The Beginner’s Guide To LEGO Star Wars Collecting 106: Focus

Just like when Qui-Gon Jinn told a young, blonde Anakin Skywalker that “Your focus determines your reality,” what you decide to buy will determine the extent (and cost) of your collection.

There are lots of ways to start building up your LEGO Star Wars collection but the direction that any collection – whether it is postage stamps, souvenir spoons, miniature lighthouses or toys – takes comes down to two important factors: budget and time. How you decide to spend your money is an entirely personal decision but it is one that will ultimately affect how long you are willing to spend building your collection, which will decide what your collection will include.

Assuming your finances are limited, the most important piece of advice when starting out is to pace yourself. There is a lot of interest in LEGO Star Wars, with both LEGO and Star Wars fans keen on buying old and new sets, as well as genuine children who want to build and play with the latest sets – and of course, there are investors who are always looking for good deals, so rushing in unprepared is a surefire way to overspend.

At any stage, research is key – learn what a set should contain to determine whether all the pieces and minifigures are included, if the instructions and inserts are present, as well as what kind of packaging should be included. If you are coming from a vintage Star Wars collecting background, you’ll know the importance of including every last item that comes with a set.

Then there is its condition, which is very well documented for action figures – especially Star Wars toys – but is largely subjective in the world of LEGO Star Wars collecting. However, there is no reason that the C-scale, which has been around since the mid-90’s, couldn’t be used.

Once you know how much of your resources you’ll be commiting to the hobby, it’s time to decide what aspects of LEGO Star Wars you’ll be concentrating on and with such a breadth of content, there are many ways to go.

The most common route – and the hardest to nail down – is the completist who wants everything. In reality, though, the definition of what constitutes a complete LEGO Star Wars collection is riddled with pitfalls and is highly subjective. The most significant issue is that there is no true and accurate list of absolutely everything that exists under the full extent of the license – there are even internal differences within LEGO over what some of the categories, subdivisions and definitions are.

And then there is the personal aspect of what you consider to be worth collecting. The odds that there is a single LEGO Star Wars fan who believes that the sets that LEGO has produced under license since 1999 shouldn’t be considered collectibles are lower than successfully navigating an asteroid field while being nagged by a gold protocol droid – but not everyone sees the value in collecting every single item like exclusives, key chains, magnets, pens or promotional posters, nor do most people have space for store displays or interest in third-party tie-ins or the huge range of publications that have been released since 2005.

Defining what a completist is is nearly impossible, so most collectors tend to narrow their scope to something more comprehensible.

One of the most common avenues is collecting minifigures; rather than buying the full set many fans will purchase loose minifigures on secondary marketplaces like eBay.com or Bricklink. These in particular make great display pieces.

Other popular aspects of LEGO Star Wars to collect are polybags (typically sold in the impulse buy area and often given away at sales events) and promotional bricks (normally only available at special events – which are becoming rarer now that Star Wars Miniland at LEGOLAND Parks have closed). Some collectors focus on sets from particular eras in the Star Wars timeline (unsurprisingly, those from the Original Trilogy are particularly popular), particular spaceships or certain factions, like Imperials or a certain bounty hunter.

Once you’ve determined what LEGO Star Wars products you are going to direct your attention towards, you need to decide if you are going to concentrate on sealed sets (as all brand new sets come), open sets (whether you break the seals or buy them pre-opened) or loose. With the direction your collection decided and fully armed with the knowledge of where to do your shopping, the next step in the Beginner’s Guide to LEGO Star Wars Collecting is learning how to manage your acquisitions – more on that next week.

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