A Look at the Arctic Sub-theme
With summer almost here it's time to take a look at the new sets and analyze their investment potential. One of the most intriguing sub-themes out there this season is the Arctic themed line of sets from the City theme. Unlike most other city sub-themes that are available this wave and have new sets released regularly or every other year (such as Police, Traffic or Trains) the Arctic line hasn't been seen since 2000 (under the Town theme) and in those fourteen years of growth the standards for minifigures, sets and pieces themselves have been raised. So now the question is how can we find out if the 2014 Arctic sets will perform well?
Analyzing the Arctic Sub-theme
Now unfortunately due to incomplete data and the age of the latter it's difficult to accurately compare the 2014 Arctic sets to their 2000 counterparts, but even though Arctic is the odd one out when compared to the other City sub-themes of this wave we can take a look at some of the other irregular sub-themes released in the past few years which in this case will consist of the Farm (2009-2010), Space (2011) and Mining (2012) sub-themes. By using Brickpicker's lot calculator we can find the current total cost of each sub-theme.
So far the Farm sets (7684 7634 7635 7636 7637 7566) have done much better than the other examples, even when taking into consideration the fact that it's had more appreciation time than the other two, with a retail total of approximately $205, a current sale total of $502.12 (almost two and a half times retail) and a return of $297.12 U.S.
The 2011 Space sets (3365 3366 3367 3368) have done ok (though again not nearly as well as Farm) with retail total approximately $125, a current sale total of $157.19 and a return of $32.19 U.S.
The 2012 Mining sets (4200 4201 4202 4203 4204) have seen the least return, but have also had the least amount of time to appreciate, with a retail total approximately $205, a current sale total of $221.77 and a return of only $16.77 U.S.
Now the following is going to be mostly speculation but it's still backed by some facts. The 2014 Arctic sets will almost certainly do better than the Mining sub-theme and will probably perform a better than the 2011 Space sets but not as good as the Farm sub-theme. Why draw this conclusion? The Arctic sets seem pretty neat with lots of cool pieces, unlike the mostly dull Mining sub-theme which were also designed, for the most part, very similarly to the construction sub-theme. The Space sub-theme sets were well made and interesting enough but they were unfortunately in an over-saturated market for that genre of sets. The Arctic sets, like the Farm ones, are interesting (of particular note are the huskies and polar bears) with most of the sets having a unique design and reside in a market segment with no genre competition, however the latter line of sets are more suitable to the other City sets than the former.
So based on the recent performance and comparing the interestingness of other recent City sub-themes I predict that in five years the 2014 Arctic sets will have at least reached an average price of 75% over retail.