Jump to content
  • Sign in to follow this  

    LEGO Licensed Themes vs. LEGO Original Creations


    Whether you are a wet-behind-the-ears AFOL(Adult Fan Of Lego) fresh out of the Dark Ages, or a seasoned brick veteran, there are two major classifications to consider when evaluating a good set for investment purposes: licensed franchises such as the STAR WARS and Lord Of The Rings(LOTR) themes or original LEGO series such as the City or Friends themes. There is strong evidence for either category to do well in its own right, so how do you choose?

    When looking at current values of the most successful LEGO sets that are now enjoying the sky high prices that accompany EOL(End Of Line) status, there is a good mix of licensed vs. original. The UCS(Ultimate Collector's Series) Millennium Falcon 10179 is the talk of the town these days with a Brickpicker price guide value of $2169, but let's not forget about the Cafe Corner Modular that went from $140 in 2009 to an astonishing $1,122 just a few years later. Although the Falcon boasts a higher price tag, it has not increased in value eight times(!) its original MSRP like the Cafe Corner 10182 has. I think a lot of people miss the fact that if you had purchased three Cafe Corners with the same money that it cost you to get one UCS Falcon, you would have a higher overall return on investment by over a thousand dollars.

    Another great comparison is the City themed Town Plan 10184 set vs. the Batcave 7783 set from the original Batman theme. These sets came out around the same time, and had similar enough retail prices for the sake of this discussion. Both sets now book at right around $450, and are highly sought after. City is an original LEGO theme that has enjoyed a lot of success over the years, and as we all know, Batman is a well-documented, ever-popular theme that first appeared in 1939.

    The Grand Carousel 10196 is an impressive piece of brick engineering that has an equally impressive price guide value of $816. It is part of the Miscellaneous Advanced Models series. Another set came out around the same time, had an almost identical price and piece count, but a much larger fan base. The set I speak of is the Death Star II, Set No. 10143. As I am sure you have guessed by now, it has a very similar price guide value as the Grand Carousel at $876.

    These three examples represent only a minuscule amount of data in the case of licensed vs. original. So how do you know which is the winner? Which one is the safer bet? Is there really a magic formula or concrete answer? The answer to that question is…no. Sorry to disappoint, but no. The reason there is no one clear cut favorite over the other is that all LEGO sets are high-quality, well-made, and a lot of fun. Star Wars may have a humongous following, and the Death Star is the stuff of legend, but somehow a previously unknown 3,263 piece carousel has found a way to give Darth Vader's floating fortress of foulness a run for its money.

    The difference between a Cafe Corner 10182 and a Millennium Falcon 10179 represents the difference between one LEGO collector and the next. Everybody has their own preferences and tastes. I personally would be inclined to want to build the Falcon, but let's face it, there are people out there who have never seen Star Wars and have no interest in building the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Maybe they are an architect by trade, and would love nothing more than to spend a few hours assembling a 2,056 piece building that bares a nostalgic resemblance to the old store on the corner of the street they grew up on.

    Sign in to follow this  


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Great post! It is true, every LEGO builder has their own prefrences and themes that they like and LEGO has (and still is!) trying to cater to everyone likes and dislikes by intrducing themes like Ninjago (for ninja fans) and Star Wars (for SW fans!). I think that LEGO has done a great job at doing this and hopefully they will continue to do this well. PS: Just so you know, I would rather build the Cafe Corner -much more interesting (even though I am massive SW fan, the MF is just too big and expensive for my liking!).

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I call BS on two points of you article A) I think you DO have the answer to the question of which one to invest in and are hiding it from us (how dare you) and B) Everyone HAS seen Star Wars! It is mandatory to be a citizen here and there are questions about the movie on green card applications! Sorry just in a silly mood.....another great article my friend!!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Good breakdown. I am a preference man too. If I think the set looks cool, I will eventually buy it. Doesn't really depend on of the set is licensed or not. Having said that, I try to get every Star Wars set.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I hear you and agree. One cannot tell when buying a set whether the set will be worth it as a long term investment. I recently about 1 year ago emerged from my dark ages and began buying lego again. I even rescued the scant remnants of my childhood lego collection from my parents and discovered a few sets including the 1996 Fort Legorado, and the early 90`s Black Monarchs castle I checked those online and found that they aren`t really worth much more now than the original purchase prices 15-20 years ago. Now days when I buy sets I buy the sets I think look cool and would be fun challenging builds i.e The Tower Bridge or the Modular Buildings Grand Emporium etc.... I was considering picking up the new UCS Bwing Starfighter as an investment set. Even though most of the modular building will probably skyrocket in value after they are retired. I buy those to build and admire. Most of the smaller sets or other themes I buy to part out for custom creations. Lego investing can be a roll of the dice. Its hard to predict which sets will be worth a lot down the road and which sets will barely make or break even with the purchase price.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Great article. My personal preference at this point for investing is going after flagship sets. Haunted House/Vampire Castle for Monster Fighters, Helm's Deep for LOTR, etc. I know smaller sets can do very well, but appear to be a larger crap shoot. It will obviously all come down to supply/demand. With the seemingly longer lives of sets, I hope that doesn't correlate to smaller returns, but have been reminded that even 10179 was on sale before going EOL, so anything can happen.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Great article and great comments. Whether we collect or invest in 'licensed' or 'original', we all have our particular arena within LEGO - whatever our reasons or desires. This article is very well written in that it tempts us to truly evaluate whether we follow a particular theme for investment, or rapidly do an about-face and plough our cash into a previously dismissed theme. I'm 100% positive that we all have our ultimate (and desired) collection close to our heart, but can we move, bend and trade our way to it? Once again, great article...makes me think that much more about my LEGO investments.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Great article - as stated it is the individuals preference. If I like the movie or the theme i will collect it. If i dont like the movie or i believe that the theme is not one that is effective in Lego format then i will not purchase.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Good article. I grew up on Star Wars and only recently started pickup sets here and there, mostly of the ships from the original trilogy. I mostly have a preference for LOTR (and Hobbit) sets because of the architecture and rock walls.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Personal preferences dictate how I choose my Legos. I like Star Wars and pirates of the Caribbean so I buy them...I didnt really like the speed racer series and i dont think it did very well. Then again, I loved the alien conquest and monster fighters but the Dino or friends are not for me. I believe all themes and sets can be a hit or miss with lego fans!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Awesome article man! You just made me think about going and buying the $239.99 set "10214 Tower Bridge" AKA "London bridge" I think that would be a great set to invest in!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Another way of looking at it might be that franchised sets can be hit and miss. I guess it depends on how much freedom/restriction lego designers get when working with a franchise+the general success of the franchise itself. Also absoloute freedom to create something original can be something just as hard. An example would be pharoes quest vs prince of persia.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I think ultimatley LEGO licensed sets do much better if they have amazing movie to backup to (like LOTR and SW) while those cartoony sets (ninjago) might do alot worse 2 years after EOL.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I personally like Lego's original creations with Lego city and everything, but I do like Lego's licensed themes such as Lego Teenage Mutatnt Ninja Turtles and Lego Super Heros.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Good points. I've just started seriously collecting (Lego was my favorite as a child), so I was wondering about this. I've started my collection with LotR, mostly because I love the movies, and because I think the Ring Wraith figures are really cool. I figured if I buy sets that I like, then even if they don't go up I'll have gotten value from my enjoyment of them. If they do go way up -- score!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I choose sets that interest me personally. I know there are probably better picking from an investment perspective but I also 'invest' in my enjoyment of Lego, and for my kids as well. I started with Lego before I was 3yo. Basic bricks have a strong value in imaginative play. Sets and themes are nice, and I do like them, but I've always valued Lego as a system. Call it kit-bashing, as I did in my youth in the 1970s and '80s. Call it mashup in today's lingo. I began with the original creations. If a set in a theme moves me, I will likely get it.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Interesting article, it does pose the question of Lego being diverse & where is the value in future returns from investing. All of the themes, licensed or original face a situation when they are over saturated with set after set and this could decrease the value of some of the earlier sets (Star Wars, you are going this way..). As mentioned by others own this thread, I choose as I like, some themes have no interest to me where others do. People will always buy Lego, people will guess what will be popular & invest in those sets & hope their decision pays off in the long run

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...