‘Lego Football Set 3409 used, complete, boxed with instructions FREE UK P&P’
Building Lego football sets may seem like a strange occupation for a grown man. There are some who would say that anything involving football is a strange occupation for a grown man.
Let me explain about the Lego. I work for a local charity, and people donate all kinds of things they think might be useful for those who use our service. A lifejacket, a toaster cosy and a Lego football set, amongst other more obviously appropriate items. To be fair, the Lego football set was donated for us to sell to raise money. I only built it to check it was all there (no, really), and to photograph it for eBay. Of course, I had to enlist the help of one of our volunteers to make sure it was fully playable as a game. I won 10-9.
This was a couple of years ago now, and from my extensive research it seemed that about £22.50 would be a good price, so I listed it at that amount on a buy-it-now. Once I had finished, I looked again at the set I had built (without instructions), and noticed there seemed to be a couple of small pieces missing. No problem, you can revise an eBay listing quite easily… unless it has already sold. It had been listed less than two minutes, and someone had already snapped it up at my carefully considered price.
What I had accidentally discovered was that whilst £22.50 might be what the sets were fetching on auction, people were prepared to pay far more than that for the certainty and immediacy of buying-it-now. So I began trading, buying incomplete sets and sets with badly-written descriptions from eBay, and making up complete or nearly complete sets to re-sell. The going price for that original set, I have now discovered, is around £45-£50 including postage, (depending on whether you have the special design Adidas ball) and there are slightly larger sets which go for up to £75. I have an embarrassingly large collection of spares (it’s a good job I don’t have to keep it all at home), and have sold over 30 sets in 2 years, every one of them making at least £20 in clear profit, and some of them up to £60. One set recently went to Australia.
As far as I can tell, our eBay charity shop is the only Lego Football specialist on ebay.co.uk. It is a small niche, but a profitable one. I rarely get the opportunity to put much time to it these days, but others who work at the Freedom Centre have long since given up being surprised to find me building Lego when they show visitors round.
I am sure they come up with some reasonable excuse.
Jeremy Westcott is the Communications and Business Development Manager at Freedom Social Projects www.freedomsocialprojects.org.uk in Barnstaple. His ebay user name is fspbarnstaple, and when not playing Lego you will most likely find him on Twitter @FreedomSocProj or on Facebook.