Buy Lego Pieces By Part Number
Common undecorated parts were given 4-digit design numbers until the mid 1990s when 5-digit ones starting at 30000 were used. Nowadays there appears to be no obvious logic to their allotment, with numbers ranging from 12029 to 79371 being assigned to the 1400 new designs have surfaced in sets so far this year.
buy lego pieces by part number
Our database contains around 18,000 design numbers but many more have been allocated over the years but are now out of use, following parts being discontinued or redesigned, at which point they are given a new one.
This attribute, which I'll simply call colour, also has a number allocated by LEGO. Colour numbers are three-digits and begin at 1, which is white. The majority of the numbers relate to the colour of the plastic the parts are moulded from but a few also define any additional finishes, e.g. 'cool silver drum-lacquered', colour number 298, which requires a process to apply silver paint to the parts.
Recently, LEGO has started producing parts moulded from two or more materials or plastic colours. Each different combination is given a colour number, starting at 500, and named in the form 'number MULTI' or 'number MULTIFORM'. To keep things simple here, all such parts are lumped together under a single colour, Multicombination
LEGO colour numbers are not exposed in set inventories or published anywhere, although the company has made information available to fans in the past, including the colour palette chart which can be used to navigate our parts database.
Yes, sort of -- a part's design and colour numbers define it uniquely. Initially, a part's element number was simply a combination of the two: the four digit design number and the two-digit colour number concatenated. So, a white (colour 1) 2x4 brick (design 3001) has an element number 300101 and a green (colour 28) spruce tree (design 3471) has an element number 347128.
Nowadays, elements receive numbers in the 6xxxxxx series. The highest number in our database, which contains information on 43,000 elements, is currently 6360136. A good way to identify new and recoloured parts in sets before LEGO has published the inventory online is to look for the highest numbered elements in the set's inventory at the back of the instructions.
This exception to the general rule is because torsos and legs are composite parts, made with up to 5 separate pieces in the case of minifig torsos, and each individual component has its own element ID, which is not exposed publicly.
Another instance where the same part has multiple design numbers is when it's produced in solid and transparent colours. Because transparent parts are produced from a different material which requires a different mould to manufacture them, they have different design numbers. For example, the 2x2 brick: solid (3003), transparent (35725).
The allocation and usage of LEGO part numbers is a complex subject that people have devoted their lives to understanding fully. This article has barely scratched the surface but nevertheless I hope you found it interesting and perhaps even learned something.
This article is filled with great information. Thanks!I've been wondering for the past few years how much small variations in elements matter to people, specifically to collectors. I have recently started parting out the retired Modular Buildings that I missed out on. The first one I parted out was 10224 Town Hall, for which I needed 72 of element 4164443-1 (Brick 1X3 in dark orange). This element was retired in 2012 and sold for a pretty penny on BrickLink. Luckily, as I was still collecting the elements for my Town Hall LEGO reintroduced this element with a new number (6263221) so I was able to get the newer numbered ones directly from LEGO's Bricks & Pieces for a fraction of what the older numbered ones were going for on BrickLink. Are there collectors out there who are that detail oriented that my using the newly numbered element would impact the resale value of my set? What about a non-identical element that is a slight variation on the underside. For example, a 1x2 jumper with bottom type A vs. bottom type B vs. bottom type C?
Fantastic article @Huw! Thank you!What do you think about an article that explains how the set numbers were assigned in the 80's and 90's?For example: the first wave of Pirates sets had the following numbers: 6235, 6245, 6251, 6257, 6260, 6265, 6270, etc. The second wave had 6234, 6259, 6267, 6273.These numbers were not assigned sequentially. There were gaps between the set numbers for some "future reservation purposes". These gaps were always filled within the next years of particular series. I'm wondering what was the system of assigning such numbers during the initial wave of particular classic theme. Did they plan that numbers from 6232-6237 are reserved for impulse sets, another range of numbers for some bigger sets, and bigger and bigger? Based on the first years of Pirates sets we can discover that there is a relationship between the set number and it's box volume (I think).
@martinb said:"Fantastic article @Huw! Thank you!What do you think about an article that explains how the set numbers were assigned in the 80's and 90's?For example: the first wave of Pirates sets had the following numbers: 6235, 6245, 6251, 6257, 6260, 6265, 6270, etc. The second wave had 6234, 6259, 6267, 6273.These numbers were not assigned sequentially. There were gaps between the set numbers for some "future reservation purposes". These gaps were always filled within the next years of particular series. I'm wondering what was the system of assigning such numbers during the initial wave of particular classic theme. Did they plan that numbers from 6232-6237 are reserved for impulse sets, another range of numbers for some bigger sets, and bigger and bigger? Based on the first years of Pirates sets we can discover that there is a relationship between the set number and it's box volume (I think)."Yes, that would be interesting. One on the 5-digit numbers might also be, and they are slightly easier to get to grips with.As you say, the numbers initially gave come indication of the size of the set.
Fascinating! I think rules on part numbering and descriptions generally go to pot in every industry over time. I used to be involved in the automotive industry, and even BMW's part numbers and descriptions for similar car components started going awry. And as anyone in the UK knows, one person's bread roll is anothers bap, barm cake, bun, teacake etc etc etc.....
Very interesting article, indeed! I'd like to ask, is there any way to know what particular numbers should I expect in a set from, for instance, the 90s? I.e. if I have a set from the 90s, say 6097 as example, can I know what part numbers should I get? I'm a collector mostly, so it would be interesting knowing if some parts have been replaced when I buy a used set...
similar to 2012/13 when Lego ran out of numbers for sets and had to upgrade to 5 digit sets; given the number of new Designs and all the Patterns (printed parts) in the last decade, Lego must be running out of 5 digit numbers. Will be interesting to see what Lego decide's to do.
Great article, very interesting stuff. I do have a question on numbering on a piece. Is there a way to tell the color of piece by looking at the bottom? I am talking mainly about small 1X1 pieces in old grey and light blue grey for example. Those are sometimes very hard to tell the difference between them by just looking at the color like on bigger plates and bricks that are easier to see the difference in color. Sometimes I get a bulk bit of bricks and trying to see the difference in those as to how to sort them can be challenging.
@Huw said:"^ I've asked many times over the years to talk to the department that issues set numbers but to no avail, sadly..."Hey @huw I have worked several years in the plastic industry and while I have never worked for Lego themselves, I can give you a little more insight into how companies come up with these numbers if you are interested.
From my understanding 88585 designates torsos that are exclusively produced in China while 76382 is for all torsos with single-color arms, presumably because they are produced in factories worldwide. During 88585s introduction in 2010 the arms had square markings molded on the inside, somewhat visible but not really apparent until you disconnected the arms. They were only put into figure-centric sets like CMFs and Accessory Packs. You could easily tell these parts apart from other countries because of the excessively milky tinge. The same style of arm has also began being used earlier, in Magnet Sets, the kind without glue but with 2x4 magnet bricks.During 2013 the number started designating torsos with printed arms alongside CMF exclusive torsos for which it has been used consistently since. Between 2011 and 2013 the arms lost the square markings and both, the 76382 and 88585 torsos started using arms with numbers on their inside but the exact placement of the numbers has multiple variations. Before 2009 arms had no markings whatsoever, not even the regular design number which would be 3818/3819. The first time I spotted square marked arms was in January 2009, 852554 Magnet Set Vader/Chewbacca/Obi-Wan. It appears those sets still used the number 76382 internally because the parts were always in production due to other sets using the same torsos going into production earlier or simultaneously and the new number only came in effect once China produced exclusive torsos. Probably has also something to do with the logistics of getting those parts into Europe and have them available in Replacement Parts Service or packed into sets with otherwise only locally produced elements in europe or america.In my opinion these China produced pieces should always have used a different design number because of the new arm molds clearly making it a different parts and because the plastic has a milky tinge even to this day albeit not as prominently as it once was. Chinese factories introduced even more oddities than just this, for example there is also a Darth Vader torso with a print where metallic colors have been replaced with ark bluish grey. That might have been a first-run error of my copy as I have never seen anybody else acknowledging this variant. 041b061a72