THE STORY OF THE PERFECT LEGO SPACE COLLECTION!
Back in 1978, I got the 455 Lear Jet and 480 Rescue Helicopter sets for my 8th birthday... followed by the 497 Galaxy Explorer and 6970 Beta-1 Command center for Christmas in 1980! Lego became a Christmas & birthday tradition for well over a decade after that, and I collected over 300 sets (still in boxes), concentrating mainly on Space stuff by the late '80s. The size of the collection was such that every January I felt an unfair amount of obligation to keep it going. I would blindly buy all the Space stuff every year without really caring or lusting after anything the way I did early in life. Either the new genres (M:Tron, Blacktron II, Ice Planet, etc.) didn't do anything for me, or I just plain grew up.
By 1993, I had decided enough was enough, and listed everything in the Bargain News for only $800!!
This was long before eBay, so I didn't realize the value of these toys at all! I figured, who would want this much Lego? Just a bunch of worthless toys... too much for a whole schoolful of kids, let alone one person! Naturally, hours after the paper hit the street, I got dozens of calls. Happily, I sold it to a friend of the family who I was able to track down five years later for a generously priced re-acquisiton. eBay had revealed to me the real value here, and also made me realize I could fill in all the missing gaps in the collection. 493 Space Command Center was one set that I never managed to get, and when it became my very first eBay purchase, I knew I had caught the bug again!
I became Member #95 over at Lugnet, and with the help of people like Todd Lehman, Matt Childs, Larry Pieniazek, and countless vanguard members, I scoured the planet and put together the world's finest boxed Space & Star Wars collection. A lot of these sets, especially the Star Wars ones but also over 100 Space ones, were still unopened! I helped uncover the mysteries of some truly rare sets, like the super-rare 1999 Value Pack (the origin of 6807). I bid $1000 dollars on the first known boxed (sealed!!) 1593 Super Model set... I lost by a long shot; it sold for $2147 (so help me, I remember the amount to the exact dollar), but I later got a boxed one from Germany for only $300! There were sealed blister packs for 801, 0012 thru 0015, and even a sealed 6711 hanging on the wall. There was even THIS THING sitting around. O_o Many of the pictures of these sets were provided by me to Lugnet & Bricklink for reference (they're still in use in the catalogs today, despite which credited Bricklinker may have dug them up on Lugnet or elsewhere)... no one else had even seen them before! I got to be a part of something really special and it was AWESOME.
In early 2001, while all this craziness was going on, I opened Dave's Brick Space, selling off unwanted sets & parts acquired from lots which contained stuff for the almighty collection. This is the true success of the hobby... even as these fun, rare things were sucking money out of my wallet, the hobby paid for itself with the help of the shop.
I was also more interested in building my own designs than ever before! My favorite hobby was designing stuff that looked like it could really have been a Classic Space set, such as my 6974 Delta-IV Space Center. This period of time encompassed the most fun I ever had with Lego, including even the early days with that Lear Jet & Rescue Helicopter, and opening up that Galaxy Explorer on Christmas morning!
But after the hunt ended, and a couple years went by revealing no further secrets & mysteries, I realized that I was once again back to blindly buying new sets every year with no real intent on enjoyment. I wasn't really building any more, either. And for me, Lego sets were "jumping the shark" again, including what I thought were lazy, too-soon re-designs of perfectly attractive Millenium Falcon & X-Wing models, etc. It was disappointing. The thrill was gone, and when I broke my leg in a car accident, I decided that daily trips to the post office just weren't warranted any more. The unholy "bluish gray" disease of 2004 certainly didn't help matters, either! So I entered by second Dark Age, selling everything (at a fair price, this time!) to another Bricklink shop in order to fund a new music studio. I was down to one brick after that... a single chrome silver 2x4 brick to honor the memory of the best hobby ever.
Five years roll by...
In 2009, I lost my Art Direction job, and needed some financial help. Even though I was no longer interested in collecting or building Lego models, I still knew enough about the hobby to make extra money selling parts & sets in the shop. So Dave's Brick Space re-opened its doors, and after a couple years my wife Lee-Ann and I built it up to be the largest shop in my home state of Connecticut! It is now my full time job (aside from some freelance art projects), and we have huge plans to keep growing!
So there's the whole story. Millions of pieces & thousands of sets have passed through my fingers. I am keenly interested in the lore of old & new sets across all themes, and Lee-Ann and I are always on the lookout for good deals that we can pass down to our customers. I guess I needed that collection after all... without it, I wouldn't have had the interest, connections, and the knowledge base to help build a successful Lego resale business.
I hope this story was as entertaining to read as it was for me to live! See you 'round the shop. :o)
EPILOGUE: Summer, 2013: 20 years to the day after the day I sold everything for $800, and I am still friends with the person. And now the circle is really complete... all the non-Space stuff that he kept: Town, Pirate, Model Team, Technic, and a lot of his own Star Wars stuff collected since, was all sold off, and I brokered it for him both in my shop and on eBay! Tens of thousands of dollars worth of beautiful boxed (some sealed!) sets were passed along via a hundred smooth (and not-so-smooth) transactions. Should I have been bitter about earning only a commission on sets sold that belonged to me in my childhood? Hey, he bought them from me fair & square... a deal's a deal! And I got one last chance to say goodbye to a lot of old friends, like Black Seas Barracuda, Main Street, and even some weird old Value Packs and accessories. It was a surreal experience selling them all!