Today we’ve got an exclusive interview with the rare LEGO collector, known as rarelego on Instagram. Many thanks to Twitter user legofan_4 for writing up the questions and arranging the interview! Let’s get started with the interview.
This interview is separated in two parts. First – you will get “longer” questions, and second flash questions with answers.
1. Hello! First of all, many thanks for accepting this interview! 🙂 Please tell us few words about you.
Hello ? Many thanks for this interview! To introduce myself, my name is Matthias Cornelis but most people calling me Matth. I’m a simple guy from Belgium in Europe. 33 years old and like everybody here a Lego addict 🙂 Some know me for my funfair related MOCs as Cornholiosbricks, some others will know me as the man behind Rarelego on instagram.
2. When did you start collecting LEGO bricks? Did you remember your first LEGO set?
Hmmm, good question! I started buying parts when I was 20 years old on Ebay for my MOCs. I had never heard of bricklink and joined that site in 2010, which is hillariously late, but I’m a slow learner :p My first Lego set is kind of hard to remember because we were with 4 kids at home. I was the youngest so I started playing with the sets already at home. We had some of the blacktron and space sets and the simple “modular” sets like the holiday villa (set number 6349). But I really got hooked on the technic set 8868! I was such an addict on the pneumatic functions, kind of a red wire in my MOCs these days lol.
3. Do you only collect LEGO or do you build also? Describe your collection. Do you have only rare LEGO or both “classic” and rare LEGO bricks?
Yeah until 2016 I was busy with moccing my technic lego funfair. It’s on a scale between the Lego scale and the technic scale, so both technic figures and minifigures can have fun, with real pneumatic safety brackets so they are actually on the ride. I didn’t have the energy or focus to make something new. I had many technic sets by the way, most even modified in another color, but I sold them all last year so I could buy prototypes for the instagram list, kind of lame but life’s expensive :/ Also, my normal Lego parts are mostly sold to feed my hunger for them.
4. Now let’s speak about rare LEGO bricks. Please tell us about that kind of brick (why they are so expensive, are they all in the same color…)
I could talk a lot about these parts, but I want to keep it as short as possible. I think you can describe them in 4 sections;
A. Parts created for the Legolands / old hobbyclubs.
B. Exisiting parts in new colors for the designers to use in sets, but were never released.
C. New molds / qparts created for sets but on some way The LEGO Group hold down the part and stopped that mold before proceeding it further. I’ve showed roughly 8 parts like this on my rare lego account, those are kind of harder to get. Most old Lego designers keep these in their collection. Also, it’s important to note that some will have a Lego logo but not all, also not a part-mold number, the more signs in a mold the more expensive to produce, so that’s why some are plain 🙂
Then the last section, testparts, mostly in red. The wider known story on this is to test the new molds for flaws in it.
Then the issue on why they are so expensive. Most of us know by now that Star Wars related parts are the heaviest on the wallet, they can easily go up to a few thousand euros or dollars. There’s no real number on each part, but there are only 100-150 of each made (talking about the older masks now like the red chewbaca mask). Some there were only a handfull produced during 2000-2006 so it’s harder to get them, bit like with a new modular set of 10 years ago, which is a collectors item. But the cheapest prototype parts are mostly found that were for the Legolands, mostly in higher quantities, if you search right you can already obtain some for 50 cents. However, many of these are not that spectacular, for a simple example, some of the pearl light gray plates or 1×1 bricks are cheap, or some light blueish gray helmets.
I could also go into detail on the special 2×4 bricks from lego- bayern etc, even marbled stuff, but I really tried to keep it as short as possible (lol).
5. That is really interesting. Can you recommand us where to start if we want collect rare LEGOs too?
Sure, bricklink is the place to be, you can also try on Ebay but some sellers have wicked prices over there.
It’s not that hard to find on bricklink, but not on all, some sellers categorize their color wrong, so best when buying to ask if it’s the actual color. Also some like to sell a pink part in light pink, because the shade goes off after 10 years. So to make another easy example, go to the 2×4 bricks, part number 3001, and you will see 4 colums on the page. On the left you see the sellers, on the right what came in sets. You will see that there are few sellers selling trans bricks, like a transparent orange brick (around 10€ new). You will notice that this didn’t come in a set shown on the right colum. This means it’s a prototype / qpart. I’m giving this for example because normally there’s only 1 seller on this part and that’s DK bricks from Denmark, he’s one of the sellers specialised in prototypes, he or she works or worked as a designer for legoland so I’m told, so in this store you can find more prototypes to buy. Also another one of the better stores is Magicbricks, in his store it’s even easier to find stuff. Just type “SPECIAL COLOR” in the search tab and you will see all of the prototypes! Sadly not all stores are doing this, so it can be time consuming to scroll through all of their stuff. I think I obtained 75% of my parts through Bricklink, the others are trading / buying from fellow collectors.
6. I hear many people speaking about the Darth Vader red helmet. Do you have it? What is price of that part? Is there only one, or few exist?
First of all no I don’t have it, I have had a few proposals to buy it since I’ve started my Instagram account but because I wanted to show as many parts as possible on the list I decided to buy cheaper parts. I think I’ve listed around 350 prototypes myself now. If I bought it, I would have had many less parts to post, but I’m sure they will still cross my path 🙂 Choices in life sadly. Think the price is now arround 600-700€ for one new. That’s around 900 dollars. I’ve been told there is a limited run of 150, but sometimes I get the feeling that there are more. But it’s the darker scene of Lego so nobody really knows any numbers.
7. Did you exchange parts with other AFOLs or just collect yourself?
In this scene you need to trade, sometimes you need to make choices. For most of us, if you have duplicates, then you can trade, if only 1 it’s harder to let it go.
8. What is favourite part in your collection?
Always a nasty question, love so many parts. Think as a technic lover the red liftarms 5×7 with frame are kind of special to me. But if I really need to choose, it would have to be my marbled traintrack, it’s the older RC curved version in marbled red and trans clear. I only know of 2 in the world but maybe there are more? Anyway it’s a spectacular part to see, with the light on it it can even look like trans light blue/purple, but this effect is also on the regular prototype trans clear tracks…
9. Do you enjoy taking pictures of your collection? Where can we find you online?
Sure, think we all enjoy that ? The only problem sometimes is photographing the correct color for the picture, sometimes I need to use a filter, for example reddish brown and normal old brown can be tricky, same with dark gray and dark bluish gray. Maybe with a professional camera it’s handier but I’m just using my smartphone lol, easier to download online. 3 years ago I was a ghost on the web but now I’m on every platform. For my MOC’s only on FB/instagram Cornholiosbricks, also recently Flickr but there I’m doing MOCs and rare parts, then on Insta for prototypes it’s Rare lego. I’m also posting marbled / misprints over there 🙂
10. Let’s imagine that you work for LEGO. What don’t you like and what do you want to change?
Not firing all of those poor employees? For the rest I’m happy with The LEGO Group, sadly I’m hearing a lot of people complaining on this since fake bootlegs came around, but I don’t understand them. They are doing a great job pleasing all of us. 🙂
1. Olive green or reddish brown?
None? ? ok ok I will go for olive green, I saw many plates of reddish brown breaking quite easy last year. Maybe this I could add to the previous section that needs to be improved at The LEGO Group.
2. Bionicle or Star Wars?
3. Marvel or DC?
4. Minifigure or minidoll?
5. Lego set or polybag?
Both. Impossible to choose :/
6. UCS Millenium Flacon or Death Star?
7. LEGO Ghost or Zombie?
Because my picture on the rarelego account is a red ghost from the start..I’m going for the ghost!
8. Mr. Gold or Ant-Man?
9. Harry Potter or Jar-Jar Binks?
10. Plate or tile?
I’m going for the plates then, nothing beats the studs, without studs we have no lego <3
Many thanks for this interview, I hope it was not exhausting.
Much love and keep bricking, Matth