What You Should Know About Buying Retired Maileg Items…
When I first started collecting Maileg I had so much fun browsing local shops and online retailers. During that process (particularly online) I came across all sorts of lovely items that were marked ‘sold out’ or ‘retired’. Uh oh! How was I to find that perfect piece that was no longer available? And, if I did happen to find it, how would I know if it’s authentic, priced reasonably, or if it was worth the cost?
Maileg is Very Collectable
There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for retired Maileg pieces. The first thing to keep in mind is that Maileg pieces are highly collectable. If you’re new to #Mailegworld you might be surprised to see some of the high prices retired items can go for on the resale market.
I was lucky enough to find a very reputable, private reseller of retired Maileg pieces and I couldn’t have been happier with my purchase. It was all above board and very professional. I have heard of other folks who fell victim to online scammers. Sadly, our beautiful little make-believe world is not without those who would take advantage.
I had the opportunity to chat with @themouseconcierge (the aforementioned amazing US-based Maileg reseller) who kindly shared with me some of her insights into buying secondhand Maileg items.
Regardless of my or anyone else’s advice though, be forewarned that there’s no real guarantee unless you’re buying pieces from an authorised Maileg retailer. That being said, I can share some information on the more prevalent scams and some common sense things to consider before buying retired pieces on the second hand market.
Frequently Asked Questions
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How do I know if it's authentic Maileg or not?
It’s always a good idea to check if the item comes in it’s original box (if applicable) and with it’s original tags.
Soft Maileg items typically have a tiny cloth tag that reads Maileg, sewn into side of the body, outfit, rug, matress, etc. Most metal or wood furniture pieces and accessories have a clear plastic sticker with an alpha-numeric code, followed by the date of release (MM/YYYY) as well as the maileg website listed on it; typically located on the underside of the item.
Some large metal items (and even some smaller ones) have the Maileg logo embossed into the surface. Many smaller accessories tend to lack either tag or sticker but if they come in their original packaging those items will generally have the authenticity sticker.
You may want to check online for Maileg’s own product photos so you know what features there are to help with verification.
Tags and stickers are obviously not 100% foolproof because sophisticated counterfeiters could conceivably fake those; but it’s probably less likely.
Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for additional pictures of the item (for example: back, bottom, box, etc.) to help you verify the authenticy of the piece.
Where can I see past Maileg collections?
Many of Maileg’s catalogues are available online; going back as far as 2012. More recently in 2021 however, they only produced a lookbook, which is comprised of several lifestyle images. So far in 2022 there hasn’t been a lookbook or catalogue released yet.
For beginners, SS refers to Spring/Summer, while FW means Fall/Winter ;)
Things to consider before buying a high priced item.
Let’s assume you find a retired Maileg piece on the second hand market but it’s listed at a premium price. These are some factors to take into consideration before making your final decision.
- What is the year of release (how old is it)?
- What condition is it in (mint, excellent, displayed only or played-with)?
- Does it come with the original box/tags?
It’s a good idea to do your research on past market prices for the piece in more than one currancy. For example: EUR, GBP, USD etc. As pieces have continued to increase in value this may take a little more research but it’s good to check at least three selling platforms if possible.
How to avoid getting scammed.
How to pay for a second hand Maileg piece.
If you’ve done your due dilligance and are ready to go ahead with a purchase, it’s a good idea to use Paypal goods/services because it offers protections for the buyer and the seller. For example, if the buyer receives the wrong item or the piece is not in the condition that was stated, the buyer can file a claim with Paypal to get their money back.
Many people aren’t aware that Paypal charges the seller a fee for using goods/services. According to Paypal’s policy, that fee is the seller’s responsibility and NOT the buyer’s. Some sellers try to force the buyer to pay that fee so it’s good to be aware of that.
The important thing is to be well informed of your payment options and know the difference in protection that each method offers.
Where can I find retired Maileg items for sale?
Rare vs. hard to find items, what's the difference?
When looking to buy retired Maileg pieces second hand you will notice that some sell for much higher than their original retail price. Essentially, it seems to come down to supply and demand.
Depending on the item, you’ll probably encounter keywords like ‘rare’ or ‘hard to find’. There is a difference.
Rare Maileg Items
Items marked as rare are pieces that don’t pop up for sale as often as other pieces and are not easily tracked down. There is a small number of them available on the second hand market in mint, excellent or good condition. As such, these tend to go for premium prices.
Some examples are:
- blue wooden scooter
- milk house
- brown sister and brother mice
Hard to Find Maileg Items
On the other hand, hard to find items are pieces that are retired or sold out in most shops and were very popular. They are more common in the second hand market than rare items. Continued demand for these items post-retirement means their prices can go up.
- circus collection
- pumpkin carriage
- cheese rocker
What's a reasonable price for a retired item?
Will an item become a collector piece?
How to find missing/specific accessories.
What does MMAO and ISO mean?
Should I buy a retired piece or wait for future collections?
The short answer: It depends what you’re buying.
Let me give you an example:
When I first started my collection I was dying to get my hands on the tiny little mouse beds. They were the only beds that fit in the Maileg dollhouse attic and they’d be perfect for my little bro/sis mice. The only problem was there were no mice beds of any kind available from Maileg at the time. The closest thing I could find was the Teddy Jr. bed (which actually works really well for mom & dad mouse).
I hummed and hawed about buying them second hand but they were pricey and I wanted two. We’re talking $90+ USD each. I wasn’t the only one looking for these puppies so the price reflected the demand. Ultimately I waited as I couldn’t bring myself to spend over $200 CAD plus shipping from the US.
Fast foward a year and I was pleasantly surprised when Maileg released the Fall/Winter 2021 Collection and lo and behold there were the wee mice beds! Retailing for $34 USD I quickly snapped up two of them and I couldn’t be happier.
However, another matter altogether was my obsession to locate the retired ‘scooter with sidecar’ for my collection. I couldn’t find a white one but I did get my hands on a black one for a fair price considering how hard to find they are in general.
The lesson here is that if you’re looking for something generic like a bed, you might want to wait. Maileg recycles ideas and reinvents some items over time. It’s likely that Maileg will continue to roll out new iterations of lamps, beds, rugs, etc. Whereas they may not ever create another scooter with sidecar or circus tent (I want one of those too).
At the end of the day, only you can decide how badly you want something and whether you’re okay with taking a chance and waiting for a possible future release. One thing I have learned over the past year however, is that prices for rare and hard to find items seem to keep going up.
Here’s my scooter all it’s glory…
In progress, more coming soon…
Thanks to @themouseconcierge for sharing her invaluable experience into buying retired Maileg items.