The Sandcrawler is without a doubt one of the most iconic vehicles in the entire Star Wars universe. Ever since C-3PO first spotted this gargantuan transport, Star Wars fans have been very attracted to the idea of owning their own version, along with its extremely popular operators, the Jawas.
Back in 2004 released its own version of the Sandcrawler. That set remains a pretty accurate version of what we originally saw in the movies, and for a long time it was also a very expensive set to acquire in the secondary market. As mentioned before, a big part of its appeal was that, at the time, it was the only set to ever include the Jawa minifigures.
As you can see in the graph below, the original 10144 Sandcrawler has experienced a significant decrease in value. A year ago, you could acquire a used version for around $240; that’s $50 more than what it is currently selling for.
Of course, it is not hard to explain the reason for this decrease, as LEGO released a much-improved version of the Sandcrawler during the second quarter of 2014. At the time, I have to admit that I didn’t really like the newer model as much as I do now.
The newer version will hit its 2-year anniversary next year, and while LEGO’s product cycles have changed significantly over the last few years, I figured I would give my opinion about the Sandcrawler’s investment potential.
As a personal note, I recently acquired a personal copy of this set for my personal collection, and have to admit that it is a pretty impressive model with really nice minifigures.
One of the reasons I am confident this set will perform well once retired is that it includes almost 3,300 pieces, making it one of the largest LEGO sets currently in production. While size is not the only predictor for future growth, it has definitely contributed to the success of other sets beyond the Star Wars theme. In this case, the number of pieces allows for the design of the set to be extremely accurate to its movie counterpart.
As mentioned before, the minifigure selection is also pretty solid, with the 4 Jawas and Owen Lars as its main highlights. It is important to mention that the release of this newer version has actually hurt the value of the Jawa minifigure in general, as it used to sell for closer to $30 and now hovers slightly over $10.
Another aspect that I believe will contribute to this set’s future value is the instruction manual. While some of the older Ultimate Collectors Series (UCS) sets had really nice and bulky instructions (Death Star/Super Star Destroyer) the new Sandcrawler is one of the first, if not the first, to include what I consider a more collector oriented manual. Besides giving the builder step by step instructions, it also includes a nice introduction with some images and information about the Sandcrawler itself. A pretty nice touch that LEGO and Star Wars collectors will definitely value in the long run.
LEGO officially recognized the set as part of the Star Wars’ UCS, making it the first set to be “stamped” with the new UCS seal on the box. While one could really argue the Sandcrawler does not really qualify as a UCS set for a couple of reasons (missing information label and the fact that it is a play-set and not a display piece), official recognition by LEGO is all it takes for it to be sought after by some of the most serious collectors. As we all know, UCS sets appreciate significantly after retirement, and this one should be no exception.
Even if you were to completely dismiss the set as part of the UCS line, the performance of the original Sandcrawler over the 8 years before this new release was pretty outstanding. While the investment landscape has changed, the size and price don’t necessarily make this one easy to hoard for the average investor.
I put this set in the same category as I do the Death Star and Ewok Village, not really UCS but not solely play sets either; more of a mixed breed that I am encouraged to see LEGO is willing to produce more often, as evidenced with the upcoming Hoth Rebel Base. It will definitely be interesting to see how these "sub-line" behaves once retired.
Finally, it is my personal opinion that the Sandcrawler will retire at some point in 2016, probably by the end of the year. I will shoot to have at least 4 or 5 of these before July of next year, and invite every investor to consider it as part of their strategy as well.
Thanks for reading.
Edited by Fcbarcelona101