If you’ve ever had to justify your toy or LEGO purchases to a partner or loved one, you’re now in luck: a new study has found that investing in these plastic bricks will bring better returns than if you had put the same money into gold.
Led by associate professor Victoria Dobrynskaya at Moscow’s HSE University, a group of researchers looked at more than 2,300 different LEGO sets that were released between 1987 and 2015 and found that “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.”
It’s important to note that they also found significant variation within those returns, which ranged from -50% to a whopping +600% per annum, but your average kit still performed better than many traditional investments. Thematic sets dedicated to pop culture, seasonal holidays and famous architecture did particularly well, with the most expensive kits including the Millennium Falcon, Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer from Star Wars, the Cafe on the Corner, and the Taj Mahal.
Explaining the phenomenon, the study stated three main reasons behind the “rapid growth” in price. For a start, sets that were produced in limited quantities have a naturally higher demand due to a restricted supply, especially if it’s based on a popular icon/film. Secondly, when those sets are retired, the amount of them found on the secondary market is often quite low because many owners either refuse to sell their kit or don’t see much value in them and simply threw them out. Lastly, with LEGO having such a long history, many enthusiasts are now financially independent adults who have money to spend on nostalgic items, much like what we see with Pokémon cards.
Of course, as profitable as investing in LEGO could be, Dobrynskaya also warns that — as pointed out earlier — “not all sets are equally successful, and one must be a real LEGO fan to sort out the market nuances and see the investment potential in a particular set.”