As you probably know if you've been into the studio we ADORE LEGO! But none so more than our in-house Lego master Adam C Artist! He's been collecting for pretty much his whole adult life and we thought we'd ask him some hard hitting questions about his history with Lego, his current collection, and what makes Lego such an interesting hobby and investment.
When do you first get into lego?
Ohhhh see now this is tricky! I was massively into lego as a kid, I had all sorts of cool sets, Pirates, Cowboys, Space, trains! But as the story normally goes, I got older , the lego went into boxes and then it got sold to clear out under the house…….I feel many people have come to know this pain haha! But then one day when i was about 20 I was looking at lego and saw a star wars set, just one of the small $10 one at the time, and i thought it would be a cool little set to have on a shelf and that would be that…..but OH NO, that's not how lego works! The love for the lego was back and Now 12 years later I'm a full blown AFOL
(that's the actual term haha ! It means Adult Fan Of Lego)!
What was your first lego box and whats your favorite in your collection so far?
Well Its hard to remember what was my very first set but i know it would have been one of 2. When i was about 7 for Christmas I got a really cool Lego Pirate Island, it had a shark and a rope bridge , it was pretty bad ass. But this is mainly one of the first I remember because I spent all Christmas day building it, only to have my big sis knock it over and smash it to pieces, that was not cool haha. Or it was the Lego Octane Petrol station, not quite as cool as a pirate island buuuutttt it had a turning car-wash sooooo there's that haha!
"I was massively into lego as a kid, I had all sorts of cool sets, Pirates, Cowboys, Space, trains"
What's your favorite set?
Seriously, your gonna make me pick? How about top 5, no wait top 10!
Ok fine Ill keep it to 5!
In no particular order....
Ultimate Collectors Series - Millenium Falcon, Its huge, its literally the biggest
set ever made!
The Simpsons Kwik E Mart , I also have the House but the Mini arcade machines and squishy machine are the best!
The Ghostbusters Fire House - Whats there to say, its the flippin GHOSTBUSTERS FIRE HOUSE!!!!
Death Star - Internal model - It has a mini trash compactor level on it!
Metal Beards Sea Cow - Its a giant steampunk pirate ship from the lego movie! And best of all it comes with the double Decker couch!!
I'd also like to add an honorable mention, the HUGE 74cm tall Lego Disney castle which I lugged back all the way from America!
How do you look after your collection?
Hmmm well The majority of my favorite sets are all in closed glass display cabinets to keep them free from dust (trust me dusting lego is not fun!),If you are keeping your lego sets on a shelf or display cabinet without doors, I would totally recommend one of those cans of compressed air to help keep the dust off .
Its also best to try and keep them out of direct sunlight as UV can fade some of the plastic brick colours or it can also turn the light grey and white bricks yellow. Once you get to a stage where you have quite a few large sets or especially boxed older or retired sets, I would also highly recommend insuring your collection. The replacement value VS what you actually paid for the set can be massive, for example a Pirates of the Caribbean ship that was around $200 in stores is now between 500 - 600 on ebay and trademe.
Whats your advice to anyone wanting to start a lego collection?
Ummmmmm be prepared every few months to yell “SERIOUSLY LEGO!?” as the new line of awesome lego is announced haha! But seriously i guess firstly decide why and how serious you want to be about collecting lego, there are all sorts of people who collect lego for many different reasons.
Are you going to strictly be buying lego for investment purposes? collecting to resell individual bricks? ( there are a large group of people who buy sets to break them up and sell individually) or collecting for fun and the love of lego!
Collectting for investment can be a lot of work, learning the trends of current toys and the lego lines, learning what sets always increase when retired, what sets are limited release or specific to certain regions or stores- some lines you may not really like but they may be a better investment in the long run.
Keeping an eye on lego sales and discounts to ensure you are getting the best resale margin on your sets etc.
Other than buying individual parts for building my own custom lego models,I personally do not get into the side of selling individual lego parts, this is a heck of a lot of work, and if you wish to know more, I highly recommend checking out some of the many many on line articles, and www.bricklink.com .
Or are you just going to collect for fun and the love of lego? This is mostly the category I fall into, with a little bit of the investment side thrown in. The great thing about buying lego even if its just for the love of the set or the theme, is that Lego is the type of toy that never really loses Value, of course the condition,rarity etc is all important and a set in a sealed box is always worth more than an opened set, but you can find second hand opened sets in good condition on ebay etc for 3 or 4 times the value of what they were originally in stores.
As lego has so many themes it can get very expensive and take up a lot of room very fast! With that In mind if your not going for investment sets I recommend picking one or two themes to stick with, such as collecting Star Wars, Or Super Hero, or Speed Champions, Lego City etc. It also pays to keep in mind that licensed sets will always cost much more than Lego's own themed sets, A small lego city set can cost around $15, but a small Star Wars set of the same size may cost around $25. Lego's own themes do not tend to hold the same value as licensed sets with the exception of the larger expert creator sets.
There are some great websites for helping you with your collection..
www.brickset.com allows you to load in all of your sets, minifigs etc and will give you a count of not only your sets, but your pieces and how many minifigures
that you have.
www.brickpicker.com is great for people who want to tracker the value of their collection, it not only has price guides, and direct links to ebay for current market price, you can even import your collection from brickset.com to get a current value, as well as view changes in prices for your whole collection as well as individual set prices changes. This is basically like a lego stock market!
"Lego was actually a smarter investment than gold, with some sets returning around 3.5% per year or in the case of the Eiffel Tower set increasing in value 1400%"
Why is lego such a good investment?
For a time Lego was actually a smarter investment than gold, with some sets returning around 3.5% per year or in the case of the Eiffel Tower set increasing in value 1400% since release and subsequent retirement. But like with investing in anything there is always a risk and knowing the market and what you are investing in is really important. Basically though it comes down to supply and demand, most lego collectors are what I would consider “completionists” meaning if they collect a particular theme they want to have them all, and if you miss a set and the set is later retired it is unlikely that lego will release that set again (be aware they do often release updated versions) but if you want the original set you will need to rely on the public market to buy it.
Whats your most valuable lego set?
Hmmmm sentimental value? Price I paid or increase in value ? Sentimental wise, I have one remaining set from my childhood western lego sets, it only has one cowboy and a little jail but definitely holds a special place in my collection haha.
Most expenisive ive paid for …..the new Millenium falcon ultimate collector series model, it was $1500 and contains 7541 pieces!
Hmmmm most increased in value vs what I actually paid is probably one of the creator modular buildings I got on sale for around $150 is now above $1000 to buy on ebay.
Whats your most sort after lego set?
Hmmmm I have quite a few of the retired creator expert sets and UCS sets, its hard to say exactly what is the most sort after, but possibly the original Death Star set!
"I currently have over 1800 minifgures"
So what about minifigs?
Ohhh geees! Minifigs are a whole special area to them selves haha, they can be one of the main draw cards for buying an otherwise unexciting set. There are the Minifig collecable series that come out roughly every 3 months and normally contain some of the coolest designed minifigs not found in sets, then there are polly bag minifigs, which are special promotional minifigs not found in sets but tied into a specific themes. One of my favorites of these I own is a full chromed Darth Vader. Then there are minifigs exclusive to specific sets, one of the best examples of this is the Heath Ledger Joker minifig which only appears in the massive UCS Bat Tumbler, to buy the minifig alone will cost you upwards of $65 on ebay. There are collectors who specifically buy sets to take out and collect or sell just the minifgs and will then sell the main set cheaper without the minifigs included.
I currently have over 1800 minifgures, including an army of around 80 Snowtroopers and 80 Rebel Soldiers battling it out on my own custom Hoth MOC (Diarama). But my favorite is probably my Darth Revan Minifig! I even got a photo of it with me in my full Darth Revan Costume haha
Do you think you’ll ever sell your collection?
I doubt I will ever sell my entire collection, I would ideally like to pass it down one day, or to have it displayed somewhere that other people could view and enjoy.I have other sets not included in my displayed collection, these are sets I purchased that are all still in their boxes specifically for the purpose of selling one day :)