Ask a LEGO Fan

Lego Set Investments

Posted in Collecting Bricks & Sets, Marketplace by lfanquestions on January 8, 2010

Bobby writes:

I’ve been collecting LEGO for a few years, and I’ve noticed a surprising trend. More often than not, AS SOON as a set is retired it doubles and sometimes triples or quadruples in value on the aftermarket.

I’ve noticed this has happened on many licensed sets (Batman was insane, a mere 2 weeks after “sold out” set #7884 had gone from $11 to an average asking price of $60) I’ve also noticed that creator set prices sky rocket, as well as many others shortly after retirement. The most recent example is cafe corner.

What do you feel determines this? It’s pretty much across the board, once a set is retired it goes up in value, but it seems like the norm is for the jump in value to be extreme. Why? How?

ALSO, second part to this question… What current/ upcoming sets do you feel will be the most valuable once retired? Will Toy Story be the next batman? What about the upcoming Prince of Persia sets? Creator apple tree house? Will that be the next #4954? Will #6754 be the next #4954?

I am convinced that Green Grocer will sky rocket in price once retired, as well as many of the Indiana Jones sets. What are your thoughts?

Dear Bobby,

The sets you describe fall into two categories.  First there are licensed sets.  These sets have a Lego collectors market and a licensed theme collectors market (Batman, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc).  New movies, books, and videogames increase demand for these discontinued products.

The second type of set are Direct to Consumer exclusive sets sold at Shop at Home, Lego Brand Stores, and a few retail stores (Toys R Us, FAO, etc).  These sets are designed for the AFOL collector.  Often collectors want a complete group of sets such as all UCS Star Wars sets, all famous buildings (Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal).   Exclusive sets often have unique elements and minifigures which prohibit assembling the pieces and building the set from scratch.  They are also produced in smaller quantities than regular play theme lines.

In terms of an investment, most licensed lines with minifigures will gain value over time.  Some lines like Batman will gain value immediately while others like Harry Potter and Spiderman will take more time.  Any current set with an exclusive minifigure (Mola Ram, Admiral Ackbar, etc) is a safe investment.

New licensed lines such as Prince of Persia will be more risky.  They do not have the same huge established fan base as Star Wars or Indiana Jones.  Basic creator sets such as the Apple Tree House will have value.  But larger “Medieval Market Village” type exclusives are a better investment.

Savvy buyers can easily buy two copies of these sets and sell one later.  It should cover most costs of the original set that a fan keeps.




2 Responses

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  1. Bobby said, on January 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Thank you. I could talk about this kind of stuff all day. It’s facsinating. If there was some kind of LEGO set stock market type thing I would be obsessed with it. I would be happy to talk about the potential future values of every single current LEGO set. Thank you!

  2. Spy_Black said, on January 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I actually run a business of this very trend. You were right about pointing out the creator sets- the market street, a limited edition modular house sold for $80 about 6 months ago and now is selling for about $250 online on bricklink and ebay.

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