5

So I've been reading a lot about the LEGO aftermarket, and how many will hunt for sets that have gone out of production and will pay sometimes an x multiple of the Retail price for it.

  1. How long does this process of accumulating value usually take?

  2. What is the best way to select newer sets for this kind of investment?

  • 2
    There is an entire website devoted to this topic. It's called www.brickpicker.com. Start reading the forums as there is no simple answer. – Phil B. Aug 28 '17 at 10:48
  • @PhilB. Does that website cover large-scale investments, the like one would usually reserve for stocks or real estate? – Weckar E. Aug 28 '17 at 10:49
  • That website has info for all different kinds of investors, from the casual "a few extra sets because I like the set" investors to those with warehouses, full time LEGO investor jobs and orders by the pallet-load. – Phil B. Aug 28 '17 at 10:55
  • 1
    Technically all LEGO sets have a 'limited run', are you referring to sets like this that were produced in relatively small quantities? If that's the case, almost every set with a 'limited run' is worth investing in. – Ambo100 Aug 28 '17 at 11:17
  • @Ambo100 From what I've seen some sets are on the shelf for months, others for years. I would not consider anything on the shelf for a year or more to be a limited run. – Weckar E. Aug 28 '17 at 11:18
5

The LEGO aftermarket is changing all the time and there are no defined rules on how a set will appreciate. Over at http://www.brickpicker.com you will find an entire website (plus forum) dedicated to investing in LEGO sets.

The post-EOL rise in price of a set is driven by many factors, some of which are:

Availability If a set is only available for a limited time on store shelves (typically a year or less), it might see an increase in price after it retires. Alternatively, if a set is available for longer than a year, but frequently goes out of stock during its shelf life, it might also see an uptick in value post-EOL.

Exclusivity Some sets are not available via all retail channels (and some are even more limited in distribution like the SDCC sets or the Employee Christmas Gifts). Typically, the more a set is limited to specific channels, the more likely it is to appreciate in value.

Desirability Sets with broad appeal across multiple age groups, or of a subject matter that has a very loyal fan following (think Star Wars, the Beatles, anything Science related) typically do well post-retirement.

Collectibility A lot of the post-retirement increase in price has to do with people collecting an entire theme. Often this collecting does not happen from the start of the theme, and people play catch-up to grab older sets that might have already retired. Some examples of this phenomenon are the early Modulars (Cafe Corner, Green Grocer), Series 1 Microfighters, Series 1 Speed Champions, and the early Star Wars UCS sets. A more recent example is the Elves Dragon eggs series, which had a short run and contained one set specifically which acted as the collection base of all eggs (41178 Dragon Sanctuary), which happened to have an extremely short shelf life (4 months in the US).

Rarity of parts Finally, some sets see big post-retirement price gains because they contain rare or desirable parts. A key example of this is set 44027 Breez Flea Machine from the Hero Factory theme. This set commands a significant premium on the aftermarket purely due to the inclusion of 3 copies of part 92222 - Hero Factory Shield with Handle for Clip. 6 of these pieces are required to make the SDCC exclusive Bat Pod, which is much desired by collectors.

BUT, a big word of warning: for each of the above factors one can find sets that clearly show an increase in value but also numerous examples of sets that should have seen a sharp increase in value, but somehow didn't. Plus, with The LEGO Group's prepensity for set remakes, a set can see a climb in value, only to be followed by a plateau or even drop off following its initial increase. There are no sure-fire winners (and don't believe anyone who says they know one).

  • 1
    You are absolutely right. On Ebay, prices also depend on time of the day, holiday season, quality of the description, and luck. Even age does not guarantee increase in value. Around 2000 I bought some space sets from the early 90s that are worth the same today. – Aziraphale Aug 30 '17 at 8:38

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.