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Lego Toys

What is the Most Expensive LEGO Set Ever Sold and Why?

LEGO bricks are probably the most iconic children’s toys. However, apart from being the most common toys in the playroom, they are also valuable collector items. 

Some LEGO sets sell for crazy figures, especially in their finished form. So, what is the most expensive LEGO set and why was it so expensive?

The most expensive LEGO set is the H.C. Andersen’s Clumsy Hans (2015 Edition) which sells for upwards of $7000. They are primarily expensive because of their perceived value. Their quality, research and development costs, and cost of licensing also contribute to their price.

This article looks at some of the most expensive LEGO sets in history. Keep reading to find out why collector LEGO bricks are so expensive.

LEGO History Facts

While you might already know what LEGO bricks are, here are a few facts you probably don’t know about them:

LEGO (the company) was started in 1932 in Denmark by Ole Kirk Christian. He was a carpenter who started making wooden toys when he lost his job.

Although the LEGO company began in 1932, the interlocking bricks we all love were not developed until 1949.

LEGO was originally called “automatic binding bricks.” Surprisingly, LEGO (the company) was not the first company to market the bricks. However, they improved the original kiddicraft block and purchased the rights in 1981.

The plural of LEGO is LEGO. Therefore, you can have one LEGO or two hundred LEGO. Nevertheless, most people just call them LEGO because it sounds better.

What was the First LEGO Set?

There’s a bit of controversy over the first LEGO set because the initial units were a flop. However, LEGO improved its brick design and released a few sets to set the contrast between the old bricks from 1950 and the new design from a couple of years later.

That said, most LEGO collectors agree that the first real LEGO set was the number 234. This was re-released with the new design in 1957 and was an instant success.

Most Expensive LEGO Set 2022

Most expensive LEGO set
H.C. Andersen’s Clumsy Hans (2015 Edition) is a known Expensive LEGO Set: Image credits; Brickset

Collector LEGO sets can be pretty expensive. Star wars series LEGO are especially expensive and sell for thousands of dollars.

It’s not easy to find out what the most expensive LEGO set in 2022 cost because they are mostly sold in private auctions or traded between collectors. 

However, H.C. Andersen’s Clumsy Hans (2015 Edition) sets have been known to sell for upwards of $7000.

Most Expensive LEGO Minifigure

LEGO Minifigures are even more expensive than the sets. In fact, several collectible Minifigures have sold for 6 figures. 

For instance, the most expensive LEGO Minifigure you can buy in 2022 is the 14K Gold C-3PO (2007) which retails for about $300,000.

Only five examples of the golden Minifigure were made, and although they sold for $26,000 at launch, their prices have shot up considerably in the past couple of years.

Most expensive LEGO minifigure
14K Gold C-3PO LEGO Minifigure: Image Credits: Minifigpriceguide

Why are they So Expensive?

With such figures, one can’t help but wonder why anyone would pay $300,000 for a toy. Here are some of the reasons collectible LEGO are so expensive:

1. Quality is Expensive

While LEGO ripped off another brand to make the first sets, they have perfected their product over the years. The company makes standard bricks from ABS plastic. 

The hard and durable material creates a long-lasting toy. Unless you break them (which is quite difficult), LEGO bricks can live for many decades.

In fact, since LEGO are the same size, a piece from 1957 will fit perfectly into a similar set in 2022.

The machines used to manufacture the bricks have tolerances as low as 10 micrometers. These small tolerances ensure a tight fit and a strong connection between the LEGO bricks. 

Although some other brands might design their products to fit with LEGO, they’ll probably not be as tight and firm.

These materials, equipment, and the whole manufacturing process are expensive. Therefore, LEGO has to charge a bit more for their products to maintain the quality.

2. Research and Development

Despite having a near-perfect product, LEGO still invests heavily in R&D. In fact, the company releases about 850 new sets each year. 

According to its annual report for 2020, new products make up 55% of the annual portfolio. These are amazing figures for any company, not just one that deals with toy bricks.

As a result, LEGO have to be expensive for the company to maintain R&D costs.

3. Licensing for Collector LEGO

If your love for building things combines with other interests like Star Wars or Harry Potter, you’ve probably seen licensed LEGO. Licensing for popular tv and comic series like Star Wars is definitely not cheap. 

As a matter of fact, the 2020 annual report says that LEGO spent about $500 million on license and royalty expenses in that fiscal year. The company does not take these expenses to the chin, they are passed down to the consumer.

Consequently, licensed LEGOs are significantly more expensive than the standard building bricks.

4. Perceived Value

Most collector items appreciate over time because of their perceived value. They are desirable but rare to find. And, whenever there’s more demand than supply for anything, prices rise.

The most expensive LEGO sets are limited collections, which are extremely rare to find. Every collector wants to have these rare sets and most are willing to pay whatever it takes.

Lego Sets That Will Be Worth Money in Future

It’s difficult to tell which LEGO sets will appreciate in the future. However, most limited collections are likely to retain their value or even sell for more in future. 

For instance, even if you buy an H.C. Andersen’s Clumsy Hans (2015 Edition) set for $7000 in 2022, it’s unlikely to depreciate with time.

Read Also: Why are Wii Games So Expensive?

Are Lego Minifigures Worth Collecting?

Collecting expensive LEGO Minifigures is more of a hobby than a sustainable business. If you like Minifigures and can afford them, you can collect them for fun. 

However, if you’re looking for something to invest your money in, there are several better options.

Where to Get Cheap Lego Sets

If you’re looking to find nice LEGO sets at a discount, the used market is your best bet. You can start at local yard sales, thrift stores, or even try to buy them from your friends. You can also try dedicated LEGO marketplaces like bricklink.

Amazon occasionally has some interesting LEGO sets at good prices. You may want to look at some of them here.

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