LEGO price creep!
I have been a member of Bricklink since 2002 when Vincent ended my personal dark ages by creating a little game about big robots. In that time I have watched bricklink grow and observed the price fluctuation of certain parts. I have also in that time created several “wanted” lists on my personal bricklink account. These lists help me in organizing my thoughts when buying Lego. They also help me in rounding out smaller orders. Many times I will go to a bricklink store for a particular part they have listed, but the cost of the part or parts will not be enough to get me over the stores “minimum order.” This is when I fall back on the wanted lists I have for other projects I have going, and failing that I then move to the wanted lists I have for open ended projects, and finally to wanted lists for finished projects that I never deleted.
This is how I stumbled across a startling revelation today. The prices of two parts that I have purchased numerous times in the past have skyrocketed to astronomical proportions, and people are still paying those prices!
The first part I will discuss is bricklink part number 3778 Plant, Tree Cypress.
I decided, in 2004 I think, that I wanted to build a 90″ by 50″ Lego gaming table that could be covered in gray city base plates, or green countryside base plates. Of course a green table this size would require a great many trees. So I set about buying a great many trees, and my tree/plant wanted list is still active to this day. I have filled out many undersized orders over the years with a few trees. I did notice that fewer and fewer of the stores I was ordering from had this tree, and that now that I think about it, none of them have had any for several years.
Well I did bump into one today, and I was stunned by the price being asked. I then decided to look at the prices across bricklink, and was floored by what I found. The cheapest one is going for $11.00 Dollars even. The cheapest store with more than one for sale wants $19.40 each! But the best part is that one guy thinks he can get $59.00 for one, and that five other stores think it is worth at least $40, and another nine stores think it is worth more than $30!
I don’t have a count right now, but I think I have between twenty and thirty of them. There are nine of them in this pic of a 30″ by 30″ landscape I made up just to take pics on.
Needless to say, I won’t be buying any more of these trees any time soon.
I almost wish I had not seen this price increase because I intended to take my tables to conventions. In the past having a passerby pocket a tree might have meant I was out sixty cents to a buck, but now that tree is potentially much more than a handful of change. With the price starting at $11.00, the nine trees in that last shot are a $99.00 value, at the highest listed price of $59.00, those trees are $649.00!
This part is not the only one to experience this price creep. The other one I noticed several weeks ago. The part is – Black Brick, Round 1 x 1 x 2/3 with Scala Base (Flower Edge, 4 knobs) bricklink number 289.
The cheapest one is $5.53, the most expensive is $8.00! and to make it even better, there are only five for sale right now.
I love this part, it is so useful.
This mech uses four of them –
as does this mech –
You might also have noted that the battle droid infantry on the right hand side of the last two pics are based on a white version of this same part. This part also makes a great stock for mech rifles.
Three of the four rifle toting Gundam in this pic are holding rifles with stocks made from this part.
I have between 30 and 40 of these, and again I won’t be buying any more of them any time soon.
To give you an idea of how ridiculous this price is, we will look at two other similar parts.
First up is the Black Brick, Round 1 x 1 Open Stud, bricklink number 3062b.
This part is 1/3 again bigger than the part in question, but its price starts at just one cent even! One penny!
Next up is Black Plate, Round 1 x 1 Straight Side, bricklink number 4073.
This part is 1/2 the size of the round scala brick, and it’s price also starts at just one cent!
This is clearly not a case of “size matters.” The price of these parts is simply determined by supply and demand.
Keep it stompy!