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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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    37 minutes ago, brickolodon said:

     


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

    .  Its only bad because people's Expectations were sky high.  ( Including myself )
    Inventory is starting to thin Out.  

    We have to let this one marinade just a little bit more. 
    As I see it, its only been eol for 2 years. (it was early 2014).
     

    BTW, the 41999 box art has to be one of the best of all time.

     

    Edited by Miami Bomb Squad

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    I kept one. I still think the future of the set was limited when they (apparently) decided to not do this limited edition type of set again. If they had continued on a fan-designed 20k limited production run series, this set would have a very different future, even being Technic. Let's face it, if they had made Market Street and never continued the Modular series, there's no way those are worth what they are now.

    Same comment for Research Institute in a way. :-)

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    On ‎5‎/‎8‎/‎2016 at 10:01 AM, Fcbarcelona101 said:

    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.

     

    I remember when I got back into Lego for the first time in October 2013, I happened to walk into the Lego store in SLC, and was blown away, and insta-nostalgia came back hard and heavy.

    Not too long later I discovered this site, and actually noticed 41999.  But even though it wasn't that long, it was already completely gone, and I was pretty pissed off by the whole thing.  But oh well, I've gotten over it and have not really had any desire to really think about getting this set.

    All the while this was going on, we kept hearing about you know who, buying up all the stock constantly trying to control the market, and I just find it funny, because he was buying these even at the inflated $400+.  I wonder if he has any regrets ever trying to attempt to corner the market to ask insane prices because he's pretty much the only person with them.  I wonder if he still has his ridiculous stash of these things too.

    Either way, as others have mentions, Technic is already a niche enough product, so to have something limited like this to something that isn't even anything noteworthy, doesn't help.  If this was a regular system model, I could see it skyrocketing in price.  But you live and learn right?

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    15 hours ago, Miami Bomb Squad said:

    BTW, the 41999 box art has to be one of the best of all time.

     

    41999 box is my benchmark for the packaging of the new Technic Porsche.

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    2 hours ago, citymorgue said:

    All the while this was going on, we kept hearing about you know who, buying up all the stock constantly trying to control the market, and I just find it funny, because he was buying these even at the inflated $400+.  I wonder if he has any regrets ever trying to attempt to corner the market to ask insane prices because he's pretty much the only person with them.  I wonder if he still has his ridiculous stash of these things too.

    I have found that cornering the market (or trying to) isn't all that its cracked up to be.

    If you are able to do it - It is usually a sign that there is a great limitation to the actual interest for the item.

    Edited by KShine

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    59 minutes ago, KShine said:

    I have found that cornering the market (or trying to) isn't all that its cracked up to be.

    If you are able to do it - It is usually a sign that there is a great limitation to the actual interest for the item.

    Unless of course it's frozen concentrated orange juice.

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    3 years ago, is just about the time prices did a whoo!!I too, a no brain er, ($1,000) a Sett!! Remember the contractor fellow, in England who had bought a few thousand sets!!!!! We was paying close too and in some cases, double your money! It was profitable and fun to acquiring them not more than 15 minutes before the doors at the Lego store opened. selling the 41999. It is a Beautiful truck and will always have a PARKING space of LEGO HISTORY .

    Those were the days..................

    Lets make a book.............A book about That Block of Time..............three years ago,...........everything about the selling the 41999. A whole spectrum of people, RIGHT HERE. Bob Hall

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    24 minutes ago, mayor said:

    3 years ago, is just about the time prices did a whoo!!I too, a no brain er, ($1,000) a Sett!! Remember the contractor fellow, in England who had bought a few thousand sets!!!!! We was paying close too and in some cases, double your money! It was profitable and fun to acquiring them not more than 15 minutes before the doors at the Lego store opened. selling the 41999. It is a Beautiful truck and will always have a PARKING space of LEGO HISTORY .

    Those were the days..................

    Lets make a book.............A book about That Block of Time..............three years ago,...........everything about the selling the 41999. A whole spectrum of people, RIGHT HERE. Bob Hall

    Nice ... unfortunately the 41999 Thread is no longer to be found on this forum (at least I cannot find it using search - perhaps I need to do a manual run-through of all the forum posts but who has the time ....) .. I'd love to read up on the fun that was had.

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    2 minutes ago, Phil B said:

    Nice ... unfortunately the 41999 Thread is no longer to be found on this forum (at least I cannot find it using search - perhaps I need to do a manual run-through of all the forum posts but who has the time ....) .. I'd love to read up on the fun that was had.

    Your wish is granted. Ha

     

     

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    1 hour ago, jaisonline said:

    Your wish is granted. Ha

     

     

    8 pages in and I come across this gem from everyone's favorite guru Ed. We're 3 years later now ..... let's see how that plays out :)

    On 7/31/2013 at 10:38 PM, emazers said:

    I was going to try and get 8 of these, but I was thinking in 5 years what would make you more money, 8 4x4 Crawler 41999, or 8 LOTR Tower of Orthanc, or 8 Haunted Houses, 7 Tower Bridges, 7 Batman Arkham, I am thinking The Tower Bridge would do way better than all of them. What do you guys think. Ed

    Tower Bridge got more love letters after that comment - let's check the facts right now using the BP Price Guide:

    8x 4x4 Crawler RRP $199.99 - now $363.13; diff $163.14 - total $1305.12 gross profit (81% ROI)

    8x ToO RRP $199.99 - now $268.20; diff $68.21 - total $545.68 gross profit (34% ROI)

    8x HH RRP $179.99 - now $399.93; diff $219.94 - total $1759.52 gross profit (122% ROI)

    7x TB RRP $239.99 - now $212.13; diff -$27.86 - total $195.02 gross loss (-12% ROI)

    7x AA RRP $159.99 - now $245.73; diff $85.74 - total $600.18 gross profit (54% ROI)

    Sure, TB hasn't retired yet so no uptick there - there's also 2 more years to go. Looking at this, the answer should have been "Haunted House" but even the maligned 41999 doesn't seem to have fared so badly ........

     

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    4 hours ago, Phil B said:

    8 pages in and I come across this gem from everyone's favorite guru Ed. We're 3 years later now ..... let's see how that plays out :)

    Tower Bridge got more love letters after that comment - let's check the facts right now using the BP Price Guide:

    8x 4x4 Crawler RRP $199.99 - now $363.13; diff $163.14 - total $1305.12 gross profit (81% ROI)

    8x ToO RRP $199.99 - now $268.20; diff $68.21 - total $545.68 gross profit (34% ROI)

    8x HH RRP $179.99 - now $399.93; diff $219.94 - total $1759.52 gross profit (122% ROI)

    7x TB RRP $239.99 - now $212.13; diff -$27.86 - total $195.02 gross loss (-12% ROI)

    7x AA RRP $159.99 - now $245.73; diff $85.74 - total $600.18 gross profit (54% ROI)

    Sure, TB hasn't retired yet so no uptick there - there's also 2 more years to go. Looking at this, the answer should have been "Haunted House" but even the maligned 41999 doesn't seem to have fared so badly ........

     

    The correct move with 20/20 hindsight, which Emazer and many others did, was to flip the Crawlers and reinvest in Town Halls,SSD´s, HH´s or 7965´s - especially if discounted.

    It´s interesting that some people followed a similar strategy with Town Hall of buying at double MSRP and expecting the growth curve to maintain itself and that hread has sure gone quiet so I guess they are not making money yet.

    If the gap between 9398 and 41999 starts to narrow, there could be a further bump for the LE, but for now it seems to have settled in at slightly above double RRP, which is what it was worth back in 2014. TH and HH have also bedded in at current prices since last year so it´s clearly a market for the very impatient or the very patient.

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    6 hours ago, Val-E said:

    The correct move with 20/20 hindsight, which Emazer and many others did, was to flip the Crawlers and reinvest in Town Halls,SSD´s, HH´s or 7965´s - especially if discounted.

    It´s interesting that some people followed a similar strategy with Town Hall of buying at double MSRP and expecting the growth curve to maintain itself and that hread has sure gone quiet so I guess they are not making money yet.

    If the gap between 9398 and 41999 starts to narrow, there could be a further bump for the LE, but for now it seems to have settled in at slightly above double RRP, which is what it was worth back in 2014. TH and HH have also bedded in at current prices since last year so it´s clearly a market for the very impatient or the very patient.

    Emazers has some really really solid and good investing tips in the 41999 thread. Hat off to Ed. Very balanced - warning people of the fleeting attractiveness of the Crawler, urging people to diversify, putting his money on several exclusives in big numbers. I can see where his guru status comes from.

    Yes sure, he went 50 deep on Tower Bridge (and likely on Death Star as well) which turned out to be a long run effort, but from what I've read so far in the 41999 thread he offsets that with some really solid investments that allow him to sit on these for a while without feeling the pain.

    So hopefully my original "let's see what happened" post didn't come over as talking him down (that wasn't the intent anyways, I just liked the fact that there was a prediction from him and wanted to see/show the outcome of that prediction currently) because he knows what he is doing.

     

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    3 minutes ago, stephen_rockefeller said:

    All hail to mighty emazers!!!! We are not worthy.......we are not worthy!!!!!!!!

    Like everyone, he gets some wrong - Daily Bugle anyone? The important thing is to get it right with the big money and know when to fold.

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    On 5/10/2016 at 1:35 PM, citymorgue said:

    All the while this was going on, we kept hearing about you know who, buying up all the stock constantly trying to control the market, and I just find it funny, because he was buying these even at the inflated $400+.  

     

    Voldemort was a Lego reseller? Explains a lot. 

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    11 minutes ago, stephen_rockefeller said:

    All hail to mighty emazers!!!! We are not worthy.......we are not worthy!!!!!!!!

    I think it's the profile photo.

    When he launches into a "You're all wasting your time buying the small crap, they are worthless, you'll all be gone in a year. You gotta buy the big sets" post - it somehow helps to see the face that's yelling at you.

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    I just feel that Emazers strategy of only buying exclusives doesn't work as well as it used to.  There are too many people biting off the profits that used to flow so easily, but the gold rush is over and you have find other ways to make money off of Lego sets.  Plus very, very, very few people have the capital to just buy 20, 30, 50 of an exclusive and just stash it away.  It takes a smart one now to really find the gems that can net them money.

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    all,

    please do not turn this great blog / article's topic  into one about specific members and their investment strategies

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    Selling it where?

    I'm buying...from EBay or BL

    $360 or so seems to be the going rate

    Yeah. Seems you are right. I saw one on BL for $330 yesterday. But it's gone by now.

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    4 hours ago, Buchimuer said:

    I'm buying...from EBay or BL

    Yeah. Seems you are right. I saw one on BL for $330 yesterday. But it's gone by now.

    Sending PM.....

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