Becoming Jaded About LEGO Investments

In the past few months, I have been feeling more and more as though the investment value of LEGO is peaking. It seems that the moment a new theme or set is announced, there are discussions about it’s potential aftermarket value years down the road.

I remember hearing some story about a famous banker who pulled out of the stock market before the Great Depression in the 1920s because the person who was shining his shoes tried to give him a good stock tip. The moral was: if the investment value of something is so “hot,” that everyone knows about it, then there is clearly some mania in the market.

I come from a collector & investor mindset with lots of things, I grew up in a family where we collected things and where we had some businesses based on that. For instance, we had a baseball card business in the 1980s, and I watched that hobby grow and then crash in the 1990s. Then I saw it again and again, with things such as Beanie Babies.

Now, to be clear, there is NO PEAK in the LEGO world for the playbility of LEGO as a toy. Others have said this in the forum: that LEGO has an inherent value because you can always build with them, that they are a timeless toy, and because all pieces are interchangeable with one another. I agree with that, and I am not jaded with LEGO as a toy.

But I will be selling off some of my sets. Not all, just some.

I think the final straw for me was LEGO renewing the Star Wars license for 10 years, and beginning to reissue older sets such as the Republic Gunship and the UCS X-Wing. I have some of these, and paid a premium for them. So I’m going to get rid of those and overall, lower my financial investment in LEGO as a collectible.

I have also been feeling as though LEGO is producing WAY TOO MANY AMAZING SETS! I know, this is absurd to even consider complaining about, but WOW, there is so much great LEGO out there. All the modulars, the VW Bus, Haunted House, that cool plane, etc – all those adult-oriented sets. But even the regular themed sets look so cool. For example: the Lone Ranger stuff. There is simply too much to buy!

Anyhow, I will absolutely continue this blog and continue collecting LEGO. But I will likely stop “investing” in LEGO, and pair down my collection a bit. I am not recommending you do the same, you should do whatever feels right for you.

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  • Hugeuge

    Interesting points. “There is simply too much to buy!” is a good summation.

    • BrickUpdate

      Thanks. It is a testament to the AMAZING work that LEGO is doing.

  • Jason
    • BrickUpdate

      Jason – I saw that, thanks.

  • Sharon

    I live in India and have been following your blog for a long time. It’s unique in its presentation and mission.
    I collected more than a few sets up until Feb 2012 when I stopped entirely.
    Part of the reason being the Clone Turbo Tank i bought for investment purpose recently being available on sale for 55$ in US.
    I always bought them not just for collecting but also for my kids in case the sets did not appreciate in value.
    The other reasons are the same as yours.
    Glad to know you will continue with your blog though.

    • BrickUpdate

      Thanks Sharon. My gut is that you will end up with lots of after-market stock from the 2012 timeframe, as many people such as you and I realize that LEGO will be releasing many of the Star Wars sets.

  • Ken Fricka

    I don’t feel new sets have much investment value and would advise against buying for this purpose since the actual quantities made are unknown making the set’s scarcity unknown. Instead, buy them for the fun of building and collecting. I usually wait for for the new sets to be retired and look for “investors” willing to sell at below retail prices just to recoup something. However, I do collect older sets and have made money buying classic space and castle sets for resale, these seem to steadily increase in value. Just my thoughts and experiences.

    • BrickUpdate

      Ken,
      Thanks, and I agree. I tend to buy sets that I know are retiring because I know they will never be cheaper. EG: buying 12 Emerald Night trains because I can combine all the passenger cars together for a long train. So I paid $90 each for those, and now on the secondary market, you would pay that JUST for the passenger car. Regardless, I have found I have too many ideas, and not enough space!
      🙂

  • Tony_Almeida

    I was an avid Lego fan as a child / teenager in the 1980s. The selection of sets back then was quite limited and the scale / size of even the largest Lego set was a fraction of the current largest models. I walked through the Lego section of a toy shop last year and couldn’t get over the selection and scale of the latest sets.

    This piqued my interest and I went onto the Internet to do some research. It seems the there was an epiphany in Lego HQ around the start of the noughties. From there on the Lego catalogue expanded in size, new themes were added and large scale adult oriented sets were produced.

    In short, I would love to have been able to invest in the Lego company back in 2000. Unfortunately, it is a privately owned company and I am not wealthy enough to be an attractive investor to Lego. Also, I don’t have a time machine 🙂 I agree with the blog author though – some people appear to be speculating in Lego sets. The playability aspect will never dissipate but asking prices of upwards of $1500 for discontinued sets such as the Taj Mahal sounds like modern day Tulip Mania to me. Lego sets don’t pay dividends, they don’t have productive value (like a farm or other company). Seems that some “investors” (speculators) are driving the bubble. All bubbles end one way…badly. Beware!