My son has fallen in love with the Lego City series. Alas, I let him watch a YouTube from the video game, and as we look to reward good behavior with reasonable sets, we are seeing very odd price patterns.

Within the Lego City series, a simple set, like a small car or helicopter might be $10. But the police station might be 70-80 dollars. Ok, more complex set, I suppose I can accept that.

But then we look at some of the medium size sets and the prices on Amazon seem very high. (Any prices I quote for specific things are meaningless since they seem to change).

But we are seeing 200 and 300 dollar sets? That seems a bit extreme.

4 Answers 4


Without examples, it's difficult provide a precise answer, but I'll give it a shot.

Since you mentioned Amazon, I assume that's where you are getting your pricing information from. As you noted, prices from many retailers will fluctuate based on supply and demand, and that can often explain why a set is expensive.

Amazon in particular lists many sets which are no longer in production. As an extreme example, the UCS Millenium Falcon is currently listed at over $3000 USD even though its MSRP is just $499.99. Popular items tend to be more expensive on sites like Amazon after the item is no longer being produced by TLG due to shrinking supply.

You can search sites like brickset.com and others to find information about the year a set was released and its MSRP. In general, if a set was released more than 3 years ago, it is no longer in production and you will probably pay a premium to get it new and in its original box. You can also start by shopping at LEGO.com where all of the sets will be currently in production.

  • I will check out the other sites you suggested. What is annoying is of course the ads at the end of the instruction books are what my son is basing his desires on, and they seem to be very out of date.
    – geoffc
    Jun 28, 2013 at 11:46

Just to add one more thing to jncraton's very nice and detailed response. You mentioned that your son really likes City sets. That is actually a good thing as far as getting standard prices because City is a perennial LEGO theme. The Police station your son sees at the back of an old instruction-manual may have been retired, but you can be rest assured that there is a newer version currently available. LEGO City police, fire, construction and cost-guard sets are always available.

I would suggest that you check the Online LEGO Shop for the current selection of LEGO City sets and have your son choose what he likes from there. You can also request a Retail Catalog LEGO will send you by mail every few months which contains some of the latest sets - it is very nice to browse through it. This might be a better way for your son to pick the sets he likes.

If you still decide to shop on Amazon, shop only for current sets (the ones you have seen at the Online LEGO Shop), instead of retired sets. Current sets should be the same price or better then what's available directly from LEGO. Also make sure you are shopping directly from Amazon, and not from an Amazon reseller. Listings with the "Eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping" option included are directly from Amazon and should have the best price.

  • I think the key point that I have learned from yours and jncratons responses is that Lego retires sets pretty hard and rolls over to new versions much faster than I ever expected.
    – geoffc
    Jun 28, 2013 at 20:28
  • The City\Police subtheme does seem to go through quite a rapid refresh, there seems to be a new police station every year.
    – tombull89
    Jul 16, 2013 at 19:57

The cheapest set for basic bricks if 6177. 650 Bricks for $30 (US). Most are the tiny ones, not the standard 4X2s, but it's still the best value out there.


A great article on Medium explains this in detail: essentially it boils down to marketing costs, licensing royalties, and an obsession with quality. Think about it, when's the last time you put two LEGOs together and they didn't have a perfect, snug fit, even after years of use?

  • This line looks like as if the author didn't know Duplo was also made by LEGO: "Despite numerous competitors, including Duplo and Mega Bloks"
    – zovits
    Oct 25, 2015 at 11:54

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