Lego is more profitable than gold, new study finds

Investing in a Lego set could yield better returns compared to traditional assets like gold, stocks and bonds or art, a new study from the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics (HSE) has found.

The researchers sought to study the financial returns of alternative collectible investment assets such as toys, using LEGO sets as an example. For the study, they took into consideration the prices of 2,322 unopened Lego sets from 1987 to 2015. Some Lego sets had an average annual return of 11%, with some generating returns as high as 700%.

“Lego investments outperform large stocks, bonds, gold and other typical ‘leisure investments’ such as wine or stamps,” the researchers observed.

Factors such as limited edition sets, collector’s special editions, and aftermarket unavailability have contributed to the high value of collectibles. Additionally, the smaller and larger Lego sets were more valuable than the medium sets.

Among the most valuable Lego sets are Millennium Falcon, Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer from Star Wars as well as the Taj Mahal. Lego sets based on architecture, television and popular movies have seen more lucrative returns, according to the study.

“We are used to thinking that people buy items such as jewelry, antiques or works of art as an investment,” said Victoria Dobrynskaya, associate professor in the Faculty of Economics at HSE University. “However, there are other options, like collectible toys. Tens of thousands of transactions are concluded in the Lego secondary market. Even taking into account the low prices of most sets, this is a huge market that is not well known to mainstream investors.

Image: Imperial Star Destroyer from Star Wars (Credit: Lego)


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