Our collection of bricks and pieces is all LEGO brand... I can say this with confidence because I have checked every single piece as it's come in. We don't buy all our LEGO new so it does need checking and with over 250 litres of the stuff I've become something of an expert on spotting 'not-LEGO' from a distance but there are some really easy ways to tell. You might not think it's important but if you're selling LEGO second hand on Ebay you need to check that what your selling is LEGO because 'not-LEGO' much like 'not-Rolex' or 'not-Bollinger' just aren't worth the same and people get really upset if they pay for LEGO and get another brand.
So with that in mind, you would expect some simple clear guidance online for people wouldn't you? Well, there are lots of articles which examine specific pieces in great detail comparing the LEGO to the not LEGO but that's not very helpful if you don't have anything to compare to. This is my two step approach, straight forward no nonsense, job done.
Step 1: Look for the Logo
Almost all LEGO has the word LEGO written on it if you know where to look. It's usually on the stud if there is one. Minifigures in particular are often mis-sold as LEGO when they are not so here's where you should find the LEGO logo:
There's always an exception. LEGO went through a phase of putting holes in the tops of the minifigure heads to reduce the choking hazard, these heads don't have the logo on. But, as far as I have discovered no other maker ever made them with holes in their heads so if they have the holes assume they are LEGO.
For other LEGO pieces with no studs on top you'll usually find the logo underneath... it can be quite tricky to see but it is there. If it's a common piece and it's not got a logo you can assume it's not LEGO. If however it's a random piece of plastic like you've never seen before I recommend step 2.
Step 2: Ask the LEGO fans
There are people who buy and sell LEGO for a living... we just buy it and play with it! There are places you can go online and post pictures of your random pieces of plastic and people will be happy to tell you whether it is a known piece of LEGO that has no logo or some other random piece of plastic. Trust me when I tell you that they really don't mind sifting through photos of plastic to tell you what you should keep and what you should throw. My favourite place to post is a facebook group called Identify My Lego Minifigure Parts and Pieces where they will not only tell you whether it's LEGO but also which set it's from and often link you to the bricklink page where you can buy it.
A note about Bricklink. It is a great place to find pieces that you are missing from a set, especially if you know the piece number or technical name. You won't always get a bargain but the few extra pennies will save you a lot of bother if you're trying to get hold of something specific. I wouldn't recommend trying to sell your child's colllection through the site piece by piece though it's definitely going to be more time and effort than you can afford.
That's it. All there is to it. If it's a win, get it on Ebay! LEGO is quite valuable if you've got complete sets you can pretty much get the price you paid if they are in decent condition with the instructions. Or if you fancy giving the LEGO to a good cause why not see if your local primary school would like it. LEGO is a great educational tool and it's expensive for schools to get enough for a whole class.
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