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Usually I don't post topics like this, but I have been increasingly become frustrated over the past few years over the presence of "lego investors". I would like to invite discussion as to what people think about it. I do realize that people are free to do whatever they want - the secondary market for Lego is extremely valuable and they do provide a useful service, since they perhaps add liquidity to this market. Is lego investing that profitable? My first reaction when I started to think about this topic is whether or not is it worthwhile. These days it is starting to sound more and more like the day-trading movement - a crowded field driven by internet forums, filled with people trying to make a quick buck. I highly doubt it is that profitable. In the early days, there were probably a few people who got lucky since they had multiple copies of the UCS Falcon (or Green Grocer or whatever sets skyrocketed in value). They sold them, and now everyone wants to replicate that. However, the vast majority of sets do not behave this way. In terms of total time and effort "invested", it seems like a terrible idea. Suppose that one is a Lego investor of extraordinary ability and one is able to sell their sets with a 30% markup on average (note that a lot of series have not risen in value at all since their discontinuation). Over the course of one year, if one turns over $50,000 worth of Lego, one makes a tidy profit of $15,000 - seems amazing, right? However, first consider that $50,000 is about 500 mid to high end lego sets (average $100). To make this work, you would have to sell about $200 worth of Lego every single business day of the year!! The amount of work that must go into this must be insane - posting on ebay, reposting on ebay multiple times (due to expired auctions, no one buying your listing), dealing with flaky buyers, driving to the post office, spending time shipping at the post office, buying inventory. Also consider the hidden costs involved - ebay fees, taxes on new items purchased, shipping fees, gas, shipping supplies, the opportunity cost of not working somewhere else. Worse yet, some people "part out" their sets hoping to sell the individual pieces for more than the total value of the set. I once saw an internet posting where someone was complaining about the amount of work that needed to part out 80 (!!!) identical copies of a star wars set. These people must have either no other skills they can use in real life, or must be in a state of complete delusion to resort to this type of masochism. The other thing to consider is that a lot of inventory does not sell or move quickly. In order to sell this much lego over the course of the year ($50,000 in our hypothetical example), one would need significantly more Lego in inventory over the course of that time. Where does one get the capital to buy thousands and thousands of dollars worth of Lego? Where does one store all of this? Do they all live in storage warehouses? These people's houses must look like cases from a "Hoarders" episode. Analogously to the day-trader movement, the vast majority of Lego investors probably make nowhere near the amount of money they would like to - probably better for them to pick up overtime hours. Who buys these sets? These days, who are the people that are buying the Green Grocer (or Carousel or whatever sets these investors like) for $1000? Is it someone who actually thinks that the Green Grocer is intrinsically worth $1000 to them, and it brings them that much pleasure? Is it another investor (maybe more likely)? Are these sets actually being sold, or are they just sitting in the market? If anyone has insight into this, feel free to share. Why the obsession with minifigures? Why would I spend $25 on a few minifigures from a set, when I can purchase the entire set for $60? I suppose the only reason is that if I lost a minifigure and wanted to replace it. However, many times if I punch in a lego set number into Ebay, there are many more results for the minifigures in the set, rather than the set itself. Impact on me I am fortunate in that I am not that into the pet favorites of the Lego investor world (Lego SW, LOTR, Carousel, ...). If someone gave me a Green Grocer (and I didn't know the price), I would think it is alright, but I wouldn't get super excited either. Many times, on my local online buy and sell, I can sniff out who is a Lego investor. Their main characteristics are 1) Lots of listings for the typical sets, 2) High prices, 3) Refusal to negotiate. Most of the time, I just avoid them and purchase from someone who happens to be selling something I like for whatever other reason. Almost always, one gets a worse deal from a Lego investor. Killing the spirit I know certainly that if I got into lego investing (just for the sake of the money), it would kill my interest in Lego as a hobby. Who would enjoy spending countless hours each week parting out huge numbers of sets, constantly reposting ebay ads, etc.? It is also disappointing to search for information regarding a set on the internet, only to be greeted by a page which does a side-by-side comparison of the set with others on its investment merits (what is its ROI going to be? when is it EOL?), disregarding any of the characteristics that makes it an intrinsically good Lego set. What can we do? I am the last person to make normative claims regarding other people's behavior - Lego investors can do whatever they want, whether it is to their own benefit, or their own detriment. Some of my own thoughts: - To the contrary, I think that a complete set is worth more than the sum of its parts - I don't "part out". Furthermore, I don't value particular subsets of a Lego set (ie. minifigures) to be vastly more valuable than the rest. Parting out sets reduces the number of complete sets in the market, making the complete sets more rare and costly - I would hope that a non-investor recognizes this. - Whenever possible I avoid dealing with Lego investors. As mentioned earlier, this happens naturally, since almost always their terms are not favorable (high prices). - Prevent friends from being seduced into the delusional belief that they can make thousands by just buying and selling a few Lego sets. - Encourage Lego as an interesting and stimulating hobby and toy for its own merits. - TLG: hopefully they re-release some of the inflated sets - not that I want to buy them, but just to mess with the investors :) I've already seen this happen - within minutes there are floods of panicked messages on brickpicker coming from people who have loaded up on 40 copies of the set, only to see it being re-released at half the secondary market price. Comments, feedback and discussion are welcome :)