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    LEGO Chess Sets: An Investment "Checkmate"?


    As I sift daily through the various LEGO forums and blogs to keep informed on the latest developments in the LEGO world, one particular phrase commonly appears in a majority of the topics...MINI FIGURES.  LEGO fans love mini figures.  LEGO mini figures are a driving force to the popularity and longevity of the brand.  It got me thinking about what LEGO sets have the most mini figures in them.  Think about it, most LEGO sets that have even a single mini figure are more valuable and/or more popular than LEGO sets without them(...of course there are exceptions, such as the Sculpture, Large Scale Model and Ultimate Collector Series STAR WARS sets).  So if one mini figure makes a LEGO set a more intriguing purchase, how about a LEGO set with multiple mini figures?  They have to be more valuable, right?  Which LEGO sets/themes have the most mini figures in them?  The LEGO “Chess” sets.  Let's take a closer look at them...

     

      Not including this years 853373-1: LEGO Kingdoms Chess Set, there have been 5 Chess sets released since 2005.  Here is the LEGO.com description and some key points about the five LEGO Chess sets:

      Knight's Kingdom Chess Set(G678)Knight's Kingdom Chess Set(G678):

     

      Play an exciting game of chess with real LEGO Knights! Choose your color and you're ready to begin. Will you checkmate your opponent's king and win, or will you go down in defeat? It's a game of skill and strategy that's fun for chess fans and LEGO fans too! Includes full-size chess board (measures 10 x 10 inches/ 25.4 x 25.4 cm) with sturdy storage case featuring leather handle & bindings and snap closure. Chess board is held inside carrying case with touch fasteners -- play at home or on the go! Total of 32 chess pieces, including 24 mini figures! Storage case includes compartments to hold them all!

    BrickPicker.com says: Basic Lego Chess set with 24 Kingdoms mini figures.  The first of the Lego Chess sets.  Nice packaging and excellent playability.

        G577-1: Vikings Chess SetViking's Chess Set(G577): Pillage your opponent in this exciting game of skill and strategy! This exclusive LEGO Vikings Chess set includes a total of 32 chess pieces, featuring 24 minifigures. Just choose your color and you're ready to begin! One-piece chess board measures 10" x 10" (25.4 x 25.4 cm). Includes sturdy carrying case with leather handle, snap closures, touch fastener for holding board in place and storage compartments for each piece. 32 chess pieces include 24 LEGO Vikings minifigures! Available exclusively from LEGO!  

     

     

    BrickPicker.com says: Very similar to the above Knight's Kingdom Chess set.  Basic Lego Chess set with a Viking theme and 24 Viking mini figures.  This set also has quality packaging and the playability is above average.
     

        852001-1: Castle Chess SetCastle Chess Set(852001): Battle your opponent in this exciting game of skill and strategy! This exclusive LEGO Castle Chess Set includes a total of 32 chess pieces, featuring 24 minifigures. Just choose your side and you're ready to play! One-piece chess board measures 10" x 10" (25 cm x 25 cm)! Includes 32 chess pieces featuring 24 LEGO minifigures including knights, skeletons, wizard, king and princess! Includes sturdy carrying case with leather handle, snap closures and storage compartments for each piece!  

     

     

    BrickPicker.com says: This LEGO Chess set is a little more detailed than the Knight's Kingdom and Vikings Chess set.  The packaging/storage box is quite nice and keeps the pieces and board in easy to maintain sections.  The mini figures are a bit more varied and detailed.  Overall, an improvement from the earlier LEGO Chess sets.

        852293-1: Castle Giant Chess SetCastle GIANT Chess Set(852293): There's never been a chess set like this one before! Now you can build the biggest and best LEGO chess board of all time, covered in incredible LEGO Castle details and complete with a dungeon, armory, and decorative dragon heads'¦and that's just the board itself! Pieces include king, queen, good and evil wizards, witch, knights, dwarves, trolls, skeleton warriors and horses, castle turrets, rolling siege towers, and more. It's the ultimate LEGO set for any chess player, collector, or LEGO Castle fan! Includes 31 minifigures, 2 giant trolls, 2 horses, 2 skeleton horses and 2 dragon heads! Minifigures are ready for battle with armor, swords, shields, and other cool accessories! It's a battle of good dwarves and knights vs. evil trolls and skeletons! Build the 4 realms in the corners of the chess board - the skeleton realm, troll realm, dwarf realm and castle realm! Measures 17" (43cm) squared! Complete with a giant storage case, measuring over 24" (61cm) high, 20" (50cm) wide and 7" (17cm) deep.

    BrickPicker.com says: Spectacular LEGO Chess set.  Whether you play Chess or not, you can appreciate the amount of detail and love that went into this creation.  Over 2000 pieces and 31 mini figures make up this wonderful set.  Trolls, skeleton horses, Dragon heads, castles and dungeons make up this Chess set.  The packaging/storage box is probably the most stylish of all LEGO boxes ever produced in my opinion.  It looks like a huge antique book.  Very nice.  The board, once completed, is huge and the mini figures are quite interesting and varied.  A bit pricey, but worth every penny or pound in my opinion.  One of my favorite all time LEGO sets!

      852751-1: Pirates Chess SetPirate's Chess Set(852751):
    * No LEGO description available

     

     

     

     

     

     

               

    BrickPicker.com says:  Another basic LEGO Chess set, this time with a Pirate theme instead of Kingdoms or Vikings theme.  Nice set.  Standard 24 mini figure count.  As with the previous sets, the variety of the mini figures is adequate and the packaging is very nice and usable.  An overall above average LEGO set.
     
     

      Well, from the above descriptions, you can see that the LEGO Chess Sets as a whole come with a substantial amount of mini figures.  Each set comes with at least 24 and the Castle Giant Chess Set comes with 33, but how does this translate into value when the Chess sets hit the secondary LEGO market?  Take a look at the below chart which illustrates the amount the 5 main LEGO Chess sets released since 2005 have appreciated in value:    

     

     

    Set Name Set Number Year Released MSRP Current Value % Increase
    Knight's Kingdom Chess Set G678 2005 $49.99 $131.00 162.00%
    Viking's Chess Set G577 2006 $49.99 $124.00 148.00%
    Castle Chess Set 852001 2007 $49.99 $108.00 116.00%
    Castle Giant Chess Set 852293 2008 $199.99 $523.00 161.00%
    Pirates Chess Set 852751 2009 $49.99 $141.00 182.00%

     

     

        Overall, LEGO Chess Sets have posted quite solid returns over the past 7 years.  While they might not be the investment juggernauts of STAR WARS and Modular Buildings sets, the Chess sets are no slouches either.  With % 'increases' of 116% to 182%, the Chess sets make a worthwhile addition to any LEGO collection.  Each set contains a minimum of 24 mini figures and that in itself is a valuable commodity.  New Chess sets like the 853373-1: LEGO Kingdoms Chess Set, could be quite a value at $49.99(US) for 28 mini figures.  What other set can you find 28 LEGO mini figures for less than $50?  I don't know of many, if any.  On a personal note, The Castle Giant Chess Set (852293) is a "work of art" in my opinion and I would highly recommend this set to any serious LEGO investor/collector.  The set is a bit steep in the secondary market, but it has been making a steady move upward in value and I see room to grow.  Also, I am waiting for LEGO to release a STAR WARS LEGO Chess Set (known as 'Holochess' to all you STAR WARS fans) that was being played  by Chewbacca and R2-D2 in The New Hope.  That would be a LEGO Chess set that might rival the 10179 Millennium Falcon...

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    I love these chess sets. I have the Viking set, but i probably only have about 10 of the figures left from it. I need to take better care of my stuff. I like to see that they are coming out with a new one though.

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    I'm 99% certain the prices for all the small chess sets have been $49.99, which changes the return considerably for the first two. I'll have to dig through my receipts. Giant set aside, picking these up for the figs is one thing, picking them up for an investment is something else. I think $131 is higher than what you can get for the original one, but even if correct, it took that set 7 years to get there. With so many other great sets out there, I think your investment dollars are much better off in something else.

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    @Mos Eisley...We corrected the prices. My bad. I checked with Peeron and you were correct. As for $131 for the current price for Knight's Kingdom, it is an average of the last 30 sales and it is correct. There are some currently on EBAY selling for $185+. Not to say they will sell for that, but they might. As for your point about investing in other sets, you are also correct. There are plenty of other STAR WARS and Modular sets that you could have invested in(as I stated in the article). But the basic point of the article is that maybe LEGO collectors and investors 'should' look at LEGO Chess sets as a potential future purchase. Especially the new Kingdoms Chess set with 28 mini figures for $50. That is a GREAT DEAL! People take Battle Packs and remove the mini figures and sell them for more than the original set was worth. If you bought a new Kingdoms Chess set(853373) and resold the 28 individual mini figures for $3 per(which is about average), you can make $34 by just hacking one 853373 up. My personal collection is made up of mostly STAR WARS and Bionicle sets, yet I always look to diversify into some other theme that I enjoy. The Chess sets are such a theme IMO. I think the LEGO Chess sets deserve some recognition from LEGO fans as an interesting and solid choice in the LEGO 'investment' world. Thanks for your quality response. Feel free to correct me at any time...LOL

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    There's no right or wrong on whether these are good investments! I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just giving my opinion on them. I've bought and sold more than 100 of G678 and more than 50 of G577, sometimes just selling the minifigs. Looking back, there were so many other sets I could've bought instead that would've have given a much better return so I'm just sharing my experiences with them.

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    I don't think he was arguing with you, just making a point that maybe people should take a look at the Chess sets, that they could be valuable to someone who parts them out.

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    @ Mos Eisley...Let me start by saying that I appreciate your informative comments. In no way am I arguing with you. When I do a blog or investment article, I like to try to mix it up and show people that there are other LEGO sets besides STAR WARS and Modular Buildings that you can consider when investing. They are not all big gainers, but they are cool sets that LEGO fans might have overlooked. The one thing that I have learned while doing this site with my brother Jeff is that I know very little about all the thousands of LEGO sets in existence, but I am learning all the time and appreciate when people like yourself share their opinions with me. One thing you might want to consider is writing some blogs or articles for us that we can post here and on other sites that will refer back to here. You will get full credit for the article and you can share your opinions and knowledge with people. We are always looking for new content and there is only so much time in the day that Jeff and I can spend on the site. We are looking for informed LEGO fans to help us out. If you are interested, let me know. Once again, thanks for your input...

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    Ed, I didn't think you were arguing with me, I just didn't want you to think that I was being argumentative or disrespectful to you. I've learned a lot over the past 7+ years I've been doing this. G678 was the second set I bought in my brickvesting career. I made some money off it, but if I could do it all over again I would go another route. I'll have to consider your article idea. Sounds like a fun thing to do. It's just tough because while I love this site, I don't really want to encourage too many people to start doing this! :)

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    @ Mos Eisley...Well, I can see your point. There is a whole group of AFOLs or ASOLs(Adult Sellers Of LEGO) or ACOLs(Adult Collectors Of LEGO) that do not like what we are doing here at Brickpicker. They want to keep LEGO 'investing' their little secret. I respect that. I myself, have tens of thousands of dollars invested, so I don't want to destroy the market. I think as we evolve here at Brickpicker, it will turn into more of a LEGO Price Guide than an investment site. Kind of like a Kelly Blue Book for LEGO sets. Jeff and I want to make it a very useful and informative tool for LEGO fans. We have a lot more cool things to implement. If you ever have any ideas(maybe a blog about why we shouldn't promote LEGO investing... ;) ), let us know...Thanks

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    Guest idunno101

    Posted

    I personally love the lego investing part of this site. It gives teens like me a look at how the lego market works so we can become investors like all you guys on here. Also I've always loved the lego chess sets but I have been waiting a long time to get my hands on a star wars chess set and hope they come out with one in the next 3 years or so. I like the castle chess sets but they feel to me a bit too tied to what regular chess is since it is a battle in medieval times. Anyway love this site how you continue to improve it.

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    @idunno101... We will always have the investing part of it. Maybe I shouldn't have worded it that way. My bad. As for the Chess sets, I just got the new Kingdoms one. It seems OK. Not that fancy though. The older sets were nicer IMO. But if you are looking for just the mini figures, then it's a great deal.

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    I just picked this set up this weekend. It is a solid value I think. The minifigs are not particularly inspired, but the sheer number of them makes up for that. This is actually my first foray into minifigs and I can see the attraction. Additionally there are many people who are chess collectors (LEGO and otherwise) that should find this set interesting. my main complaint with this set is that it is too small for the number of minifigs. Feels cramped and somewhat cluttered.

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    I agree. The Kingdoms set is not as detailed and does not have the nice packaging as earlier Chess sets. The minifigs make up for it though. I praying for a Star Wars Chess set one day.

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    I would also love a star wars chess set. If lego ever makes one, I wonder what it would consist of? Probably a lot of stormtroopers and clones.

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    You could make two types of STAR WARS Chess sets. The Chess set that Chewbacca and R2-D2 played on was round and had various alien creatures on it. Or you could go with a conventional square set filled with Stormtroopers and Clones. Either way is fantastic.

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    C'est article nous permet de savoir comment fonctionnent l'investissement lego pour qu'on puisse devenir des investisseur mondiale

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    These are the sort of sets that are ideal to find in TJ Maxx for like a twentieth of the original price! That's a whole lot of fun to think about. I'd love to accidentally stumble across something like this; obscure with a huge return! Thanks for the post!

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    I guess i could see those prices going up so high considering that people who like legos and people who like chess will buy them

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