The value of a collection to the collector lies less in its importance, surely, than in the excitement of the hunt, and the strange places to which the hunt sometimes leads.
~Graham Green, in his introduction to With All Faults by David Low via A Pound of Paper by John Baxter
I went to my first flea market (car boot sale in British parlance) at the beginning of the month with my sister. What were we on the hunt for?
“Vintage” LEGO Bionicle sets.
The flea market is a once monthly affair at the local school. More than two years after moving here, I was finally going to check it out. We’d seen people before with their loot – worn-out wooden stools, lamps, bags of clothing, etc. but had never gone ourselves. When we drove by the advertisement the day before, I had a flash of inspiration that perhaps we could find old LEGO Bionicle sets that weren’t sold in the stores anymore and were sometimes available for exorbitant prices on eBay and Amazon Marketplace.
My sister and I arrived at just after 7 am when the flea market opened. For about $1 USD admission fee, we were on the grounds where half the sellers were still setting up. Within 5 minutes of starting our rounds, we got lucky. A bag of jumbled Bionicle parts sat on the ground next to the stall of a father and his 10-year-old son. They sold us the whole lot plus a LEGO PC CD-ROM game for about $10 USD. (FYI, one new Bionicle set ranges from $10-20 USD to as much as $80+ here in the UK.) For the next 30 minutes or so, we continued roaming and asking sellers with kids toys or children in tow whether they had any LEGO Bionicle for sale.
We were on our way to the snack stand for a breakfast bacon sarnie (sandwich) to eat on the walk home when we passed a basket with some Bionicle sets in their original boxes. JACKPOT! The woman said she had six sets but after rummaging around the trunk of her station wagon, she found 10 sets.
How much? $2 USD a set would do.
“That’ll keep your little guy busy for an hour,” she said.
Obviously, she doesn’t know my Stephen. He plays with his LEGO for hours a day and even when he’s not busy building something, he’s designing new creations in his head.
Although nothing we bought was in complete sets, for LEGO builders like Stephen it’s the parts that are important. If baby #2 hasn’t arrived by next weekend, I may go by the flea market again to see what others I can find. He tells me he’s now interested in Exo-Force as well.
The crazy things us mothers do for our kids. Collecting really is about hunting in realms beyond our usual haunts.
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