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  • Batman vs Princesses: Is the Bat a Better Lego Investment


    This blog entry I struggled with the title, and considered a "while you were sleeping" title or something else to really convey how I felt about the current state of Lego investing. Unless one were sleeping, it is easy to see how the Tumbler 76023 has taken off. "The Horde" should be proud. While I am sure plenty of Tumblers ended up in the hands of little Timmy, the horde can pat themselves on the back for plowing though the last 4,000 copies that Target and Target-eBay had left in record fashion being the last retailer standing after LEGO Shop at Home, Walmart and other online retailers ran out of stock.

    Lets take a quick peak at some numbers.

     

    76023?$main$

    Tumbler 76023 - Retired  - Retail $199.99 - current Amazon Buy Box (USA) - $324.99 (as of 11AM on 1/26/16) - Approximately 62% initial bump. Yes I know that it is not the most accurate barometer of price, but I have to pick something. It looks to be trending just under $300 on ebay, with multiple completed sales over $300. Ebay may be cheaper at the moment, but it isn't far behind.

    71pqOV99BZL._SL1000_.jpg

    Merida's Highland Games 41051 - Retired Retail $19.99 - Amazon Buy Box (USA) $32.90 (11am 1/26/16) increase of approximately 62%. I picked this set because of the $19.99 buy in was easy to compare to the $199.99 of the tumbler. Both retired in the USA on the same day, both have exact same "bump" although if you were not sleeping, you noticed trends and were able to stock up on your princess quota. I was able to grab a fair amount of this particular set for around $7. They were 60% off an already marked down clearance price. To achieve the same returns, one's buy in on the tumbler would need to be around $70. Anyone manage that price without them falling off a pallet somewhere? Doubtful. WIth my $7 buy-in I am around 470% increase before fees shipping, and I am pocketing around 350% after fees shipping. The Tumbler would need to hit about $939 to realize similar gains if purchased at retail. This set is small, easy to ship, and I don't have to have a heart attack about scammers and shipping issues when I ship out a $900 tumbler.

    Other Notable Mentions

    Ariel's Amazing Treasures 41050 - Retired Retail $12.99 - Amazon Buy Box (USA) $28.88 (11am 1/26/16) - Approx 222% increase. This is only other retired Princess set in the USA. I personally picked up 10+ at steep discounts (more than 50%), so was sitting on 400% gain before I dumped mine late last year and at Christmas time.

    Sleeping Beauty's Royal Bedroom - Sold Out Retail $12.99 - Amazon Buy Box (USA) $17.50 (11am 1/26/16) - These were blown out at LEGO Shop at Home for $9, and are currently on sale at targets for $5 or so. For those looking to instantly triple up on an item and get started selling, solid choice here to get going.

    Cinderella's Romantic Castle 41055 - Available Now Retail $69.99 - Available pretty much everywhere. This is the gambling set right here. This set will retire eventually, but we could have another dolphin cruiser on our hands and have a set that won't die. I personally sold a few in the $130 range (on ebay) during Christmas 2014. I think that this is a reasonable goal for this set to reach within six months or less than retirement. I personally think that this one is done and Lego recently made "one last batch", and when current supplies are gone, we will only see limited restocks. As an experiment for this article I wanted to see how cheap I could acquire them in the USA without too many tricks. I was able to pick up 4 from Jet.com (seriously horrible business model) for around $43 each (38% discount), with no tax using a 30% off first order and opting for no returns. They shipped from TRU and they lost around $80 in the deal according to my attached invoice from TRU. Seal codes were 47R5 for those keeping track, so fairly fresh. For me this set only needs to now hit $86 for me to "double up" and I should be sitting pretty when it goes over $100. If we truely had power as a collective, we should be after this one in full force.

    Note: This article was written "for the horde" and all the new investors that are all over the Tumbler with gold and glitter and rainbows. There are other sets out there doing just fine, we just don't talk about it.

     



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    While your personal observations are valuable, it is more useful to include normal discounts.  For example, princess lines are going to be 20% off everywhere at some point during their lifespan, so that is a better base point to use. Every US buyer had a chance to buy 41050 at a maximum price of $10.40 each, before tax and had a chance to have a 100% increase at this point.

    It is similar to people in the midwest picking up Mixels at $0.50 each.  Their unique experiences shouldn't impact another buyer unless the midwest buyer has 100,000 mixels.

    The argument is sound though and princesses should be a solid investment; nice work.

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    What about all other Batman sets? Seems like a pretty biased blog article to me, although I appreciate the efforts to pump up Princesses.

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    it is biased in that I am a little sick of the tumbler chatter. Great, you all bought some, now lets see what happens

    In the mean time I am loading up on clearance sleeping beauties and cindy castles.

    other batman sets are all over the place (see batman vs bane, it has the only tan tumbler but it took FOREVER to make any decent gains)

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    it is biased in that I am a little sick of the tumbler chatter. Great, you all bought some, now lets see what happens

    In the mean time I am loading up on clearance sleeping beauties and cindy castles.

    other batman sets are all over the place (see batman vs bane, it has the only tan tumbler but it took FOREVER to make any decent gains)

    this was supposed to make it into final version, lol

    20160126_112623 (1).jpg

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    14 minutes ago, darksam007 said:

    What about all other Batman sets? Seems like a pretty biased blog article to me, although I appreciate the efforts to pump up Princesses.

    There isn't full data on the 2014-2015 Batman sets yet but they all look to be underwhelming and the 2012-2013 isn't any better as the best "CAGR" is 13%.  There are so many Batman sets that it's the villains or vehicles that carry the sets and with such a high possibility of a refresh within 2 years, there aren't a lot of big winners at present.

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    12 minutes ago, redghostx said:

    There isn't full data on the 2014-2015 Batman sets yet but they all look to be underwhelming and the 2012-2013 isn't any better as the best "CAGR" is 13%.  There are so many Batman sets that it's the villains or vehicles that carry the sets and with such a high possibility of a refresh within 2 years, there aren't a lot of big winners at present.

    What if batman sets were 60% off like your princess buys? Counting that is odd, not many people are able to load up on a set at that discount. 

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    14 minutes ago, redghostx said:

    There isn't full data on the 2014-2015 Batman sets yet but they all look to be underwhelming and the 2012-2013 isn't any better as the best "CAGR" is 13%.  There are so many Batman sets that it's the villains or vehicles that carry the sets and with such a high possibility of a refresh within 2 years, there aren't a lot of big winners at present.

    There is one factor currently weighting heavy against batman, we haven’t had batman on the big screen since 2012 and the Dark Knight was 2008, the same year as the first Iron Man movie.  Since then we’ve been getting 2 Marvel movies a year and now all of the SW hype.

    Personally I think MCU and SW will continue to eclipse Batman/DC for the foreseeable, but it’s likely the new movie will invigorate batman merchandise sales somewhat.   
     

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    58 minutes ago, justapilgrim said:

    it is biased in that I am a little sick of the tumbler chatter. Great, you all bought some, now lets see what happens

    In the mean time I am loading up on clearance sleeping beauties and cindy castles.

    other batman sets are all over the place (see batman vs bane, it has the only tan tumbler but it took FOREVER to make any decent gains)

    Just curious, do you have any Tumblers? Your article comes across as a little negative in regards to the Tumbler. Interesting article, but I agree with a comment above that your discounts on the Princess sets are not "normal". Once in awhile we stumble upon an incredible deal ($25 Spaceports, anyone?), but the vast majority of us won't have access to the same discount. You could apply your logic to just about any set or theme if bought at a steep discount.

    I bought five Cinderella castles from Shopko right after they first came out. I got them for $50.xx through a bogo sale and coupon stack with the intention of quick flipping them Christmas season 2013. It never happened. I sold one Christmas of 2014 for $100 (I know. I couldn't believe it either), and my other four I've had listed at cost, which is $20 below retail, just to try and get rid of them because I'm tired of looking at them. Nobody has even sniffed at them at that price. Personally I don't think there is a lot of demand for this Princess stuff, at least at a premium price we all hope for. The only princess that little girls seem to care about any more is Elsa and Frozen, and even that seems to be waning. If anyone wants my other four castles at my cost plus shipping send me a PM. I'll set up a Brick Classifieds ad for you. 

    I'm taking my chances on the Tumbler.

    Edited by terrymc4677
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    I do have tumblers, and I bought them toward end of life like a lot of others. If you bought your castles when a retiring soon label was placed would you have held better at the $50? One point of the article is that small sets + discount can be much better overall returns

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    16 minutes ago, justapilgrim said:

    I do have tumblers, and I bought them toward end of life like a lot of others. If you bought your castles when a retiring soon label was placed would you have held better at the $50? One point of the article is that small sets + discount can be much better overall returns

    I'm a believer, but one sage on here will inform the masses they will be filled with regret if you buy, don't buy, hold, or sell.  So much regret and you'll crack too...

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    If you're gonna compare % gain then you have to also compare the rate they sell at.

    I see three 41051 sold on ebay EU since Jan 1st. I'll stick to my Tumblers thanks. I'd like to enjoy my profits before I grow old.

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    24 minutes ago, justapilgrim said:

    I do have tumblers, and I bought them toward end of life like a lot of others. If you bought your castles when a retiring soon label was placed would you have held better at the $50? One point of the article is that small sets + discount can be much better overall returns

    I see your point, and agree to some degree, but it depends on the set and/or theme. I've had a lot of success stories turning small sets, but most of mine come from themes with a much wider target demographic than the Princess line. If I came across the same Princess sets at the same discounts I'd probably buy them too, just because, and then sell them in bundles. Once the castle finally does retire I'm sure it will see the usual bump in price, but I'm not banking on a huge increase over retail. My reasoning is that I've had them listed on eBay, Craigslist, and Brick Classifieds at my cost, which is $20 below retail. More if you factor in your local sales tax. If nobody is buying these from me now at a discount, why should I assume I'll be able to sell them at a premium later? Yes, this set isn't retired yet, but nothing about it tells me it's a winner anymore. I hope I'm wrong because I'll probably still have them three years from now. 

    I just double checked my inventory. I actually have five of these left, which makes sense since I would have bought in pairs for the bogo sale. My cost was $50.10 each after tax. If anyone wants them I'm serious. Please send me a PM. I've got one listed now Brick Classifieds at $49.99 plus shipping. Even after shipping it's still below retail plus tax. It is and has been the lowest priced one available. Nobody wants the darn thing. If someone wants all five I'll make a deal. 

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    If you're gonna compare % gain then you have to also compare the rate they sell at.

    I see three 41051 sold on ebay EU since Jan 1st. I'll stick to my Tumblers thanks. I'd like to enjoy my profits before I grow old.

    I can't do a blog for every market, they are selling in the USA, and I personally sold them. The two sets that are actually retired are selling at a premium in the USA compared to retail

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    28 minutes ago, terrymc4677 said:

    ... I hope I'm wrong because I'll probably still have them three years from now. 

    ... Nobody wants the darn thing. If someone wants all five I'll make a deal. 

    That's what I would be thinking too.

    I could list 10 Tumblers on 7-day auctions tomorrow (which would obviously be insane) and still make €50 a pop. That's €500 in a week. How many 41051 would I have to sell to make €500? Even if I bought them at half price, I would have to sell 50 of them at RRP (making €10 a pop) to make that. Given the rate they sell at here, it could take a year to sell 50. Let's be generous and say 6 months. And how many Tumblers could I sell in 6 months, even at a paltry €50 gain per insane 7-day auction? It's just no contest.

    17 minutes ago, justapilgrim said:

    I can't do a blog for every market, they are selling in the USA, and I personally sold them. The two sets that are actually retired are selling at a premium in the USA compared to retail

    Fair enough, and I hope they do well for you. You make good points about how small sets bought at discount can be useful earners, and useful in other ways too, like drawing more people to your listings, increasing your liquidity etc. I'd happily buy some Princess sets at half price, if I could ever find any. But never as an alternative to something like the Tumbler.

    For me, an in-demand big set will always trump a not-so-in-demand small set in terms of pure earning power. They are my bread and butter and I'm very grateful for that.

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    I like the blog for what I think it is intended to be - a little snap of the fingers in front of the face of the newer members of our horde. Sure it's biased, and that is the point, as I take it... that there are very viable (arguably more profitable) opportunities out there with less capital and less risk tolerance required... for the trade-off of more work, most likely.

    I personally splash around in both pools a lot, but the "small" one sees a lot more action because deals like MHG lend themselves so easily to flipping (which for me means approx a year or less hold). Meanwhile the Tumblers, Town Halls, etc. just take up space and gain value. One day they will be ripe and ready to harvest.

    Good contribution, should make a few people think about what they are doing more.

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    36 minutes ago, Grynn said:

    I like the blog for what I think it is intended to be - a little snap of the fingers in front of the face of the newer members of our horde. Sure it's biased, and that is the point, as I take it... that there are very viable (arguably more profitable) opportunities out there with less capital and less risk tolerance required... for the trade-off of more work, most likely.

    I personally splash around in both pools a lot, but the "small" one sees a lot more action because deals like MHG lend themselves so easily to flipping (which for me means approx a year or less hold). Meanwhile the Tumblers, Town Halls, etc. just take up space and gain value. One day they will be ripe and ready to harvest.

    Good contribution, should make a few people think about what they are doing more.

    To add to your point - this article is using examples to say "You don't have to start by buying 10 $200 Tumblers to make money with LEGO reselling". You can do something similar by getting smaller sets at a steep discount and selling them during the right season (typically the months leading up to Christmas). I personally think that that is sound advice - especially to those who have been buying their 10+ Tumblers using their Credit Cards. And there is interest in smaller sets, especially if put up for sale around the right time (e.g. a movie release, an important holiday) and/or in the right format (e.g. bundling, lot sales etc.).

    I for one have been enjoying the Tumblr mania and the associated thread tremendously - as an outside spectator :) My first "unexpected retirement". Wonderful entertainment.

    Edited by Phil B

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    I like the blog for what I think it is intended to be - a little snap of the fingers in front of the face of the newer members of our horde. Sure it's biased, and that is the point, as I take it... that there are very viable (arguably more profitable) opportunities out there with less capital and less risk tolerance required... for the trade-off of more work, most likely.

    I personally splash around in both pools a lot, but the "small" one sees a lot more action because deals like MHG lend themselves so easily to flipping (which for me means approx a year or less hold). Meanwhile the Tumblers, Town Halls, etc. just take up space and gain value. One day they will be ripe and ready to harvest.

    Good contribution, should make a few people think about what they are doing more.

    Yes, this is exactly the point. In a world of Star Wars and Tumblers there is more out there. There are plenty of opportunities that aren't as sexy (architecture anyone?)that our BP community are printing money with while the new guys chase the next best thing. And for Town Halls....well read that "where are they now" post. Nice pop, but slow moving since

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    I think the general premise of the article is valid, that there are many different strategies an investor can use and achieve successful results. Also, I think the cautionary tale to some of the newer investors is equally as valid.While I do think the Tumbler has some real potential, rushing out and buying 5-20 copies of a $200 exclusive set in your first month of doing this is risky. Not every exclusive set is going to take the Town Hall - Haunted House - Sea Cow trajectory.

    What if the flavor of the month had been the TOO or Arkham Asylum instead of the Tumbler? Now you have all of your $1000-$4000 initial capital tied up in sets that might/might not appreciate on a timeline you're comfortable with. If you paid $199+ tax for the TOO as it was going EOL, and sold on Amazon today for the $261 it's sitting at, you're breaking even at best after Amazon and shipping fees.

    As an alternative, the same new investor could have followed @justapilgrim's strategy and gone in on some small to mid range sets, diversified a bit, and started bringing in a positive cash-flow to keep buying new inventory.

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    20 hours ago, Phil B said:

    To add to your point - this article is using examples to say "You don't have to start by buying 10 $200 Tumblers to make money with LEGO reselling". You can do something similar by getting smaller sets at a steep discount and selling them during the right season (typically the months leading up to Christmas). I personally think that that is sound advice - especially to those who have been buying their 10+ Tumblers using their Credit Cards. And there is interest in smaller sets, especially if put up for sale around the right time (e.g. a movie release, an important holiday) and/or in the right format (e.g. bundling, lot sales etc.).

    I for one have been enjoying the Tumblr mania and the associated thread tremendously - as an outside spectator :) My first "unexpected retirement". Wonderful entertainment.

    When I see that just under a bazillion of these got snapped up in the last month (okay, 4000 to be fair) I wonder what happens when the inpatient resellers start dumping these in 4-6 months. I have to think it slows upward growth of the set value. 

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    I think the "I can make $50 now" is exact attitude that will get a fair amount of the new guys out of the game. Make $50 now to give up any future earnings. There are a finite number of tumblers out there, and the next best thing might be a flop. The $50 pocketed is a whopping 25%, while a 20% off princess set is 200% if you can find one of the two retired sets or similar

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