Background Reading, Collecting vintage, Lego Classic Space 1978-1987

Vintage Lego Classic Space – Condition and Grading

Lego classic Space condition and grading

After careful consideration, talking to collectors and looking at my personal wannahaves in a lego classic space set I came to next Lego Classic Space Condition types. I will also use these condition ratings on the Lego Classic Space sets I sell.

3 Lego Classic Space Condition types explained

F2BP / Fun to Build and Play with  – good overall condition and complete, normal signs of age and use, small  imperfections in manual (writing or folds, loose pages in a booklet or punch holes or a needly fixed tear), color matched bricks, light faded logo’s, later replacement design parts, complete, correct color, small scratches and or minimal damage – priced to market average but with the above certainties!

HE4D / Highly Enjoyable for Display – Very good condition with crisp logo’s and colors, complete manual with small folds or punch holes only, no newer later parts, fresh matched colors white, grey and blue, little play wear or scratches, no damaged elements, possible part box / box art  – Premium priced

CPR8 / Collectors and Purists Rate –  Including box cover or complete box – in very good / close to new condition – all original parts – exceptionally good logos & elements blue is blue, white is white, light grey is light grey – great manual (+ extra advertising booklet) – much more expensive

I will explain the details below with various examples, including grading of the classic spaceman as well as grading of the instruction manuals. Check out how much works goes in a set before I will offer it for sale on my website, in this blog post : Preparing for sale process.

The majority will be in the HE4D range because this is the point I like them to be at (and make sense selling for a profit) and there will be a lot of sets in the F2BP range which for me vintage classic space lego is all about. Sets that will put a smile on your and your kids face and can be fully enjoyed as they were supposed to.

And if you already own a Lego classic Space set and are looking to make it a bit better, check out my blog post on Vintage Lego Classic Space maintenance and storage.

Other conditions I will not sell (bad and like new)

Then there are 2 Lego Classic Space Condition types that I will NOT sell. These are:

MMC – Make Me Cry : set that make very unhappy but are still being sold often by many original owners. These sets are easy to come by and affordable but the sellers will claim, they “did not know or noticed”, that they “thought it was complete” or “I used a brick in a different color”. In the end these sets always cost more than you bargained for.  I will explain with an example using model 6823.

The one on the right is in MMC condition. I put all 3 agains the same (close to new light/early grey) background so you can see how brown the grey can become. Besides the discoloration it has 2 new elements (4085 plate 1×1 with vertical clip). There is also a 2×3 plate missing on top and the logo on the space man has faded completely and there is some rust on the metal wheel axels. The   instruction booklet has a tear on the back. I am not happy when I receive a classic space set like this.

The other condition I will not sell is MIB / Mint in sealed Box – new or close to new as found in the store decades ago – funny prices for those who can and will pay up). First of all I do not feel the urge to buy these (let alone be able to afford these) and especially because I believe Lego is to play with.

Some more explanation of condition by pictures:

These pictures show on the left (and bottom) a possible HE4D condition and on the recht (and above) a MMC condition (discoloration in the white and blue parts, bad hole in the manual). From this picture I see the top one is going to be for parts, while most blue and white elements wil be binned, there may still be a F2BP elements and the red transparent and black parts are OK. In addition the good version will need a have a part switches out as well (between lowest wing and hinge). 

Classic Spaceman grading

I wanted to show you this line up of white classic spaceman to better explain Lego Classic Space condition. When you get them separate they may look okay and will probably resemble the condition of the set itself. But putting them next to each other, they could look like this.

Lego white classic spaceman line up. Bad to good.

From left to right I sorted them to color (not taking the space logo into account). The guys go from yellowed to partical yellowed to completely white at the end. You can draw an imaginary line right down the middle. The 4 on the left will be in the MMC stack fro the bin and parts box, the 3 to the right could be found matched to F2BP set and the last one in a HE4D set.

Original lego elements and their redesign counterparts

Not all Lego elements are created equally! When you look at the details of each element a whole new micro world opens up. So only read this when you are willing to fall down that rabbit hole. Did you know you can recognize the earlier elements by the way they were cast in their models.

Lego casting marks on vintage elements

These elements have small marks on their sides. This is the place where the liquid plastic went into the mould. When opening the mould, the small funnels were still attached and broken off. Apart from that, there goes a lot of work in designing a new lego element. And in Lego classic space there were a lot of new element introduced. Elements that needed some redesign later on. Below showing some of these elements in detail.

Original parts on the left, newer parts on the right. From the top down, the radar dish got a whole new centre something that really stands out when not covered. In part 2 and 3 a whole was added to make the pieces more versatile. Which is great for lego building in a wider sense. The stand is referred to as ‘thin support’ and the later one as ‘thick support’. These changes were no doubt made to strengthen the pieces so it would not budge under play condition.

Lego elements with their redesigned counterparts

Here are some more original elements (left) with their redesigned counterparts on the right. On the top you see the back of a 1×6 plate where the newer version looks totally different (probably cheaper to produce with less plastic and a better grip over time). The second is the small C-shaped grip that later became a U-shape and also can be found as thick-version. The useless hole in the brick for connecting the snake like vintage space equipment was omitted for a simpler attachment of the part in this element. The lantern brick was not really a redesign but the small hole under the open stud got bigger and more pronounced over time.

All these redesigned pieces actually only add to the fun in building with your lego’s but I do not think you can sell them as all original. At least not in a vintage classic space set (even-though many seller do). A set with these elements in them will be in my F2BP grade.

Lego instruction sheet manuals grading

Here are some of the MMC instructions manual I encounter…simply not specified by the seller how bad they were (comes with instruction…wink wink…yeah right).

Vintage Lego Classic Space condition of the manual instructions sheetMMC bad condition instruction manuals

Not to make you cry but just a reality check..these can really not be saved unfortunately. So were outer people still sell these I just put them in the bin…or perhaps safe them for a nice collage in the future…but rest assured you will never find these with the set you buy from me.

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