If you are a LEGO fan, you might have considered investing in LEGO sets as a way to make some extra cash while pursuing your passion. In fact, the LEGO market has proven to be a lucrative investment opportunity for those who know how to navigate it. In this complete guide, we will show you how to invest in LEGO sets, what to look for, and how to maximize your returns.
Learn to Invest on LEGO in 6 steps:
- Understand the market
- Buy at the best price
- How to properly store a LEGO set
- When and How to sell a LEGO investment set
- Stay up to date on the LEGO Market
1) Introduction to LEGO Investments
Welcome to LEGO Investing 101: let’s learn how to build your wealth “Brick by Brick”!
Why to Invest on LEGO sets?
There are several reasons why investing in LEGO sets can be a smart financial decision.
Firstly, LEGO sets have proven to be a stable investment over time, with many sets appreciating in value significantly. This is due to various factors, such as limited edition sets, popular themes, and the rarity of certain pieces. As a result, many LEGO collectors and investors have seen their investments increase in value over the years.
Secondly, investing in LEGO sets can be a fun and enjoyable hobby for LEGO fans. It allows you to pursue your passion for LEGO while potentially making some extra cash on the side.
Finally, LEGO sets are a tangible asset that can be quite easily bought and sold. This makes investing in LEGO sets a relatively low-risk investment compared to other types of investments such as stocks or real estate. Additionally, the demand for LEGO sets is high, making them a relatively liquid asset that can be sold quickly if needed.
Returns on investments in LEGO
According to a study by economists at HSE University, unusual investments such as collecting LEGO can generate high returns!
Average returns on LEGO sets are 10-11% annually (and even higher if the new set was purchased on the primary market with a discount), which is more than stocks, bonds, gold, and many collectible items, such as stamps or wines, yield.
For instance, the prices of retired LEGO sets grow by 11% annually on the secondary market, making them a reliable and accessible investment option. The study looked at the prices of 2,322 LEGO sets from 1987 to 2015, including information on primary sales and online auction transactions.
The authors found that LEGO sets produced in limited quantities, particularly special collections dedicated to iconic films, books, or historic events, tend to experience the highest growth on the secondary market. The average returns on LEGO sets are 10%-11% annually and are weakly dependent on the stock market.
Collecting for passion, or for profit?
When it comes to investing in LEGO sets, there are two main motivations: collecting for passion and collecting for profit.
Collecting for passion means investing in LEGO sets primarily for the joy and satisfaction of collecting, building, and displaying them. Collectors who collect for passion may focus on a particular theme or series, and may be willing to pay a premium for rare or exclusive sets. They may also be less concerned with the potential financial returns on their investment and more focused on the personal enjoyment they get from owning and displaying their collection.
On the other hand, collecting for profit means investing in LEGO sets primarily to make money. These collectors are often more focused on buying and selling sets at the right time to maximize their profits. They may be less concerned with the personal enjoyment they get from owning the sets and more focused on the potential financial returns on their investment.
Of course, there is some overlap between these two motivations, and many collectors may collect for both passion and profit. However, it’s important to recognize that there are different approaches to investing in LEGO sets, and the strategy that works best for one investor may not work as well for another.
The best advice we can give to a LEGO enthusiast who wants to start investing in these toys is to buy sets they like first. In this way, even if the investment does not perform as expected, they can always enjoy the LEGO set for a personal one.NerdCube staff
2) Understand the Market
Knowing the LEGO market is crucial to making smart investments. You need to know which sets are the most requested, and why.
The most requested LEGO sets
The most requested LEGO sets can vary depending on the market and the current demand, but there are some sets that tend to be popular among collectors and fans.
For example, sets aimed primarily at an adult audience, perhaps with references to popular movies, TV series or video games, are more likely to be more desired. Similarly, it is useful to evaluate whether a set contains exclusive minifigures (which cannot be found elsewhere) and which therefore contribute to increasing its value. Here are a few examples:
- LEGO Ideas:
- These sets are designed by fans and submitted to LEGO for consideration, which means they often feature unique and creative designs.
- They are typically based on popular movies, TV shows, or other pop culture properties, which makes them appealing to fans of those properties.
- LEGO BrickHeadz:
- These sets feature blocky, stylized versions of popular characters from movies, TV shows, and comics.
- They are highly collectible, and many fans enjoy collecting the entire series of BrickHeadz.
- The sets are relatively small and affordable, which makes them accessible to a wide range of fans.
- LEGO Icons:
- This theme features sets that are designed to celebrate iconic people, places, and things from history and pop culture.
- The sets are highly detailed and often feature unique building techniques, which makes them appealing to collectors and fans of more advanced building.
- LEGO Star Wars:
- The Star Wars franchise has a massive following, and LEGO sets based on the movies and TV shows are consistently popular.
- The Star Wars sets often include unique minifigures and vehicles, which makes them appealing to fans who want to recreate their favorite scenes from the movies and shows.
- LEGO Harry Potter:
- The Harry Potter franchise is beloved by fans of all ages, and LEGO sets based on the books and movies are consistently popular.
- The Harry Potter sets often include unique minifigures and magical creatures, which makes them appealing to fans who want to recreate scenes from the books and movies.
- LEGO Technic:
- These sets are designed for older children and adults, and feature more advanced building techniques and functional parts such as gears and motors.
- The sets can be used to build complex machines such as cranes, excavators, and race cars, which makes them appealing to fans of engineering and mechanics.
- The sets often include realistic details and moving parts, which makes them appealing to collectors and fans of more advanced building techniques.
- LEGO Modular Building:
- This series features highly detailed, multi-story buildings that can be combined to create a bustling LEGO city.
- The sets are popular among adult fans and collectors due to their intricate designs and realistic details.
- LEGO Architecture:
- These sets are designed to recreate iconic buildings and landmarks from around the world.
- The sets often feature highly detailed and realistic designs, which makes them appealing to collectors and fans of more advanced building techniques.
- The Architecture sets are often displayed as decorative pieces, which makes them appealing to fans who appreciate design and architecture.
- LEGO Super Heroes (Marvel and DC Comics):
- These sets are based on popular comic book characters and feature highly detailed and realistic designs.
- The sets often include unique minifigures and vehicles, which makes them appealing to fans who want to recreate scenes from the comics or movies.
- The Super Heroes sets often include a variety of characters and settings, which makes them appealing to fans of both Marvel and DC Comics.
- LEGO Disney:
- The Disney franchise is beloved by fans of all ages, and LEGO sets based on Disney movies and shows are always loved by fans
- Nostalgia: Many people grew up watching Disney movies and have a deep affection for the characters and stories. LEGO Disney sets allow fans to recreate their favorite scenes and characters in a tangible way, which can be very satisfying.
LEGO releases new themes from time to time, you can check out all of the currently available ones on this page.
Hard to Find, Retiring Soon and Exclusive sets
The LEGO site helps us understand which sets could be the most interesting for investments, also through three tags: “Hard to Find”, “Retiring Soon” and “Exclusive”.
- “Hard To Find” sets are those whose availability is currently limited. This means that the demand for these sets is exceeding LEGO’s forecasts, and therefore there is a lot of interest from collectors.
- “Retiring Soon” sets will soon be out of production, and it will become difficult, if not impossible, to acquire them at list price. Consequently, their value on the secondary market will rise shortly after the official withdrawal. Here our guide to all the LEGO sets retiring in 2023.
- “Exclusive” sets can formally be purchased only on the LEGO website or in the official stores. Their distribution is therefore limited, and it is often difficult to find offers that allow you to buy them at a discounted price. Precisely their exclusivity can make them more desired by collectors, even once they have gone out of production
3) Buy at the best price
Once you have identified the sets that are likely to appreciate in value, the next step is to buy them at the best price possible. While it is true that you can make a profit by reselling LEGO sets purchased at list prices, then it is even more true that buying them at a discounted price will significantly increase your profit margin.
If you’re looking for deals and discounts on LEGO sets, there are several options available to you, including:
- Checking the official LEGO website for sales and promotions
- Shopping on third-party sites (like Amazon) for discounted sets
- Using a site like Bricklink to find used or discounted sets from individual sellers
However, joining the NerdCube Telegram Channel (@nerdcube) is one of the best ways to find deals and discounts on LEGO sets!
Nerver miss a LEGO Deal: join our Telegram Channel for FREE!
Every day we scrape the web looking for the best LEGO offers, but sometimes the best sales may end quickly.
By subscribing to our free Telegram Channel you will receive a notification every time there is a LEGO deal, so you can be sure you never miss one!
By subscribing for free to the NerdCube Telegram channel you will be able to:
- Receive daily updates on the latest LEGO promotions from the best online retailers
- Access exclusive discount codes reserved for our community
- Don’t miss any flash offer, with above average discounts but for limited periods
4) Store and Preserve
Once you’ve studied the market, identified a set to invest in, and bought it at the best possible price, it’s time to put it aside and store it until the right time to sell it. This phase is equally important because incorrect conservation can affect the value of our set, and jeopardize our investment.
Conditions of a set
The condition of a LEGO set can greatly impact its value, as collectors and buyers are often looking for sets that are in the best possible condition. We covered this topic extensively in our guide to assessing the value of a LEGO set, but now we will make a brief summary.
The value of a LEGO sets depends on its condition, with a well-preserved set with all original pieces, box and instructions gets a higher price. Any missing pieces, damage, or signs of wear and tear such as scuffs, cracks, or discoloration can lower the value. The condition of a set is typically assessed using some parameters: whether it’s new or used, complete or incomplete, with or without instructions and their condition, and with or without the original box and its condition.
How to store a LEGO set
So here are some tips on how to properly store your LEGO sets, with the aim of keeping them perfect and MISB (Mint in Seald Box) over time.
- Don’t stack them
Avoid stacking LEGO sets on top of each other, as this can cause them to become misshapen or damaged. Instead, store them side by side on a shelf or in a storage container.
- Don’t put them on the ground
Placing LEGO sets directly on the ground can expose them to dirt, dust, and moisture, which can damage the pieces over time. Instead, store them on a shelf or in a container that is elevated off the ground.
- Do not expose them to direct sunlight
Direct sunlight can cause LEGO pieces and boxes to fade and become discolored over time. To prevent this, store your LEGO sets in a cool, dark place away from windows or other sources of direct sunlight.
- Move them periodically
Maintaining the original structure of the LEGO set box is crucial, as any deformation can decrease the value of the set. One common issue is the “belly effect,” which occurs when the pieces inside the box shift and settle at the bottom, causing the box to bulge and become misshapen. To prevent this, it’s important to periodically turn the box over to redistribute the pieces and avoid any permanent deformation.
- Use extra packaging:
For particularly valuable or fragile LEGO sets, consider using extra packaging to protect them during storage. This could include wrapping them in bubble wrap or storing them in a sturdy container with padding to prevent damage. Make sure to label the packaging with the set name or number for easy identification.
5) When and How to sell a LEGO investment set
You have reached the last phase of your investment: the sale!
It’s time to reap the rewards of your efforts. Now we will explain how to identify the best time to sell, and which platforms to use!
Wait for the right moment
When it comes time to sell your LEGO set, you want to make sure you get the best price possible. This requires patience and careful timing. It’s important to wait for the right moment to sell, which is when the demand is high and the supply is low.
Of course, it’s almost mandatory to wait until your set goes out of production, at which point its value will start to rise. Most people sell their LEGO investments 2 or 3 years after retirement, but this time can vary depending on your earning expectations and your willingness to wait longer.
One piece of advice we can give you is to set an indicative selling price (e.g. double the purchase price) and wait until it is reached. This will make it easier for you to track your progress towards payback.
Seasonality also plays a fundamental role in the demand for some LEGO sets because it affects the timing of when people are interested in purchasing certain sets. Here are some reasons why:
- Holidays: LEGO sets that are related to holidays like Christmas or Halloween are likely to be in high demand during the holiday season. For example, LEGO Advent Calendars are a popular Christmas tradition for many families and are typically more requested in the months leading up to the holiday.
- Movie releases: LEGO sets that are tied to popular movies are often released in conjunction with the movie’s premiere. This can create a surge in demand for the sets during the weeks surrounding the release. For example, when a new Star Wars movie is released, there may be a corresponding demand of older Star Wars LEGO sets.
- Special events: Some LEGO sets are released to coincide with special events or anniversaries. For example, LEGO may release sets to celebrate the anniversary of a particular theme or to coincide with a special event like the Olympics.
Overall, seasonality is important in the demand for LEGO sets because it creates a sense of timeliness and urgency for certain sets. This is also reflected in the investment field: by carefully choosing in which time of year to buy or sell seasonal sets, you will be able to maximize the benefits!
LEGO platforms for the secondary market
There are several online platforms where you sell LEGO sets on the secondary market. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Bricklink: This is one of the largest online marketplaces for LEGO products. It allows buyers and sellers to connect directly and offers a wide range of products, from individual pieces to complete sets. Bricklink is owned bi The LEGO Group since 2019.
- eBay: eBay is another popular platform for buying and selling LEGO sets. It allows sellers to auction off their sets or sell them at a fixed price.
- Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace is a convenient option for buying and selling LEGO sets locally. It’s a great way to connect with other LEGO enthusiasts in your area and avoid shipping costs. However, it’s important to exercise caution when meeting with strangers in person and to inspect the sets carefully before making a purchase.
6) Stay up to date on the LEGO Market
In conclusion, investing in LEGO sets can be a smart financial decision for those who are passionate about LEGO and interested in making some extra cash. LEGO sets have proven to be a stable investment over time, with average returns of 10% annually, which is higher than stocks, bonds, gold, and many other collectible items. When it comes to investing in LEGO sets, there are two main motivations: collecting for passion and collecting for profit. It’s essential to understand the market and know which sets are the most requested, including hard-to-find, retiring soon, and exclusive sets. However, it’s important to note that the best advice is to buy sets you like first and foremost, as even if the investment doesn’t perform as expected, you can always enjoy the LEGO set for personal satisfaction. By following the guidelines in this complete guide, you can maximize your returns and have fun investing in LEGO.