If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of parents everywhere rejoicing as they learn that all of the money they have spent on LEGO over the years is finally going to pay off.
So, here’s the word on the street — or rather, the word from a recent Daily Telegraph report that is sending parents into a tailspin: Your LEGO sets may be worth a lot of money, especially if you’ve kept them in the set.
According to the Telegraph analysis, this popular children’s toy has yielded a better return within the past 15 years than stock market investments, including gold or bank accounts. Since the year 2000, the average LEGO set has increased in value by 12 percent with each passing year, notably higher than the 9.6 percent return for gold within the same time period.
As it goes with any type of investment, the LEGO that yield the biggest return are the specialty sets that are in the highest demand — think Star Wars, the Taj Mahal, or the Volkswagen Beetle. Discontinued LEGO sets also have a high value increase, but even standard sets, like town roads and police stations, have seen a bump, says Ed Maciorowski, founder of LEGO auction site BrickPicker.com.
The LEGO set that wins the grand prize for appreciation is the hotel model “Café Corner,” which was sold in 2007. The 2,056-piece set was originally priced at $132 (£89.99) and now goes for $3,072 (£2,096) after being discontinued, with an investment return of 2,230 percent.
Suddenly, the crippling pain of stepping on a LEGO in the middle of the night doesn’t seem so bad — as long as you’ve kept your LEGO sets intact. As Maciorowski points out, LEGO investments will only fetch the highest price if they have been kept in their box, in mint condition. And while used LEGO sets may not be worth as much, it’s still possible that they may yield several hundred dollars a box. All sets released after the new millennium are considered the best investment since they contain more complex and specialty parts.
Since the LEGO company constantly refreshes its product lines and retires old models, any type of set (large, small, or minifig) taking up space on a shelf at home could be worth some extra cash if it’s in fairly good condition. The official Brick Picker site can tell you exactly what type of LEGO investment you have on your hands, and you can also do your own research by checking competitive seller sites like eBay. For the full LEGO sets that have not been unwrapped, it’s worth doing the extra legwork since these pristine sets are worth the most money.
While there’s always that rare, golden LEGO that goes for top dollar — like the 14-karat gold LEGO brick priced at $14,000 — this is the first time that regular moms and dads may be getting in on the action. In the past decade, high-dollar LEGOs have been reserved for the LEGO elite, like professional LEGO sculptor Eric Harshbarger’s almost “priceless” desk made from 35,000 LEGOs or the LEGO creations made by former lawyer turned world’s leading LEGO artist, Nathan Sawaya, priced upwards of $60,000.
But now there’s hope for the rest of us.
Start rummaging through your attic, and you may find that you’re sitting on a LEGO goldmine, with sets that have skyrocketed in value in just a few years. And if worse comes to worse and your kids have already lost half the LEGO in the box, you can always try selling what’s left on Etsy. Cute and custom LEGO knickknacks are still turning a profit — as much as $55 for a personalized LEGO wall letter or $85 for a homemade LEGO lamp.