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    Are LEGO Seasonal Sets Year-Round Investments?


    Have you ever wandered around the LEGO Shop website and come across the Seasonal theme? Glanced through the page quickly and admire the seasonal accuracy of the small sets? This small collection of LEGO sets not only offer great holiday memorabilia, but also superb investments!

    Seasonal sets are sets released during certain times of the year, ie. Winter, in relation to different holidays or events, ie. Christmas. These sets are often only available for a few months, and generally once they are sold out, they are gone, save a select few sets (for example LEGO Winter Village sets, which tend to reappear annually).

     

    HISTORY

    The theme was first released back in 1977, with the solo debut of the 246 Santa and Sleigh set. It was nearly a decade before LEGO produced another Seasonal set, and only in the last one-and-a-half decades that the celebratory sets have been more regularly (1997-present). Information from Brickipedia.com When the theme first started, the sets were small, with fewer than 100 pieces in most cases. Eventually the theme evolved to include larger sets, including the Winter Village sets we know so well. These sets have already been included in an article by adewar titled LEGO Winter Village Sets: Hot Holiday Profits or Bitterly Cold Returns? so they will not be included in this article because adewar did such a great job on the article and his analysis of the sets.

    INVESTMENT BACKGROUND

    If one were to look under the list of Tools & Data BrickPicker kindly offers, you would come across the CAGR by LEGO Theme webpage which compares the Compound Annual Growth Rate of different LEGO themes - over 90 in all. (click here for a list of articles which discuss CAGR). CAGR is a great way to get an overall, general picture of how a particular LEGO set or theme has performed and the percentage return over time. Ranked at an impressive #2 best Compound Annual Growth Rate, just behind LEGO Minecraft, it is obvious that this theme is no joke. What makes this theme so much less popular to investors, if it performs so obviously well? There are a variety of factors that tend to weigh in on this.

     

    Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 10.32.50 PM

    Like said previously, LEGO Seasonal sets don't last long. In 2013, the average availability of currently retired and non-promotional Seasonal set in LEGO's US online website was 100.5 days, or about 3 months. Much less than that of a normal set which can range from 1 year to 3 years of shelf life normally. When is the last time you saw a major BrickPicker topic about LEGO Seasonal sets? It is quite obvious from the low number of threads that these sets are under the BrickPicker radar. Even glancing on eBay, there are fewer listings for LEGO Seasonal sets than most other sets, even though both might be un-retired and widely available to all LEGO consumers. So, not only do LEGO Seasonal sets have short shelf life, they have less attention focused on them than a normal LEGO set, ie. Chima Cragger's Command Ship or Monster Fighters Vampyre Hearse.

     

    A GLANCE AT THE SETS

    Below is a table with a short biography of each Seasonal set that was released non-promotionally between 2010 and 2013. Does not include sets in the Winter Village Series or any ornaments.

    Set Number & Name Year Released Season/Holiday Retail Price (USD) Current Value (ROI) Return of Investment (USD) CAGR
    40004-1: Heart 2010 Winter/Valentine's Day $4.99 $12.36 $7.37 25.45%
    40005-1: Bunny 2010 Spring/Easter $9.99 $18.13 $8.14 16.07%
    40008-1: Snowman Building Set 2010 Winter/Christmas $4.99 $10.20 $5.21 19.57%
    40009-1: Holiday Building Set 2010 Winter/Christmas $4.99 $10.37 $5.38 20.07%
    40010-1: Santa with Sleigh Building Set 2010 Winter/Christmas $4.99 $12.33 $7.34 25.38%
    40011-1: Thanksgiving Turkey 2010 Fall/Thanksgiving $4.99 $10.00 $5.01 18.98%
    40012-1: Halloween Pumpkin 2010 Fall/Halloween $1.99 $4.25 $2.26 20.89%
    40013-1: Halloween Ghost 2010 Fall/Halloween $1.99 $5.26 $3.27 27.51%
    40014-1: Halloween Bat 2010 Fall/Halloween $4.99 $5.22 $3.23 1.13%
    40015-1: Heart Book 2011 Winter/Valentine's Day $4.99 $12.73 $7.74 36.64%
    40018-1: Easter Bunny 2011 Spring/Easter $4.99 $11.12 $6.13 30.62%
    40020-1: Halloween Set 2011 Fall/Halloween $4.99 $7.70 $2.71 15.56%
    40023-1: Holiday Stocking 2011 Winter/Christmas $3.99 $9.05 $5.06 31.39%
    40024-1: Christmas Tree 2011 Winter/Christmas $3.99 $12.06 $8.07 44.59%
    40029-1: Valentine's Day Box 2012 Winter/Valentine's $4.99 $18.26 $13.27 91.29%
    40030-1: Duck with Ducklings 2012 Spring/Easter $4.99 $14.76 $9.77 71.99%
    40031-1: Bunny and Chick 2012 Spring/Easter $4.99 $9.93 $4.94 41.07%
    40051-1: Valentine's Day Heart Box 2013 Winter/Valentine's Day $4.99 $14.54 $9.55 191.38%
    40052-1: Springtime Scene 2013 Spring/Spring $7.99 $9.95 $1.96 24.53%
    40053-1: Easter Bunny with Basket 2013 Spring/Easter $4.99 $11.75 $6.76 135.47%
    40054-1: Summer Scene 2013 Summer/Summer $4.99 $11.31 $6.32 126.65%
    40055-1: Halloween Pumpkin 2013 Fall/Halloween $4.99 $11.80 $6.81 136.47%
    40056-1: Thanksgiving Feast 2013 Fall/Thanksgiving $7.99 $13.36 $5.37 67.21%
    40057-1: Fall Scene 2013 Fall/Fall $7.99 $13.00 $5.01 62.70%
    40058-1: Decorating the Tree 2013 Winter/Christmas $7.99 $11.69 $3.70 46.31%
    40059-1: Santa Sleigh 2013 Winter/Christmas $7.99 $14.40 $6.41 80.23%

    For your convenience, I've done a little number crunching for you. The highest CAGR per Season/Holiday from 2009-2013 that had more than one set per category was Winter/Valentine's Day, followed by Spring/Easter and Fall/Thanksgiving (complete rankings found at the very end of the article). When I first saw this ranking I was surprised that Winter/Christmas was not in the bunch. After looking at the overall numbers, there were 7 Winter/Christmas sets compared with 2-4 sets for the other 3 categories, which means that the other categories are less saturated with Seasonal sets than the Winter/Christmas category. In addition, Winter/Christmas sets are very repetitive, with numerous Christmas tree and Santa's Sleigh sets. Rather than doing an analysis of all the Seasonal sets, I put together analysis' of the two most recent 2014 Seasonal sets: the recently retired 40085-1: LEGO Teddy Bear and the 40086-1: LEGO Easter Bunny set which is still available at the LEGO Shop.

    40085-1: LEGO Teddy Bear

    127 pieces - $9.99

    Winter/Valentine's Day set

    Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.16.56 PM

    LEGO S@H Product Description:

    Demonstrate your love with the big-hearted Valentine bear! Show your heartfelt passion for the one you love with the LEGO® Valentine bear! With little ears that wiggle and movable arms and legs, this super-cute teddy makes a charming present. And display your feelings by detaching the big, red heart and giving it to your valentine. Features movable ears, arms and legs, and a detachable big red heart
    • Wiggle the cute bear’s ears
    • Move the arms and adjust the legs
    • Give the bear’s heart to your loved one!
    • Fire your imagination with the fun cartoon on the box
    • A perfect Valentine’s Day gift for LEGO® lovers!
    • Stands over 3” (9cm) tall

    The LEGO 40085-1: Teddy Bear is the largest Winter/Valentine's Day set to be released, as well as the first to offer more than a build of a heart, or a heart-box. I think it was a great choice by LEGO to go with a bear, and the set looks fairly accurate. As you can see from the build, there are a lot of SNOT bricks (Studs-Not-On-Top), and overall I think it is a great little LEGO set for the piece count. Expectantly, this set has done well, especially after only a month of retirement (hint: part of the season/holiday with the highest CAGR and, well, a LEGO Seasonal set). So far, this little set has increased by 57.76%, and will hit $25 no problem. Jeff Mack did make a post, encouraging members to buy this set, so take it from the pros... These sets are going to do really well later on! Please note that unlike other smaller LEGO Seasonal sets, this set does not come in polybag packaging. Rather, it is a boxed set.

    40086-1: LEGO Easter Bunny

    106 pieces - $9.99

    Spring/Easter set

    Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 6.31.41 PM  

    LEGO S@H Product Description:

    Get into the festive spirit with the Easter bunny!

    Enjoy festive fun with the LEGO® Easter bunny! Adjust the flapping ears for a variety of cheeky expressions. Move the arms and legs and pick up the huge carrot. This cute little bunny is bound to bring festive cheer this Easter.

    • Features movable ears, arms and legs and a big orange carrot
    • Pose the bunny’s ears to create cute expressions
    • Move the arms and legs
    • Grab the giant carrot
    • Fire your imagination with the fun cartoon on the box
    • A perfect Easter gift for LEGO® fans
    • Stands over 4” (11cm) tall

    The 40086-1: LEGO Easter Bunny is visually very similar to the 40085 Teddy Bear. Once again, this set is very accurate for the piece count, and is very poseable with moving arms and ears. Investment-wise, I think this set wouldn't perform as well as the Teddy Bear primarily because we've gotten other LEGO bunnies before, whereas the Teddy Bear is extremely unique. Nevertheless, I expect this set to at least double in value in two year's time, which is still an extremely good return. Please note that unlike other LEGO Seasonal sets, this set does not come in polybag packaging. Rather, it is a boxed set.

    READ HERE OF YOU SKIPPED OVER ANY OR ALL OF THE WORDS ABOVE!!

    As a reader myself, I know that a lot of times, our eyes simply skip over large blocks of text and try to find the "important" part, which often times can be more interesting though not necessarily more important (I strongly reccommend you read the above paragraphs)! As a result, I've kindly provided a summary of the main pros and cons of investing in LEGO Seasonal sets.

    Pros of LEGO Seasonal Sets:

     

    • With retail prices usually around $4.99 to $9.99, and usually marked down after the season ends, these sets are VERY affordable.
    • Solid returns, with the average set bringing in 45.06% per year, according to BrickPicker's numbers.
    • Easy to store, since many of the sets are polybags, they can be thrown into a plastic tub, smooshed, pressed, jostled, and still come out in great condition. Others are small boxed sets, which don't take up a large amount of room, great for the storage-challenged investor.
    • Exclusive to LEGO S@H, and they have limited shelf life, helping to boost their secondary market price. Remember: generally the shorter the shelf life, the more "potential investment energy" sets have!

    Cons of LEGO Seasonal Sets:

    • Though the percentage returns are extremely high, the amount of effort that goes into selling these is much higher.
    • Not a huge quantity of these sets are bought and sold, so getting rid of a high number of a single set could be problematic.

    Thanks for reading my article on LEGO Seasonal sets! Overall, I highly recommend buying and investing in LEGO Seasonal sets, especially for the novice investor. These LEGO sets don't require much initial investment, and therefore aren't extremely high risk. Though the selling might take longer than other large, expensive sets to sell, the overall Return of Investment (ROI) can be much more than that of largers sets! Don't hesitate to leave your thoughts below, and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have!!

    Average CAGR per Season/Holiday - 2009-2013 (* - only one set in respective category)

    Summer/Summer - 126.65%*

    Winter/Valentine's Day - 86.19%

    Fall/Fall - 62.70%*

    Spring/Easter - 59.04%

    Fall/Thanksgiving - 43.10%

    Fall/Halloween - 40.31%

    Winter/Christmas - 38.22%

    Spring/Spring - 24.53%*

    Sources: Brickipedia.com, Brickset.com, BrickPicker.com, LEGO S@H. **Article header image created using Adobe Photoshop CS3.**

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