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

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Comments

  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    ^ Depends on the theme. Classic Space and Classic Castle seem to hold their value very well. The really old stuff from the 70's and earlier not so much.
  • monkey_roomonkey_roo Member Posts: 1,407
    I think what you will see is two distinct markets. The current RRP from Lego for new sets is at a high and now almost out of line with the world around it, but I doubt the costs will drop, rather we might see a price freeze from Lego for a little bit while broader economic events play out.

    The second hand market will become much more turbulent. I think theme by theme we will see highs and lows. For example, with the 10 year extension to the SW line all those older sets are going to get redone and therefore the second hand price for the older sets should drop. As an example I wonder what the price of the 2003 Jabbas Palace will become in a few months now the truly great remake has been produced? But say in 10 year the SW licence is dropped we would probably see an increase in all SW Lego prices in the second hand market.

    Overall older set prices will be governed by popularity, as people have said, classic space etc do well as they are loved and sought after by 'collectors'. But as almost all collectors by old and new, and often many new sets if they have children of their own, the overall price of the new Lego sets will have a bearing on the second hand market, after all people only have a finite amount of money and if you have to pay £100's for a new set you can't pay that for an old set, choices, choices...
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    Loose older sets become affordable for builders - no doubt. Look at the old pirate ships. Those can be had loose for even or less what they cost in retail in 1989. Of course - we're talking pre-owned parts but still a 100% complete set.
  • mkolandianmkolandian Member Posts: 25
    @Istokg Thanks for your answer. Very informative.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Aren't the laws in Italy still in effect for importing lego that you buy on eBay? That has got to affect the used set market value there.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,983

    Your post presumes that there is a bubble, but there is no evidence to suggest that a pricing bubble has formed in the secondary market for Lego. Asset bubbles form when there is a fundamental disconnect between the intrinsic value of the good and its perceived value. Although prices have risen considerably on some EOL sets (MF, CC), I have not seen anything to suggest that a disconnect has crept into the secondary market to the point where a bubble has formed or is forming. The majority of people who are buying EOL sets for high dollar are doing so because they want the set either to collect or build. The simple fact that a good rises in value does not indicate the formation of a pricing bubble...there has to be some force driving that rise in value that is disconnected from the intrinsic value of the good.
    Okay so let me agree with you to start with. Price bubbles are caused when the value of something outstrips what it is worth intrinsically.
    Now to disagree :-D.

    I think there is plenty of evidence to show a complete disconnect between the actual value of lego and what people pay for it. The example I will choose to use is Cloud city. This, whats is admitted by all to be a poor set, had a RRP of £60. It now sells for £300-400 mint. That, via my terrible maths, is roughly 6 times increase. Now if lego produced cloud city exactly as it is and charged you £400 for it you would never pay for it. But people wanting it to complete their collection have taken it way beyond a reasonable price point for it.

    Granted not every set does increase but I would say that 80% do.

    I feel, as well, you contradict yourself. You seem to say that a bubble is caused by people paying way more than its intrinsic value. But that collectors paying way over the odds for a set does not cause a price bubble. Actually it is collectors paying way over the odds for something to complete their collections or build that drive up prices that create a price bubble. They are willing to pay way past what a sets is actually worth to finish the set. These aren't as you argue slight price growths these are massive increases. But what happens when they have got the sets that they want or prices become unaffordable which is where some sets are heading. Those prices crash. This is happening at the moment.

    We are very much in a bubble and at some point its going to burst. Fortunately I don't resell. So im not fussed if it does.

  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited June 2012
    ^Whether a bubble exists or not is obviously total speculation, as can be evidenced by the varying opinions expressed in this thread. I'm with you- I could pretty much not care less whether a bubble exists or not (though it's interesting to me to read people's thought on the matter).

    You mentioned, "...if lego produced cloud city exactly as it is and charged you £400 for it you would never pay for it..." I think you are obviously correct. However, that would be an entirely different scenario, as supply would exceed demand. As it is now, demand appears to exceed supply, so that would explain the higher price on Cloud City. Just like almost any free enterprise, it all boils down to supply and demand. What something is worth, is entirely up to the market, generally speaking.

    The free market is comrpised of all types of people, including people such as yourself that assert something is only worth so much, but also other people who assert that same something is worth more. Something, anything, is worth what someone is willing and able to pay.
  • cloaked7cloaked7 Member Posts: 1,448
    edited June 2012
    ^ @nkx1 glad to see someone use the term "not care less" correctly. :-) All the time people say "I could care less... if blah, blah, blah" Not being Miss Manners here. Just something I notice. :-) Oh yeah, and it really, really bugs me when a person doesn't know how to merge into traffic correctly. I don't see a stop sign! Get the move on! :-)
  • luckyrussluckyruss UKMember Posts: 872
    edited June 2012
    ^ Agreed!

    There are lots of financial rules and definitions about what constitutes a "bubble", including, in some texts, the use of leverage to fund purchases (in spirit of the previous post we could debate how to pronounce the "lever" word either side of the pond - alright, it's a Friday night here and I'm not feeling entirely serious :-).

    However, for me what would make this a bubble is where people are prepared to pay something for a set, not because they actually want it, but because they think someone else is prepared to buy it later at a higher price. And I don't mean here buying sets at RRP to resell at something above RRP, but if for example you get to a position where a set exchanges hands several times from one reseller to another at an increasing rate, that looks like a bubble. This is when you start getting capital in from outside of the normal lego market which increases the market price it appears people are willing to pay.

    If it is just that "collectors" (or very keen "consumers" in prof's terms) are prepared to pay a high price to complete their collection, then the set retains some "value" for them over and above the price, because of the desire to be complete. So they may not be as valuable in future if not as many people want to collect them, but that misses the point. The action above though does force the price up and desperate collectors to pay more than they ever wanted to.

    So therefore I see some sets where there is just a short supply relative to "collector" demand which just supports high prices (you could argue this about certain pieces too on Bricklink), and others which seem to have got(ten) into bubble territory because people are buying them sealed in order to keep sealed only for the purposes of selling on at a later date. Ultimately this is the bit that I think looks questionably sustainable. We could probably all put forward examples in each category - I can see Cloud City being more of the former (the price has stayed around £300-350, and to me it looks like completists), whereas the UCS Falcon could be another sort.

    Many financial bubbles tend to last longer than any rational valuation might suggest, because people observe others getting in at lower prices (and making money) and the peer pressure to follow suit comes.

    So now I must have my 2 light bley boat riggings at $170 each, my friends just got them at $120 and I'm missing out!
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,943
    edited June 2012
    ^^ "could care less" meaning "couldn't care less" is purely a US thing. Nobody in the UK says it wrongly...
  • Pacific493Pacific493 Member Posts: 379
    I think there is plenty of evidence to show a complete disconnect between the actual value of lego and what people pay for it. The example I will choose to use is Cloud city. This, whats is admitted by all to be a poor set, had a RRP of £60. It now sells for £300-400 mint. That, via my terrible maths, is roughly 6 times increase. Now if lego produced cloud city exactly as it is and charged you £400 for it you would never pay for it. But people wanting it to complete their collection have taken it way beyond a reasonable price point for it.
    But if people are paying 6x RRP for Cloud City in order to complete their collection, I would say that that price reflects its intrinsic value. The price may have increased well beyond what some would say should be the intrinsic value of the set, but there are several factors that justify such a high price, including the fact that it was not well received when originally available and, thus, was not bought in large numbers. Also, it has some unique minifigures (or at least what were unique at one point in time...I'm not sure if any have been re-released).
    I feel, as well, you contradict yourself. You seem to say that a bubble is caused by people paying way more than its intrinsic value. But that collectors paying way over the odds for a set does not cause a price bubble. Actually it is collectors paying way over the odds for something to complete their collections or build that drive up prices that create a price bubble. They are willing to pay way past what a sets is actually worth to finish the set. These aren't as you argue slight price growths these are massive increases. But what happens when they have got the sets that they want or prices become unaffordable which is where some sets are heading. Those prices crash. This is happening at the moment.
    But the reason that the prices are increasing is because collectors assign high value to those sets in order to complete their collections. The intrinsic value of those sets lies in their rarity and desirability. The disconnect would come if large numbers of people started buying second hand sets solely for investment purposes based on the belief that they were justified in paying ever higher prices because they will be able to turn around and sell the sets later for even more than they are paying. There may be a little of this going on with certain sets, but I have certainly seen no evidence of rampant speculative buying of sets after they are EOL and have doubled or tripled in value. I sell a lot of sets both used and new, and my experience has always been that the people who are paying 2x-4x RRP are generally buying sets for personal use or for their own collection. I do have some transactions where I am clearly selling to other resellers, but those sales typically happen when I have been able to buy sets at 75% off RRP and can afford to sell them in bulk after EOL for less than RRP and still double my money.
    We are very much in a bubble and at some point its going to burst. Fortunately I don't resell. So im not fussed if it does.
    We are certainly in a period of extreme popularity for Lego, but I see no evidence of a bubble. For there to be a bubble, it would have to be conceivable that prices for sets like CC or MF could fall 50%-100% with no buyers in the market willing to pay the depressed prices. Can you see that happening? I can't.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,258
    I sincerely hope that the people here who have been collecting and reselling Lego for years are giving an honest and objective assessment when they insist there is little danger of a bubble. It's convincingly argued, I just hope it's not all rosy goggles and rationalization. Nonetheless, I'll be playing it small and safe.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I think there is plenty of evidence to show a complete disconnect between the actual value of lego and what people pay for it. The example I will choose to use is Cloud city. This, whats is admitted by all to be a poor set, had a RRP of £60. It now sells for £300-400 mint. That, via my terrible maths, is roughly 6 times increase. Now if lego produced cloud city exactly as it is and charged you £400 for it you would never pay for it. But people wanting it to complete their collection have taken it way beyond a reasonable price point for it.
    You are correct that *I* would not pay $400 for Cloud City, but someone clearly will.

    If Lego produced it in volume, they could never move very many of them at that price, but keep in mind that the set isn't moving in volume, it is moving in a trickle.

    According to Bricklink, in the past 6 months, 62 total units have been sold marked as "new", but since the min price was $5.99, someone clearly sold either a minifig or box or something that isn't a complete set there.

    So the average price of $462 perhaps isn't an honest one. The max price is interesting, someone paid $990 for the set, probably mint perfect condition from someone willing to ship overseas.

    The Lego Group is not interested in making Lego sets that sell 62 units in 6 months, they want to move 62 units a minute. That is why they would price the set at $60, because it will move hundreds of thousands of units at that price, but only a few hundred at a much higher price.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Wow, just looked closer at the current listings...

    Cloud City, the lowest new sealed price on BL is $938, and that is a Hong Kong seller...

    In the USA, there is a seller at $975, then it goes above a thousand... For a set with 698 parts?
  • MandarineMandarine Member Posts: 31
    Has anyone been tracking what has been happening to the older Jabba's Palace sets since they released the new version? Has it dropped in price? I bet it has. Timing is everything, and Cloud City is ripe for a remake... Would it be better to sell a bit lower now to ensure you can still enjoy a substantial return, or get busted when it gets remade? Not to say that the old version wouldn't still fetch above original retail, but $900? Not even half if it gets remade, especially given the vastly improved quality we are seeing in sets nowadays. Bubbles in Lego are fairly finite, if they exist at all. Timing is everything for resellers. (That obviously doesn't include sets aimed and marketed at "collectors" that are designed never to be repeated hence appeal to collectors - thus resellers...)
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    Wow, just looked closer at the current listings...

    Cloud City, the lowest new sealed price on BL is $938, and that is a Hong Kong seller...

    In the USA, there is a seller at $975, then it goes above a thousand... For a set with 698 parts?
    The 7255 I recently sold for $170 has just 111 parts. That's $1.53 a piece, which is just completely insane. There's another fun game. What's the highest per piece price set currently out there? (non limited sets only, over 100 pieces). 7255 is the bar...
  • Pacific493Pacific493 Member Posts: 379
    The 7255 I recently sold for $170 has just 111 parts. That's $1.53 a piece, which is just completely insane. There's another fun game. What's the highest per piece price set currently out there? (non limited sets only, over 100 pieces). 7255 is the bar...
    This was a bit of an aberration, but I sold a sealed copy of a Galaxy Explorer #497 for $750 a few years back. It has 322 parts, which works out to $2.32 per part.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    ^ wow, nice! One on bricklink now for $1500... Sheesh.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,983
    Has anyone else noticed my statements have come up as being attributed to @BoiseState. Ive been post hijacked! Anyway....

    But if people are paying 6x RRP for Cloud City in order to complete their collection, I would say that that price reflects its intrinsic value. The price may have increased well beyond what some would say should be the intrinsic value of the set, but there are several factors that justify such a high price, including the fact that it was not well received when originally available and, thus, was not bought in large numbers. Also, it has some unique minifigures (or at least what were unique at one point in time...I'm not sure if any have been re-released).
    Certainly the rarefaction of something will put its price up. And I dont have a problem of prices increasing at all. However I think you will be hard pushed to find anyone who believes that Legos' intrinsic value is £400 or whatever they would pay for it. At some point there is a limit beyond what even collectors will pay for a set. Something can be rare and still create a price bubble. I think intrinsic value can be a little false as well because one can argue until the cows come home what the intrinsic value of something is. Because that for many people is entirely subjective.

    In my mind these prices have been caused when we werent in recession people could splash £400 on a set and it would not be a problem. If the good times had continued then it would have pushed prices further. Like the housing bubble people were valuing their homes at stupid prices because people could pay for it. However once people stopped being able to pay for it then thats when it burst and people suddenly found themselves in negative equity. The same will, if the outside world doesnt begin to recover, happen to lego. There comes a limit when something cannot go up any more and it doesnt level out it has to come down.

    But the reason that the prices are increasing is because collectors assign high value to those sets in order to complete their collections. The intrinsic value of those sets lies in their rarity and desirability. The disconnect would come if large numbers of people started buying second hand sets solely for investment purposes based on the belief that they were justified in paying ever higher prices because they will be able to turn around and sell the sets later for even more than they are paying. There may be a little of this going on with certain sets, but I have certainly seen no evidence of rampant speculative buying of sets after they are EOL and have doubled or tripled in value. I sell a lot of sets both used and new, and my experience has always been that the people who are paying 2x-4x RRP are generally buying sets for personal use or for their own collection. I do have some transactions where I am clearly selling to other resellers, but those sales typically happen when I have been able to buy sets at 75% off RRP and can afford to sell them in bulk after EOL for less than RRP and still double my money.
    I am again going to respectively disagree with you again. If you look at the other post on re sellers there are a number of examples of people who are using it in the hope it will increase with value. Ill use @LegoFanTexas as a example (sorry LFT). He has just begun reselling lego as his main business. He goes and buys a few sets in the hope that they will increase in value for him to make a profit. Again I dont see there being anything wrong in this, I use him only as an example. However he is (and im sure he may agree a little) is speculating that these sets will increase in value. Sure not every single one is success. Atlantis is hard to shift but others he will make a very nice profit on. But he is banking on their being a price increase. And from some peoples behaviour in shops. Especially, being in the UK, over the sun promo. People are doing exactly the same thing. Like people did in the property boom. They would buy land cheap build a house and then hope that the market would allow them to sell it at a profit. Again nothing wrong with that but people have to realize that things might not always carry on up.

    We are certainly in a period of extreme popularity for Lego, but I see no evidence of a bubble. For there to be a bubble, it would have to be conceivable that prices for sets like CC or MF could fall 50%-100% with no buyers in the market willing to pay the depressed prices. Can you see that happening? I can't.
    Actually I can, if this depression continues then you will start to see prices fall because people wont be able to afford them. Also if collectors carry on bricklinking things rather than buy on the second hand market then to try and move those ten death stars will be harder as those who want it have gone and bought it. And to them its a lego set that they own and can tick off the wanted list. So that leaves only a few people who can afford to pay the prices but that soon becomes unsustainable or kids who cant afford either to brick link it or buy it at the cost.

    Further to my evidence for a price bubble I would like to quote some of the above examples. As Ive said I have no issue with prices going up. However I feel these reflect price points which at some point will become unsustainable.

    Wow, just looked closer at the current listings...

    Cloud City, the lowest new sealed price on BL is $938, and that is a Hong Kong seller...

    In the USA, there is a seller at $975, then it goes above a thousand... For a set with 698 parts?
    The 7255 I recently sold for $170 has just 111 parts. That's $1.53 a piece, which is just completely insane. There's another fun game. What's the highest per piece price set currently out there? (non limited sets only, over 100 pieces). 7255 is the bar...
    This was a bit of an aberration, but I sold a sealed copy of a Galaxy Explorer #497 for $750 a few years back. It has 322 parts, which works out to $2.32 per part.
    ^ wow, nice! One on bricklink now for $1500... Sheesh.
  • thecleatorthecleator Member Posts: 70
    Lego has some intersting unique qualities that have helped keep prices up. Almost nobody pays 500 bucks for a sealed action figure then opens it so the supply never lessens. Lego is the opposite. Plus parts sellers like myself and my buyers help keep the core value of the set in place. No other collectible market has that. Certain sets are definitely on bubbles but overall I think the hobby is strong an safe.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Exactly...

    I recently purchased a new in box UCS Darth Maul (probably to go along with my new Darth Texas name). :)

    Paid about $650 for it, and I will open it and build it and enjoy every bit of it, and that takes one more of those "sealed" sets off the market forever...

    Just yesterday, I opened my last Green Grocer I had been saving to sell... Building it this morning, that takes one of these sets off the market forever...
  • MCNwakeboardMCNwakeboard VirginiaMember Posts: 315
    I think the increase in resellers and number of sets on the market results in a slower price increase but won't result in a bubble until you have non Lego fans getting into buying and selling or TLG re-releasing sets on a regular basis.

    As an AFOL, the sets have an inherent value because I can always use new pieces and I am not borrowing money so if I have to wait a year or more before selling I can live with that. If the going rate was below cost I would probably prefer to build than sell.

    I think the market demographic is also important. Most AFOLs are fairly well off, maybe not the top 2% but let's be honest, Lego is a luxury toy/product and that demographic would be somewhat insulated from the first round of layoffs (I'm well aware that many of the middle class lost jobs in the recent recession) but I feel that most engineers/computer science jobs are doing well.

    The tulip mania had a consumable product but i guess it was different because production wasn't controlled by one company. I won't say it will never happen but if it does it'll be a great excuse to open those sets.
  • Pacific493Pacific493 Member Posts: 379

    Certainly the rarefaction of something will put its price up. And I dont have a problem of prices increasing at all. However I think you will be hard pushed to find anyone who believes that Legos' intrinsic value is £400 or whatever they would pay for it. At some point there is a limit beyond what even collectors will pay for a set. Something can be rare and still create a price bubble. I think intrinsic value can be a little false as well because one can argue until the cows come home what the intrinsic value of something is. Because that for many people is entirely subjective.
    There are certainly people out there who would balk at paying the market price for sets like Cloud City, MF, and CC (I'm one), but so long as there are others out there who would pay the market price for the set in order to own that set and not merely as an investment vehicle, I would argue the market price is in line with the intrinsic value of the set. That value may fall over time as interest for the set wanes, but the pricing disconnect comes when the price ceases to reflect the actual value of the set to the person purchasing it.
    In my mind these prices have been caused when we werent in recession people could splash £400 on a set and it would not be a problem. If the good times had continued then it would have pushed prices further. Like the housing bubble people were valuing their homes at stupid prices because people could pay for it. However once people stopped being able to pay for it then thats when it burst and people suddenly found themselves in negative equity. The same will, if the outside world doesnt begin to recover, happen to lego. There comes a limit when something cannot go up any more and it doesnt level out it has to come down.
    The problem with this theory is that the largest run up in the value of sets that we've seen has happened well after the good times ended. I'm not sure when the recession technically began, but the crash happened in 2008. MF retired in 2010 and CC did sometime around then as well. The run up in prices that we've seen have all happened at time when the economy was not booming.

    Also, there is no real analogy between the housing market circa 2003-2008 and the current market for Lego. The run up in the housing market was driven by the availability of cheap credit and the aggressive sale of mortgages. There is nothing comparable happening with Lego.
    I am again going to respectively disagree with you again. If you look at the other post on re sellers there are a number of examples of people who are using it in the hope it will increase with value. Ill use @LegoFanTexas as a example (sorry LFT). He has just begun reselling lego as his main business. He goes and buys a few sets in the hope that they will increase in value for him to make a profit. Again I dont see there being anything wrong in this, I use him only as an example. However he is (and im sure he may agree a little) is speculating that these sets will increase in value. Sure not every single one is success. Atlantis is hard to shift but others he will make a very nice profit on. But he is banking on their being a price increase. And from some peoples behaviour in shops. Especially, being in the UK, over the sun promo. People are doing exactly the same thing. Like people did in the property boom. They would buy land cheap build a house and then hope that the market would allow them to sell it at a profit. Again nothing wrong with that but people have to realize that things might not always carry on up.
    As I have freely recognized in other posts, this certainly goes on and I am aware that it goes on. However, to have this type of behavior create a bubble, it would have to the be the primary driving force behind the run up in value of sets like MF. The reason that the price of tulip bulbs soared in Holland several hundred years ago before crashing and the price of stocks soared in the 1920s before crashing was largely because speculation was the primary driving force behind the market. There are always speculators, but bubbles form when the speculators are driving the market because at some point people stop being willing to take the risk of further price increases and the market loses its liquidity, which is when the crash happens.
    Actually I can, if this depression continues then you will start to see prices fall because people wont be able to afford them. Also if collectors carry on bricklinking things rather than buy on the second hand market then to try and move those ten death stars will be harder as those who want it have gone and bought it. And to them its a lego set that they own and can tick off the wanted list. So that leaves only a few people who can afford to pay the prices but that soon becomes unsustainable or kids who cant afford either to brick link it or buy it at the cost.
    The problem with this theory is that the run up in prices of many sets has happened during the recession. Also, the option of bricklinking EOL sets exists now, but does not in any way stop sets from increasing in value after they are retired. If you think that the market for the MF and CC could dry up over night, you're dreaming. There are plenty of people on this board who would snap up CC or MF if the prices started to fall.
    Further to my evidence for a price bubble I would like to quote some of the above examples. As Ive said I have no issue with prices going up. However I feel these reflect price points which at some point will become unsustainable.
    The fact that there are sets that sell for a lot of money does not necessarily indicate the existence of an asset bubble. I agree that the prices of certain sets are unsustainable and will likely fall over time. At some point, interest will wane or people will move on to other things. However, the natural ebb and flow of a market is very different from the creation and deflation of an asset bubble.


  • mkolandianmkolandian Member Posts: 25
    Aren't the laws in Italy still in effect for importing lego that you buy on eBay? That has got to affect the used set market value there.
    Istog wrote that those laws are not in effect anymore and if they are still in effect, they are not enforced. While I never bought Lego from outside the EU, I bought plastic model kits from USA and the far east (Japan and Hong Kong) with no problems. Nowadays the Italian government is very strict on applying import taxes from outside EU, but that's it.

  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,983

    There are certainly people out there who would balk at paying the market price for sets like Cloud City, MF, and CC (I'm one), but so long as there are others out there who would pay the market price for the set in order to own that set and not merely as an investment vehicle, I would argue the market price is in line with the intrinsic value of the set. That value may fall over time as interest for the set wanes, but the pricing disconnect comes when the price ceases to reflect the actual value of the set to the person purchasing it.
    While there are people who can afford to pay those prices. I would argue contrary to opinion (see the role of resellers) most lego collectors are not well off. Yes for some collectors they can say that their intrinsic value is whatever they paid for it be that £5 or £5000. But (and this is subjective and really based off what seems to be a large number of non sales on ebay of the high end sets) it is clear for many that the prices of many sets are not the intrinsic value for collectors. And also as many cannot afford it the whole incredible price increase will cease. I agree with @thecleator that lego is a relative safe bet. I certainly dont believe that you will at some point be able to snap up a MF for £50 but it will drop to £600-700 at some point.
    The problem with this theory is that the largest run up in the value of sets that we've seen has happened well after the good times ended. I'm not sure when the recession technically began, but the crash happened in 2008. MF retired in 2010 and CC did sometime around then as well. The run up in prices that we've seen have all happened at time when the economy was not booming.

    I believe that the crash really started to bite 2010 but that is based off my experience here in the UK. However recessions dont bite automatically. They are like a large avalanche they start slowly and then gather pace as long as they carry on. No the run up did not happen when the economy was booming, But as I have said recessions dont arrive straight off; and this in my opinion is what allowed those prices to rise. If people tried to do the same now I think they would struggle and the price would reflect its intrinsic value. Look at Obi Wans fighter that is an awesome set worth every penny and I would say alot more. However even though it sold really badly those prices haven't shot up its barely making its RRP as people know much more what its worth. And I think this is something we will see alot more of as people either cant sell the expensively priced set and this will cause the price to fall. Not because they dont have a high intrinsic value but because the days off asking 3x the RRP of a set, I believe are over.
    As I have freely recognized in other posts, this certainly goes on and I am aware that it goes on. However, to have this type of behavior create a bubble, it would have to the be the primary driving force behind the run up in value of sets like MF. The reason that the price of tulip bulbs soared in Holland several hundred years ago before crashing and the price of stocks soared in the 1920s before crashing was largely because speculation was the primary driving force behind the market. There are always speculators, but bubbles form when the speculators are driving the market because at some point people stop being willing to take the risk of further price increases and the market loses its liquidity, which is when the crash happens.
    Again I refer to the resellers post (and before I get jumped its not everyone) that actually in my opinion it is becoming the major driving force behind the hobby. With the rise in legos' popularity, which is only a good thing, there are an increasing number of chancers from outside the hobby who see lego as a way to make a fast buck. Again my experince with the Sun lego Promos suggests this is true. People who are clearly not lego fans buy 40 sets to then resell. But with lego fans aided by sites such as brickset it is becoming harder for those people to shift the sets. And as they hang about they will lose interest in the hobby and go to something else and you will see prices crash as the chancers pull out.
    The problem with this theory is that the run up in prices of many sets has happened during the recession. Also, the option of bricklinking EOL sets exists now, but does not in any way stop sets from increasing in value after they are retired. If you think that the market for the MF and CC could dry up over night, you're dreaming. There are plenty of people on this board who would snap up CC or MF if the prices started to fall.
    No I completely agree with you the bricklinking options wont stop sets increasing at all. But I think it will mitigate prices as well as effecting thoses that currently are going for alot of money.

    I dont believe we will see a complete slump in prices at all most sets will slightly increase value. even when the bubble bursts. I certainly dont think the market for the CC or MF would dry up over night. But as you say for them to purchase one prices need to fall and I don't think it will be slow fall. At the prices they are commanding it will be a quick drop especially once lego becomes more underground again.
    The fact that there are sets that sell for a lot of money does not necessarily indicate the existence of an asset bubble. I agree that the prices of certain sets are unsustainable and will likely fall over time. At some point, interest will wane or people will move on to other things. However, the natural ebb and flow of a market is very different from the creation and deflation of an asset bubble.
    Again for the points outlined above, I am going to have to disagree. I believe there is a difference between high prices for some thing that has a strong value naturally such as gold. And the prices we are seeing for lego. These are in my view far to unsustainable for something that doesn't have the value of what some are demanding. And wont create a slow decline but a rather sudden drop. My prediction is that we will see a quick price drop for most sets to perhaps 10 to 20% above there RRP, rather than a slow decline. Of course its something we can only guess at until it happens.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Something to consider is that Gold probably shouldn't be at $1,600 an ounce either, but so many people have stockpiled it and "invested" in it, that the demand has driven the price beyond its real value, that of a manufacturing metal and for jewelry design.

    Neither of those practical uses requires Gold to be at $1,600 an ounce.

    Diamonds are an even better example, there is a bubble if there ever was one... If the cartels ever lose control over the diamond supply, the price of diamonds would falls like, well, pretty rocks... :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    One thing about Lego, TLG can always make more of any brick shape and color they want, at any time.

    While they probably won't rerelease sets, they could, or they could provide the parts via PaB to do so.

    Something I've started looking at is the part out value of sets on Bricklink. How far above or below the "set" value is the "parts" value.

    If the various parts in a set are expensive by themselves, perhaps the set should be expensive. According to Bricklink, UCS Falcon is about $2,400 to put together new right now from parts, and a few of those parts aren't for sale at all.

    If that is the case, $2,500 for a sealed in box copy of that set may be quite reasonable, all things considered... or not, perhaps that $2,400 parts value is because of a small number of rare parts that are only used for UCS Falcon and people trying to bricklink the set are running up the prices of those parts.

    If TLG started making those parts again, even if only to sell on PaB, what would happen to the value of UCS Falcon, both new and used?
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    edited June 2012
    ^Just finished putting the UCS Falcon together via Bricklink & Lego RP a few hours ago. All parts new came out to $650 excluding 3 rare parts (60xlevers, 2xmast rigging, 1xradar dish). All the correct minifigs as new came out to $30 combined. Shipping and various fees were ~$70 total for everything. No sticker and instructions of course. Really really close to the real deal, all that for about $750. Your thoughts @LFT?

    *But I did cave and picked up the radardish for extra $. Also already had 21 of the 60 levers, rest substituted with old light gray for now until I find some more.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    edited June 2012
    Will there be a bubble?
    No, I don't believe so, not in the macro sense. But yes in certain areas. There a a few dimensions to this.

    First, look at the raw materials. Lego is made of oil - a declining resource that ain't ever going to get cheaper in the long term. Lego MAY find a substitute for oil, but that's a very long way off.

    What about production costs? Manufacturing techniques might get cheaper, but major drops in production costs are unlikely as wages in China (and other skilled labour) are only likely to increase. This would probably not offset rising raw material costs.

    Then look at competition. Over time Megablocks, Knex etc will only be going in one direction - getting better. This always happens when you get this kind of aggressive competition - they'll scoop up old Lego employees, learn by inherited knowledge and trial and error how to improve production and set design, and the gap will keep getting smaller. There's too much money at stake for them not to - Lego has a very nice position and others want it badly. If this competition ever gains enough traction to make the Lego brand look inferior (looks impossible now, but no logical reason why not) then the 'bubble' will burst, but it will be a very slow 'burst' that might take a decade so not really bubble-like behaviour.

    Then look at demand. Demand for Lego goes up during recessions. The Asian market has barely had it's surface scratched by TLG (except maybe Japan/ Singapore). I also think the backlash against video games is a long term trend, and parents will be inclined towards Lego for some time to come. So IMO demand is unlikely to tail off any time soon.

    When you come to the secondary market it's a different kettle of fish. Sets might lose value due to 'modern' competition - either due to rehashes or better designs than old sets. 'Replaced' sets will burst their bubble pretty quickly. One good example recently was the drop in the studios vampire set when the CMF vampire came out. The intrinsic value (the vampire minifig) sudenly disappeared due to 'competition' from another set. That's definitely a bubble.

    Then there are over-stockpiled sets like current modulars & UCS. The FB & IS will show us by how much the bubble will burst on those when they EoL. By the way, I don't think there's much point in pursuing this line of thought as this thread is in danger of becoming the 'Predictions on ... Secondary Market Value' thread, but you get the idea.

    So the short answer is ..
    Primary market = No.
    Reseller market = Yes or no, depending on the theme/ set.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,983
    ^Completely agree with you. The seller market will always be the area subject to the risk of bubbles in my view.
  • richoricho Member Posts: 3,830
    edited June 2012
    In terms of a bubble, I don't know. Quite a lot of my sets are not open yet, but that's generally because I am busy on other projects and have plenty of time.

    One thing I will say, is that I have never in my personal view 'over paid' for a set ever. Would I like a UCS Falcon, of course, but I am more than happy with my other sets like the UCS Shuttle etc, so I don't feel even the slightest need to spend vastly over rrp on that, it's not like there isn't plenty of great choice from Lego these days.

    In fact, the only item I can ever remember buying for over rrp in the after market in the last few years was a MISB sandcrawler that cost me around £120. So circa £10 over rrp. Virtually everything I buy now is well under rrp, so even if there was a bubble, sets would need to fall vastly under rrp for my collection to be hit, and in addition, that would assum I want to sell it, which the vast majority I don't.

    rich
  • Mad_DogMad_Dog SpainMember Posts: 71
    Hi, Bricklinking some expensive sets is, sometimes, quite close to the actual selling value of those sets, but if you are lucky you may get the expensive parts cheaper than the usual cost, but I also believe that, to some people, Bricklinking a expensive set has two added incentives:

    First "the challenge" of getting the parts, going through sellers trying to get the best prices, coupons, digging into PaB, eBay, and so on...

    Second, "the feeling" that you are not paying top dollar for a set to 1 person (even if at the end you spend more or less the same ammount, but of course distributed through a long time, this may be more affordable to a lot o people), it is like "cheating" them out if you get what I mean, this feeling may be childish, foolish, or even self deception, but it may be driving force for this also.

    Rgrds

    Jose
  • Pacific493Pacific493 Member Posts: 379
    While there are people who can afford to pay those prices. I would argue contrary to opinion (see the role of resellers) most lego collectors are not well off. Yes for some collectors they can say that their intrinsic value is whatever they paid for it be that £5 or £5000. But (and this is subjective and really based off what seems to be a large number of non sales on ebay of the high end sets) it is clear for many that the prices of many sets are not the intrinsic value for collectors. And also as many cannot afford it the whole incredible price increase will cease. I agree with @thecleator that lego is a relative safe bet. I certainly dont believe that you will at some point be able to snap up a MF for £50 but it will drop to £600-700 at some point.
    In terms of a bubble, it doesn't really matter whether the majority of Lego collectors are well off or not. So long as there is a sizeable enough population willing to pay the market price, that price reflects the instrinsic value of the set at that point in time. The fact that you think that Lego is a relatively safe bet and we will not see large price drops is inconsistent with your belief that we are in a pricing bubble.
    I believe that the crash really started to bite 2010 but that is based off my experience here in the UK. However recessions dont bite automatically. They are like a large avalanche they start slowly and then gather pace as long as they carry on. No the run up did not happen when the economy was booming, But as I have said recessions dont arrive straight off; and this in my opinion is what allowed those prices to rise. If people tried to do the same now I think they would struggle and the price would reflect its intrinsic value. Look at Obi Wans fighter that is an awesome set worth every penny and I would say alot more. However even though it sold really badly those prices haven't shot up its barely making its RRP as people know much more what its worth. And I think this is something we will see alot more of as people either cant sell the expensively priced set and this will cause the price to fall. Not because they dont have a high intrinsic value but because the days off asking 3x the RRP of a set, I believe are over.
    The crash in the US started at the very latest in 2008 when Bear Stearns and then Lehman Brothers collapsed. The crash arguably started earlier when two Bear Stearns hedge funds collapsed in the spring of 2007, but 2008 is when we saw huge drops in the stock market and the government had to step in to save the economy from completely collapsing. By 2010, the recession was in full swing.

    Your belief that an asset bubble would form during the recession does not make any sense. When recessions happen, people have less money to spend. Less money in the market inhibits price increases by depressing demand and price competition.

    I think there are a large number of people who would disagree with you that Obi Wan's Starfighter was an awesome set. And the reason that we're not seeing a run up in its price on the secondary market is that (a) it was not a hugely popular set to begin with, (2) it spent a substantial portion of its lifespan being sold at a 25% discount, and (3) it closed out its lifespan being sold at a 40% discount (and, even at that, it sat on [email protected] for several months before selling out).
    Again I refer to the resellers post (and before I get jumped its not everyone) that actually in my opinion it is becoming the major driving force behind the hobby. With the rise in legos' popularity, which is only a good thing, there are an increasing number of chancers from outside the hobby who see lego as a way to make a fast buck. Again my experince with the Sun lego Promos suggests this is true. People who are clearly not lego fans buy 40 sets to then resell. But with lego fans aided by sites such as brickset it is becoming harder for those people to shift the sets. And as they hang about they will lose interest in the hobby and go to something else and you will see prices crash as the chancers pull out. .
    But this ignores the fact that there were huge price increases in second-hand sets before all of the chancers got in. I have been reselling both new and used Lego for about 6 years now and have watched the various gyrations in the market. What is happening now with the rise in the number of resellers is that prices on the second-hand market are not rising as fast as they used to. While this will have the effect of weeding out some opportunists, it is not going to cause a crash in the market. If the chancers pull out of the market, that will cause prices to rise because it will limit the supply of sets on the secondhand market. For a crash to occur, demand would have to evaporate and I have seen no evidence of demand dropping. Also, if you track the price of secondhand sets over time, there are very few (if any) that ever fall below the lowest discounted price for which the set sold before retirement.
    No I completely agree with you the bricklinking options wont stop sets increasing at all. But I think it will mitigate prices as well as effecting thoses that currently are going for alot of money.
    Doubtful...Bricklinking retired sets is a pain. Prices would have to rise very high to mitigate the hassle involved in acquiring used sets this way.
    I dont believe we will see a complete slump in prices at all most sets will slightly increase value. even when the bubble bursts. I certainly dont think the market for the CC or MF would dry up over night. But as you say for them to purchase one prices need to fall and I don't think it will be slow fall. At the prices they are commanding it will be a quick drop especially once lego becomes more underground again.
    If you don't think that prices will fall considerably when "the bubble bursts," then, by definition, we are not in an asset bubble. If we were in a bubble, it would mean that set prices have become fundamentally disconnected from the actual market value of the set such that, at some point, demand would dry up and cause prices to fall rapidly. I think you are confusing the natural ebb and flow of a market with the formation of an asset bubble.
    Again for the points outlined above, I am going to have to disagree. I believe there is a difference between high prices for some thing that has a strong value naturally such as gold. And the prices we are seeing for lego. These are in my view far to unsustainable for something that doesn't have the value of what some are demanding. And wont create a slow decline but a rather sudden drop. My prediction is that we will see a quick price drop for most sets to perhaps 10 to 20% above there RRP, rather than a slow decline. Of course its something we can only guess at until it happens.
    Gold is a perfect point of comparison, but I have to run now. Just ask yourself this...why does gold have a strong natural value?
  • tvihtvih Member Posts: 92
    Loose older sets become affordable for builders - no doubt. Look at the old pirate ships. Those can be had loose for even or less what they cost in retail in 1989. Of course - we're talking pre-owned parts but still a 100% complete set.
    Oh, if only they'd cost retail MISB now, I'd be squealing all the way to the site that sells them ;) But obviously that'll never be the case, nor would one expect to. The old pirate ships were one of the things I wanted the most as a kid but never got 'em, so I might have to get one used at some point, since during my dark age I even missed the quite recent Imperial Flagship. A major bummer. Queen Anne's Revenge looks like a nice enough ship and costs far less than unopened older sets (IF included), but it's a PotC ship and not classic Pirate, which I would've preferred - but for the price I'll probably get QAR too.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,983

    In terms of a bubble, it doesn't really matter whether the majority of Lego collectors are well off or not. So long as there is a sizeable enough population willing to pay the market price, that price reflects the instrinsic value of the set at that point in time.
    I think it does. There are, I would argue, many less wealthy collectors who can afford the prices. This decreases the potential audience at the moment people are putting it on ebay and other places at the still high prices is twofold. 1) People want to try and get the biggest return on it, naturally, but also they have bills to pay etc and so need that money more. Also that is what the set had been formerly been trading hands at and people think if they list it at that price they will get it because people will want to buy it at that price. However in these times people dont want to buy it at that price. So those with the set will be forced to either sell it at a lower price, and a lot lower price in my opinion. Because the prices are far to unrealistic in my opinion.

    Your belief that an asset bubble would form during the recession does not make any sense. When recessions happen, people have less money to spend. Less money in the market inhibits price increases by depressing demand and price competition.
    Again, I respectfully disagree. In a recession people have the same amount of money but what goes up is everything else. I think it maybe different in the USA, I cant really say I get my American news from Fox and John Stewart so its both extremes.

    Price bubbles can easily form especially as the second hand market is a very different market from that of the main one. In that we are dealing with people what they do is not look at what is selling but what will make them money and because lego has gone up and is selling well especially in a recession. They jump on board to make money and push prices up beyond what is the value of a set. Of course there are price increases as you say:

    But this ignores the fact that there were huge price increases in second-hand sets before all of the chancers got in. I have been reselling both new and used Lego for about 6 years now and have watched the various gyrations in the market.
    Of course there have been increases but I would argue that they were not as many as there are now. What we are seeing especially now is a large scale rise in prices that are taking it beyond reasonable price increases. My example would be alot of the Ninjago sets have seen high increases from what they were on sale for. Now I dont argue that these prices will rise. What I do argue is that these sets have been pushed past there intrinsic value.

    Doubtful...Bricklinking retired sets is a pain. Prices would have to rise very high to mitigate the hassle involved in acquiring used sets this way.
    True it is a pain but in my experience it is something that is becoming much more common. Of course as this is a new thing we can only wait and see what the effect will be. It seems to me unclear at the moment.

    If you don't think that prices will fall considerably when "the bubble bursts," then, by definition, we are not in an asset bubble. If we were in a bubble, it would mean that set prices have become fundamentally disconnected from the actual market value of the set such that, at some point, demand would dry up and cause prices to fall rapidly. I think you are confusing the natural ebb and flow of a market with the formation of an asset bubble.
    Sorry I dont think I was that clear with that point. What I mean is I dont ever believe that prices will fall below RRP but they will fall and quickly especially if people carry on not buying the expensive sets. For some thing to fall from £900 to £90 (im using cloud city) is a massive price drop and to me defiantly shows a price bubble and not a natural ebb and flow from the market.

    Gold is a perfect point of comparison, but I have to run now. Just ask yourself this...why does gold have a strong natural value?
    Hmmm being a Historian Im gonna struggle on this one economically but I would say from a human point of view, which is clear through history. The reason gold retains a high value is that we associate it as being a rare precious metal, which if we can coat ourselves in it as much as possible displays our large wealth. By buying it we display that we can afford high end materials and we are powerful. So it retains its high value as jewelers and others know that it will sell well. I couldn't however say the same for lego, you would just look strange if you covered yourself in it.

    As a complete aside do you resell as a main income or is it a side thing? Im just being curious.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^Just finished putting the UCS Falcon together via Bricklink & Lego RP a few hours ago. All parts new came out to $650 excluding 3 rare parts (60xlevers, 2xmast rigging, 1xradar dish). All the correct minifigs as new came out to $30 combined. Shipping and various fees were ~$70 total for everything. No sticker and instructions of course. Really really close to the real deal, all that for about $750. Your thoughts @LFT?

    *But I did cave and picked up the radardish for extra $. Also already had 21 of the 60 levers, rest substituted with old light gray for now until I find some more.
    Wow, that is a screaming deal...

    How on Earth did you do it? I suppose it is possible there is something wrong with Bricklink's part out program, but when you ask it to tell you the cheapest cost for all the parts in that kit new, the number is $2,439.49, with the average 6 months sales number being $1,499.88

    That includes all 5,181 items in 274 lots.

    How you managed to get it done for that price, I'm quite curious...
  • evileddie1313evileddie1313 Member Posts: 126
    Bottom line is...there will always be kids. Some of these kids love LEGO bricks. These kids grow up into AFOLs, who in turn, have kids who will probably love LEGO bricks. Rinse and repeat. Some of these same AFOLs really love their LEGO bricks and want the sets they played with as kids, so they pay top dollar for a toy they don't need, but want. Common sense is not playing an active role here.

    Recession, depression, whatever...the LEGO prices are heading north. Somebody has money out there to buy these retired sets. As for the new LEGO sets, TLG has increased profits 7 years straight, through some of the most trying economic times of the past century, so kids and AFOLs are snapping them up in mass quantities. There is a passion for LEGO bricks that is rivaled only by rooting for sports teams IMO.

    Bubble or no bubble, I'm not smart enough to figure that out. What I do know is that with each retired MISB LEGO set that is opened and built, the MISB LEGO sets that I have increase in value ever so slightly. And these retired LEGO sets are oh so tempting...sitting there in that beautiful box, with all those gorgeous pictures on it...quietly whispering in your ear..."Build me...Build me."

    I can't explain my passion for these sets, but it is people like me fueling this LEGO secondary market and possible bubble. I love these little plastic bricks and will continue to buy them in mass quantities until I run out of space to store them. Great topic by the way. Some very smart and passionate people post in these forums and I enjoy reading their comments. Just my two cents...
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    @LegoFanTexas I would love to show you. I have it meticulously laid out on an XL sheet by individual part and purchase. PM with your email and I'll shoot it over. You'll be shocked at how easily it was done.
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    I know this has already been hashed and rehashed, but if the baseball/football/basketball card industry can fall apart, so could Lego. The card industry was much, much bigger than Lego, at least in the US. I know people said it's because you can't physically play with them, but they had a connection to real life people and games. It's very possible that the next generation of children will move on to other toys and other forms of entertainment, not likely, but definitely possible. I still think Lego is a very small niche community, so that could shield it from a big falloff. I think all of the big sets are predominantly bought by AFOL's, as parents are reluctant to spend $150 on something that will be missing pieces within days if owned by an 8 year old. Before getting back into Lego, I scoffed at buying a rather small set for $50, let alone the bigger sets.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I think all of the big sets are predominantly bought by AFOL's, as parents are reluctant to spend $150 on something that will be missing pieces within days if owned by an 8 year old. Before getting back into Lego, I scoffed at buying a rather small set for $50, let alone the bigger sets.
    I'm going to disagree with you here...

    http://www.amazon.com/Barbie-Pink-3-Story-Dream-Townhouse/dp/B001XOZPEI/

    I think you'd be shocked at how many parents spend $150 at the drop of a hat on their 8 year old, when clearly parts will be missing very quickly.

    The sales rank on the above Barbie house tells me they are selling a thousand or more of them a month right now, they'll sell tens of thousands of this item come Christmas time, and 100% of them are going to kids (or at least 99% of them).

    There are quite a few well-off parents that buy anything their child points at, there are many more who will spend this kind of money on toys in general, much less "educational toys", which is what Lego is often referred to.

    The number of Power Wheels running around my neighborhood right now (I've seen two drive by today) tells me that these price points are not a problem for a segment of the population.

    BTW, I do fully understand that there are many parents who can't afford this stuff, and our views are often colored by our own views and experiences, however I have personally watched multiple mothers buy 10188 for their kids in the Lego store, the feedback I've gotten from Lego store employees is that most of these sets are going to kids.

    Yes, there really are that many parents who will spend $400, much less $150, on their kids for 1 toy.
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor USAMember Posts: 1,258
    It's very possible that the next generation of children will move on to other toys and other forms of entertainment, not likely, but definitely possible.
    How many potential AFOLs lost to Call of Duty 6732990...
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    You can get one of the bigger power wheels for $250.. We bought one this weekend. The big Cadillacs are $400, but you can get also get a 1 seater for $150.


    I'm sure they exist, but I don't think many parents buy their kids multiple $150 Lego sets. Just my opinion, I may very well be wrong.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I must be getting seduced by the dark side, but I agree with @LegoFanTexas...again ;)

    Every industry has a chance of collapsing, but Lego shows no signs of slowing down.I know they have gone through some troubles here and there, but they are putting out great product right now.

    Again, with the sports card comparisons. Outside the US, baseball, basketball and especially football isn't all that popular. The bubble burst in that industry because too many companies put their hat in the ring and the market was flooded with cards are every kind. Outside Lego, what company has put out a quality building product along the lines of as Lego? If anyone says MegaBlocks they should be cast into the pit of carkoon.


  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I'm sure they exist, but I don't think many parents buy their kids multiple $150 Lego sets. Just my opinion, I may very well be wrong.
    I would agree that *most* parents don't buy their kids multiple $150+ sets... I am simply saying that there are quite a few that do, and there seem to be enough to support the business.
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited June 2012
    please delete
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    I know this has already been hashed and rehashed, but if the baseball/football/basketball card industry can fall apart, so could Lego. The card industry was much, much bigger than Lego, at least in the US. I know people said it's because you can't physically play with them, but they had a connection to real life people and games. It's very possible that the next generation of children will move on to other toys and other forms of entertainment, not likely, but definitely possible. I still think Lego is a very small niche community, so that could shield it from a big falloff. I think all of the big sets are predominantly bought by AFOL's, as parents are reluctant to spend $150 on something that will be missing pieces within days if owned by an 8 year old. Before getting back into Lego, I scoffed at buying a rather small set for $50, let alone the bigger sets.
    One significant discussion point that you did not address (noted by others before me) is that the baseball card fad occured prior to the ubiquitous use of the internet; therefore, supply was somewhat artificially limited by one's geographical location. The Lego boom, conversely, has occured during a time in which virtually everyone can buy/sell EOL sets on the internet. Therefore, supply is not nearly as limited as it was with baseball cards, and the total available supply is fairly transparent.

    I'm not asserting that Lego's popularity could not fall off a cliff for some reason; of course it could, for any myriad of reasons. And as noted by many here, there are many arguments for and against the presence of a bubble. But if Lego demand were to dramatically decrease, it may be for reasons slightly different that the reasons that led to the demise of the baseball card fad, a major one of which was the internet.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Yes, the internet played a major role in the demise of the sports card industry. All a dealer would have to do is buy up all the inventory in the area and artificially create a demand for the product. Back in the late 80's and early 90's when the industry was at it's peak, there were only a few select places you could buy boxes of cards. A dealer could easily buy up all the surrounding stores inventory. Now that virtually everyone has access to the internet, these practices don't exist as much if not at all.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    To be clear I'm not comparing baseball cards, coins, Hot Wheels or Action figures to Lego as far as whether there is a potential bubble. I am pointing out that these other collectors items are different than Lego and shouldn't be looked to for market comparison.
  • BoiseStateBoiseState Member Posts: 804
    With Beckett being so popular during it's time, I don't remember anyone at card shops trying to sell anything for more than what is worth. Same with the packs, they were available everywhere, at gas stations/grocery stores/card shops/ and even Sears carried them. But I do agree that the Internet was a small part of the reason why prices dropped. Cards only had about a 10-12 year boom. Seems like everything kid related has a boom/bust cycle, I'd be surprised if Lego is any different.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    I'm sorry. I have to disagree alittle. I used to be a card dealer and how Beckett got their prices is by getting input from sellers and buyers. There was a section in their magazine where you could list the going prices for cards in your area. Sellers could list their product for whatever they want and send in the info to Beckett. Yes, card packs were available as gas stations and convenience stores, but you rarely found an untouched box. Back in the day there was ways of feeling the cards just like CMF. I could easily feel the packs for the chase cards and pilfer a box. I think you are underestimating the power of there internet here. Every dealer at every card show I went to in my area could care less was Beckett said including myself. It is a guide and nothing more.
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