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It makes no sense to buy a $750.00 Cafe Corner if you aren't assembling the collection. Otherwise, substitute the parts and build something cheap.
It is also important to note that the individual pieces also maintain their own value. If most pieces are at $0.11 each, it's tough to overlook the value of pieces.
A completely new modular is always going to have a larger market than a re-released one. There's not really much point TLG aiming at the hundreds of people who want an old set when then can target the tens of thousands who'd buy a new one.
Lego is a smart company it has a large product line that is constantly adjusting to new tastes, new children's tastes so that they always ask mom and pop for lego. the only time they do "collectibles" is promotions like mr gold, tumbler, chrome vader and give aways like SDCC, toy fair sets and Space slug, if the hoth set has shown everybody is that lego cares less about collectors they care about their core cliental children so that they can have sustained success.
They also keep their prices high and keep supply low to keep there margins they can do this since they have market control (since they have an almost monopoly and large market share) They have the quality advantage and store front advantage they dont get pushed around by walmart like so many other suppliers since they have bargaining power so their product doesnt go on discount and the market gets flooded like UCS B-Wing #10227
At this moment lego is a very well run company they stay out of trouble like political issues and other bad publicity, they have such a focus on their goals, they adjust to times so that they dont get passed by time, lego is such a better company than these companies in this article its sad to even compare them so It's pretty dumb to try to corellate them.
A few might look at lego as an investment that is fine, they are a minority, lego doesnt consider them when making decisions, they'll will make decision for long term growth.
PS. Older lego will get valuable just due to the fact of a growing fan base. Lego will doesnt re release because a re release will have a smaller base to sell to especially modulars because if you own a market street your not going to be buying another one where as completely new set which they can sell to everybody because nobody owns ones.
For me and many others it seems, Dark Ages end soon after the kids get here. We want them to have the same great experiences we had as children so we go back to the things that made us happy then. That awakens the nostalgia beast and it's all down hill from there. At some point you start searching for others that share your same affliction and happen upon Brickset. With that, your transformation into a crazy AFOL is complete.
Instead of scale model trains or a money-pit classic car, I have a ridiculous but manageable pile of Danish plastic.
Of course, the risk is that investments like this always have a bubble. I mean, ALWAYS have a bubble, look it up! In the case of baseball cards or Magic the gathering cards, or real estate, there is limited supply, so the price goes up. However, in the case of Lego, this is a manufactured good. Remember, Lego gains nothing by not producing not enough sets, so they will set the price ridiculously high for limited edition sets (ie Batcave) to maximize profit per set and watch the fanboys buy it or they will just keep producing sets as long as most of them will sell (volume sales). Additionally, Lego gains nothing from secondary market sales. That is why the 10188 Death Star still occasionally gets produced. That's $400 easy money for Lego, and probably 75% of the people buying them are just storing them away. Right now, Lego are hot, so Lego will produce as many Lego sets as they can. That is why CMFs are $4 now instead of $3, and I'm sure they'll increase the Disney ones to $5. Obviously, the market feels that $4 is a steal, which is why you can't find them anywhere.
My point is that as more people think this way (i.e. brickpicker), and the more people are storing these sets in their basements because of some perceived value, the supply is going to steadily creep upwards. Everyone is looking at UCS MF and Green Grocer, and hoping their Slave I and Pet Shop are going to do the same thing. We are in the bubble right now! That is why there are so many $200+ Lego sets coming out! Even as someone who loves Lego, I am shocked at just how expensive they are!
Eventually, there just won't be enough people who will want to spend $350 on a $200 MSRP Slave-I, the price will come tumbling down. Throw a recession in there somewhere, and then people will be trying to sell, and that'll be the time to buy. So, I hope there are lots of people out there trying to invest in Lego, because eventually, I'm going to get some cheap sets!
Then, as the wise Mr. Istok says, physical space has to be an issue at some point! My basement is currently a disaster! I feel bad for my heirs whenever they are going to have to clean out my Lego collection when I am gone. Actually, they'll probably sell it for pennies on the dollar, and all of my investments will have gone to waste! Do you know how much that 375 Castle instruction sheet goes for!!!! Noooo!!!!!
The point is that I can see themes like UCS and Modulars eventually becoming less collectable. Except for those who buy them specifically for the pieces. And most people are not going to spend $200 or more on a set only to dump all the pieces into storage containers.
Eventually Star Wars will fade away again, like it did in the mid-80's through the mid-90's. And I could see Lego following suit. They won't go out of business, but may become more a niche toy. As a kid I had Lego, but I had a lot more GI Joes, Transformers, Kenner toys (Star Wars, MASK) He-Man etc.
As for re-releases, remember that Lego did that with the Metroliner and Club Car, and from what I can gather they didn't sell as expected second time round as 'Legends'.
1) it was expensive for LEGO to produce, I believe more so than PF trains.
2) This is the big one for me - monorails are no longer the cool, futuristic system that they used to be envisaged as 30 years ago. Monorails are reasonably common now, as transport in zoos or theme parks, or more serious ones used for inner or inter city transport.
I disagree here. All the CMF are collectable. You only need to look at deals sites to see general public (non-AFOL) talking about finishing their collections, just like they finish their Panini football stickers. Of course, they are pocket money toys aimed at kids, but that doesn't mean that they are not collectables. LEGO knows exactly what they are doing producing short-lived, numbered, pocket money toys in blind packaging.
I also disagree here. It won't get valuable just because it is old. Older lego will only get value if
1) it is kept as the sets or there are a few individual unique parts in the set
2) the parts are not reused in later sets (BL sets is possible)
3) it is kept in decent condition
4) lego doesn't issue something similar (distinct from a re-release of the original). For example, I imagine CC's value would drop if they do a corner restaurant with more modern techniques that looks better than the CC at a fraction of the current secondary market price.
As others have mentioned, there is also play off between how many new sets are produced. If they can pump out two new modulars a year, would people really bother going back, paying 10x the price for old ones when they can build a substantial street in just a couple of years? If they have too many new ones, then the older ones become less attractive (financially). If they have fewer new ones, then less people may be drawn to buying the first one and so less people are looking for older ones.
I'm an old fan of LEGO. Being 43 I still buy sets for myself as well, as for my children (well not anymore because the are going into dark ages), and other (small) children of my relatives.
I also buy LEGO to sell on the secondary market, in order to finance my hobby of collecting LEGO. As you look through the past years, some of the LEGO sets can be considered as really good investment. But if you look at LEGO as a construction toy, you can see the price increase over years. So if you buy a set now, for sure it will cost you less than buying any future LEGO sets with the same size or piececount, let's say five years later.
There will always be fans of Star Wars saga who will be also LEGO collectors. The sets purchased now will be valuable for the future collectors. Not necessary to sell them (but I'm sure you will be able to sell them), but for next generations in your own family.
An example: when my childeren started to be interested in Indiana Jones, the LEGO Indy sets were available only on the secondary market. I wish I had bought theme before on the primary market to preserve them and give them to my children 3-4 years later.
I agree that someone who realized only 0.4% annual return from their 401k over the last 5 years probably needs to perform a serious review of their investment diversification strategy.
I heartily disagree with the idea that the stock market will outperform smart Lego investing. If someone is only making ~9% investing in Lego, they also need to perform a serious review of their investment diversification strategy.
The big drawback is of course, storage, space and time. Most people don't want to spend any time on their investments. This would be quite the opposite if Lego was one of your main investments, as the key to any good investment is knowing when to sell and re-invest etc.
Also, if you are buying and selling Lego on any serious scale, you are also by definition running a business, which brings further complications you need to take care of like book keeping and tax.
And to your comment about people not wanting to spend time, etc. It's the old adage right? If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
There are also other reasons, which Jamie Berard himself explained right here on these very forums. LEGO may not care about preserving the secondary market for sets like these, but they have plenty of reasons not to re-release them that have nothing to do with the originals' aftermarket value.
And I don't mean this in a reseller-bashing, "YOUR JOY SHALL BECOME YOUR DOOM, AND SERVE YOU RIGHT!" way; it's just what tends to happen when something you did purely for fun requires its own routine and admin, particularly when, as you pointed out, it involves dealing with taxes. Sigh.
I'm impressed that by judicious buying and reselling people can bankroll their building/collecting, or even pay for important real-life things, but even if I had the budget (the clue was in "writer", really, wasn't it?), I think I'd be wary of turning my fun, de-stressing thing into a work thing...
They released a new UCS X-Wing despite there being an older one that was impossible to find. They released dozens of Jedi Starfighters. Storm Troopers used to be rare and now they're everywhere. Lego releases products for new customers. They don't show any signs of caring about the secondary market.
Consider the Winter Village Toy shop. For some reason which nobody can understand, Lego re-released an old kit. The secondary market howled. The primary market didn't care. As far as most kids are concerned, it's a new kit, because they weren't alive when the first came out.
Consider Lego trains. Several of the old trains are very popular and fetch big bucks on the secondary market. I'm personally considering buying the Emerald Night if I can get it at a reasonable price. But if Lego released a new, quality steam engine tomorrow, a model that's as good as EN, why would I bother with EN? Just get Scarlet Dawn or whatever model it is. Lego has made more than one Maersk ship. Why would anyone care about the first when the second is available?
In short, Lego's new models are meant for new buyers. Sometimes they re-do something they did before: Star Wars ships, certain staples like trains, police stations, etc, the Sopwith Camel, iconic superhero sets, etc. But it's almost always a new model of the old thing. Yet the effect on the secondary market is the same: prices plummet, because now the old thing isn't that important. A large enough percentage of buyers want a Millennium Falcon, not specifically #7190 or #4504.
The demand for certain modulars such as CC and GG is probably primarily AFOLs trying to get the whole set. But would those sets do as well at retail as the ones they sell now? Considering how the modulars have changed over time, I'd guess not. Modulars are more detailed now, shorter, slightly smaller buildings with highly-detailed interiors. They feature more advanced build techniques and rely less on a large number of identical pieces to make a convincing facade. Would a re-release of an older modular sell as well? I'd guess not. What reason would any random person have for choosing CC or GG over Brick Bank or Parisian Cafe or Detective's Office? Is whatever reason you're thinking enough to counteract the lost sales from AFOLs who already have it, and new customers who aren't as impressed by its older style?
But there is one thing I'd guarantee. If Lego released an updated CC or GG that featured new parts, new build techniques, and detailed interiors, then A) it would sell well, and B) it would diminish the after market for the older kits, and C) it wouldn't technically be a re-release.
Tl;DR: Lego doesn't act like a company that wants to encourage, or even cares about, the secondary market.
That's the kind of thing that helps keep me in the game.
I've gone ahead and sent him a Facebook message just to verify that it was him, but I already have an idea what the answer will be.
And thank you for selling those sets to my Mom. It was the best Birthday ever!
They have been retired, but nobody bothered to tell them...
As for the CMF figures you can consider lego trying to artificially make CMF more scarce but from my prospective I see them trying to keep rrsp while pumping product that means rotation of cmf is necessary, if you kept them out for extended periods of time demand for it would fade. You can see them as trying to create a collectible or the more likely case that they are trying to maximize their bottom line.
(And I am inherently skeptical by nature. I appreciate the verification. And I wasn't suggesting some global indictment of Lego or Lego Designers ignoring their consumers. I've seen the videos of the numerous personal appearances and his engagement with the community. If I were in his position, I probably wouldn't be commenting on pseudo-anonymous messageboards. As is obvious by the above post, he's best engaging the community in person or through managed social media.)
^ Completely agree. Although I would want something vastly improved - and worth purchasing on the 'second' go-round.
And I should probably clarify that @TheLoneTensor didn't actually sell older sets to my Mom. I bought them all by myself. Like a big boy! (I need to dial back the sarcasm a bit.)
i like Legos path other than the ucs sets t I think hoth was a flop, but sales will reflect that. Lego has to keep moving forward with new things and new design that being said I own 10187 happy to see a new beetle that is smaller and that fits with the new cars. I'm also happy to see a new redesigned winter train even if I'm a owner of 10173. but i didn't buy the winter toy shop and it upsets me because I always buy those sets for a nice christmas builds.
If you want old sets go ahead and buy them but don't expect rerelease they do not sell as well, Lego should keep on doing what they are do is producing new things that makes everybody happy not just the minority who missed out the first time
And indeed, what Castle set did I buy secondhand after its retirement? Not the re-released Guarded Inn, but the Medieval Market Village. Because apparently, like most people, I wanted something that gave me the feeling of my childhood sets, but if there was one updated with today's set design sensibilities and details and on a bigger scale, that was preferable...
It has! Last week I auctioned off my opened Construct-a-Zurg for €35 on eBay Germany!
Ah, no - wait a minute. It went for €1.50 :-S
I recently was talking to a good buddy of mine who is pretty close with LEGO and he told me LEGO is more popular than ever before - I shrugged my shoulders as though it was old news. But it got me thinking even more. Who are all the "new comers" to the world of LEGO? I bet it is the core demographic that LEGO is catering too - the younger generation. So I wonder if any reseller and/or AFOL bubble could eventually burst?
There have been a lot of new releases this year (D2C) in particular that just havent interested me. I remember only a couple years back it seems I was buying one large exclusive or another almost monthly! Now? Not so much.
However, "popular" may not be the right word, at least if you're thinking about the number of people. One reason that more is sold is because collections are a lot larger. A few thousand pieces used to be quite good for one kid; these days, you can get that in one set.
Random stuff I buy on BL (two types, general box and castle box)
Classic (bucket) boxes, mainly mixed in with general box above
PAB cup finds, again mainly mixed into general box above
The sets (many of them) get built, and occasionally played with, but not much. Otherwise, the play seems to be in the building and then they are just displayed. In this sense the best value sets are the 3-in-1 creator ones, as at least they get broken down and rebuilt.
Where the general bucket lego is what comes out most days. The kids build, think, take apart, think, rebuild, think, modify, ....
One Christmas I bought about £30 worth of greys and other castle colours, bricks, doors, rock pieces, panels, etc. And a dozen castle soldiers, king and queen, etc. That has been played with so much more than any set. I think just because there is no right way, they don't care how it is built and always try to improve each time it gets destroyed.