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At the stone of the times: LEGO as a good investment or a worthwhile investment?

In our new section “At the Stone of Time” we would like to introduce you in loose order to topics that concern you or us in the LEGO world. These can be current or just interesting topics. If you have an idea for such a topic, it is best to write to us via the team inbox. But now to the real issue.

LEGO as an investment?

Lately, pages, blogs and, last but not least, podcasts with advice to invest your money in LEGO sets have been increasing. I do not want to go into the quality of such sites here! Just write down my thoughts on this topic here.

Rare sets

The Danish toy manufacturer repeatedly brings sets onto the market that are either too small or only sold to a limited group of buyers. Such articles are very expensive from the date of publication.

Here as an example the Bat-Pod, which was raffled off in a limited edition (1000 pieces). The first Bat-Pods were then traded for over 1,500 euros because of their high rarity. In the summer, when switching to the new LEGO VIP program, such sets turned up again like a miracle for a bonus of the equivalent of 100 euros. Of course, these models were sold out quickly, but the price has been in the basement since then. The last bat-pod that went through an auction brought in just 196 euros. Why this detailed example? - I want to show that there are still innumerable packs of old and rare sets in the LEGO warehouses, nobody knows which ones. Putting back supposedly rare sets is like playing a lottery. In addition, there are likely to be fewer and fewer rare sets, as regional items have been available for purchase in the LEGO brand stores and in the online shop for some time. The best example of this is the dragon boat race (80103).

All other sets in this series are relatively expensive because they were only available in Asia and Australia. The dragon boat race, which is a very nice set and with 15 minifigures has a great price-performance ratio, is on the shelves like sour beer. In the future, such regional sets are unlikely to increase in price too much. Another sign of an oversupply of exclusive sets is the fact that the super rare LEGO Inside Tour sets are increasingly being offered for sale.

I can still remember well when I was on a tour like this in 2015, there were hardly any of these sets for sale anywhere in the world! They are now appearing everywhere, almost all models are available on sales exchanges, in auctions and on Bricklink. Of course not “cheap”, but at least they do exist, so in my opinion a fall in the price is only a matter of time. Where does the offer come from? - I keep hearing from participants that there are not only fans on tours like this, but also tough, calculating “businessmen” who cannibalize such a tour for a profit.

Conclusion with rare sets: caution is advised if I would buy with a personal reference to the model or to complete the collection, not suitable as an investment.

Sets new and unopened

At the beginning of the LEGO story, no one probably bought sets to put them in their original packaging and unopened in a dry basement. According to my observation, this behavior may not have started until the 2000s and has increased extremely in the last five years for various reasons.

Ergo, models from the 60s and 70s are almost impossible to get in "new", mostly there is no price for such packs that could be observed on the market, accordingly such sets are always very expensive. More OVP sets appear from the 80s and 90s, but originally not from collectors, but from business closings or merchants collected sets in old toy shops, which simply left these items lying around forever. At the beginning of the 2000s there were supposed to have been people who purposefully drove through the country for weeks and visited such toy shops. This gold rush time should now be over, at least since these business owners were made aware of the value of their goods through diligent LEGO investment reports. Now appearing packs from the Danish toy manufacturer are produced in unbelievable numbers and hoarded by many buyers in equally unbelievable quantities, in their original packaging, well stored and never set up. Good for us fans, these sets will also remain available for a long time at affordable prices and for the most part will not take off in price.

Conclusion for new and unopened sets: Of course there will always be outliers upwards, but finding the right set here is like a lottery again.

Discount battles

Since the RRP of LEGO has taken on almost utopian forms lately, almost no one buys at the regular price anymore. Exceptions could still be the LEGO exclusive items, but Technic, City or Creator 3in1 is actually no longer available on the market at the recommended retail price. Since the good offers are very limited and not everyone always needs a set (birthday, Christmas) when it is cheap, there are actually a few euros to be earned here from the retailer's point of view. However, everyone should be aware that the purchase for the purpose of immediate resale is taxable, with all the resulting consequences.

Conclusion: In fact, by reading quickly and carefully - for example our blog - you can make good bargains that make short-term profit to refinance the hobby.

Free gifts

Until a few years ago, the so-called GWPs were always a good investment for collectors and resellers. These sets could not be purchased, they were only available as an addition to a purchase from LEGO directly. For some time now, however, these packs have been appearing on sale at LEGO directly. At very good prices and in large quantities.

The best example is the Christmas Building Fun (40253) from 2017. This was sold for less than five euros at LEGO in the end. A good offer to build as there are 254 pieces!

My conclusion: From an investment perspective, collecting these items no longer makes sense.

New editions

Another killer for “investment Legoans” are the repeated releases of LEGO. This practice of relaunching LEGO is by no means new. After the crisis in the early 2000s, the Danish company put legendary sets back on recommendation and pushed the then still small fan base back to legendary sets.

For example, the Black Seas Barracuda (6285) was reissued under the number 10040 thirteen years after it was first published. These pirate ships are now cheaper than the original from 1989. Unfortunately, I could not research whether the prices for the old ship fell back then. In any case, the Vestas wind turbine and the Tajmahal have fallen in price after the 1zu1 new edition. But not only the 1 to 1 copies have set the market in motion. The second UCS Millennium Falken and the new UCS Star Destroyer also caused a drop in prices for the classics. In principle, LEGO is able to bring a new edition onto the market for every set. All rights to these sets are owned by LEGO, as Daniel Siskind had to find out at his small Blacksmith shop, for example. He wasn't allowed to call his little model of it that, even though he designed it at the time.

My conclusion: LEGO will keep releasing iconic sets in a loose order. No large model should be safe from that. Which comes next is of course always in the stars, as you can see, a lottery game.

Many new publications inflationary

Countless new sets of LEGO appear every year. More and more of these are clearly directed at the adult building. An end to this publication policy is not in sight. The models are also getting bigger and with more parts. It feels like the biggest LEGO set of all time appears every year. The reasons for this are likely to be varied. But one thing is definitely the will to siphon off the purchasing power of adult LEGO fans for new products. So there is less and less money left over for EOL sets, as a new, large “must have” product from Denmark is on the way.

My conclusion

In researching this article, I stumbled upon many perspectives on the subject. I also spoke to many fans about this topic. I've looked at and compared many prices. In the fanbase, the tenor is that speculation with LEGO could soon come to an end. Here, however, the wish to do so could also be the father of the thought. Investors are far from seeing the end of the bubble, especially as the Chinese market is slowly starting to take a liking to old LEGO sets. I observe that iconic old sets increase the price, but small older models are always surprisingly cheap. I can only recommend you: Buy what you enjoy, open the boxes and build!

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