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    What Happened?: 4x4 Crawler Exclusive Edition


    Today, we are going back in time to almost three years ago (time flies!) and taking a look at one set that had the forums and the entire LEGO community talking almost non-stop: the LEGO Technic 4x4 Crawler Exclusive Edition.

    Unlike the majority of LEGO sets released throughout the years, the Limited Edition Crawler was designed through a fan base contest, with one of the conditions being that the creators utilized the chassis of the 9398 Crawler. The winner model was to be selected and produced as a limited edition of only 20,000 copies.

    brickpicker_set_41999_1 - Copy.jpgbrickpicker_set_9398-1_6 - Copy.jpg

    Even since the winner was announced, investors and collectors were excited about the possibility of getting their hands in what many saw as a highly collectible set. Whether it was for resale, long term holding or just for personal collection reasons, the expectation was that such a unique set was bound to be extremely hard to acquire at retail price ($199.99).

    Months after the announcement, on August 1st 2013, the set was finally released to the public on LEGO Shop at Home and brick and mortar locations. As many expected, and worried about, 41999 sold out online the very same day, forcing customers to either hunt the set at retail location or source it from the secondary market.

    As one would expect, the hype surrounding the set meant that most brick and mortar locations sold out as soon as they put the set on the shelves. In turn, prices on eBay and other online platforms rose to close to $450, with sets selling within minutes of being listed as collectors worried about it becoming even more expensive, investors hoped for the next $1,000 set and, as some of you might remember, some even attempted to corner the market by acquiring dozens of copies a day.

    Capture.PNG

    While I will not get into it, it is also worth mentioning that the circumstances surrounding the set generated a lot of controversy, and ethical/moral discussions popped up almost daily on some of the forum threads.

    In theory, it all made sense; LEGO released a set that was not designed by your traditional LEGO design team, limited it to 20,000 copies worldwide and, to top it off, included a number of rare and unique elements that increased collectability (first Technic set to use dark blue, chrome elements and a uniquely numbered license plate).  Furthermore, the box and instruction manuals were both higher quality than average and added a little bit of value to the set.

    It had all the potential in the world to become an extremely sought after and expensive set in the long term, but as you can see from the chart below, in the end that was not the case.

    Capture.PNG

    The set has almost completely stagnated at around $360, the price it finally settled at a couple months after the hype died down at the end of 2013. That’s a close to 0% gain for anyone who has been holding the set for the last 2 or so years!

    Clearly, the weeks after release were the most profitable times to sell the Limited Edition 41999. I sold some of these within this timeframe and took advantage of the hype surrounding it, but at the same time thought that the set had a lot of long term potential (as many others did!). Looking back though, the performance of the set has not been anything but a disappointment.

    While it is always hard to pinpoint the exact reasons a set is not as popular as expected, I think that there are some generally accepted factors that contributed to the Crawler not doing as well as expected.

    • Technic has always been a niche market. While there is definitely a following to the theme, its popularity is nowhere near as close to some of the licensed themes, reducing the customer base.

    • The set on which 41999 was based on, 9398 Crawler, was readily available until 2015. Given the similarities between the two sets, having a much cheaper version in the market could have definitely impacted the performance of the Limited Edition.

    • The set simply grew too fast, reaching maturity shortly after its release. All the circumstances surrounding the set allowed it to reach its ceiling way faster than the average LEGO set, explaining the lack of growth since.

    So, knowing its past, what should we look forward to? Honestly, I don’t see how the trend can be reversed. I would not expect to see any significant growth out of this set, as I believe that if its unique characteristics have not generated any more interest in the past couple of years, there is no reason to believe they will in the future.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is still a cool model and a very interesting piece of LEGO history, so there is definitely a value in owning it. But if you are still holding it with the expectation of above average result, I would definitely take a few moments to reconsider and compare it with some of the better options currently available.

    Thanks for reading!

     

    Edited by Fcbarcelona101

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    I obtained my used 41999 with box through a trade here. I agree you about the projected appreciation of this set. Luckily it's a cool remote control vehicle to build and kids seem to love driving it. 

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    Summary in one word - bubble.

    Yes, I know that prices have not collapsed since then but it is just one of a number of sets that had inedecent immediate growth and later stagnated, giving a more representative market value - it´s now worth similar money to similarly priced sets like R2 D2/ Town Hall.

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    Personally, as someone who did not pay close attention to the Lego market for many years, and just got back into the game in Jan. ,I had no idea this set existed until the reveal of the Porsche 911 set, and people started debating that sets investment value.  If I as someone who reads the vast majority of threads and comments from Jan. to now on BP has only recently heard of this set, how is the average AFOL supposed to know about it?   

    It isn't licensed and it is not part of a series or line.   Truly only the Technic fans would have a good idea that the set exists, or if you were an AFOL when it hit the market.  If that was the case, you likely tried to buy one when you had a chance at retail, or bought in at the initial surge at EOL, hence the stagnate growth.  As stated above, being in the Technic line did not help the case for this set either.

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    To be honest, I got pulled into the aftermarket for this one... Luckily, I found some buyers to reduce the risk timely. (Europe and Technic works better than the US)

    This is a set that really got me thinking about the prices people are willing to give for a particular set.

    In the end, my conclusion was that it didn't tick a number of boxes to be a true LEGO collectors' item.

    Excellent timing to post this article - with the imminate launch of the 911... (no power functions, but I guess Lego doesn't produce "power" functions to decently drive a 911 :)))

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    2.5 times RRP seems a fair level of appreciation in today´s market for a 200 Euros set. It being Technic is a downer but we have seen that people are prepared to pay for rare sets, whatever they are e.g. zombies, Marina Sands.

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    What the hell people? now everybody is finding out about it? Now, and I had 18 of them? Now, when I sold my last one last week?  :growl:

    Edited by Lordoflego
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    I generally dislike Technic sets (but at least they are better than Bionicle).

    I would imagine the typical Technic fan to be a very hands on builder, who loves to build MOC's etc.

    I wouldn't expect that too many of them would be excited about having a new unopened 41999 just sitting on their shelf.

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    I missed out but I got 2 9398´s instead and built one. Considered swapping for a Town Hall when they were worth the same, but glad I didn´t.

    Edited by Val-E

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    I missed out but I got 2 9398´s instead and built one. Considered swapping for a Town Hall when they were worth the same, but glad I didn´t.

    You are glad you didn't swap for the set that tripled in value while 9398 appreciated 30%??

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    The 41999 thread was the most active thread at the time and grew to many pages, probably faster than any other topic. Flippers were frothing out of every orifice.

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    Just now, exciter1 said:

    The 41999 thread was the most active thread at the time and grew to many pages, probably faster than any other topic. Flippers were frothing out of every orifice.

    It was the quick flip success story that many copied and pasted to the Tumbler with disastrous results.

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    I generally dislike Technic sets (but at least they are better than Bionicle).

    I would imagine the typical Technic fan to be a very hands on builder, who loves to build MOC's etc.

    I wouldn't expect that too many of them would be excited about having a new unopened 41999 just sitting on their shelf.

    41999 was a bargain as it contained more PF parts than 9398 for the same price. At retail it was a very good deal for Technic MOCers but not at inflated prices..

    Also, 9398 isn't regarded as an uber collectible set so your pool of people looking those complete a collection is smaller than those who collect Technic construction sets.

    Plus it's technic which already has a smaller audience.

    That said, it's an excellent set and the build doesn't disappoint. The body used some tried and true technic build techniques but also a few clever ones to achieve the right angles for the rear window. Hands down my fav is the opening doors.

    It's a great set and a bargain at current prices for collectors.

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    4 hours ago, Rimmit said:

    Personally, as someone who did not pay close attention to the Lego market for many years, and just got back into the game in Jan. ,I had no idea this set existed until the reveal of the Porsche 911 set, and people started debating that sets investment value.  If I as someone who reads the vast majority of threads and comments from Jan. to now on BP has only recently heard of this set, how is the average AFOL supposed to know about it?   

    It isn't licensed and it is not part of a series or line.   Truly only the Technic fans would have a good idea that the set exists, or if you were an AFOL when it hit the market.  If that was the case, you likely tried to buy one when you had a chance at retail, or bought in at the initial surge at EOL, hence the stagnate growth.  As stated above, being in the Technic line did not help the case for this set either.

    Sometimes rarity can play against a sets value as you had mentioned. I can see similar price resistance on other sets like EEE and perhaps even Mars Rover, they simply weren't available enough to for the general public to see them. More serious collectors and toy flippers on the other hand got there fill. 

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    Guest brickcrazyhouse

    Posted

    8 hours ago, Fcbarcelona101 said:

    some even attempted to corner the market by acquiring dozens of copies a day.

    thanks for the multiple quick flips

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    5 hours ago, Lordoflego said:

    What the hell people? now everybody is finding out about it? Now, and I had 18 of them? Now, when I sold my last one last week?  :growl:

    You should've written a blog post man.

    Edited by tjj1984
    Grammer

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    4 hours ago, gregpj said:

    41999 was a bargain as it contained more PF parts than 9398 for the same price. At retail it was a very good deal for Technic MOCers but not at inflated prices..

    Also, 9398 isn't regarded as an uber collectible set so your pool of people looking those complete a collection is smaller than those who collect Technic construction sets.

    Plus it's technic which already has a smaller audience.

    That said, it's an excellent set and the build doesn't disappoint. The body used some tried and true technic build techniques but also a few clever ones to achieve the right angles for the rear window. Hands down my fav is the opening doors.

    It's a great set and a bargain at current prices for collectors.

    Everything you typed is true.  All of it.  At $200 MSRP it was a deal for what was in the box.  I left the stickers off my 41999 and the dark blue looks sharp.  Great build. 

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    I got into lego investing with this set. I bought 8 during October 2013 and got the Christmas bonus sets as well as double VIP points and sold them all for around $350 CDN within the year. Figure I made almost $1000 when you factor in all the bonuses.

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    20 hours ago, Rimmit said:

    If I as someone who reads the vast majority of threads and comments from Jan. to now on BP has only recently heard of this set, how is the average AFOL supposed to know about it?  

    This.  The average fans did not know this even existed much less have time to salivate over it.  

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    29 minutes ago, brickolodon said:

    I still got 4...flipped 10-15...


    21 listed on eBay, price stars from 379.99...not bad.

    The set isn't producing a bad return in aggregate, but when you consider that you could have sold it for the same $380 over a year ago, that's when it starts looking as a bad idea to keep holding them.

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