Meet the collectors who could get rich with Legos
If the pandemic has been good for anything, it’s Legos.
With people spending more time at home, the pandemic has led to a boom in buying building bricks. David Hall, a Virginia-based collector, told The Post that in May 2020 he sold a “Star Wars” Republic Dropship – which was originally purchased in 2010 for $ 250 – for $ 1,250.
“The hype and nostalgia plays into how much money you can get for reselling old sets,” Hall told The Post. “The biggest motivation is when adult fans maybe want to get that expensive set they never had as a kid. “
In fact, Abandoned Legos appreciate in value faster than gold, stocks or bonds, according to recent report to study from the Moscow Higher School of Economics.
The researchers found that between 1987 and 2015, the 2,322 Lego sets they tracked were worth 11% per year and proved to be resistant to stock market declines. They appreciated in value during the 2008 recession as well as the pandemic.
“We are used to thinking that people buy items such as jewelry, antiques or works of art as an investment,” Dr. Victoria Dobrynskaya, associate professor of economics and one of the authors, told The Post. of the study. “For the general public, I think, the results are surprising because they see Lego as just a toy, and most people are not even aware that there is a huge aftermarket.”
Among the most valuable are the discontinued sets, or those that were limited or regional edition. “You have to get the sets before they go [store] shelves, or you’ll end up paying double or even triple later, ”Hall said.
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24-year-old David Hall has made a career in his Lego collection. The freelance videographer is also a full-time social media influencer and Lego Ambassador via his YouTube channel, Solid Brix Studios.
“Like any other kid, my parents bought me Lego sets, and I kind of got drawn to them,” Hall told The Post. At age 11, in 2008, he started reviewing his sets on YouTube and the channel took off, generating ad revenue of 433,000 subscribers and nearly 150,000,000 total views.
Hall stores his collection in the basement of the townhouse in Richmond, Virginia, which he shares with his fiancee. Over 1000 sets, some in original packaging and others assembled – from a The Battle of Helm’s Deep “The Lord of the Rings” set (purchased $ 130 and valued at $ 410 today) to a Republic “Star Wars” gunship helicopter (bought $ 120 and is now worth $ 545) – fill the entire 600 square foot space and it has become a storage unit for sealed sets. Hall is unsure of the value of his entire collection, but over the past year he has invested $ 10,000 to $ 20,000 in the collection: “I have invested in stocks, but I would say I put a lot more money into Lego sets ”.
The Harry Potter “collector”
While Holly, 22, from Sydney, Australia, completes her college degree in web design, she is also running a Youtube channel – and, with over 36,000 subscribers, is considered one of the premier influencers of the Lego collectors community. (She asked to withhold her last name for confidentiality reasons.)
It all started when her grandparents bought her a Harry Potter Lego castle for Christmas in 2007. “I just got hooked,” she told The Post. “I loved taking things apart and rebuilding things. Since then, her collection has grown to include nearly 500 sets, for which she has spent more than $ 14,000 – and estimates are worth around $ 20,000. She said her grandparents’ castle would be valued at $ 700 today and Diagon Alley established as of 2011 at nearly $ 1,000.
Legos – both built and boxed – are everywhere in the house where she lives with her parents and baby sister: in the attic, on shelves, under her bed, in her closet. “I’m a bit of a hoarder,” admitted Holly with a laugh, “It’s kind of an unorganized mess.”
She hopes to use her platform to inspire more girls to take up the hobby. “I remember I was embarrassed as a kid if I was caught carrying a Lego bag,” she said. “I really hope I can inspire [other girls] be comfortable with themselves and realize that they should be proud of their passion.
The seven-digit configuration
“I’ve been in Lego for the longest time now. It’s always been a great stress relief and a creative outlet since my early years, ”said Christopher Lee, a 21-year-old pursuing a double degree in electrical engineering and entrepreneurial management at the University of Pennsylvania. “I’ve always enjoyed building stuff and creating stuff, which extends to what I’m studying now.”
Over the years, Lee has racked up an impressive 6,514 sets, which are kept in the basement of his parents’ house in Seattle. In fact, Legos have become a family affair: “It’s a great bonding activity with my father. We like to build the sets together.
Because a large portion of his collection is made up of gifts dating back to childhood, Lee is not sure how much he spent on them during the year, but estimates the total retail value of his collection to be at minus six or seven digits.
Among his most coveted is an original Lego Cloud City set from the 2003 “Star Wars” line valued at $ 2,000. He said prototypes, printing errors and promotional items sold for higher prices, like his poorly molded Bionicle mask valued at $ 900, and a rare promotional tour-only water mask. 2015 from Lego, which could cost up to $ 2,000.
After graduating next May, he plans to move his collection to his own home – and continue his Youtube channel, with more than 22,000 subscribers. “I don’t really collect Lego for the purpose of investing,” Lee said. “One of my favorite things about Lego is being able to share it with other people.”
The informed collector
When Emily, a Texan in her mid-20s, graduated with a master’s degree in data science in 2020, she faced an intimidating job market. She therefore decided to take a leap of faith and devote herself, full time, to a Youtube channel on which she shares her Lego collection and her love of bricks with her 25,000 subscribers and more.
“I never had Legos growing up, but my husband picked them up and gave me my first set,” said Emily, who asked not to release her last name for confidentiality reasons. Inspired by her scientific background, her partner bought her a Women of NASA set that sparked her passion for blocks.
Now, Legos are a hobby that they share as a couple. “It’s something that got us through the pandemic,” Emily said. “It’s a great hobby to enjoy indoors together. ”
The duo display their stash of over a thousand sets in two rooms in their home, and they’ve started taking a third of them as well. An Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon “Star Wars” (valued at $ 800 retail, but Emily expects it to rise in value once it drops) and modular sets – more builds. complicated, with more than 2,000 bricks each, which constitute the building blocks of a city – are their most precious. Emily’s modular Grand Emporium, an abandoned mall, is worth around $ 425.
“It shocks people to hear that what they think of as toys are worth so much money,” she said. “But Legos are something families can enjoy and women are getting into it more and more.”