LEGO a 'better investment than shares and gold'

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That's according to an article published at The Telegraph's website today: "Share prices tumbled on Friday, cancelling out all the gains made this year . The value of the FTSE 100 is no higher than it was in February 2000, meaning the average annual return to savers over the past decade and half is just 4.1 per cent once dividend payouts are included.

"By contrast, LEGO sets kept in pristine condition have increased in value 12 per cent each year since the turn of the Millennium, with second-hand prices rising for specific sets as soon as they go out of production. Modern sets are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36 per cent more than their original price."

Buying LEGO to sell later whilst potentially depriving others of the opportunity to buy it at retail price is an unsavoury practice to many people, but it does seem to be on the increase and arguably resellers provide a valuable service by making it possible to get hold of 'retired' sets if you're willing to pay for them.

Buying LEGO for investment: good or bad? Read the full article then discuss...

47 comments on this article

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By in Canada,

No investment is guaranteed :-P

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By in United States,

I think most AFOLs resell LEGO. Our houses would be overrun if we didn't sell some of it. I think the reselling market is partially behind the huge growth of LEGO sales. I don't think reselling can 'deprive' others unless it is a very limited item. There are unethical people who resell, just as there are unethical people everywhere. Just like the stock market though, buying sets to sell later is very hit or miss. I think it would take some of the joy out of LEGO if you viewed it as an investment and still tried to enjoy the hobby.

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By in Sweden,

Bet those who bought a bunch of the old Winter Village Toy Shop aren't feeling so happy with their "better than gold" investment right now..

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Oh, I don't know - even if they paid RRP (which is doubtful) I'm sure they'd still get a return on their investment, just not as much as they might have done prior to the 10249 announcement....

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By in United Kingdom,

Two things to consider, people don't only buy sets at rrp so the investment could be even better on the other hand there are fees and postage to add in but most of all I think the thing that is not factored in is the time.

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By in United States,

Its also worth pointing out that 36% above MSRP is only like 15% above MRSP once eBay and Paypal fees are figured in.

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By in Belgium,

I don't mind people making some profit on sets, it can be helpful to fund the hobby a bit. But I do believe Lego should do more re-issues, particulairly on the popular sets. 2000€+ for a sealed Cafe Corner for example is ridicilous.

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By in United Kingdom,

I only really notice resellers depriving me of new sets with the CMFs, by buying 'every box!' a shop has before I can even feel the bags to get one set. Seems to be something a lot of people do because plenty of shops run out instantaneously upon stocking them.

However, I do rely on other people to sell me old SW minifigs so reselling isn't that bad after all, it just comes in different forms.

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By in United States,

Sets like the Research Institute are proof of this.

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By in United States,

@The Rancor, Ironically I get the CMFs cheaper from resellers. I can find a complete set of 16 for cheaper than MSRP on eBay every time. And no buying multiples, trips to the store, or feeling bags.

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By in United States,

So basically more speculators will find out to invest in lego, which seems to already be popular. Good: it may help flood the market a bit and not have them too high in price, but that depends on what people are willing to pay. Bad: less lego available on sales because of it.

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By in United States,

I find that resellers do make people like us who want older sets very happy for collecting reasons or even emotional reasons, so I see no harm in reselling.

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By in United States,

Isn't this already kind of coming to an end? Seems like Exclusives come out and resellers buy them out... Then a month passes and you can easily find them. Yeah maybe two years later you can sell a set from an extra $50 but why is it worth it? Once more just general LEGO stores open world wise the reselling market will kind of die out. That being said I don't think the mini-figure or piece reselling will ever die out. For those creating their own sets or collecting certain series of figs, buying from resellers is the only way to get that done.

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By in United States,

Reselling is usefull when you need an older set retired..
Scalpers have a ring of hell reserved for them..
I do see a want and need for a MVP line...like once a year AFOLs can vote on a top want for re-issue...like
out of these 4 which would you like to see re-issued
1 UCS Falcon
2 ...
3..
4...
Vote now...

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By in United States,

I think reselling is fine. I don't see why some people have it in for resellers. There is so much product available now that you really have to guess what the hot item will be and predict that it will have a short shelf life. Many resellers take chance on items that are never hot and lose (assuming they could have purchased other items of value). But with Lego there is no chance of selling for a loss...at best you wait and sell for what you bought it for and break even...

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By in Canada,

The thing that drives me the craziest are the polybags, the licensed ones especially...a lot of them are hard to find up here in Canada, and most times I'll see them on Kijiji for 3-4x RRP before I even hear of them being in stores. That and the CMFs, those get ripped through pretty quickly; a lot of them you can find afterward for rrp or less, but the more rare or highly sought-after ones are impossible to find at a reasonable price. (Still bitter about missing out on Medusa in S10 :P )

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By in United States,

I'm not inherently against reselling in most cases - a lot of themes are fairly reasonable - although it has bitten me a lot more with the LEGO Jurassic World theme, which has run out extremely quickly in some cases. In general though, I wish LEGO sets could have a year or two longer production lifespans, especially for themes that only have a wave or two. There's a lot of sets I've had to pass due to not having money at the time that only went up :(

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm keeping my Lego boxes in the loft for this very reason!

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By in United Kingdom,

I didn't mind resellers until I took my son to a Toymaster one day last month an watched a man take the last seven HulkBusters leaving none for my son. So no, I don't think resellers should be allowed to invest in Lego so much, people may say "Well I don't buy seven I just bought 2 or 3". Well that 'two or three' has still stopped 'two or three' children from being able to get hold of and enjoy the set, build it like every Lego set should be not just kept in a box until it's worth some money. This is only my opinion of course and it's never going to stop I just thought I would give my intake on it :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Articles like this are terrible for everyone even the scalpers trying to "invest" although a few might get in and out in time to leech profits off everyone else.

Legitimate resellers charging reasonable prices are priced out by scalpers pushing up prices as "investment".
Scalpers create an asset bubble that eventually crashes and burns everyone especially scalpers who haven't sold stock off.
Lego has to produce more sets straining their production for people in competition with them for profits (anyone willing to spend on inflated prices secondhand would probably spend the same money buying several new sets from Lego, Lego actually loses sales to the second-hand market).
The brand is harmed, association with greedy scalpers, high prices, asset bubbles, and the harm that causes to ordinary customers will steadily devalue the brand the longer it goes on.
Collectors and ordinary shoppers want the cheapest price, best quality, and good service. Lego provide that on new sets, the secondhand market is far worse at providing these. This creates negative feelings for customers because why aren't Lego selling the product they want to purchase? Why do they have to use the secondhand market which is so much worse compared to buying direct from Lego?

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By in United Kingdom,

I don't know though. its a gamble. you never know which set will be "gold" and which wont be. look at Pokemon cards or Stamps. stuff previously sold for ££££ crashed to being worthless. stamp collecting is now almost value-less. Also as a big gamer, and someone caught up in the recent fallout 4 Pip-boy edition "incident" it was frustrating that many people were purchasing entirely for the purpose of re-selling or "scalping". I'm not quite sure how LEGO operates, do they only produce a limited number of sets, or only run a set for a set period of time? This means certain people who want to get it within its release window may never get the chance and HAVE to buy a more expensive version.

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By in United States,

^Only Ideas sets have an intentionally limited production run. Normal sets usually run for about 18 months, although some don't last a year and I have seen Chima sets released in January (that don't sell well at all and the theme is over, so...) on steep clearance at Walmart, while normally this would take another year.

@The main article itself: I'm not surprised.

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By in United Kingdom,

The Telegraph journalist has chosen to start his timeframe at a time when shares were around their second highest ever value. I'm not surprised he got the answer he needed to write his story.
All he has shown is that shares and commodities are not corrolated. That's not news.

Compare two identical drip fed strategies over varying time periods and include all trading, storage and inflation costs and you'll get a better comparsion. Although remember the small print, past performance is no indication of future results.

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By in United Kingdom,

Genuine question, as I don't really understand the second hand market.
What's the difference between a reseller and a scalper? They just seem like interchangeable terms for 'People who buy Lego sets and hope to sell them at a profit later on.'

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By in United States,

There's a big difference from asking price on Ebay and actually selling the sets. Constant relisting at a markup still adds up to zero profit. This analysis doesn't consider all those sets accruing dust on BL either.

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By in United Kingdom,

'... resellers provide a valuable service by making it possible to get hold of 'retired' sets if you're willing to pay for them.'
'Willing' or able? In truth its a children's toy primarily that many children can not afford. If Lego are in any way responding to or producing for a higher income adult collector's market then TLG production volumes and set release longevity should increase to meet demand if, that is they are considerate of low income child customers who are worth more than cheap Chinese made CMFs.

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By in Singapore,

Pls don't blame fellow AFOLs for buying the Lego sets for whatever personal reason, the blame has to be on TLG for giving a short lifespan for the sets or that they didn't produce enough for the mass market, pure and simple.

As some of you already mentioned, high profits on the resale market doesn't go into TLG's pocket at all, so if they want to capture that market, reissue some of the highly in demand UCS or famous landmark sets.

Do you think they will do it? The simple answer is no. Spend some time and ponder why is it so...

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By in United States,

I just hope the bubble doesn't bust any time soon!

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By in United Kingdom,

I don't is invest in Lego usually, but I was fortunate enough earlier this year to have recieved two Exo Suit sets instead of just the one I ordered from [email protected] by accident, so I'll be keeping a weather eye on the resale price in the next few years.

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By in United States,

I don't see anything wrong with reselling (if I did, I wouldn't be doing it). With LEGO sets, there is almost always enough supply for everyone- resellers keep the products available for reasonable prices for those who missed out on the set the first time. I know that I've personally made many people happy- I've provided birthday presents for young fans of the original Bionicle line, I'm working with a buyer to complete his LEGO collection, and he has repeatedly thanked me for my help.

So, someone comes by and takes the last half-dozen of a certain Star Wars set off the aisle. Maybe he has a big family or a lot of friends and is getting them as gifts. Just wait a week and buy the set when it is back in stock, or order it online- most places have free shipping.

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By in United States,

To all you re-sellers whoa aren't reasonable with prices and think you can charge 1000$ for a Star Wars Battlepack that was retired 2 years ago... THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!

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By in United States,

^ To say nothing of the law-breaking, do you know what plastics the clone brands use? Usually, it is less than safe, unlike ABS plastic.

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By in United Kingdom,

I would hope that anybody who has stock piled 10188 Death Stars will be worrying about their investment as it has now had a 7 year production run and is still available. 10214 Tower bridge has been around for 5 years now too. I do wish Lego would do more of this with the expensive collector style sets so that anybody who wants one has the chance to get one.

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By in United Kingdom,

^Agreed.

I can't really see there being any current sets that a few years after they stop being produced are going for the sort of prices the MF, Taj Mahal, etc have gone up to.

The majority of sets that are worth small fortunes were produced when Lego was at the low point of its popularity, so probably sold pretty poorly then hence there rarity value now.

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By in United States,

I suspect the Telegraph was just trying to lighten the mood on a dismal day for investors, but on a serious note, history tells us that Lego will go the way of Beanie Babies and Star Wars. While it's hot, a few speculators will make a few bucks, then the prices will crash as people move on to whatever's next.

A few sets will hold their value, like the UCS Falcon, Taj Mahal, etc. because they're a little rarer and very desirable. Most of what's a retail will sell for a little more than what it cost at retail.

As someone pointed out, those eBay prices do not reflect actual recent sales. Does anyone know anyone making a living as a Lego investor? The problem with these "markets" is that there are very few people willing to spend more than $1,000 for a single set, but people see the eBay prices and think they've got a get rich quick scheme. Available supply of "rare" sets far outstrips demand and the prices fall.

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By in Canada,

I suppose resellers do provide a "service" if they resell sets that were widely available, but the ones that raid sales and exclusives are most definitely depriving regular collectors of a fun part of their hobby. Pure speculation is evil and, like curious posted above, usually has terrible effects in the long term.

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By in United States,

Curious... The author suggests that people should "Invest in Lego sets that were released after 1999. Pre-2000 sets were not really great investments. Many sets were basic and uninspiring.". Not sure how he got this impression, but seems to be a very inaccurate generalization.

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By in Australia,

@ HeartItWow

I wouldn't call it 'making a living' but the subsidy is quite welcome.
On average reselling old sets per week, (new and used) we add an additional $500~$800 depending on the week and time of year.

Call me scum if you all choose, but i dont see how a 10 year old would have been interested in a set released when they were nothing but a sparkle.

The people paying for these sets are those with enough disposable income to not worry and/or potentially no children to satiate either.

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By in Belgium,

@ Mucktard

A 10 year old may or may not be interested in your old sets that pre-date his birth, but you forget the moment when you originally bought it: If you were clearing them off the shelves back then, you were depriving others.

Again, no offence to you since I don't know how you stock up, but scalping in general is just low.

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By in United States,

@Mucktard

Sounds like you've got a good sideline going. I imagine there's a lot of work involved finding customers just to make that $500 to $800 a week.

I rely on second-hand sellers to build my collection, so I don't have any problem with it. Buying Billund Airport is much cheaper than flying there to get one if you're in the States like me.

I think it's important to draw a line between people who are resellers and people who are pure speculators. It's that latter group that tends to annoy those who aren't in the know, because they have visions of people scooping up all the UCS Batmobiles at retail, selling them for 100 times what they paid, then sipping gin martinis on their yachts.

It doesn't work that way, but a lot of people believe it does.

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By in Australia,

To clarify - I've never actually thought that one particular set will out pace another.

The thought of buying all stock on a shelf to me seems a bit of a silly way to attempt to make a dollar later on down the line.

Also, i dont find the customers - word of mouth, high feedback and so on - they find me.

Certain sets bought have doubled substantially without much effort. R2D2 is a good example. They were everywhere, you couldnt turn around without seeing it on the shelf. Then the sales come, they are heavily discounted, and yet, they sat there.

There was a point were the stores here had so many there was market saturation.So if i decided to buy what was left at the end of a sale reduced by 40% i should feel ashamed because i didnt think of the children?

a lot of people above carry on that way unfortunately and give people who bank on legitimate investments a bad name because they either didnt think of it or dislike others doing better than them.

So to everyone whinging that the poor little children are being deprived need to stop clutching at straws.

I've sold more R2's at the higher end of 400-500AUD that it is quite the earner and i can assure you the independent toy store owner was extremely happy i moved what he thought was dead stock.

- this isn't always the case, but i bought the last 4 10188 he had been sitting on for years. once more - nicely discounted.

buying a set at retail and hoping it goes up is for chumps, be smart, buy low, sell high.

I do however deplore scalpers.

TOOL is my favourite band - too many times i've had to pay exhorbitant prices to attend a concert becuase of scalping pricks. The behaviour of purchasing an item that is limited or rare in light of turning and instant profit by depriving others is an abhorrent act.

Just because Lego has potential, doesn't mean all resellers should be lumped in that category. If it werent for us, a lot of people wouldnt have access to older sets at all.

Never have i ever purchased a set that has elevated in price in more than 3 years. its a long term and very costly venture - but it is slowly paying off. Probably less so now that everyone is aware of the gravy train.

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By in Australia,

I am certainly not a fan of the person who walks into a shop and buys 5 or 6 of an item on special and leaves nothing on the shelf - personally, I doubt anyone has that big a family for gifts.
However, I have a couple of sets I purchased, have put them together, and find them a bit 'meh' - fun to build, but not really a keeper. So shall sell them on - but not at a ridiculous price - and more than a few I suspect will sell at far less than I purchased them for. However, there may be a couple of those sets that will earn a higher price than retail - that will go a partial way to offsetting the ever expanding collection of Lego I have. Some I will keep simply for the pieces for MOC's (which even a there best are uninspiring, but I do keep trying).
However, the markup on some sets are a little in the range of insanity. A profit is not a problem, sclapers who purchase multiple sets and hide them away for a couple of years, or flip them immediately and charge >200% on the original - sorry, not a lot of time for those.

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By in United Kingdom,

Sell sell sell..... Some people buy to sale some buy to build.... dose it really matter. If you need anything pm me
Also some people on here receive lego for free. And sell them at event yet we snap them up...
Gold v Lego I love it

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