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LEGO at Retail – Like Uncut Diamonds (For Thieves)

“While Legos aren’t exactly uncut diamonds (they’re not nearly as portable), as far as untraceable commodities go, they’re almost as good as cash. Thieves can sell unopened Lego sets, which are very difficult to track, almost immediately online for as much or more than the retail price. And if they sit on them for a while, it gets even better, because many of the bigger sets rapidly appreciate in value—at a rate much faster than inflation. In other words, they’re money in the bank.

Last week’s back-to-back busts underscore what appears to be a growing awareness among criminals of Legos’ street value. Over the last couple of years, professional thieves and opportunists around the world have turned the Danish building blocks into fat stacks of Benjamins.”


You can read the rest at Vocativ.

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28 August 2014 Lego 11 Comments


  • Steve AKA: Poppa says:

    Several years ago I tried to sell some larger Lego sets from the 1970’s and early 1980’s that were taken up too much room. Not takers. I guess I’ll give them back to my son so he can pay for his retirement.

  • hypercarrots says:

    i say legos

    (MET: Yea, we’ll start saying LEGO as plural the second we adopt the metric system. 🙂 ).

  • RRichie09 says:

    The internetz haz no rules,::(?!

    (MET: Yep, enough to drive a grammarian crazeee … plus I’m a Cali dude, we get tired of words saying and just chilll out at the endzo).

  • collectormom says:

    Did you know that the plural for LEGO is LEGO

    (MET: I figure that might be true in Danish – here, I make my own puncu and spelling rulz. 🙂 ).

  • BMW says:

    Did you see the article in Atlantic Monthly about ebay feeding the Chinese on what fakes to make?

    • MoMcQueen says:

      I’d like to read that. Might you have a link? I tried their website but couldn’t find it. It makes me unspeakably sad to think that my buying/selling patterns on eBay are either directly or indirectly influencing criminal behaviour.

      (MET: Link at the end of the post still works – or HERE).

      • Mack_me_Bucko says:

        I read the Atlantic Monthly article, and came away with a different take. The “Pan Am” bag example is weak — since Pan Am is now defunct (though yes, I am sure some successor firm still owns the trademark to the name). All the article states is that eBay lets subscribing entities know what folks are commonly searching for, it doesn’t say they are actively telling the Chinese what to make. For all who decry “trademark or intellectual copyright” infringement, you do know that historically, the USA itself was a huge participant in this same sort of thing as recently as a hundred years ago? Knock-offs and fakes have been around forever, and the digital age just makes it even easier to do.
        (This spoken from someone who has had his own items pirated, so I’ve had that experience).

        (MET: Well, I think in this LEGO case, it’s pretty much straightforward retail store shoplifting/theft – but yea, “intelluctual theft” is a slippery slope of semantics because it can range from homage (when it’s great like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK) to lazy pickpocketing like selling a slapped together Mack No Stall hauler).

        • BMW says:

          We send [manufacturers] data about what people are looking for on eBay and they respond and turn it around incredibly quickly,” president of eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig told me. “We have a really big China export business to Europe and the United States. And they respond very, very quickly to consumer taste, whatever it might be. It’s really remarkable to see how quickly the manufacturing base adapts to the demand signals they get.”

        • BMW says:

          direct quote from Atlantic Monthly article.

          • MoMcQueen says:

            Thank you, that’s what I was looking for. It’s kind of sad to see eBay acknowledge that so cavalierly. I have little to no respect for knock-offs. I admit to having tried some “loose, new originals” from China when I first started to collect Cars but my negative experiences quickly outweighed the positive ones. I won’t touch that with a ten-foot pole now. I don’t love Mattel but I at least want the assurance I’m not buying stuff made with toxic ingredients and/or supporting criminal enterprises. I wouldn’t buy watches off the street from a guy in a trench coat either. It’s no different to me. Especially if it’s something I’m giving my children to play with.

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