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Predictions on Discontinuing Sets and their Secondary Market Value

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  • ^This example of new AFOLs prioritizing is the reason why I wasn't able to grab any Emerald Nights before it was discontinued. At the time, when I came back in, I was grabbing up other sets like star wars, modulars and city. I got some Imperial Flagships, but completely overlooked the train which I am huge on. I also missed a couple others, like King's Castle, that I had the opportunity to grab, but I just didn't prioritize well enough.
    I'm much the same. I got back into the ABS at around Christmas 2009, so one of the first ever emails I got from TLG was introducing the Imperial Flagship in January '10. I was stunned by its quality, and it immediately went on my wishlist. But there were so many themes that caught my attention that it just slipped through the net in the end.

    Even now, I have yet to 'bust my modular cherry'. The two that appeal to me the most are the Fire Brigade and the Grand Emporium. At this stage it's not very likely I'll get the FB, but I'm just hoping that the GE sticks around long enough for me to pick it up. If not, life goes on :)
  • It's strange, but for some of the retired sets being discussed here, a few short months ago, they were readily available at multiple online sites for 10% off. Target had TONS of Emerald Nights, as did Amazon. At the time, there were lots of questions of "should I buy now, or wait." And then four months later, it's as if that was years ago.

    I think that is why folks like @LegoFanTexas invests so heavily. It's certainly why I bought 12 Emerald Nights - knowing that I didn't want to miss out. When I bought them, these sites had many many hundreds in stock, if not thousands.

    Right now, we talk about Emerald Night, but soon sets such as Death Star or Imperial Shuttle or Tower Bridge will be retired. Maybe "soon" means 10 or 12 months from now. But this very moment when they are all available at retail or even at 10% off, will be talked about as "the good old days" when we missed out!

    I am NOT trying to flame anyone or be negative. I respect everyone on this forum. Just want to be clear about that.

    There is also a hidden cost in "investing." I have tons of unopened sets that I didn't want to miss out on. But as others above mentioned, that means I have spent thousands of dollars alone in just the past few months. That is money that is not liquid, and will take hours of my effort if I ever needed to unload them because of something like a move. You have to factor in your time as well.

    Anyhow - thanks for the discussion everyone. Sometimes I look over at the 4 Death Stars I have still MIB and it seems crazy to have so much money wrapped up in them. But in 6 months or 12 months, I will somehow feel like I missed the boat because I didn't buy 8 or 15 or 25 more of them!
    :)
  • Here's a good case in point. Grand Emporium just came back in stock in TRU's sale. So you can get two for $120 each. I see very few people making much mention of stocking up on these because we assume Fire Brigade will retire first. But what if LEGO retires both in Sept, catching people off guard with Grand Emporium? So the question is: do you float $240 to put two more Grand Emporiums in your closet now? Money you can't spend on other LEGO or other things you may actually need in life?

    This is a great site for a great set, and while no one knows when it will retire, you can assume it will rise at least 50% in value soon after it does.

  • Here's a good case in point. Grand Emporium just came back in stock in TRU's sale...
    gone.
  • edited March 2012
    Good points, these sets, at full retail, will seem like a steal when the aftermarket prices come in down the road. I too wonder if the 4 Death Stars I have will really be enough, but the value of it has yet to be set. It's all a guessing game, who knows when GE or FB will be gone? All I know is, I look at certain sets and see value and those are the sets I invest in.

    @FollowsClosely (not to get too far off topic), I caught the restock immediately as I was fervently refreshing the site, almost out of denial, before I had to shower this morning. It was gone ten minutes later along with the PS. I barely had time to buy the two that I did. Demand is definitely there, especially for the sales.
  • I've been tempted to buy multiples of certain sets. However, with a young family and being fairly new to this hobby, I just don't want to wrap up money that might be needed for other things in the near future. I've been ever so tempted by the modulars, but I know once I buy one that I'll want more.
  • ^Brickupdate

    There is certainly a serious "opportunity cost" to this form of speculation investing. But I believe it has built in insurance, that if a set fails in the aftermarket, it can always be parted-out for fun or to sell by the piece.

    --

    Separately, I find the run I've seen on Ninjago sets recently in the big box stores, amazing. Especially on the small spinner "Series 1" packages that have now retired.

    I find it funny that we talk so much about DS, FB, GE, IF investments - but yet it's an Ice Dragon that might take the cake as the one of the fastest percentage growth sets I've seen in recently. It went from $15 on sale everywhere with hundreds available in November to $60 on eBay in 3 short months.
  • Ninjago is indeed something overlooked by many, including myself until recently...

    The rate at which I see people buying itin the stores, impressive. Just as amazing is how quickly they go in and out of stock, I would imagine Lego is running production on more, but that takes time.
  • Definitely a good point by @prevere. I have heard other seasoned LEGO resellers say that the best profit margin is not in the big sets, but in the small sets. That when Death Star Retires, it will take months for it to double in price on the aftermarket, and even then, only so many people can afford $800 for it.

    But a $13 Battle Pack will double more quickly, and be open to a wider range of potential buyers. So the Ice Dragon Attack example is a good one - tripling or quadrupling in price very quickly.

    The downside of this, of course, is that it takes more effort to sell off a bunch of small sets, whereas you can make one big chunk of money on a larger set.
  • One of the best examples is poly bags, when they can be purchased for 39 cents at target. I had over 1000 of them, purchased last year, right now about 400 are left, I have made a bunch of money on those, but the time and effort should not be underestimated.
  • I would argue it's easier and faster to double or better your money on the little sets. But to LFT's point - there is more work.

    2 very, very important factors made the Ice Dragon a champion aftermarket set.
    A) Only active for 11 months
    B) Part of the current #1 KFOL series
  • It is also a Dragon, and half the price of the fire temple, the only ther dragon besides the TRU exclusive dragon, which s now at 150+.
  • On Ninjago in general... I believe it's aftermarket prices will be uniquely linked to the "at the moment" popularity of the theme with the kids. Right now the cartoon is hot, and it's on many of the boys' birthday / xmas wish list.

    That however can and will change. The long-term Ninjago aftermarket value is actually not as good. This is may be a short-term 2-3 year thing. Much like Bionicle.
  • ^^^ that's how I see it. Modular won't ever be out of style and Star Wars, well we all know you can't go wrong there.
  • Doesn't that reasoning work both ways @prevere? Like, in 1977, adults may say "well, this Star Wars fad is not long-term." Isn't an entire generation growing up with Ninjago, and that may lead to a long-term aftermarket?
  • Here's a good case in point. Grand Emporium just came back in stock in TRU's sale. So you can get two for $120 each.
    $112.50 actually

  • Doesn't that reasoning work both ways @prevere? Like, in 1977, adults may say "well, this Star Wars fad is not long-term." Isn't an entire generation growing up with Ninjago, and that may lead to a long-term aftermarket?
    It does. But as investments go, I'm not sure I'm willing to put Ninjago on the Star Wars shelf. However, it can be argued that SW is slowly losing its luster with the newest generation (that's a whole separate forum topic).
  • ^ Actually my 3 year old son loves Star Wars and he hasn't even sat through one of the movies... well except the Lego one, but it's only 25 minutes long. The only problem I see with the long term value of the Star Wars lego sets is that with renewed ten year license we're bound to see many more duplicate sets released. This will probably make deciding which ones to invest in more difficult.
  • Here's a good case in point. Grand Emporium just came back in stock in TRU's sale. So you can get two for $120 each.

    $112.50 actually

    Can't believe I missed that one again..

  • @dougts For me, I have 7% tax in my state, so that increased the cost to around $120.

    Technics Excavator briefly went in and out of stock too.
  • ^ I figured as much, but since tax varies by state, seems more accurate to just list the before tax price, just like we always talk about LEGO RRP and stores normal prices - we don't generally add taxes in, but rather allow every one to figure that on their own, so we are always comparing apples to apples. Doesn't everyone just assume that's how prices are listed anyway?

    Besides, no sales tax for me. ;-)

  • I wouldn't be surprised if Ninjago did well in ten years due to the nostalgia of today's kids, but there are no previous action thees that have done extraordinarily well before, guys my age are not pushing the price of the original Aquanauts up. The best performing action theme so far appears to be the adventurers, but that had a big appeal among AFOLs that I don't see Ninjago having.

    Don't underestimate the power of parents and grandparents trying to complete their kids' wishlists, so I'm thinking Ninjago will do extraordinarily well the next few christmases.

    Medium sets do seem to be underestimated though, as the popular ones do very well. The best example are the Batman sets, some of which went for 600-700% over MSRP before the superheroes sets appeared. I also think the current line of medium sized OT Star Wars sets will do well after being discontinued.
  • Original Batman sets are holding their own. A few days ago I couldn't find a single original (non-sticker/magnet) Joker minifig on eBay. Couldn't believe it.

  • ^Can you guys help explain why the Gray/Blue Batman fig is ridiculously expensive? Its going for $60 average and comes from regular sets, same price as the limited Comic-Con one from last year. Which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
  • I'm not into Ninjago so I don't have a single set. I understand the dragons are popular, and I might end up grabbing a few sets eventually. For now, I have no interest even if kids love it. I only buy extras of the sets that appeal to me and Ninjago just doesn't appeal to me yet. I know parents and grandparents will go crazy buying things for their kids and grand kids, but Ninjago also has to stay relevant in the kids' minds. For me, I can see Star Wars staying around for a long, long time, but I have no idea when kids will lose interest in Ninjago and thus lower the price of it.
  • My son likes Ninjago. The cartoon reminds me of Teenage Muntant Turtles. The sets themselves don't do much for me except for the Fire Temple and the Japanese Junk. His grandma bought him a Ninjago helicopter which I put together. The build was surprisingly complex and interesting. The finished toy itself though is kind of meh and my son doesn't play with it. I agree that short term re-sale (1-2 years) will be good but it's difficult to say whether or not it's a long term fad.
  • I've seen mention of some Ninjago/Bionicle parallels drawn, but I do not think Ninjago will suffer the same fate as that theme. Yes, there will likely come a day when Ninjago is not the most popular kids' theme. But it will still have staying power in the aftermarket if for no other reason than the fact that Ninjago is a "normal" LEGO product.

    Bionicle is/was largely despised by AFOLs because it's so radically different than standard LEGO fare, and pretty much considered worthless in terms of uses for a traditional MOC.

  • ^ I agree with everything you said about Bionicle. I have over 30 lbs of it sitting in a corner unused and unloved.

    But along comes something like this and you wonder...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/retinence/6558076009/in/photostream
  • ^^The tiger is just amazing in every way; design, color, technique, part use, etc. Just wow. Its so good I'm using that as my first Lego iphone wallpaper.

    His Harley Quinn and Evangelion builds are very nice also. Like how he made Harley's corset.
  • Just to give kudos to Brickset, I had called TLG this morning to ask about the Cole vs. Rattla Ninjago spinner starter set. It's no longer carried by LEGO, and spinners have been flying off shelves or otherwise being sold for higher (sometimes double) the MSRP rate of just a month ago. I casually mentioned eBay or Amazon, and the phone associate was quick to steer me to Brickset, BrickLink, or Brickipedia as a more satisfying avenue for acquiring goods from a knowledgable and enthusiastic population. :) Looked at Brickipedia. It's just a website under construction since Fall 2011!

  • That tiger is awesome! I want one, really bad. I could never figure out how to make it.
  • And it transforms into the Transformers Autobot Tigertron! LOL
  • Q re May the Fourth. Is it an in-store only sale? Online as well? And are the sales announced in advance?

    Planning for May and want to know whether I may want to take a day off :)
  • edited March 2012
    I am thinking about buying a ucs 10179 falcon it comes with no box and no instructions but what would be a good price for 1 of these 100% complete
  • Hmm...mint in box ones are now going for $2000+. Used ones with box and instructions go for around $1300 - $1500. I would venture a guess at about $1000 - $1250 for a used but complete 10179 with no box and instructions. Just a guess though.
  • Q re May the Fourth. Is it an in-store only sale? Online as well? And are the sales announced in advance?

    Planning for May and want to know whether I may want to take a day off :)
    It's online as well. As for announcing sales in advance, I'm not 100% sure but looking at this news article from the front page last year, it seems like they were pretty telegraphed. Keep an eye on the store calendar, from the comments it seems that's how people knew.

  • I think I might finally pick up the death star at that time if the offer is good.
  • If you part it out on BrickLink (6 month sale averages) it would be $705. This is including the sticker sheets, but excluding instructions and box. You would have to buy from multiple stores so shipping would be a lot. I would pay around $1000 for it personally.
  • Anyone notice FB is back in stock at S@H?
  • edited March 2012
    To add to what Steve_J_OM already said: we should have a pretty good idea at least a day or two before May 4th what the promotion entails. Based on the decline of the promotional value year to year, I would advise not to take the day off (dug up because I love you guys):
    The 2011 discounts were 10% and 20% off a select few sets, and nowhere near as good as 50%. The Shadow ARF trooper that was free with $75 purchase was the best part of the promotion since it fetches approximately $25.

    The discounts have been declining year-to-year. Hopefully this year is at least as good as last year :/

    Here are the brickset article about the May the 4th promotion from previous years:
    2011: http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=1253
    2010: http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=634
    2009: http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=287
  • Some other items that may be worth picking up via Toys r us is the Village Bakery at $54.99 (or $42 a piece) or Post Office at $59.99 ($10 less that RRP or ($45 a piece). These will typically sell very well near the holidays and the Toy Shop offers a a clue how they perform after EOL.
  • So should I, or shouldn't I on Fire Brigade? I just bought two GE's yesterday from TRU. What are the odds that this is FB's last stand?
  • edited March 2012
    @mathew - How many FB do you have now?
  • none. I'm terribly excited by FB to be honest. It's really nice looking, and I actually would like it for the parts. However, I think I most likely purchase to re-sell in a year.
  • Here are the brickset article about the May the 4th promotion from previous years:
    2011: http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=1253
    2010: http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=634
    2009: http://www.brickset.com/news/article/?ID=287
    A line taken from the 2009 news article:

    "Update 5th May: The poster offer has ended but the MF is still $375 so it's not too late to place your order for that."

    As an AFOL who hadn't come out of his dark ages until several months later, that is just depressing to read!

  • Well I have been offered 1 at £775 and not sure if great or not
  • @matthew - I personally think FB is a great build, and enjoyed it more than GE. If it comes back in stock at TRU you should get one to build and one for resale!

  • "Update 5th May: The poster offer has ended but the MF is still $375 so it's not too late to place your order for that."
    As an AFOL who hadn't come out of his dark ages until several months later, that is just depressing to read!
    You got that right! The last 2 to sell on eBay went for $2,000. Who would a thunk?

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