The average Lego set has increased in value by 12% each year since 2000, which highlights a better return than mainstream investments, such as shares or gold. Modern sets are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36% more than their original price. Some Lego sets that once sold for less than £100 now fetch thousands on the secondary market.
Savers who invested in gold received a 9.6% annual gain over the past decade and a half, while those who went with a savings account or Isa generated 2.8% according to investment company Hargreaves Lansdown.
Many of the highest prices are for old sets based around films such as Star Wars or landmarks or brands such as the Taj Mahal in India or the Volkswagen Beetle. But data from investing website BrickPicker.com showed even sets based on everyday scenes such as police stations and town roads are soaring in value.
The largest percentage rise in price for any Lego set has been on “Cafe Corner”, a model of a hotel which went on sale in 2007. The set, which has 2,056 pieces, originally sold for £89.99 but the price has risen to £2,096 since it went out of production – a return for investors of 2,230 per cent.
Ed Maciorowski, founder of BrickPicker.com, said the top price would be fetched only if the Lego had been kept in its box, in perfect condition. Used Lego is less valuable, but can still be worth hundreds of pounds more than its original price.
“That means anyone with a set at home – large or small, it doesn’t matter – could have quite an investment on their hands if it’s in good condition, as this stuff appreciates very well in value.”
The Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon is the most expensive, having gone from a retail price of £342.49 in 2007 to £2,712 today. Two slightly earlier models, the Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer, which were released in 2005 and 2002 respectively, also fetch more than £1,000.
Laith Khalaf, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The returns from Lego look pretty awesome, but investors need to beware that the value of collectables can be vulnerable to fads. There’s absolutely no harm in buying some pieces as a hobby, and you may well make some money, but as a main building clock for your retirement I would suggest sticking to more traditional shares and bonds.”