Alan Chia, via Wikimedia
Let's face it, no one's childhood was complete if they didn't own a LEGO set, and no one's parenthood is complete until they step on a LEGO block in the middle of the night while barefoot. There are 400 billion LEGO blocks in the world, and we're guessing that 80 percent of them got buried in sandboxes, lost under car seats, or flushed down toilets.
The Roto-Rooter people have amassed enough to build a new corporate headquarters out of them.
And sure, it makes sense that rare or older LEGO sets can fetch high prices among collectors -- hell, that shit is pretty pricey when it's new. But you may be surprised how much the loose blocks in your junk drawer might be worth, considering they're each made out of less than a penny's worth of plastic.
The Price Tag: hundreds of dollars ... for the right piece
Think about it this way: there are maniacal LEGO collectors out there, with those fancy elaborate sets they bought decades ago, who are missing just one damned piece. Maybe their nephew swallowed it and the doctor wouldn't give it back after the surgery. Well, those people are willing to pay big to make their collection whole again.
"Hang on, I think I'm missing the thermal exhaust port cover piece. Eh ... who'd ever notice?"
That's where BrickLink.com comes in. It's an online marketplace that allows hobbyists to buy and sell individual LEGO pieces. And if some of those pieces are out of production, an unusual color, or have some kind of manufacturing fault, the price skyrockets -- like this red Darth Vader helmet that Vader apparently donned during his college Marxist phase, which sells for over $400. A particular antenna -- the type of thing you probably lost in the backyard when you were 10 -- sells for over $200 in good condition, or $84 if it's a little beaten up. Boba Fett's legs are selling for around the same price. Even a regular 2x2 brick, if it's a certain color, can list for $200 new (less than a buck if used). Hell, the freaking instruction booklets can sell for up to $275 without a single brick included.