Over the years, Lego has released hundreds of 'mini' sets to the buying public. These mini sets usually were packed in small polybags and had approximately 25-75 pieces. Most major Lego themes usually had a mini set or two that related to their larger sets. Some sets had mini figures in them, but the majority(and the ones we are discussing here) are miniature versions of other larger Lego sets. They were and still are priced well below $10(US). These tiny sets were often used as "stocking stuffers" or were a giveaway from various newspaper and magazine subscriptions, such as Lego's Brickmaster magazine. Although these sets were often considered freebies or inexpensive, their value to a Lego collector and/or investor should not be overlooked.
Of the main Lego themes, one usually stands out when it comes to overall appreciation of the sets, is the STAR WARS theme. This idea also holds true when discussing Lego mini sets as well. The STAR WARS mini sets are cream of the crop of the Lego mini world that is not mini figure related. These miniature replicas of larger Lego STAR WARS models are not only highly accurate in appearance, they are damn cool from this AFOL's (Adult Fan of Legos) perspective. Almost every major vehicle in the Lego STAR WARS theme, from the ARC Fighter to the Millennium Falcon to the X-Wing, has been rebuilt in miniature scale. Not only are these mini sets accurate and awesome in appearance, they also are great investments. Each and every Lego STAR WARS miniature building set has increased in value since their release. Let's take a closer look.
The thirty five or so STAR WARS mini models can be broken down into two categories. The first category is the sets that were released to the general public through stores and similar venues. These had a MSRP(Manufacture's Suggested Retail Price) and the original sales price can be easily compared to current market data(Current market data is supplied from www.Brickpicker.com and their Lego Set Guide, which is based on EBAY 'sold' auction $ averages). The second category of Lego STAR WARS mini models were the Lego Brickmaster mini sets. Brickmaster sets were obtained thru the Lego magazine Brickmaster subscription. Although the sets were free to all subscribers, there was a fee for the magazine. Of the Lego mini building sets, these Brickmaster sets are currently the rarest and the most valuable of the bunch, but the actual appreciation figures can only be estimated. Let's look at some sales data from the first category, the MSRP STAR WARS mini building models:
MSRP Miniature STAR WARS Lego Building Sets
|Model #||Year Released||Set Name||MSRP (USD $)||Current Value (Avg MISB)||% Increase|
|30053-1||2011||Venator Class Republic Cruiser||2.99||9.05||202%|
|30050-1||2010||Republic Attack Cruiser||3.99||8.05||102%|
|8033-1||2009||General Grievous Starfighter||3.99||12.16||205%|
|8028-1||2008||Mini Tie Fighter||2.99||5.61||88%|
|6964-1||2004||Boba Fett's Slave I||4.99||24.37||388%|
|4487-1||2003||Jedi Starfighter & Slave I||3.99||34.90||775%|
|4486-1||2003||AT-ST & Snowspeeder||3.99||17.45||337%|
|4485-1||2003||Sebulba's & Anakin's Podracers||3.99||15.00||276%|
|4484-1||2003||X-Wing Fighter & Tie Advanced||3.99||31.46||688%|
|3219-1||2002||Mini Tie Fighter||2.99||18.92||533%|
As you can see from the proceeding chart, each and every Lego STAR WARS miniature building set that was released to the buying public from the year 2002 to present has increased in value for MIB/NISB sets, some substantially. Usually, with any investment, the older the investment, the higher the return. It is no different in this situation. The older sets are worth more and their % increases are quite high in comparison to the newer sets. That being said, some of the newer sets(less than 3 years old), such as set 30051-1(X-Wing Fighter) and set 8033-1 (General Grievous' Starfighter) have increased about 200% from MSRP in less than 3 years. Not a bad return from this Lego investor's opinion. Another thing to consider when buying these mini sets are the 'bonus' models that can be built when combining particular sets. Take a look:
*Sets 4491-1, 4490-1, 4489-1 and 4488-1 will each have extra pieces in the four sets to build a mini Y-Wing fighter.
*Sets 4487-1, 4486-1, 4485-1, and 4484-1 will each have extra pieces in the four sets to build a mini Tie Bomber.
So when purchasing these sets, try to buy all four of the series to maximize the appreciation potential. Potential buyers will want to build that extra model or at the very least 'know' they could build it, even if they never opened the Lego box.
The MSRP mini Lego STAR WARS models were available to the general buying public as earlier stated. But a second type of Lego STAR WARS mini model was released by Lego beginning in 2008, the Brickmaster miniature models. These particular sets were only available to customers who purchased the Brickmaster magazine subscription through Lego. Over the course of an annual subscription, the Lego customer would receive six Brickmaster magazines, along with a Brickmaster mini Lego model with each magazine. The miniature Lego models would cover some of the larger themes of Lego at the time...City, Atlantis, Bionicle and STAR WARS. In 2011, the program ended, thus making the mini sets that were released this way a little more rare, thus more valuable. Here's a look at the Brickmaster mini Lego sets that were released from 2008 to 2011:
BRICKMASTER Miniature STAR WARS Building Sets
|Set #||Year Released||Set Name||Current Market Value (USD $ MISB)|
|20021-1||2011||Mini Bounty Hunter Assault Ship||37.79|
|20007-1||2009||Republic Attack Cruiser||39.23|
|20006-1||2008||Clone Turbo Tank||52.81|
As the reader can see, there is no MSRP for these sets to calculate a % return average for the Brickmaster mini sets, but an educated guess can be made as to their impressive appreciation. All of the Brickmaster mini STAR WARS models were of similar size, piece number and makeup of the MSRP sets, so if they actually had a 'price tag' when new, they would be very similar to the MSRP sets(in the $4-$7 range). That being said, their current market values are as high, if not higher than the MSRP sets and in a shorter time frame on average. If for argument's sake, you say the average price of these sets were $6(high side of MSRP mini sets), the smallest appreciation was over 100%, while several sets appreciated 700-800% in less than 4 years of time. Nice!
In conclusion, there is something to be said for the miniature Lego STAR WARS building sets. While the larger STAR WARS sets, such as the Millennium Falcon, set #10179-1, are the 'Belles of the Investment Ball,' the miniature version of the Millennium Falcon, set #4488-1, has more than doubled the 10179's appreciation percentage. Similar appreciation figures can be seen throughout the Lego STAR WARS mini building set world in comparison to their larger counterparts. Not only are they good investments in this AFOL's opinion, they are affordable and enable a beginner Lego investor/collector to start their collection with limited resources. The mini sets are creative in Lego brick use and accurate in appearance. They are also easy to store and take up little space in comparison to the larger, boxed sets. Also, they can be displayed in a relatively small area, such as on a desk or small bookcase, without some little 2 year old hands destroying hours of work. All in all, they are a very cool theme in the Lego world, and better yet, these mini Lego building sets give a major investment bang for the buck. What else could you ask for?