One thing I always wonder (and I know others do too) is if my collection will one day be valuable. It’s fun to fantasize about one-day making bank off of the next Vinyl Caped Jawa, or Action Comics #1. About rolling around in a Scrooge McDuck style money pit from selling my old toys. Sadly, I likely never will, I’m one of those madcap out of box collectors. When I buy a new LEGO set, I don’t put it carefully aside and preserve it. I rip that sucker open and get to building.

I know I’m not the only collector like this, as much as it pains the MIB (mint in box) crowd to hear. But those in the box collectors can enjoy their superiority in this one instance. Thanks to those boxes, there is a chance your collection is worth something. For the anti-boxers like me, your collection still might have value if you sell the higher piece count sets preassembled. But let’s start with the question we’re all wondering. Do LEGOs increase in value?

The short answer is… sometimes. I answer this a lot when it comes to collectibles because like all things, there’s nuance. Not every set you yank off the shelf is going to skyrocket in value, you just can’t expect that. Do you know how many new LEGO sets they pump out a year? A LOT. But I can tell you with confidence. Some sets do gain value. It does happen. There are sets out there worth more than many of us make in a month, and some are worth enough to get a rather nice used car (I’m not taking BMW, but bear with me.)

via Sonny Abesamis on Flickr

The value of LEGOs is one of those things you never think about as a kid. If you got a LEGO set you wanted to build it–often without the instructions. They are toys meant to entertain and let your imagination run wild. But as an AFOL (adult fan of LEGO for the uninitiated), that joy is still there– but it changes. See, AFOL like me often go through what I call the “Dark Ages” where we lose interest in LEGOs. A lot of fans I talk to have the same story. They put aside their bricks and stumble back years later looking for the joy they had as a kid.

How I feel when someone tells me opening boxes ruins the value. via. InSapphoWeTrust on Flickr

LEGO is fantastic because that joy is still waiting for you, and if you go back you will probably find the same giddiness you got completing a set as a kid. There is pride in putting together a giant set–but (and there’s always a but), this is not the mindset that makes you money. This is the mindset of a builder, not an investor.

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See, the difference between a valuable LEGO and a toy, is the box. I’m going to repeat myself, because it’s important, not every set is worth money. But it’s pretty much guaranteed that if you took it out of the box, the value goes down. This can only be countered if you are a builder who sells sets fully assembled–SOME of these can be worth a lot of money, but even then most are not.

“Valuable you say?”

So again, MIB AFOL (how many acronyms can I use in a single sentence) rejoice, your care and safekeeping can pay off. Here’s the issue though. There is no certainty that your sets will be the ones that will be worth money. So just because you took the care to keep them pristine in their cardboard packaging, doesn’t mean you have a gold mine in storage.

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Many of the most valuable sets are exclusive to the LEGO Inside Tour or Con Exclusives, but that’s not always the case. Some sets–especially old Star Wars sets (and a few of the newer ones too) are just as valuable, if not more so. Additionally, the LEGO Creator series can net you some serious cash, if you have the right set.

The problem is it’s tough to predict which set is going to become valuable. You probably have better odds of winning $10,000 in the lottery than guessing which LEGO set will be worth that much in a decade.

The big question to ask yourself is, does it make you happy? Or as my friends who are into that anti-clutter show keep saying “does it spark joy?” if the answer is yes, you’re doing it right. Collect what makes you happy, either open it or don’t. Collecting is about you and the things you love. Making money is a neat idea, and yes, some LEGOs increase in value, but that’s not what got you into collecting in the first place, is it?

Written by Chelsea Blackstone
Chelsea has been working with Gemr for over two years. She has lots of opinions on action figures and is not so secretly hoarding them. She also collects dragons, monsters, and kaiju in hopes of starting the Ultimate Monster Show-Down. In her free time, Chelsea is an avid gamer and giant nerd.