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  • Lego 41015 Dolphin Cruiser: Boom to Bust to Sleeper?


    A long time ago in an investing world far, far away from 2016, a Lego Friends kit set the world afire. This is the story, as told by me, with mostly conjecture and wild assumptions. I've linked the data I perused.

    CamelCamelCamel

    Buy me now: Amazon

    brickpicker_set_41015-1_2.jpg

    The Boom

    The forums were surprisingly quiet in the official 41015 thread, but I do recall most of the chatter in the Daily Deals thread and the What Set Did You Sell Today thread. Camelcamelcamel.com shows the Christmas of 2013 as a sharp, powerful thrust upwards, peaking at $139.99. For a set that debuted less than four months prior to that spike, it represented a dream scenario for the QFLL in all of us. It was hot. Like Hansel-type hot (Zoolander references are cool again, right?). I believe some forum members posted nabbing Cruisers in store and listing them on the way to their car, only to find they had sold by the time they got home. Other forum members might recall some guy(s) boasting about flipping these in the parking lots, too. Canadians did better (I didn't look at other markets but smaller markets likely also had better flip opportunities) with the set peaking at $220+ CAD on Amazon.ca in December 2013, but I'm sure the US market moved a heck of a lot more volume. Cool set, Friends was hot and in the news and demand outstripped supply, which made for easy money for some.

    The Bust

    Since that first fated Christmas, two more visits from St. Nicholas have come and gone, and, while the DC isn't available from Shop at Home, it is still lingeringly available at some retailers in Canada and at major retailers in the US (and on sale from Amazon.com!). For those that purchased at or near MSRP, hoping for a repeat of 2013, profits were hard if not impossible to realize. In the Canadian market, the numbers were slightly better, with sales around $120 (CAD) for both holiday seasons but the largest market, the US, largely traded at or even under MSRP during prime selling season. I'm sure there will be a couple forum members who managed to make the best out of this situation (clearance finds, local flips for cash or other success stories), but I think it is fair to say that for most casual investors, a sure-thing super-hot 2013 item has been decidedly uncool for the last couple of years. Like arctic uncool.

    The Sleeper

    Some folks still aren't huge on Lego Friends, and I've heard some of the reasons why, but the 33.17 CAGR (as of Feb, 2016) is absolutely mind-blowing. I don't know how you can argue with a theme doing so well. At all. Sure, you still shouldn't go out and buy any/every Friends set and expect it to do well, but it seems with some careful research and planning that money can (and is) being made with the pink bricks.

    With fantasy baseball season coming up, I'll use baseball analogies. So, the DC was the hot prospect who had a great rookie year, only to have a (double) sophomore slump. This is where a lot of drafters look for sleepers. The reasoning is the player (or set) clearly had some raw talent or potential to do well. External factors and the grind of a couple years limited overall growth, but that just means the player is primed to breakout and enter their prime (usually around 27 years old) and have a career year that then lets said player command a big free agent deal and live happily ever after. People liked/loved the Cruiser before. It is a boat. It is a nice box and looks cool. The Grand Hotel gave the whole Friends line a lot more credibility (at least in my eyes) as well as raising what I'll call the 'price ceiling' of the line. What I mean is that having larger/more expensive sets that do well might add to the perceived value of other Friends sets giving them more secondary market growth potential. Maybe. At least I believe it, even if I haven't convinced you. I am reasonably confident that by Christmas 2016, the Dolphin Cruiser will begin to show some solid gains (at least $150 CAD on amazon.ca in my mind) and could easily be 2x MSRP by 2017 (or better). Or perhaps I'm delusional – only time will tell!

     

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    35 minutes ago, thoroakenfelder said:

    So, what happened after that first Christmas? Did Lego dramatically increase production of this set, or did interest in the line wane?

    Prob a couple of things. 

    1) friends was the only girls theme in 2013.  By the holiday 2014 months, Disney Princesses were plentiful on the shelf.

    2) Lego prob increased production to not repeat the holiday 2013 debacle parents not being able to find the Dolphin Cruiser.

    3) the DC was a year older so interest was lower in 2014 and kids wanted other sets.

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    So, what happened after that first Christmas? Did Lego dramatically increase production of this set, or did interest in the line wane?

    It's not officially done yet.

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    4 hours ago, thoroakenfelder said:

    So, what happened after that first Christmas? Did Lego dramatically increase production of this set, or did interest in the line wane?

    I think a bit of both and I am sure the Elves and Princess lines cannibalised sales as well.

    2015 Xmas for girls the big money maker was Furreal Unicorn ($50 buy in, $180 sale). 2016 it will be something different yet again.

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    6 minutes ago, asharerin said:

    2015 Xmas for girls the big money maker was Furreal Unicorn ($50 buy in, $180 sale).

    Google was unhelpful in locating such a Lego set...

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    5 minutes ago, dcdfan said:

    Google was unhelpful in locating such a Lego set...

    check "FurReal Friends"  webkins/beaniebaby wannabe

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    1 minute ago, Thumper said:

    check "FurReal Friends"  webkins/beaniebaby wannabe

    Your sarcasm detector is not on this morning .... or just like me, your eyes skipped the 'Lego' part of @dcdfan's remark :)

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    Dolphin Cruiser was just so so in 2014 compared to something like Santa's Workshop during the holidays in 2014. 

    Dolphin Cruiser was $50-$70 buy-in and went for $100-$120. - much more abundant

    Santa's Workshop was $70 buy-in and went for $140 - $170 - except for BP undercutters who shall rename nameless

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    It seems that most 'hot' Lego items never reach their previous out of stock levels. Minecraft series 1 is going to be the next exhibit in this theory.

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    49 minutes ago, redghostx said:

    It seems that most 'hot' Lego items never reach their previous out of stock levels. Minecraft series 1 is going to be the next exhibit in this theory.

    I want to see that sad museum

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    Since FRIENDS appears to be the "CITY theme for girls", I think it's lost a lot of its initial investment appeal due to huge availability and the PRINCESS and ELVES themes. The Dolphin Cruiser was a hot item during its first Christmas and I bought a boat load (pun intended) from Argos for £29.99 a pop (£44.99 and 3-for-2) and turfed them all out for £75+ within a week. I personally think that investing in FRIENDS is too risky now due to lots of similar refreshes and even the Airport set doesn't appear that popular. I deeply regret buying other retired FRIENDS sets at -50% and have had to sell at a loss.

    The oompa-loompas on the FRIENDS production line have been working way too hard for me to buy any more pink/purple boxes, regardless of discount. This theme still needs a ground-breaking set and I'm afraid that the Shopping Mall and Hotel may not qualify.

    A UCS Barbarella spaceship anyone? ;-)

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    19 minutes ago, TabbyBoy said:

     I deeply regret buying other retired FRIENDS sets at -50% and have had to sell at a loss.

    You purchased sets at 50% off, and still sold them at a loss?

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    Once he has declared taxes, paid commissions and fees it´s perfectly possible with the wrong sets. Even Olivia´s House - the supposed Café Corner of Friends, is still trading below RRP 2 years after retirement so what hope do someof the others have?

    The riding stable and treehouses seem to have accounted for a lot of the positive CAGR but I look at that falling as time goes on.

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    I have scaled back my Friends investments, but I am still a believer in this set. I think it will surprise a lot of people once it's officially unavailable from all retailers. It really is a great looking set. My daughter has one and it's the only Friends set that I truly enjoyed building with her. Patience is the key.

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    8 hours ago, terrymc4677 said:

    I have scaled back my Friends investments, but I am still a believer in this set. I think it will surprise a lot of people once it's officially unavailable from all retailers. It really is a great looking set. My daughter has one and it's the only Friends set that I truly enjoyed building with her. Patience is the key.

    By which time Lego will have launched the Seal Spotter remake version including a helicopter AND a cat. Who would want the older one then?

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    Amongst all the friends large sets, think only the dolphin cruiser is "complete" in that the structure is complete viewed from 360 degree, whereas the houses, shopping mall and hotel is frontage only and open back design. Only problem is it is available for too long, and it is not finally at retirement.

    So maybe this cruiser will see some lasting demand post retirement. Afterall a complete modern yacht/cruiser is still a rarity in lego world. 

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    Retired in the EU and selling for around retail.  Considering there were thousands of these available at 50% less than 3 month ago, it’s doing fine, but like everything else it’ll take a while for the supply to fall off, but the demand is there. 
     

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