time, but not as often as I have in the past. With older lots I would end up with 10-15 pounds of leftovers that I would sell in one shot just to get rid of, didn't make as much as I could have, but I saved time, now I wind up 5-10 pounds and sell it off in smaller lots or as sorted pieces. It's all about what your time is worth to you. I hope y'all have found this informative, and please comment on anything you do or do not agree with. I only need another 997,207 Brickpoints to get that 10179 and each comment is a +1 ;)

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    Great article! I find myself using many of these strategies when I am working on a bulk lot of Lego, especially working on several different sets at the same time.

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    Working on multiple sets started as a way to avoid getting burned out. It's funny though, if I'm having a hard time finding a certain piece I've found that by working on a different set I'll quickly find what I was originally looking for. I also will skip a hard to find piece and work ahead on a set until it either turns up or I have to bricklink it.

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    Great strategy. I found myself in that situation many times before. Right now, I'm working on about 5 sets right now and using this strategy has helped speed the process of putting together sets.

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    Enjoyed tis blog. I am new to all thid. Just lucked out on my first garage sale buy..may have to see what sets i migt have. I was just going tobuse them for mocs and maybe bulk ebay sales.

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    Always enjoy reading a blog about bulk lots. I'm still trying to get through my first bulk lot purchase, but almost done. It's hard to find a good price for bulk where I live as there seems to be a lot of AFOLs!

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    Thanks, I will sell complete/near complete sets first, then MOC, then sell bulk. The lot in the pictures is basically done now, just pulling out the odd piece for a boat that I'm working on.

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    Thanks. I think the price issue is a problem everywhere, and it will only get worse as more people get into this. Have fun playing with your Lego...er processing that bulk lot and good luck.

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    Nice article. Do you use an inventory part list to just run through and pick pieces for sets once you've identified a minifigure or unique part? Or do you build them using the instructions? I have done both and by building it I get to take a pic of the actual set before selling it (plus get a build experience if it's a cool set), so i usually do that now. Found inventory lists hard work to keep the interest level up, but it's probably more efficient time wise.

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    Great article. I do something similar. Sometimes looking at a pile of bulk lego you can "see" good sets in there. I spotted a 10178 ATAT Walker recently within a 8.5kg lot by seeing the 4x4 & 6x6 round dishes that go on the legs. From there I spotted other pieces from that set. I won the lot for just over £100 and the Walker turned out to be 99% complete. I sold the walker for £150 BIN which more than paid for the lot itself so rest was pure profit. The lot also had a lot of Star Wars sets from 2005-2007 which I identified via the mini figs. This is a great site from which to do this http://minifigs.nl/ Another method I use to identify sets is through peeron.com. For example I had a lot of dark blue arches. I know there is a black arch in set 6034. Onto Peeron.com and from there I get the part number. Enter the part number and Peeron shows all sets the part has been used in by color. Turns out dark blue arches were only used in 2 sets so it was quite easy to determine which set I had. A bit long and convoluted way to find stuff, but it can bring up dividends some times. :)

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    Great article! I am working at my first big bulk lot (9Kg). It is a lot of work to find those special pieces or maybe complete models. The hardest part is indentifying the colors, like light grey, dark grey, bluish grey, discolored grey, etc.. But it is great fun sorting, it's like treasure hunting! :)

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    I build the set. I think having a photo of the set complete helps the item sell. And what's the point of having a bunch of loose sets if you don't get to build them? Also by building large numbers of sets you get a feel for how sets are designed, it makes MOCs turn out better even without using any software.

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    Haven't used those websites yet, but I will be sure to check them out, thanks. It took me about 6 months or so to be able to "see" what was in a lot. Just something that comes with experience I suppose. I do enjoy finding lots that are older than what I normally deal with, makes it more of a challenge with sets that I don't see all the time, in a good way.

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    I feel your pain with the color ID thing, my first Bricklink order I ordered dark gray instead of dark blue gray, they look nothing alike when seen side by side. Good luck with your treasure hunt.

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    Yes, it comes with experience, I only spotted the Walker because I made one (from another bulk lot) last year. I am better on 80s sets because that's what I grew up with. I also look for bad described lots that hopefully will go for less. I recently won this - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261389011879?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649 The title is "Lego Space". But if I had listed it I would have put Vintage Lego Space - Mixed assorted Various Classic Sets - Over 4.5kg That would have got a lot more views. Plus it had a high starting price £50 and high postage £20. But BP gave the sets I could see (from the instructions) and "see" from the bits, (there's town sets in there as well) a value of £300

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    I know the feeling with throwing out LEGO you thought was non lego. Just bought a $25 ball for the temple escape because I threw it away. OUCH. And kids are great when you can't find a certain pieces....their little eyes see everything! Looks like our processes are similar except that I sort by color instead of by piece type. Fun times!

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    I think just about anyone that deals with bulk on a regular basis will arrive at a similar process eventually. I tried sorting by color for a bit, but my eyes had a harder time picking out the pieces that I wanted. Really the only "Right" method is what ever works best for you. I would have sold my current lot by weight long ago, but my son keeps building $10 sets out of it. So I keep selling them, it's to the point where he's the only one working on them. Now I am obligated to pay him for his work, so his new "chore" is building Lego sets.

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    I have been lucky with my lot (about a 49 gallon tub and another 15 gallon tub) that they are all old gray. Breaking those out would be miserable. I did have a good load of mega blocks, BTR, and other brick based systems that is rather tedious especially for the specialty pieces mentioned. It has been great fun though.

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