It's ten years today that we added the first 30xxx series polybags to the database and since then over 330 have been allocated a number in that series.
The consistent numbering system introduced in 2009 for promotional polybags has contributed to them becoming highly collectable, with many people going out of their way to try to get hold of them all.
So, I thought it would be interesting to find out which are the rarest, the most expensive, the most owned and so on.
First, though, a short history lesson and a look at what type of sets are given numbers in the 30xxx series.
LEGO started packaging promotional sets in polybags in 1983, perhaps out of necessity, for the first of many McDonalds Happy Meal co-promotions. Until 2009 they were allocated random numbers within the main 4-digit numbering system in use at the time, so identifying and keeping track of them was not easy.
By the 2000s LEGO was producing so many sets that it was running out of 4-digit numbers, so new sets were given any old random unused number, which resulted in the previously neat numbering system becoming a complete mess.
The first 5-digit numbers were allocated in 2001, when the 10xxx series was used for sets available exclusively from brand stores or LEGO.com, such as 10000 Guarded Inn.
However, it was not until 2012 that every new set was issued one, with a consistent numbering scheme in mind. You can find out more in our article published at the time, LEGO switches to 5-digit numbering scheme.
Not every polybag released since 2009 has been allocated a 30xxx number, though. While the exact definition of which ones receive a number in that series is known only to a select few within LEGO, they include:
- General purpose promotional sets, sometimes referred to as 'recruitment' sets
- Those produced for a specific co-promotion with another organisation
- Single minifigures packaged with video games or other digital media.
However, there are examples of all three of the above that have been given numbers in other series so, honestly, your guess is as good as mine...
Nevertheless, having a consistently numbered and packaged series of sets has made them highly desirable and collectable, particularly given that they are not always easy to come by, which enhances the thrill of the chase.
If you view all the sets in the number range 30000-30999 that we have listed in the database you'll see 388 of them. However, that includes those that were unreleased and also every variation of the 'random' Duplo ones in addition to a generic entry for each one, too. If we include only those what were actually released and count the Duplo sets once, there are 339.
There have been peaks and troughs in the number released each year, with 2012 and 2017 tying for first place with 44. The average, excluding 2009 from the calculation because it was only second half of year bags that were numbered in the series, is 33.6.
Unsurprisingly, the evergreen themes are those with the most sets.
I've used data from BrickLink to find out the price that new examples have recently sold for to determine the most expensive and, below, the cheapest.
The not yet officially released 30624 Obi-Wan Kenobi - Collectable Minifigure tops the chart but I'm sure its price will tumble once it becomes more readily available.
So, discounting that one, it's perhaps to be expected that a Super Heroes polybag with a unique minifigure, 30168 Gun mounting system, tops the list. It was originally given away with pre-orders of the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game in 2013 but will now set you back more than $40.
The next entry in the table, 30036 Buggy Racer, is very interesting but I'll talk more about that later on. Other than that one, the list is dominated by licensed sets with desirable minifigs.
|Most expensive 30xxx polybags||Price/$|
|30624 Obi-Wan Kenobi - Collectable Minifigure||50.16|
|30168 Gun mounting system||43.08|
|30036 Buggy Racer||26.69|
|30073 Buzz's Mini Ship||25.39|
|30164 Lex Luthor||19.86|
|30320 Gallimimus Trap||18.96|
|30072 Woody's Camp Out||16.38|
|30133 Jack Sparrow||15.40|
|30167 Iron Man vs. Fighting Drone||14.88|
I've excluded the Duplo bags from this table because otherwise t would be dominated by them.
|Least expensive 30xxx polybags||Price/$|
|30410 Mia's Water Fun||2.10|
|30398 Adventure Camp Bridge||2.29|
|30400 Gymnastic Bar||2.44|
|30541 Build a Duck||2.45|
|30361 Fire ATV||2.53|
|30402 Snowboard Tricks||2.59|
|30351 Police Helicopter||2.59|
|30205 Pop Star Red Carpet||2.60|
|30251 Winzar's Pack Patrol||2.64|
By delving into the aggregated collection data here at Brickset we can determine the most owned, the most wanted and the least owned, which gives an indication of rareness.
As might be expected given the theme's popularity, a couple of excellent Star Wars sets top the table.
30607 Disco Batman - Tears of Batman appears in another list below so I'll talk about it there.
|Most owned 30xxx polybags||Owned by|
|30278 Poe's X-wing Fighter||6941|
|30607 Disco Batman - Tears of Batman||6356|
|30356 Hot Dog Stand||5513|
|30303 The Joker Bumper Car||5422|
|30312 Demolition Driller||5400|
|30053 Republic Attack Cruiser||5249|
|30497 First Order Heavy Assault Walker||5239|
|30300 The Batman Tumbler||5211|
The most expensive polybag is also the most wanted: 30168 Gun mounting system.
Once again, licensed sets with desirable minifigures fill the table. I'm surprised to see Monster Fighters 30201 Ghost in the list: it's just an generic ghost, after all.
|Most wanted 30xxx polybags||Wanted by|
|30168 Gun mounting system||2502|
|30605 Finn (FN-2187)||2126|
|30211 Uruk-Hai with ballista||1902|
|30212 Mirkwood Elf Guard||1893|
|30005 Imperial Speeder Bike||1847|
|30006 Clone Walker||1842|
|30166 Robin and Redbird Cycle||1782|
|30164 Lex Luthor||1734|
I think it's reasonable to correlate lack of ownership with rarity particularly when Duplo and 2019 sets are excluded.
The rarest one, then, is this uninteresting Racers set 30036 Buggy Racer from 2011. All we know about it is that it was awarded as a prize at LEGOLAND Billund although it's likely it was also sold in eastern European certified stores at the time.
It took me some time to get hold of it and in fact only did so as a direct result of publishing this article, after which a reader got in touch with a trade proposal!
|Rarest 30xxx polybags||Owned by|
|30036 Buggy Racer||69|
|30475 Off Roader||217|
|30114 Andrea's Beach Lounge||371|
|30140 ADU Walker||421|
Other interesting facts
Such instructions exist because I am told that LEGO's design teams come up with a number of proposals for polybags each year which are offered to co-promoters, retailers, LEGOLAND parks and so on. Those they take their fancy are then produced, those which don't are not.
We have inventories for them both and they consist of common parts so you can have a go at building them yourself should you wish.
Duplo 'random' bags
LEGO has produced ten different 'random' Duplo polybags in this number range, which contain a few common bricks and one of four or five figures or animals.
Unlike collectable minifigs, it's easy to be sure of getting a complete set because you can see what's inside through the transparent stripe on the back of the bag.
Having said that, judging by their price on BrickLink, they are not a popular collectable!
The average number of pieces in 30xxx polybags is 36 but a few contain nearly triple that.
Unsurprisingly the sets with the most pieces are those without minifigs. 30451 Spider-Man's Mini Spider Crawler is the only one in the top 10 to include one.
|30xxx polybags with the most pieces||Pieces|
|30404 Friendship Flower||100|
|30029 Pudsey Bear||95|
|30526 The Mini Ultimate Batmobile||84|
|30524 The Mini Batwing||80|
|30478 Jolly Santa||74|
|30451 Spider-Man's Mini Spider Crawler||73|
|30427 Ice Tank||71|
The majority of polybags contain one minifig but there are a few that contain more.
30196 Shell F1 Team, part of the 2012 Shell co-promotion, contains three. However, they are not printed -- they use stickers for decoration -- so are cheaper to produce.
The most notable set in the list of those that contain more than one minifig below is 30607 Disco Batman - Tears of Batman which contains two unique, attractive and collectable bat suits so it's no wonder that it also ranks highly in the most owned list above.
|30xxx polybags with more than 1 minifig||Minifigs|
|30196 Shell F1 Team||3|
|30227 Police Watercraft||2|
|30362 Sky Police Jetpack||2|
|30393 Steve and Creeper Set||2|
|30424 WU-CRU Training Dojo||2|
|30425 CRU Master's Training Grounds||2|
|30530 WU-CRU Target Training||2|
|30607 Disco Batman - Tears of Batman||2|
|30015 Jet Ski||2|
This series of polybags is the only thing I aim to be 100% complete in, and I have a sealed copy of every one, including every Duplo variant, except for the two as yet unreleased ones, 30623 SHAZAM! and 30624 Obi-Wan Kenobi, and this year's Christmas set, 30573 Santa. What about you?