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  • One And Done: The Castle Reboot Edition


    The Proposal
    Looking at one and done themes, both in terms of one wave and an availability of one year (and change), can an investor learn anything? Short answer: maybe. Long answer: maaaaaaybe. I'd like to spend a little time talking about the Castle theme. Availability from brickset.com lists May 28th, 2013 to December 22nd, 2014. Yes, I know this might be stretching the aforementioned 'one and change' but actual production was likely much closer to one year with the later EOL date the result of stock being depleted after the final production run. Let's get started...

    The Forums
    The Castle 2013 thread was essentially a discussion of why the 2013 was inferior to Kingdoms and other earlier iterations. Little talk of investment potential or future projections, and not too much chatter even as EOL approached. Many liked the dragon in Dragon Mountain. Some didn't.

    The 70404 King's Castle thread was similar. It started with a bang – a divisive set from the get go with some forum 'bantering' about the overall 'kiddiness' or 'juniorization' of the set as well as 'discussion' in the form of wild speculation (even before the set was released!). I was pleased to see I posted in that thread! Go me! It wasn't my best post, but certainly not my worst. I give it a B- grade. (See it on page 1 of 3 in the 70404 thread). The best information that can be gleaned from the paltry three pages came courtesy of J-Mack, who (I'm paraphrasing) thought King's Castle would hit $200 tops. Amazon has it at $199 as of mid-February 2016 so it turns out the guy might have a pretty good understanding of the Lego secondary market. One factor that might prove him wrong – well, not wrong, per se, but perhaps too conservative, is the lack of a similar replacement on the horizon. Nexo Knights doesn't seem like much of a direct competitor, so perhaps Christmas 2016 will see prices somewhere between $220-240?

    The CAGR (US) Data taken Feb. 2016

    Set #

    Set Name

    CAGR% (BP Data Feb 2016)

    MSRP (US)


    Forest Ambush




    Gold Getaway




    Gatehouse Raid




    Dragon Mountain




    King's Castle



    I think the Gatehouse Raid got a little boost from the fact that it can be used to expand 70404, and was a little surprised that Dragon Mountain wasn't a bit stronger. King's Castle hit the sweet spot. While 70404 was probably harder for most folks to get on clearance, I think it is reasonable to assume that many got it with a solid discount and have had the opportunity to double their initial investment. As for the smaller sets, I think I take away from this that money could only be easily made with deep clearance sales. I recently passed on some of the smallest set from the Pirates theme at nearly 50% off, but did end up biting at 75% off. Of course, smart investors can always bundle some of the smaller sets with 70404 but my personal experience selling King's Castle over the holidays was 9 solo sets to 2 bundles.

    What Did We Learn?
    The forums didn't really provide a lot of useful information. In fact, the forums might have dissuaded folks from buying these to their own detriment. I think we also learned that the largest set in the theme provided the best total profit as well as the best CAGR%. It tells me I should probably get out there and get the last of the Brick Bounty sets still in the wild, for one, and that I can probably pass on the other sets in the Pirates line (no good comparison to Dragon Mountain or even Gatehouse Raid). It also helps me look at other themes more critically to try and maximize profit.



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    7 hours ago, thoroakenfelder said:

    So, is the largest set rule applicable to Jurassic world, Scooby doo, or city subthemes?

    For me, as a collector, it was important to have all the Scooby Doo Villains and characters so I bought the entire line.

    For my boys, they wanted all of the various JW dinosaurs, so again, all the sets.

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    Recently picked up 82 boxes of 70400, at £3.99 per (50% off UK list).  Sold the figs off in sets of 10, at £20 per 10.   

    They literally sold as soon as I listed them and within 2 months they were all done. So I could probably have got a higher price.  I still have all of the parts and will likely sell of the spare weapons and greenery and then the rest in 1kg part bundles.  

    The small sets worth way more if parted, even basically just into figs and rest.   Whilst this doesn’t alter the current market price of a set, the market price shouldn’t necessarily be taken as the market value of a set. 


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    2 hours ago, thoroakenfelder said:

    So, is the largest set rule applicable to Jurassic world, Scooby doo, or city subthemes?

    I think people will want all the Dino's and their variants from the JW line, but the biggest is likely to be the strongest if history has taught us anything. All of the Dino sets from a few years back are doing pretty well.

    As for Scooby Doo, i think the MM will be one of the strongest in this wave. I don't delve into City much so i can't comment on those sets. All of this could change based on how much and of what set the horde masses though....

    This Castle line almost had a "Juniors" vibe to it. I never built them myself, but that's just what i got from box art/reviews.

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    First the directly on topic comments -  thanks for the brief analytical take on a theme that appeals to me (I grabbed one of each for myself and a couple extra of the big sets that paid for the others about a year ago.. but never believed in it as a top investment.) I do think more highly of the Kingdoms line as well but was not part of the initial discussion on this Castle re-visit... sorta all the same as far as I'm concerned, with LotR / Hobbit being more interesting still.

    Now I've gotta chime in on Scooby Doo. If this line is one-and-done in a year, I see good investment potential in it for sure. But every new investor and their dog will have a dozen vans stashed away, and every serious investor in the theme will have stockpiled the Mansion. Enter the "Sea Cow Effect", otherwise known as "that which is not not liked as widely is not hoarded as much and can therefore appreciate faster than sets which are more popular". I really don't like the Museum, and it's tiny, the Plane is cool and affordable, and the Lighthouse is appreciated by more folks it seems, but a little harder on the budget. Will these 3 sets outperform the 2 obvious targets? Three years from now I might have my answer. Until then, I'm keeping my eyeballs peeled for signs of a true winner from the "gang".

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    For Scooby Doo, the plane is my favorite set in the theme.  I'm not like everyone, but I think the Headless Spectre is awesome.  Availability for discounts is a big deal to me, so if I can't find the larger sets on discount, I may go for the smaller sets in the theme.  I feel there's less risk that way too.

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    Amazon had a BOGO where you could get a pair of King's Castle for ~$60 each if I'm thinking right.  I didn't buy any, but obviously should have, I was newer and the hype train just wasn't rolling on this theme/set at the time. 

    I noticed the performance of this set when I picked up a King's Castle from AWD and then decided to flip it during Christmas.  After that I was convinced that Brick Bounty should also be a solid pickup as it was a classic theme that hit similar beats of the King's Castle.  I know I'm in the minority, but I wouldn't mind seeing a classic western theme, with a big Legoredo style fort.

    It is interesting that King's Castle performance is handily beating Helm's Deep, but maybe that is explained by the fact that they hype train was full steam ahead for that set and LOTR/Hobbit fans aren't as numerous or hardcore as portrayed.

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