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Speculation in the LEGO Market: Will there be a Bubble?

brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
edited February 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
I thought this would be an interesting topic for discussion: will speculation in the LEGO market (which sets will retire when; what sets to buy for "investment" reasons) reach a tipping point where it crashes?

That because a few sets have jumped in price on the aftermarket, that we assume newly retired sets will increase in value in a similar fashion. EG: Cafe Corner being highly sought after at $400+, so we stock up on Fire Brigades, hoping for a similar jump in price upon retirement.

I am an active buyer of LEGO sets, and my blog even focuses primarily on the retail experience of buying LEGO, not on building. (http://BrickUpdate.com) So I am not complaining about this topic, I am 100% a part of it on some levels, though I buy WAY more LEGO than I ever sell.

In the 1970's, my family had a stamp and coin business, and we spent weekends at conventions buying and selling. In the 1980's, we had a baseball card business, and spent weekends at conventions buying and selling. In the 1990's, I got into the toy collector market as it exploded, primarily focused on action figures (eg: Spawn toys.) For these markets, the bottom fell out at some point, for different reasons.

LEGO has always been a constant in my life, and a product that rises above trends. But... you can buy classic LEGO sets from the 70s, 80s and 90s for about the same price as they would have been retail at the time. (including boxes and instructions) These sets have been retired for decades, though I realize that they do contain mostly common colors and parts.

But...

As we speculate about a 2010 set that will retire, assuming it will jump in value 100% or more in the near-term, is that a sustainable trend? Is this tulip mania? Will the floor fall out?

Would be curious of other's thoughts based on their experience in the LEGO market, and perhaps in other collector markets as well.

Thanks!
-Dan
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Comments

  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    On sets that are popular (and this is pretty easily determinable these days), I doubt you'd ever lose money selling one on the after-market. That said, I think your UCS Falcons and earlier modulars will be few and far between. For example, if you have a spare Death Star, once it's retired, I doubt it will ever go for BELOW the original retail price, regardless of when you sell it, but I don't see it shooting up in price almost instantly like The Falcon did.

    The thing with LEGO in general is that it's a really versatile product with a broad appeal. Even in their 'boom' periods, action figures, stamps, coins, etc. were pretty niche markets, whereas LEGO has proven over the years that it has staying power and a wide and varied consumer-base.

    Just my two cents.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    As with any toys the real money is in keeping it for a long time and in pristine condition. In other words, don't open it and build/play with it. The reason a lot of Lego sets don't accrue value is because they're opened. Coins which show heavy circulation wear don't sell for as much as coins which are mint. The same goes for toys.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    That because a few sets have jumped in price on the aftermarket, that we assume newly retired sets will increase in value in a similar fashion.
    I think that premise is wrong. Maybe some people are looking purely at past performance as an indicator of future results. That is silly. Really, if you're looking at LEGO as an investment you need to understand why it accrues value. After the initial production run of a set the supply of that particular set is essentially fixed. Generally, enough sets are produced to satisfy the demand for that particular set. However, you may get a situation where the demand for a particular set grows after the production run ends and that is when profits in the aftermarket rise. Take for instance Cafe Corner. It was the first in what became a very popular series. At the time of it's production run you wouldn't necessarily know that there would be a stream of fantastic sets to follow building upon that initial singular building. When it became evident that a series of interlocking sets were being lined up over the years the appeal of all the sets in the series grew. There is also an argument to be made that the series itself drew more AFOLs into the LEGO market as well. With supply more or less fixed and demand growing, the price went up.
    As we speculate about a 2010 set that will retire, assuming it will jump in value 100% or more in the near-term, is that a sustainable trend? Is this tulip mania? Will the floor fall out?
    I'm not sure I'd call sets that accrue 100% a trend. If we were to look at all the LEGO sets sold in a given year and average the price change 1, 2, 5, etc years out I don't think you'd see such a large increase in value. I think you have some outliers and I think you'll continue to see some sets that have significant price hikes in the aftermarket. But in general, I think that LEGO will not be devaluing because of a market bubble. Unless of course the demand for LEGO in general (not particular sets) goes down. The reason why LEGO sets maintain their value is because ultimately LEGO can be pretty interchangeable for your general (not collector) purchaser. As long as people keep wanting more LEGO (and it sure looks like they do) then those bricks in your set will continue to hold some kind of appeal to potential buyers.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    That because a few sets have jumped in price on the aftermarket, that we assume newly retired sets will increase in value in a similar fashion. EG: Cafe Corner being highly sought after at $400+, so we stock up on Fire Brigades, hoping for a similar jump in price upon retirement.
    I do not think Fire Brigade will jump like Cafe Corner did, but I'm hoping that in a year it does what Green Grocer has done. Or perhaps it won't...
    In the 1970's, my family had a stamp and coin business, and we spent weekends at conventions buying and selling. In the 1980's, we had a baseball card business, and spent weekends at conventions buying and selling. In the 1990's, I got into the toy collector market as it exploded, primarily focused on action figures (eg: Spawn toys.) For these markets, the bottom fell out at some point, for different reasons.
    That is all true, and it is worth considering...

    However, keep in mind those items did not have much of a "normal" market beyond collectors. Baseball Cards are fun things for kids to stick in their bicycle wheels to make noise, to look at and trade, but otherwise have no value. Lego can be taken apart and used to build other things, so a set with unique parts has value beyond just what the set is designed to build.
    LEGO has always been a constant in my life, and a product that rises above trends. But... you can buy classic LEGO sets from the 70s, 80s and 90s for about the same price as they would have been retail at the time. (including boxes and instructions) These sets have been retired for decades, though I realize that they do contain mostly common colors and parts.
    I think your last point makes the point, those sets were nothing special, there was nothing about them from year to year that made them matter.

    Honestly, is a police station from 10 years ago any different from a police station today?

    I think the difference is the licensed sets, and the larger sets. How many 2,000+ part kits did Lego make in the 70s, 80s, & 90s? None, as far as I know...

    There was nothing collectiable about anything made in the 80s, for the most part. Cafe Corner is unique, UCS Falcon is unique, Taj Mahal is unique, Eiffel Tower is unique, etc...

    The 2010 Police Station will not be worth $500 in 10 years, because there is nothing special about it, in 10 years 2 more police stations of some sort will be released.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    uniqueness is relative to what comes after, and that is unknown.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    edited December 2011
    Wise and true words...

    However, I feel pretty comfortable betting on another police station of some kind after the current one goes, don't you think? :)
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    All very interesting. And agreed on the police station type sets. However although most sets from the 70s and 80s don't sell for much, you're mostly talking about used sets. Which if you think about it, if you've played with some lego for 30-40 years and you get your money back (admittedly not taking into account inflation) you've not done too badly, not sure what else in my house will be like that, certainly not any of my electronic items etc...And of course if you had kept them MSIB, the prices they fetch are v high.

    Another way to look at it is to not bank on big increases, if a set is discontinued pretty much any lego collector and even parents are happy to pay RRP for the set - then that seems like a bargain, where as we're all buying sets for 30-50% below RRP. I think there's little chance of not getting RRP after they've been discontinued. And you can get that money back within 6 months probably. Of course, there's a chance that a year later you'd get a 100% return, but you've had to take up space and money in the meantime, so that's a personal choice. Well, this is all what I'm hoping. Sell one quickly to get my confidence and hopefully hold on to one for longer for a bigger profit as I get more confident that this will all pan out well.

    I do think as lego keep creating iconic sets the desire for older ones might decrease, as a year or two ago there just weren't as many 1000+ sets, and now we're confident they're gonna keep coming out with bigger and better sets.

    Though as we all keep saying, the worse that can happen is you end up with a lot of lego, instead of a few bits of paper or coins. Definitely a different market. :)
  • avoiceoreasonavoiceoreason Member Posts: 224
    I think Lego as an investment is definitely entering bubble phase. The fact that there is a thread asking the question almost confirms it. That said I think we are still in the relatively early innings. There are still people getting back into Lego every day/month/year, and the popularity seems to be continuing to increase (judging by the local lines at the MMMB). So I think the bubble is likely to last for at least another 3-5 years IMO before it pops.

    I think the Fire Brigade will be a great test of this. GG doesn't get what Cafe Corner does, and my bet is that FB won't get what GG gets. Simple supply and demand. There are a lot more people hoarding FBs I'm sure than ever did so with GGs. That said, I think people will still get a pretty decent return on investment with the FB, just not as great as GG.

    Even when the bubble bursts, however, as someone else mentioned, I don't think anyone is really at risk of losing money on their investment. Legos have held their value pretty well over the years. In my mind it's hard to think of another investment with the potential for 100%+ returns with very minimal downside. Show me a stock with that investment profile, and I'm all in!

    There will also likely be a second wave say 10-15 years from now when all those kids whose parents wouldn't buy them the "ridiculously expensive Lego sets" like GG, FB, or the Death Star grow up and have jobs/money and want to buy them. Not sure how many people are willing to hold onto a stockpile of FBs for that long though!
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I think you're right about the 10-15 years part, but the value won't keep going up at the same rate. There comes a point of rational sense where the price per part just can't go any higher.

    I think UCS Falcon might be there, at around 40 cents a part. Could it go higher? Maybe a bit, but I don't think we'll see $3K on it any time soon.

    Green Grocer has been pretty stable for awhile, the issue also is that if Lego comes out with a 4th modular set in March, and keeps FB out for a while longer, that is 4 modular sets on the market. That will take care of most people's desires. If FB and GE retired soon, it drags up GG due to the lack of sets for sale directly from Lego.

    You're right about one thing, so many people are hording FB, it may be a year before we see the price double, and our talking about it doesn't help.

    Due to that reason, I'm no longer buying any more FBs, rather I'm looking for sets that no one is talking about that I can buy for 40%+ off retail list price...
  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432
    ^ Hero Factory?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    What is wrong with Hero Factory, other than the fact that I know nothing about it? :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Hmm, the fact that no one talks about it? Hmm... :)

    Isn't it like Bionicle, something that no one but little kids liked?
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,287
    Brickupdate makes a very interesting point. I too have thought about the very high secondary market prices of the "recent" LEGO market. I wonder if part of it isn't fueled by the continuous increases in the number of AFOLs out there. Back in 1985 when author Henry Wiencik was researching the book THE WORLD OF LEGO TOYS, he found fewer than a dozen AFOLs out there (of course that was before the internet, so part of that was the "disconnectivity" of he community).

    Compared to when RTL and LUGNET first hit the scene in the late 1990s, today there is an exponential increase in the number of AFOLs, and that number is rising rapidly every year. Perhaps that increase is helping to fuel the market forces that raise price so much on recent LEGO sets.

    But I agree that like the sports card and other "crazes", that there is always that potential for a market collapse, or at least "adjustment".

    But some areas, such as the true classic eras of quality items... such as baseball cards from the 1950s, and high grade coinage from the 19th and early 20th century, some parts of many hobbies really do hold their value.

    It never ceases to amaze me that folks will collect the latest sets of Collector Minifigs by the dozen, and yet some truly rare parts, such as the 271 Traffic Police accessories (only ever sold in Denmark, Norway and Netherlands) of 1958-65 go for relatively reasonable prices...
    http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?S=271-2

    I guess as long as the kids who had LEGO grew up and had children of their own and then "rediscovered" LEGO as an adult... as long as that population continues to grow... then perhaps the modern LEGO exhuberance can be sustained....

    But then again... I am reminded of the once very valuable Princess Diana Beanie Baby... and its' current value on EBAY....
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,768
    @LegoFanTexas.
    I would think that if you want to make money you will have to sell to AFOL's (kids dont have the cash to pay over the odds), therefore looking for sets that no one (on an AFOL website) is talking about doesn't seem that wise. AFOL's in general seem to know what they like and talk about what they like. If they dont talk about Hero Factory now, I really seriously do not think they will be paying over the odds in the future for it.

    Of course I have never bought to make a profit and have no intention of doing so, so my opinion is probably not that valuable.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Sets like UCS Falcon may always hold their value, due to the fact that you don't have to be a Star Wars nut or a Lego nut to "get it".

    You can walk up to my 70 year old mother and ask "What is the name of Han Solo's ship?", and she'll tell you "Millenium Falcon".

    She doesn't know the Force from a Lightsaber, she wouldn't know a Star Destroyer from a Mon Calamari Cruiser. But she knows THAT ship... and I think that explains the current price of it.

    It helps that the model looks JUST like the ship in the movie. The current smaller model does not. It is close, in many ways, and wrong in so many others... The big one, is just right...

    The current Death Star might have the same power, everyone knows what a Death Star is, how could you not? A planet destroying battle station with Darth Vader on it? (everyone knows who he is as well) The only issue is that everyone and their brother are saving sets, so it may be awhile before it pops...

    Thoughts?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    @princedraven - no, your opinion is actually quite valuable. You have no dog in the fight, so you are as unbiased as someone on this forum can be.

    You make a good point, thank you...
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    Always love these discussions.

    A overwhelming factor here is time.

    Speculators who don't care about Lego will be very disappointed that the DS will return in 2012. Are they willing to wait until 2014 or 2015 when DS hits $750? Probably not. That's a long time to hold an investment.

    Those of us who love Lego, just shelve it, continue to build and have fun. And when it's time to sell, it's time to sell. That could be 10-15 years. Generally, we don't care (unless it's a financial solvency issue).

    Lego as an investment is not a Get Rich Quick situation, it's Make A Little Money To Help Your Habit situation. It will always be that way.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Reading all the discussion about bubbles keeps me coming back to the idea of defining markets. The market for LEGO in general is different from the market for a line of LEGO like Architecture which is different from the market for a specific set like Cafe Corner. We all realize that prices that are higher than MSRP only occur is a few LEGO market segments. There are reasons why people value LEGO in those segments so much. If the only reason they value that LEGO so much is because they think it will accrue value as an investment, then you are in a bubble. If people actually are willing to pay that much for it because they want it so bad for themselves, those are fair market prices.

    I don't think there is a bubble for LEGO in general. I think the demand is real. I think some sets are being bought out just as speculative purchases. Some, and only some, of those sets are the bubbles to pop in the future. Not general LEGO.

    If you're hoarding those blockbuster sets that you think are going to be in high demand later, how low would the future price need to be for you to regret buying them in the first place? Would you have regrets at MSRP? What about 10% below MSRP? 20%?
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    One thing to consider is demographics and income too. In the 1980's, baseball cards got huge because all the people who grew up in the 1950s were old enough to be sentimental for their youth, and had the funds to now hunt down prized cards they never had as a kid.

    For LEGO... which really hit big in the 1970s and 80s - that means that my generation are now adults with real incomes, who can relive their childhood dreams. So what this means is that there should be a long-term interest in the collector end of things with AFOLS for years to come.

    Thanks everyone for all your comments on this thread - love this discussion.

    @LegoFanTexas My gut is that even though more people are buying Death Star, not "everyone and their brother" can afford a $400 LEGO set for "investment" purposes. And fewer can afford 7 sets for investment. :)
    -Dan
  • avoiceoreasonavoiceoreason Member Posts: 224
    As I mentioned in a post above, I think we still have a good 3-5 years before the bubble bursts, but there is definitely a bubble brewing in my opinion. I had five Green Grocer's for sale on eBay and one guy bought them all. I e-mailed to make sure that he hadn't made a mistake. He said, nope, he was buying them as an investment. When us AFOL's are just selling each other MISB sets for investment purposes, it's a bit of a bubble.

    Not to say that there still isn't a multi-year runway for people to buy and sell sets they acquired at MSRP or below, but as for buying sets that have already appreciated 100%+ in value, well, those speculators are braver than I. It might not be tomorrow, but I'm willing to bet you'll be able to pick up a UCS Falcon well below $1,000 in a few years time. Time will tell though.
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    @avoiceoreason VERY interesting (and funny.) I remember the baseball card business starting in 1982, all the way through the 1990s. A lot of the best deals did go on between dealers, and there was a real community around it.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    @avoiceofreason - you make a great point... When the same MISB sets are just getting traded around, there is indeed a bubble. At some point, we need people to open these sets and play with them to reduce the number out there, to support the price, otherwise at some point people will stop trading and the prices will fall.

    I think that is what killed baseball cards, people were just trading them back and forth, without actually doing anything to them.

    I have several sealed sets in the closet that I plan to break open and play with. I've already opened several retired sets, the oldest being 8002, now that was a hard and fun build, looks amazing when done.

    Bought it new and sealed off eBay, opened it up and built it, worth every penny. :)

    Other sets I've broken open as retired:

    6211
    10175
    8039
    10186
    10174
    7679

    I'm sure there have been others. So as long as people like me take retired sets that cost more than retail price, break them open, and play with them, I think we're ok.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    BTW, if this were a full time business for me (you'd think it was, based on my posts, but it really isn't), I'd buy all 400 remaining Emerald Nights on Amazon, that is a set that I think really will hit $200 in a few months, next Christmas at the latest...
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    @LegoFanTexas - how many Emerald Nights do you have? I've been watching those too. Will likely pick up 2 more, for a total of 4 unopened, and 1 built.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    he only has 200 so far ;)
  • DavidRod8DavidRod8 Member Posts: 143
    I have 4 with 1 on the "to be build" pile... thinking about loading up as well, but as always, looking for a good deal... My local lego store had a ton of them last week.... Maybe they'll go on a deep sale Dec 26th
  • HuskerDontHuskerDont Member Posts: 32
    I don't really think it's fair to compare the resale market conditions to those of cards and other sports collectables to Lego, as not many factors can drastically change the value of a Lego set once it has been retired. I used to collect sports cards and die-cast racing cars and there are many times where either the price of something would skyrocket or the bottom falls out. In January of 2001, I bought a Dale Earnhardt 1:24 scale car for $20 off a clearance table at a local hobby store. A month later, I saw it selling for $400. Inversely, I had a used jersey card of an NFL running back (can't remember the name) that continually rose in price until the last few years of his career, when his performance fell off. Last I remember, it was worth about the price of the pack I got it from.
  • HuskerDontHuskerDont Member Posts: 32
    Also, I think there is less of a desire to unload a set for fears that the value has plateaued or will soon fall as a set will still have some practical use. You can buy a few new sets and once it's discontinued, the worst case scenario is that any rare parts and minifigs can be sold off individually and the remainder can be used as inventory for MOCing. There's not much that can be done with a card of a rookie who's turning out to be a bust.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    A question for the resellers, do you mainly aim to wait until a set's price has stabilized after a couple years of EOL before wanting to sell at perceived max value? Or is there a certain profit margin (i.e. 200%, 300%, etc) as the sets trend upwards that would be a deciding price point?
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    @LegoFanTexas Absolutely right on. People buying sets over MSRP and keeping them as part of their collections is what keeps the aftermarket prices high.

    @HuskerDont Worst case scenario is you can't sell any of it because no one wants it. Unlikely, but that is the worst case :p Not too bad of a worst case though, if you like LEGO.

    @BrickDancer If you're truly a reseller then, as others have mentioned elsewhere, you need to keep in mind that your assets (the LEGO and the space to store them) are not making any money until you sell. So the sooner you sell the better. This is weighed against how much you can make off of it. If your Cafe Corner can make 100% profit after a year but keeps rising to 200% profit after two years you might think waiting to sell is a good idea. But if Market Street comes along after a year and it then can be sold at 150% profit a year after that, you're better off selling your Cafe Corner early to reinvest into Market Street. Of course, correctly predicting how well sets will do is the challenge. But if all else is equal, the sooner you sell the better.
  • avoiceoreasonavoiceoreason Member Posts: 224
    @brickdancer - I think what brickmatic said was true. They way I look at it, I am looking for a certain margin and then am willing to sell so that I can re-invest in other sets I believe will net me the same margin a year out. If set A has a goes from $100 to $200 in year 1, and say it will go to $300 in year 2, I am still better off selling it in year 1 at $200 and using the proceeds to buy two $100 set Bs that I believe could go to $200 in a year. In that scenario I net $400 at the end of year 2 by selling two set Bs instead of $300 by holding on to set A for an extra year.
  • doriansdaddoriansdad CTCMember Posts: 1,337
    So how much will the UCS Falcon go for when Lego either does not renew the Star Wars license or goes out of business? I don' think we can discuss bubble until the real mania begins.
  • avoiceoreasonavoiceoreason Member Posts: 224
    ^^ If Lego goes out of business then clearly there is lack of demand, ergo no mania.

    And they will never kill the golden goose of the SW license. It works for both parties and you can see that Lucasfilm is willing to license its images to just about anything (look at all the SW junk out there). Even if the license gets more expensive, Lego will just pass along the price to consumers, since apparently there is no cap on how ridiculous prices can be on the SW theme. Though given the plethora of SW Advent Calendars sitting on the shelves, there does seem to be a tipping point (or Lego vastly overestimated demand).
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    Star Wars in Lego is clearly going to continue for a long time. And even if Lego tries to make the new Superhero line the centerpiece, to consumers I think it will always be Star Wars. Re-release of prequels in theaters; Clone Wars shows; toys; books; etc.

    Star Wars is fighting hard to be the main focus of every 5-year-old boy.
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    edited December 2011
    ^lol to the SW calendars on shelves - where are you? They were selling on ebay at nearly double RRP earlier this month. Out of stock everywhere in the UK apart from the odd toy shop.
    Hmm, just realised that the USA and UK boxes are slightly different - the UK one doesn't have the string of fairy lights below the title (I don't think)
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    Come to my Wal-Mart - each one in the area has at least 10 on the shelf at $40.
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    There are tons of Star Wars calendars in my area. TRU even has them marked down to $29.99
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    I think this is the difference, this is one set that the UK got at a reasonable price (compared to the normal difference in US/UK prices) 24.99 - and was available on 342 for a while too.
  • avoiceoreasonavoiceoreason Member Posts: 224
    ^Yeah, they should have shipped the U.S. overstock to the UK then. They are sitting on the shelves of every Target/Wal-Mart/TRU in the area. The retail Lego stores even had them in stock still.
  • Pacific493Pacific493 Member Posts: 379
    LEGO has always been a constant in my life, and a product that rises above trends. But... you can buy classic LEGO sets from the 70s, 80s and 90s for about the same price as they would have been retail at the time. (including boxes and instructions) These sets have been retired for decades, though I realize that they do contain mostly common colors and parts.
    This is mostly true, but only if you are talking about used sets. Sets from the 70s, 80s, and 90s that are MISB can sell for many times their original purchase price. I sold a MISB Galaxy Explorer a few years back for $700 (which was something like 14 times its original cost) and MISB sets from the 1980s routinely sell for extremely high prices because there just aren't that many of them around anymore. The same thing will happen with modern sets. In 20-30 years, all of the sets that are around today will sell for many multiples of their current value because the kids who are playing with Lego today will then be at a point where they have the disposible income to buy the sets that they couldn't afford today or just didn't get for whatever reason.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,287
    Pacific493..... that's why those people who say that they do NOT save their LEGO boxes, because the take up too much room... I say to them... continue to throw away those boxes... it makes the same sets the rest of us have more valuable in the future! :-)
  • bahnstormerbahnstormer Member Posts: 180

    lego addiction can become self funding with what many others on here do, buy way below retail and later on re-sell at the original retail price. with interest rates sub 1%, a healthy return is anything above that. my colleagues still take the p... that i invested 5 figures into "plastic". my xmas sales have now outperformed our "metal" holdings in 2011.

    those who have access to markets in other currencies than where they live can make a quick tickle already with certain sets - uk death star is £275 whereas it is €420 in germany, you could make c.20% profit instantly reselling these at the moment.

    firebrigade was £99 which worked out at €112, quite a discount on the german price of €149. i'll be getting rid of mine when they hit €200

    what amazes me is lego doesnt do a new UCS falcon and profit themselves. they can clearly hike the price from where they launched 10179 and it'll still sell.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    10179 would lose the magic if Lego made more of them.

    Anything that can be had endlessly loses value, and people will just tell themselves, "someday", but that day never comes.

    So now people who would say "someday" to 10188 now buy it because of 10179, not in spite of it.

    Retiring sets serves Lego, or they would not do it.
  • dremel99dremel99 Member Posts: 123
    According to this article by the NY Times, Lego demand is increasing yearly.

    "Retailers have cut down on toys overall — imports of toys in August and September, important months for building holiday inventory, dropped by 9.8 percent compared with last year, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Panjiva.

    Yet not every product is being cut. Shipments of Legos into the United States in August, September, October and November rose about 155 percent from the same period last year, while those of Hot Wheels rose 43 percent and Barbie merchandise rose 17 percent, according to an analysis of Customs data by Panjiva."

  • avoiceoreasonavoiceoreason Member Posts: 224
    10179 would lose the magic if Lego made more of them.
    ...

    Retiring sets serves Lego, or they would not do it.
    I completely agree with your sentiments. I have compared the missteps by Playmobil to Lego before, but Playmobil will often bring back old sets/vehicles/figures. They started doing this, in theory, to satiate older collectors who missed things the first time around. What they did instead was instantly kill the "collectibility" of Playmobil and therefore lost a bunch of collectors. And when you lose the collectors you also lose some of the parents who were buying for their kids. So fewer kids will have played with Playmo when young and therefore are less likely to buy for their kids 20 years from now. It is a self-perpetuating negative cycle.

    What's the fun/value in collecting if five years from now they are just going to make the exact same set available again?

    Lego should recognize and appreciate the active secondary market that is available to those that want to purchase a set they missed out on. I know they will redo sets (especially SW), but at least they always tweak them a little so they aren't exactly the same, or include a new/different minifig.

    Not to say that TLG hasn't made missteps. I think they totally blew it on the collectible minifigs. They bring out way too many, way too often. They are effectively pricing kids out of the market. There aren't too many kids out there that could feasibly hope to collect all the minifigs in all the series in a single year given the cost. They should bring out one, maybe two, series a year with fewer figs (12?) and they could milk this for years. Instead kids (and adults) are just going to give up attempting to collect them all which was the whole point, and we are going to be on our fifteenth iteration of a snowboarder soon.

    Same with the games. Whoa there! Slow down a little! Bring out one or two games every six months, and focus more on playability or fun of the games. Most of the ones we have are mediocre at best as far as entertainment value and quite frankly there are just too many flooding the shelves for me to spend the time looking at reviews to see which ones people might actually enjoy playing.

    Again, the games could be milked for years if they were more prudent in bringing them out and their quality of play. Instead I imagine there are people like me who were really excited about the concept, but are now more in the "meh, whatever" category. I'm the same way with the minifigs. I used to buy multiples of the series, but now I just get one complete set, and if they keep up the pace, I am likely to just forget about them all together or just pick up the one or two figs that really catch my interest.

    My main concern is that Lego is in the mode of a restaurant franchise that expands too quickly. They get overconfident with their success, expand too rapidly, quality/service/strategy falters as they flood the market with product, and people just move on to the next thing. Don't get me wrong, I think Lego is a fantastic product and TLG is a great company, but I doubt this uber-popularity will last unencumbered for the next decade.
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    @avoiceoreason You make some good points, especially about LEGO over-saturating the market. I always feel as though there are more and more themes or sets that I won't be able to buy, even though they look really great. How many sets does LEGO put out per year, anyway?

    Playmobil is an interesting example too, I have always liked their stuff, and gotten into it at different times in my life. But besides it not being as universal as LEGO, the community seems different, and the secondary market, much smaller.

    Anyhow - thanks for the comments!
    -Dan
  • SupersympaSupersympa SwedenMember Posts: 534
    @brickupdate, around 430 sets/promos/gears etc were mad in 2010 according to Brickset.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    I think they totally blew it on the collectible minifigs. They bring out way too many, way too often. They are effectively pricing kids out of the market. There aren't too many kids out there that could feasibly hope to collect all the minifigs in all the series in a single year given the cost. They should bring out one, maybe two, series a year with fewer figs (12?) and they could milk this for years. Instead kids (and adults) are just going to give up attempting to collect them all which was the whole point, and we are going to be on our fifteenth iteration of a snowboarder soon.
    Totally agree. I bought all of S2 and S3 (missed out on a bunch of S1 because of how quickly it disappeared in the US). However, with the rising price tag and the constant flood of newer minifigs, I've given up on collecting. Better to buy actual sets and maybe the occasional fig that catches your eye than every fig put out. Although, to argue the other side, there may be a market of people who don't like sets but really enjoy the figs. In that case, this product catches that market.
  • BTHodgemanBTHodgeman Member Posts: 622
    Their biggest mistake was to release more, I think. They could have raised the price OR released more, but simple supply and demand says you can't really do both. Prices can be higher if demand exceeds supply... but when they increased supply to exceed demand, there was no justification for the higher price.

    Of course, for AFOLS and other collectors, there is no acceptable alternate (other than other LEGO products), so LEGO still gets all my money... lol

    Brent
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,686
    Add me to the list of those who think LEGO need to slow down on the CMF releases; despite the quality increasing, my enthusiasm is waning due to over-saturation....
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