LEGO is a better investment gold and stocks!?

The UK publisher The Telegraph is reporting that many LEGO sets have performed better as investments than gold or other mainstream investments. They used data from BrickPicker.com to track the value of sets since their release.

Their review of the value of certain LEGO sets has shown a 12% increase each year in the value of the examined sets. This compares with gold’s 9.6% annual gain over the last 15 years or savings accounts at a paltry 2.8%.

This increase is due to the popularity of secondary markets and the scarcity of the older sets. These prices are of course for mint-in-box sets in perfect condition, but substantial increases in prices are seen in used LEGO as well.

Image from http://lego.wikia.com/
Image from http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/10182_Caf%C3%A9_Corner

The first example they give is for the Cafe Corner set which went on sale in 2007 for £89.99 and is now priced at £2096, an increase of 2230%. Not all sets see this increase, and certainly ones that are still available in retail stores seldom see huge increases. The more complex or unique sets seem to have more popularity and value, while properties like Star Wars, which is again exploding, will increase as well. An upcoming trend could see Harry Potter sets in demand again with the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, although not directly tied to Harry Potter.

Here are some more examples they cite.

UCS Millennium Falcon: Retail £342.49 on release, today: £2,712
Death Star II: Retail £249.99, today: £1524
Taj Mahal: Retail £199, today: £1,848
Imperial Star Destroyer: Retail £249.99, today: £1,467
Market Street: Retail £59.99, today: £698
Holiday Train (2006): Retail £49.99, today: £574

The caution, of course, is that this isn’t a guaranteed investment. You can pick an awesome set today and hold it for years, or find a post-1999 set and hope for a mint, but in the end, they’re only as valuable as someone else thinks they are. I wouldn’t pin your kids college fund on LEGO alone, but a few key sets can’t hurt.