Can You Invest In LEGO Bricks?


Can You Invest In LEGO Bricks?

As an Adult Fan of LEGO(AFOL), I always wonder if my bricks can be seen as an investment? Often my wife questions the purchases I make, and it takes time to convince her that it is actually a good investment.

Depending on what LEGO sets you buy it is possible to get over 10% interest pr. year through the increase in value. But for them to increase with such an amount the sets have to remain unopened.

DISCLAIMER: I cannot take responsibility for your investments; it is your own choice! J

First, this is not a joke. Having looked at several different LEGO sets and compared the initial retail price after they went out of production, there are clear indications of an increase in value. The current trend that I have seen, show that often the Ultimate Collection Series(UCS) is the most likely to increase in value. I have also myself paid more for sets that are out of production, due to the fact that I started a collection of Star Wars LEGO rather late in LEGO acquiring the Star Wars franchise.

What investment strategy should I use with LEGO bricks?

When buying a LEGO set, always decide if it is a set you wish to keep as an investment or build for your hobby. A good strategy could be always purchasing at least two sets one for storage and one for the showcase. The trend that I can see is that generally, the sets increase over in value of about 10 % pr. year, with a slow increase initially. With the estimated increase in value, after 8 years you actually got your own set for free! The price comparison further down in this post is quite conservative and does not take into consideration different promotional campaigns where you may get a discount of up to 30 percent. Just having a quick look at Harrods it is possible to buy the Star Wars Millennium Falcon (75192) for $705, that is already a 10 % discount.

When selling the sets, it is a question of supply and demand. Often fewer people buy the more expensive sets for later resale, increasing the rarity of them thus increasing the price. But with the high price later, the segment of AFOL’s that may buy it will also decrease over time, and therefore it will take time to sell.  Finally, when selling the sets, there is a big difference in what price you can get depending on which platforms you use. The price may vary more than 100% between the highest and lowest price, which most likely is caused by the speed of which the owner wishes to sell the set.

There is of course a danger in this investment plan if everyone else buys the same sets for later resale. So you should really consider which sets are going to flood the market later or be prepared to hold on to your sets for a very, very long time. Some of the Castle series sets have had an increase of over 3000% since they were retired from production in the early 1990’ies.

What LEGO sets are worth investing in?

Ultimate Collection Series (UCS) is my choice of investment. Choosing the UCS is often challenging due to the cost of the set, and the size of the set. The UCS is the premium sets that LEGO produce with a focus on the collectors, with many bricks and many cool details. When LEGO started franchising different themes, the sets started appealing to new segments of AFOL’s. For my interest, the whole Star Wars mixed with LEGO hit Jackpot! So, when investing you should look into the different niches within LEGO and access the different themes, and who they would appeal to. Your target should be 35+ years since they often have more money to spend therefore focus on popular themes from the 80’ies and 90’ies.  

Also, look for changes in production that have an impact on the pricing. This has been seen when LEGO relaunched the Millennium Falcon in UCS in 2017. LEGO was having issues with the production, the set went out of stock for a longer period of time, the sets increased in value in places up to 20 percent until the production was back to normal. 

Unique bricks and sets are created by many companies who get LEGO to build unique sets for the purpose of giving presents to employees or important partners. Strangely, not all people love LEGO and they have a tendency to sell these sets on Amazon and eBay. These sets are often cheaper initially, but over time, they will increase in value especially because not all people can acquire them.

Defect bricks sets are also a way to invest. LEGO really focuses on the quality of their bricks, the clutch effect (the ability for the bricks to stick together), so when you in rare cases find defect bricks that have managed to get through the quality control, they have a high value. These defect bricks often have a fast increase in value, due to the fact that defect bricks are often recalled quite fast, so grab them when you have the chance. Often the sets will still be sold in stores at their normal price, therefore a sure investment since you can see the value of the bricks before you buy!

Finally, another element that may increase in value is the Minifigures, these have a market of their own, so look for old LEGO figures on flee markets and other places because they might be valuable!

Normal sets don’t increase in value as fast as the other sets, but as with the other sets, they do increase in value. The rate is not the same as the UCS but over time the value will increase, and you might need to hold them much longer than the other sets to make the same profit.

Having done some research on different sets comparing the original price with the current price on BrickEconomy. And as you can see the annual growth is rather high for the different theme sets compared to ordinary sets. Also, the pricing I have chosen is the current (2020) average price for the different sets, you can influence your price if you have the time and you do not need the money fast.

Lego SetRelease datePrice at release datePrice 2020Annual growth
Taj Mahal (10189)2008299.991,197.0815.5%
Millennium falcon (10179)2007449.992,159.1215.4%
S.H.I.E.L.D Helicon (76042)2015349.99460.387.4%
Minecraft The Jungle Treehouse (21125)201669.99135.2118.3%
Maersk Line Container Ship (10155-1)2010119.99219.415.11%
Fire station (7208)201079.99131.366.5%
Fire Station HQ (60004)201399.99118.532.7%
Annual growth of different LEGO sets (prices in USD)

But again, why sell your collection if you are an AFOL?

Does building my LEGO sets, destroy my investment.

Yes, it will! But not all is lost, and you might have to wait even longer to make some money off your investments.  I believe over time, you should be able to get your initial price for a used set if it is complete. But then again, why not buy two sets for later!

I hope that you have read some ideas for alternative investments, and been inspired to buy some LEGO. Please remember that there is no guarantee that your investment will work, and you are responsible for your own money. Don’t forget to thoroughly check all the details before starting your LEGO adventure. Prices will vary a lot and LEGO often has promotional campaigns when different sets are released, so if you are planning to invest in LEGO do your research properly and have patience on when to buy the sets.   I personally have several unopened LEGO sets, but I do not have the heart to sell them despite being retired from production years ago

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