Little did us Lego-noobs know, Lego is a pretty big thing out there! Derived from the Danish phrase, leg-godt, which means “play well’, Lego is an iconic evergreen brick-based toy set that is loved universally by kids and adults alike.
How big is the market?
AFOL which stands for Adult Fans of Lego is taking over the world, one brick at a time. With 400 million people purchasing LEGO annually and with 250,000 people in the grown-up Lego community alongside 150 international conventions, this market is nothing but HUGE!
Look, they even have their own language with a phrase such as “Dark Ages” to symbolize the time where you have not entered the world of Lego yet, but instead spend it on dating, living normal life and all those things. Yep! A language and a culture of their own peeps!
Obsessives among grown up Lego fans are splurging hundreds to thousands of dollars every year just to turn their endless imaginations into tangible forms ranging from historical monuments to settings from popular movies. Considered Lego geeks or nerds, many of these AFOLS members are joining international Lego competitions just to finance themselves buying more Lego bricks. Well, they don’t come cheap do they!
Lego as a form of investment?
Now, we know that gold is a popular traditional form of investment historically. But since 2000, a new investment phenomenon has taken place. Yes, you got it right! A Lego investment. In fact, according to The Telegraph, Lego appreciates very well in value by generating 12% in return compared to gold which only brings 9.8% in return.
And here’s the top 5 most expensive Lego sets currently:
- Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon: $510 in 2007, now $4,041
- Cafe Corner: $134 in 2007, now $3,123
- Taj Mahal: $298 in 2008, now $2,753
- Death Star II: $372 in 2005, now $2,270
- Imperial Star Destroyer: $249.99 in 2002, now $2,185
And if you look after them well, these multi-coloured bricks may be a unique and rare variant in your investment portfolio once they’re sold in secondary markets such as Brickpicker.com or Bricklink.com.
Here are some useful tips that you might want to bear in mind if Lego investment in is your mind:
- If you are interested in a particular Lego set, buy one to build and one to save for a rainy day. Even used Lego sets can appreciate to values higher than the retail price. Putting away a few large and exclusive sets to resell in years down the road can be very profitable.
- Limited edition and seasonal sets do very well in the Lego secondary markets. Any sets with short production runs usually appreciate well. The rarer, the better.
- Invest in Lego sets that were released after 1999. Pre-2000 sets were not really great investments. Many sets were basic and uninspiring. There are a handful of vintage sets that are viable collectables, but most have plateaued in value and many are in poor condition.
- Keep the Lego boxes, pieces and instructions in excellent condition. Save all the components of a Lego set. Keep them in a dry and dark storage space. No sun … no moisture. The better the condition, the more the set will sell for in future.
- Stack Lego boxes vertically like books. Horizontal stacking causes boxes to crush and seals to break.
- Size doesn’t matter. Both small and large sets can appreciate very well percentage wise.
- Lego mini figures are very valuable.
Source: Telegraph UK
As much as Lego sets and bricks are deemed as assets and bring beautiful sum of returns at the moment, there’s just too much hassles especially if you’re not really into these colourful bricks. Imagine the efforts that you have to put into buying, looking after, reselling them. What if you’re missing a few pieces? Will they then depreciate in value?
Well, let’s just say like any other vintage items, Lego is doing pretty well at the moment. This may have been attributed to a very well marketing strategies they have up their sleeves. I mean, who wants to exit Legoland once they’ve entered it. It kinda was known to be predominantly the European/North American compulsory toy set, but these bricks are now creating craze and hype in Asian markets such as China and the Southeast Asia. With lots of cash to spend by the growing middle class, these are certainly the right markets to tap into. And don’t forget, the Lego movie which was a box office darling only helped to solidify its presence in people’s hearts.
Gold however proves to be more sustainable and consistent as a form of investment. Throughout time, there was not a time that gold was such a craze that it created a bubble. Why? Because of its intrinsic value and the long-standing trust that people have on the yellow metals. Yes, trust. And when the time arrives where financial collapse takes place, shall you be okay trading with Lego or gold bricks?