Time is tight leading up to the festive season and I’ve had a number of books sat on my office desk awaiting review. The first one (and probably last one before 2016) is from the owners/creators of Brick Picker, the world’s number 1 site when it comes to LEGO investing and collecting.
There are two very distinct types of adult LEGO hobbyists out there: those who do justice to their passion for the brick, the amazing sets and creating their own models. Obviously this category can be broken down into further sub-categories. Then you have the other ones, who use LEGO as a source of investment and a way to make money. We all have our views on using LEGO as an investment etc, however it does play an important part in the LEGO community.
Now I’m a LEGO fan who collects sets to build and display. I don’t save boxes and I don’t save instruction booklets. Once it’s built the model stays built until it is cleaned etc. I have no intention of selling it and should the time come when I’ve had enough, I would pass it onto my daughter. However, I’ve always had a passing interest in what my collection is worth. I am a Discworld collector too and own books worth a few pound, so I know why investing in LEGO is an attractive proposition to many. This is where Brick Picker comes in as it’s the one-stop site for everything and anything to do with LEGO investing. Founding brothers Ed and Jeff Maciorowski have published a book to further help those who like to keep track of their collection (and what it’s potentially worth), so here is my review of their new publication. Officially titled as “The Ultimate Guide to Collectible LEGO®: The Best Sets to Buy and Sell”, it’s on sale now from Amazon UK priced at £17.99
Brick by Brick Brilliance
Abundantly visual, informative and detailed, The Ultimate Guide to Collectible LEGO Sets is the definitive reference to more than 2,000 of the most collectible sets on the secondary market, illustrating the incredible value of LEGO bricks, not only from an entertainment and educational standpoint, but also as an investment. Consider a Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series Millennium Falcon, which sold at retail for $500, is now selling for more than $3,500 on the secondary market.
The Ultimate Guide to Collectible LEGO Sets features:
- More than 25 top themes, including Advanced Models, Batman, Ideas/Cuusoo, Star Wars UCS and non-UCS sets, Technic, Trains, and Vintage
- Up-to-date secondary market prices for more than 2,000 new and used sets from 2000 to present
- More than 300 full-color photos of sets in their boxes, and built models
- Tips on reselling, flipping, and investing
The Ultimate Guide to Collectible LEGO Sets is your brick-by-brick guide to a world of imagination and discovery.
The book is a large paperback book slightly larger then A4 size, with 250+ pages. It’s a fountain of information and to help you find what you want to know it’s broken down into main chapters. After the intro you have 28 chapters with each recent major theme having it’s own chapter. At the back you also have a price guide, a glossary and bibliography. The introduction goes over the basics, how to use the book, why you should invest in LEGO and a big bit on how sets are valued. This section alone is worth reading but any collector will know a MISB is going to be worth more then a used set for example. The book just covers that in a lot more detail and also helps you understand why. For the purpose of this book the authors have only stuck to sets released from 2000 onwards for various reasons but it is a good starting point.
For this review I am going to cover chapter 1 but each themed chapter onwards is basically the same layout/format. You get a detailed introduction and I found each chapter very interesting to read. Even after 5 years of running LEGO related sites I still found interesting information I did not already know! The book then selects the best sets from each theme as a focal point. When I say best I mean those that are highly sought after and thus demand a high fee on the second-hand market. For example, in this chapter we get to know about the Grand Carousel which sold at RRP $249.99 and now costs $2,278 for a MISB. The authors explain why it demands such a high price etc and this continues throughout the book. For those like me who are not into investing you do still learn a lot and have a better understanding of how and why.
The book even includes a few highly sought after MOCs such as the custom LEGO stand created for the Statue of Liberty model. One section of the book I did particlarly enjoy, due to my own well-documented love affair with modular buildings, was the coverage on these select sets as it’s a delightful read and a fab insight into the investment side of the hobby. Personally I enjoyed the parts of the book featuring sets I either have or would like to own, more then sets that, frankly, I have little interest in. I think this is same for fans like me who only like certain themes/sets. For those who buy sets and keep them in MISB then this book will be like a bible to you.
With every theme over the past 15 years pretty much covered here, by the time you’ve read it cover to cover you will know which themes are worthy of investment and which could leave you out of pocket. Yes – some sets become cheaper to buy on the secondhand market! The price guide chapter is also fab as it gives you the info you need on all the sets – you will definitely be hard pushed to find a more detailed LEGO list in a book.
When I was sent this book I must admit I initially frowned upon it, but I think out of all the recent books this is one that all LEGO fans would enjoy, no matter what sort of LEGO fan you are. It’s always worth knowing what your collection is worth, even if it’s just to keep the wife/partner quiet. I really did enjoy this book and if you are looking for a solid LEGO-based publication to aid your collection grow then pick one up now.
Book scans from Brickset