And finally…Lego now ‘better investment than shares or gold’
While the value of the FTSE 100 is no higher than it was in February 2000, meaning the average annual return to savers over the past decade and half is just 4.1 per cent once dividend payouts are included, the past 15 years have seen the value of untarnished Lego sets soar.
According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, second-hand prices for specific sets rise as soon as they go out of production.
And it is not just vintage sets that offer huge returns, modern productions are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36 per cent more than their original price.
According to investment company Hargreaves Lansdown, this compares with savers who invested in gold receiving a 9.6 per cent annual gain over the past decade and a half, while those who went with a savings account or Isa generating 2.8 per cent.
Some Lego sets that once sold for less than £100 now fetch thousands on the secondary market with the best performer being the Star Wars Millennium Falcon which had an original retail price of £342.49 in 2007 but is now worth £2,712 today.
Star Wars themed pieces are the most popular type of Lego, accounting for 10 of the 20 most expensive sets, but 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.
One of the reasons behind Lego’s profitability is that the sets are generally limited edition, so once they’re gone - they’re gone.
Ed Maciorowski, founder of BrickPicker.com, told the newspaper about the small goldmine some people may have without realising it.
“The neat thing is that all sets are retired at some point, and several hundred are retired each year a movie run ends, a licence expires or the Lego company wants to refresh its range. 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.”
Most second-hand Lego is traded and bought on eBay.
BrickPicker pays eBay for a breakdown of sales and compiles its own database of values and growth rates.
Mr Maciorowski said tens of thousands of investors across the world were pushing up prices of rarer sets.
He said the growth rates would continue. “Lego investing is not hitting bubble-like status,” he said. “That is partly because the Lego company doesn’t promote the secondary market, it wants to sell direct to customers.”
Price rises can be disrupted if Lego restarts production of sets it had previously retired – but usually the effect is temporary as investors snap up the new stock, Mr Maciorowski said.