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I’m a new collector. I decided to buy the Stranger Things set as a possible investment piece. I assumed the box would come sealed in plastic but it didn’t. Is this normal?

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    Welcome to Bricks.SE! – jncraton Jan 14 at 14:36
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    I would actually be leery of a Lego box that was wrapped in plastic. – JPhi1618 Jan 15 at 17:53
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LEGO sets ship in sturdy cardboard boxes. The LEGO bricks inside the box are sealed in plastic bags (though some larger pieces come loose in the box) and for larger sets the instruction manual and sticker sheet are also sealed in a plastic bag.

The LEGO box itself is not covered in plastic. LEGO uses “seals” to prevent tampering - these are basically just pieces of adhesive tape with some printing on it - a black bar plus on at least one of the pieces of tape is a production code.

Some smaller sets come with push-tabs instead of tape seals ... this forces you to destroy the box to get at the set inside. These boxes will have the production code embossed or printed on the underside of the box.

There are collectors who plastic-wrap their sets upon receipt to keep them mint, but this is not a common practice. You can also engage a grading service to get sets graded, but the market for sealed graded sets is very small.

Note that no matter how good the seals look on a set (even push-tabs), there are entrepreneurial individuals who manage to open and reseal boxes to take out the most valuable contents without you as a buyer knowing. Be aware.

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    What is grading? I don't know how I could google that. – Clonkex Jan 16 at 22:16
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    @Clonkex : see here: blog.hobbydb.com/2018/04/12/… – Phil B. Jan 17 at 0:20
  • Oh right, so it's literally just grading as in assigning a grade. I assumed it might have some more exotic meaning in this context :P – Clonkex Jan 17 at 4:44
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In addition to the other answers which highlight the lack of any external plastic covering and the use of seals or glue to indicate the product's unopened state, the products bought directly from LEGO are shipped in plain brown cardboard boxes along with plastic air cushions to protect them during shipping, like demonstrated in this video for example. Other retailers might, on the other hand, just slap a shipping label directly onto the printed box of the set.

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    Stuff of nightmares what you describe in that last sentence. – Michael Verschaeve Jan 14 at 14:06
  • Shippers do have packaging standards as to what they will accept as a "box", and it normally has to be a certain grade/thickness of corrugated cardboard. Lego boxes are not designed to be self-shipping, and wouldn't meet the requirements. So, you could at least feel better knowing that the shipper shouldn't accept that arrangement, but I'm not saying it hasn't happened. – JPhi1618 Jan 15 at 17:50
  • I wish I had received mine with padding around the set! I got one from Lego.com.au and they just put it in a cardboard box larger than the set. I imagine it would have slipped and slid around during transit. There is the slightest bit of damage in the top left hand corner. Barely noticeable but I would expect better packaging from LEGO. Am I being pedantic as a new collector or should I ask for a replacement set, packaged securely? – Carly Morgendorffer Jan 16 at 1:09
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    @CarlyMorgendorffer I have never seen or heard anyone complaining about such minor scuffs on a box. IMO, LEGO is about building and playing with bricks, not about collecting boxes, but each to their own, I guess :) – zovits supports GoFundMonica Jan 16 at 8:46
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    Had it happen twice. Once from a major online retailer, once from a bricklink seller who shipped my order in an unrelated lego box. What worries me the most about such shipping is the indiscretion. Everyone by now knows lego is valuable, don't want it advertised that the shipment contains lego. Also, I have it delivered at my work adres, my colleagues and superiors don't need to know how much I spend on lego. – Michael Verschaeve Jan 17 at 8:36
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The boxes for usual LEGO sets are not packaged in plastic wraping. It looks like you consider plastic to be the packaging, while the box itself is the packaging, since LEGO bricks inside is the actual product and not the box.

Considering environmental issues extra plastic wraping would be wastefull since (I assume) 99% of all sets are being opened.

The best you can get away with keeping your box in best shape is to order single set directly from LEGO online. Largest sets may come in dedicated made-to-fit cardboard boxes. However this not always a case (sometimes cardboxes designed to fit 2-3 same sets).

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