Welcome to another BigBlueDogBricks post that will surely set the Lego investing world afire: today size matters, as we delve deep into the largest sub-theme sets to see what ol' Veegs thinks will be worth targeting. As always, you (hopefully) know your region best and also read the Daily Deal thread so when these sets can be had with a solid discount you are ready, metaphorically, trunk popped, to throw Lego sets in.
So why are these large sets often my bread and butter as an investor? Perhaps a couple factors:
Benefits of Large, Non-Exclusive Sets
1) Kids get the smaller sets for lesser occasions and want the biggest one for Christmas. Sometimes that large set is gone by the parents get around to buying it. Pretty simple. Bad for Timmy's parents, good for the secondary market, good for Timmy when he opens his Indominus Rex.
2) I have the boxes – with the right sized box that fits most large sets, I can ship to neighboring provinces for around $12-13 CAD, and even to the coasts for $20 or under. I therefore find it easy most of the time to have the lowest price + shipping for Canada. Having a snug (but not too snug) box that minimizes your empty space will make you more competitive as a seller, and since a lot of themes have a desirable 'large' set, getting a bundle of good boxes can make a big difference.
3) Sales: While exclusives have been much harder to get on sale (no impossible, but definitely harder) some of the sets on my list will likely be purchased by Brickpickers from 25-50% off or more in the next year. I might not nibble early in the year at a paltry 20% off for most of these, but as the year goes on and more information about future waves comes out (helping me decide which are most likely to move to sold out/retired quickest) I might be tempted. For example, 20% off Cinderella's Romantic Castle would probably be enough for me as (at least in Canada) getting Disney Princess sets at more than 20% off has been terribly difficult since the line launched. City sets, however, will begin to interest me at 30% off or more. Anything close to the full MSRP of $149.99 CAD makes me blanch.
2016 Large Sets Shopping List
I targeted sets in the $75 CAD and over range, as long as they aren't from the Hard to Find section of the official Lego site. In the $75-100 range there are 37 sets, and in the $100+ range there are 82. Granted, from this list are a whole lot of sold out sets that haven't been marked 'retired' yet, but are for all intents and purposes gone, but there are still quite a few options. I pored over these sets to come up with those that I think should be purchased this year. At this point, as they are available from Shop at Home (and other retailers, or will be as restocking takes place after a busy holiday season) these are not MSRP buys. These are sets that I want to keep an eye on when I'm out running errands with the kids, or when I'm scanning flyers, so that when I see a big enough discount I can nab them or know which stores have them in droves (and might slap a clearance tag on them). I also stayed away from any sets released in the last few months in general unless I think they might have a short production run.
Probably no surprise here – Original Trilogy, Star Wars is hot and will likely stay pretty hot for some time. Iconic ship (to most?) and ships tend to do a little better than playsets in my experience. This jumps out at me like the AT-AT and Imperial Star Destroyer did.
Dinosaurs rule, paleontologists drool! Despite that not making much sense, I can assure you that the I-Rex sells, and even before Jurassic world, kids loved and bought Dinos. The previous Dino range was easy to profit from for the savvy investor and I have a hard time believing The Lego Group is going to devote enough production capacity to this set to keep it widely in stock for Christmas 2016 – and even if they do, I can't see buying I-Rex at a discount ever being a long term money losing proposition.
The rumored summer castle set for Belle leads me to believe we might finally get a large Disney Princess retirement. I think it is a worthy gamble. The biggest Friends set to retire (Summer Riding Camp) did well for me (and others) and I want to be in on the ground floor here. Yes, a couple small sets retired last year, and this year brought some mid-sized action (Cindy's carriage and Rapunzel's Creativity Tower) but I'm willing to bet this is one worth having. If all else fails, I'll open several and build my daughter a truly massive princess castle.
I tend to believe sales for Scooby weren't up to par. I'm basing that on anecdotal evidence (tons in stock around me) as well as the fact that a few times the Scooby package has been on sale, including before Christmas. With #chaos in mind, I tend to think this is a one and done wave and will be gone this time next year. Of course, if another wave materializes (although nothing from the summer set leaks indicate Scooby is getting more sets) I'd reconsider my opinion, but with a mansion and the mystery machine in wave one, I think wave two would be a harder sell to consumers. I've been eying local stock and am hoping for a 40-50% clearance.
What is going on with CITY!!?? Some more sets with very short runs mixed with my memory of The Mine 4204 being available forever. As a mini sub-theme with fewer sets than a traditional City sub-theme, I'm not sold on this having a long availability. Space is popular – I sincerely thank TLG for letting me sell all my old spaceports before releasing this update – and if I can get this with a decent discount I'll bite. I don't believe as strongly as some others on this list that it is going to be gone this time next year, but it just might.
Probably not going anywhere anytime soon, but scarcity around Christmas had this selling well. That puts it on my radar. At this point in the product cycle (lean months over the spring summer coming up) before presumably another holiday boost, this might be the best time to get some on sale in any kind of number, and this is one I wouldn't mind having quite a few of.
These are down on the list, but I still wouldn't pass on these with a good sale. The base seems harder to find in store around me, and scarcity often breeds profitability, so I might give this a slight nod. I'm also a little down on the vessel with two more bloody City sets with boats just hitting shelves (police boat & fire boat). I won't go deep on these unless we're talking clearance prices.
A Toys R Us exclusive in Canada, this set tickles my fancy. I did well with the old passenger plane and the Cargo terminal, so I'm inclined to think even a pink and purple plane can soar into profit-land. Friends sets tend to stick around sometimes – I'm looking at you Devil Dolphin Cruiser, but with it only being at TRU up here in the north, I might have to get a couple if it goes on sale at some point this year. It is on my radar, but distant.
Why did I stop at eight? Besides it being a lucky number for me, I also suffer from something called 'finite resources' and 'finite space'. I would rather have quite a few multiples of the sets on this list than skimping on these to nab random clearance deals. Not that I won't be tempted by clearance finds, but I probably will rein myself in and stick to getting sets I believe in, in numbers big enough to need another order of 24x16x4 inch shipping boxes. Happy hunting!