I imagine there must be a hobbyist market for things like that, with specialty message boards to spread the word.
I’m always surprised at the large expensive toys that people just walk away from and abandon. Like sailplanes. These are expensive toys, in the multiple tens of thousands of dollars. I know of several that are abandoned, just sitting rotting away at various airports. Here’s one.
Since everyone dies everyone has stuff they have to let go of. This stuff can be thrown in the garbage, donated to friends or organizations, sold to dealers, sold at auctions, garage sales, flea markets, online venues (such as eBay, Facebook or Craigslist)…
The thing with the huge collection of LEGO is that it is, for the most part, portable. It might require a specialty sort of sale or auction to get rid of it all, but at least the buyers can leave with what they buy – and if the items are too big to transport easily, they can be disassembled and reassembled without too much hassle.
You mentioned model trains as another example, and while a serious model railroader may have dozens of locomotives and hundreds of rolling stock (which are easily sellable and portable), the real issue is the layout itself. Serious model railroad layouts are like a home-improvement project gone berserk, and are nearly always built in place, taking up one or more rooms in the owner’s home. Most hobbyist who build such layouts are hand-building terrain, scenery, and buildings, and a big layout has a massive amount of track on the layout (and even more wiring hidden beneath it), and most of that is difficult, if not impossible, to move or reclaim.
I went to an estate sale a while back where the model train collection was probably worth more than the house, and that was upper middle class to begin with. I’m guessing that something like that would end up going to an auction house, as would a basement-sized Lego collection.
I’m sure he will find buyers, however, for me, the joy of LEGO is in the unboxing and building. A vintage set in an unopened box is something I would pay money for. An already built set? Not so much. I sometimes buy LEGO sets for myself and have toyed with the idea of buying two each time. One to open and build and another to sit unopened, increasing in value.
When it was time to pour the basement floor of their new house, Gramps asked the cement people if they could "make a hill here, another here, and a valley there… and sink these golf holes here and here and here".
He astroturfed the basement, and took three strokes off his game with all the putting practice he got. My kids grew up having golf tournaments at Gramps’s Country Club.
Everyone assumed it’d be a plus when it was time to sell… Nope.
Ha. A few months before he died my dad asked me about my collection, about 80% of which is unopened, and I asked him “Do you remember that RV set you got me for my birthday last year? It was $65 then. Now that it’s retired that set goes for $170.” To which he replied “Wow, they’re a pretty good investment then!”
My point was that I buy them when they’re current to save money but he’s not wrong
Same here. I started buying Lego again recently. On Friday I bought the Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron - which I’ve not yet finished assembling - and it’s huge. I’m not quite sure if it will fit nicely in the place I had been intending to put it. My limiting factor in general is the space to put kits in once I’ve built them, but I don’t think I would want to sell this because I can’t imagine buying it myself once it’s already been assembled.
It would actually be quite tricky to take apart, as there are locking pegs in some places that would be difficult to remove. But even if I did take it apart, I’d have to sort all the pieces back into numbered ziplock bags and put them back in the original boxes (which I still have) before it was in anything like the state that I would want to buy it in. I don’t suppose many sellers who have built the kit already do that. Unless people are genuinely selling pristine boxes, I would not want to buy them.
But if they are selling pristine boxes, I can see paying a lot for a kit I wanted - even since I started looking at kits in the last month or so, I’ve found recently discontinued ones that I like the look of, and some of them are already nearly twice the price on Amazon. If I bought them, I’d open them and build them, though.
I suppose it’s like anything - the rarest wines and whiskies go for tens of thousands per bottle, and those would have been the ones that people wanted to drink at one time, but I doubt that many people who buy them now for that sort of money are going to drink them…