Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Confessions of a Lego Hoarder.

I have been actively collecting Lego for over twenty years. You might even say that I have been hoarding Lego for twenty years. I was buying Lego before the internet became popular, so I was one of the original members of the old rec.toys.lego newsgroup. I have watched the popularity of Lego skyrocket on the web. I also remember thinking “boy it would be really cool if someone would make something to control the Lego motors.” Today, I couldn’t be more pleased with the direction that Lego and the AFOL community have gone.

When I started collecting in the late 80’s, I made it a point to save all the instructions from every set I purchased. After a few years, I got my first computer and it came with a really cheap, barely useful spreadsheet. So in the early nineties, I started a database of all my sets. It included the set number, the name, the line, part count, the cost, and how many of the sets I own. About seventeen years later, I still keep that inventory, but I have upgraded to MS Excel. I am so glad I have because it tells me so much. I now have all kinds of data that I protect fiercely. I thought I might share some of that data.

I break it up into a few categories; “Sets”, “accessories,” and “other.” I classify “sets” as sets that are meant to be built by themselves. “Accessories” add to other sets, such as individually sold motors, sensors, brick packs and that sort of thing. “Other” is stuff such as Pick-A-Brick items, parts bought on Bricklink, Ebay, garage sales and such. Usually accessories are sold by Lego in Lego containers and “other” is sold as-is by other individuals.

So here is the dirt:

In the Sets category
Sets I own: 227 total sets, 195 unique sets
Piece count of Sets: 76,540
Value of sets (MSRP): $9,540.51
Average cost per piece: $0.125 each

From the lines:
Adventurers, Aquanauts, Aquazone, Basic, Bionicle, Blacktron, Boats, Castle, City, Creator, Cyberslam, Dark Forest, Diver, Divers, Exploriens, Extreme, FERRARI , Fright Knights, Launch Command, MARS MISSION, Master Builder Series Technic, Mindstorms, Mindstorms/Star Wars, Model Team, M-Tron, Outback, RACERS, Roboforce, Rock Raiders, Space, Space Police, Space Port, Space Triple Set, Star Wars, System, Technic, Technic Robo Rider, Technic/Star Wars, Throwbot, Time Travelers, Time Twisters, Town, Town/Flight, Train, Ultimate Collector Series, Wild West, Znap (yes, Znap)

I own the most sets from the Technic line with 86, but I only own 75 unique models. This means that I have bought several sets more than once. I own four of 8047 Technic Compact Excavator (out now, because is has parts I need) and I own the most of 8527, Mindstorms NXT 1.0, which I own six.

In the Accessories category,
Sets I own: 348
Piece count of accessory sets: 20,002
Value of sets (MSRP): $3,623.64
Average cost per piece: $0.181 each

Cost per piece is more because the accessories I buy are typically things like motors and sensors which really pushes the number up high.

In the Other category
From Ebay and Bricklink,
Piece count: 5,504
Value of purchases: $583.24
Average cost per piece: $0.106 each

And I estimate that I have picked up about 12,500 parts from different Pick-A-Brick walls from a few different Lego stores.

So here is the summary
Total Piece Count: 102,236
Total set count : 575
Average cost per piece: $0.13
Average cost per set: $23.91
Average Parts per set: 178

Total Value: $13,747.39 (staggering to me)

And keep in mind this number doesn’t include shelves, tables, drawers, totes and all the stuff it takes to maintain a fully operational, dedicated Lego Room.

Wanna come over to my house and play legos??


  1. Did your wife see the total value? if not, don't show her, because you may be forced to sell it all. And buy a car. O_o.

  2. Sometimes it may be better to not generate a total. ;) ;)

    Andy D

  3. I'm impressed with your catalogue, I started with Lego a long time before we had a computer, and got bits from all over, so it would have been impossible to catalogue as well as you have, I do have a similar hoard, mainly technic and again six NXT's! I have a basic(major sets only) list on Brickset, which has good database facility, again have to hide that total though!

  4. squiddster, no, my wife hasn't seen the total. But I would imagine that she has a pretty good idea. She has been with me on more than one occasion where I have dropped a few hundo on Lego.

  5. As you can see... A few hundred here, a few hundred there and pretty soon you're talking about real money ;) :)

    Andy D