Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to purchase a Lego set for five dollars

Son, I am your...what? Not funny?
The 2015 yard sale season has begun! With the cold weather finally receding, the past two weekends have brought a smattering of sales around town. It began Easter weekend with three sales. Although I struck out at all three sales, it was still nice to get outside and get back into the swing of things. Last Saturday was a bit more respectable with five sales. But even with more sales to check out, I only opened the wallet for one purchase. A twenty dollar bill landed me these four life-size Star Wars cardboard figures. The figures include Darth Vader, R2-D2, Chewbacca and C-3PO. I currently have them listed for sale on Craigslist for a one hundred dollar bill. Judging from what I've seen on eBay, I think they're worth the money. While I am waiting to find a buyer, I am having some fun with the Darth Vader figure. Every time my Sonny Boy walks through the garage, I dart behind Darth and announce in a deep voice, "I am your father!" (Get it? It's funny cause I really am his father and...ohhh never mind. My kid didn't think it was all that funny either!) Mrs. Dude also isn't laughing about the Star Wars figures. Not only are they parked on her side of the garage, but every time she walks into the garage, the figures scare the Bejeebers out of her! Needless to say, both Mrs. Dude and Sonny Boy will be happy when I get old Darth and the gang sold.

I am hoping those Star Wars figures will be a nice start to the new season. But no matter what I make out of the deal, I know they won't come close to my final garage sale scores from last season. The 2014 season ended with a phenomenal find that I've been waiting to share on the blog. I touched on it in a November post, but with the new season starting, now's a good time for a follow-up to the story. As mentioned in my previous post, this particular garage sale was on the last Saturday of the season. It was a big multi-family sale that appeared to have been thrown together at the last minute. In fact, when I arrived at the house, some of the extended family members were still pulling up to the house to participate. As they unloaded their stuff from the back of a mini-van, I noticed one of the kids pull
"You sold it for how much?"
out a massive Lego box. The kid tossed it down on a blanket and I nonchalantly kneeled down to take a closer look. It turned out to be a Lego Commemorative set called, "Town Plan." The set is a recreation of a Lego set produced 50 years ago, consisting of various town buildings including a gas station, city hall and movie theater. The box had been opened, but all the pieces were still sealed in the little plastic packs. Now here at MoneyintheGarage, you know we specialize in flipping Lego sets. I've made a ton of money on these flips, usually with Harry Potter and Star Wars sets. But when it came to this special commemorative edition, I really had no clue what it could be worth. While I could have tried a quick price check on eBay using my iPhone, I decided why bother? When you get right down to it, Legos are Legos. As long as the price is right, you're going to make some decent money flipping them.

In this case, the price turned out to be very right. I asked the lady what she wanted for the set? She tossed it right back into my court, asking what I wanted to give her for it? Probably not the best question to ask this shark, because I proceeded to offer her five dollars for the set! Pretty crazy right? Here's what's even crazier...she accepted my offer! Realizing this garage sale appeared to have some very low prices, I eagerly began shopping for more stuff. I then found a Nintendo NES system in the original box. The family sold that to me for me another five dollar bill. I bought a few other odds and ends, including an old CB radio for three bucks.  I left pretty satisfied with my scores, particularly since it turned out to be the last yard sale of the season!

About a month after the sale, I sold the CB radio on eBay for twenty dollars. With that $20 dollar sale, I was now playing with the house's money.  Now it was time to really make some profits and sell the Nintendo system and Lego set. The Nintendo system was first to go, selling on eBay for $90 dollars. Not bad right? But as as they say in the old TV commercials for the Ginsu knife, "But wait, there's more!" I still had the Lego commemorative set to sell. Prior to listing it, I conducted a little eBay research on the set. I learned the set had been produced for a limited time back in 2008. Looking at previous sales, I also discovered that even partial sets without the box brought in big bucks. Seeing this, I had a feeling my complete set in it's original box would be no slouch at auction. It was now time to make some dough. I posted my five dollar investment on eBay using a seven day auction format. Boom! As I hoped, the set attracted multiple crazed bidders and topped out an insane selling price of $380 dollars! Yet another example of why I love flipping Legos!!! 

After making me nearly $400 dollars, the commemorative Lego set has now officially become my new "go-to" story when family or friends asked how my eBay sales are going? (Replacing my Jack Nicklaus signed print story.) When people ask, I slowly lay out the story, then hit them with the $380 punchline. When I do, the person usually shouts, "$380?" in disbelief, or they spit out whatever it is they're drinking at the time! It's funny watching folks reaction to the story. Who can blame them? Turning a five dollar Lego set into almost four hundred dollars will make anyone do a double take!

All together, the Lego set and Nintendo system earned me a total profit of $470 dollars. Pretty lucky scores, considering it was my last yard sale of the season, but that's why we head out there every Saturday morning, right? Hopefully, the 2015 yard sale season will pick up right where I left off. How's your season going so far? Share your early season scores in the comment section below... 


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