BRIO Wooden Railway Blog

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  • Breaking up is easy to do

    Yesterday I pointed out a #33594 Truck that is currently for sale on eBay, but now it appears that it was actually part of a #33520 Trucks and Cars set, which is in itself also quite rare. The seller has listed the red, single-axel trailer from that set as a separate auction.

    Usually when stuff like this happens—a seller splitting up a set or part of a set—it's because they aren't familiar with the product line and don't really know what they have or what goes with what. There are a lot of people selling BRIO on eBay, and a good chunk of them are probably parents getting rid of their child's old train set that has lost pieces over the years and was all mixed together and shoved into boxes. You can't blame people for not knowing which pieces are part of a particular set, or for breaking a large lot into more manageable pieces.

    Usually. There are rare occasions—very rare—when it's just plain asshattery. Such as with this guy who sold the buildings from the Hospital set in one auction:


    The vehicles in another:


    And then the empty box three days later:


    But most folks don't do this sort of thing and I tend to give sellers the benefit of the doubt. As frustrating as it may be to the collector, the truth is that most people just don't know what they have, or that they are breaking up a set. As a buyer, only you can decide if it's worth taking the risk to bid on two or more partials.

  • I thought you said those were rare?

    No sooner do I do something presumptuous like write an article about rare BRIO items from the 80's and 90's, than three of those items show up for sale on eBay. That very same week, both a #33215 Small Harbour and a #33594 Truck appeared, the former even new in box, still shrink-wrapped! And a #33382 Windmill came up a week later. I still stand by my original claim that these items are among the rarest of their vintage, but I admit that the timing does make me look a little silly.

    All kidding aside, I don't remember the last time I saw a Small Harbour, much less one with its box. It sold for a respectable price, too:

    Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 6.49.10 PM.png

    About $68 on 9 bids, though that did include free shipping.

    The Truck, on the other hand, is on it's second time around with an opening bid of $29.95 and $3 shipping. This is a good example of "rare" and "valuable" being two different things, and "valuable" also being a relative term. It's hard to imagine this item selling for that much, especially since it is in rough condition, though I have been surprised before.

    The Windmill includes its box but is missing its stairs. And like every other used Windmill it has stress lines in the sails, though these look better than most.

  • Buying on eBay isn't always a bargain

    In my article on Buying BRIO on eBay I point out that eBay is not typically a bargain when it comes to items that are still sold in retail stores. A good example of this is the #33253 Stacking Track Supports, which I very frequently see for sale on eBay in the U.S. at inflated prices.


    As of August, 2014, this is sold for less via Amazon, with free economy shipping:


    Sometimes you can do even better at traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. In this case, Finnegan's Toys in Portland, OR:


    Just because it's sold on eBay, that doesn't make it a deal.

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