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  • LEGO Chess Sets: An Investment "Checkmate"?

    Ed Mack

    As I sift daily through the various LEGO forums and blogs to keep informed on the latest developments in the LEGO world, one particular phrase commonly appears in a majority of the topics...MINI FIGURES.  LEGO fans love mini figures.  LEGO mini figures are a driving force to the popularity and longevity of the brand.  It got me thinking about what LEGO sets have the most mini figures in them.  Think about it, most LEGO sets that have even a single mini figure are more valuable and/or more popular than LEGO sets without them(...of course there are exceptions, such as the Sculpture, Large Scale Model and Ultimate Collector Series STAR WARS sets).  So if one mini figure makes a LEGO set a more intriguing purchase, how about a LEGO set with multiple mini figures?  They have to be more valuable, right?  Which LEGO sets/themes have the most mini figures in them?  The LEGO “Chess” sets.  Let's take a closer look at them...


      Not including this years 853373-1: LEGO Kingdoms Chess Set, there have been 5 Chess sets released since 2005.  Here is the LEGO.com description and some key points about the five LEGO Chess sets:

      Knight's Kingdom Chess Set(G678)Knight's Kingdom Chess Set(G678):


      Play an exciting game of chess with real LEGO Knights! Choose your color and you're ready to begin. Will you checkmate your opponent's king and win, or will you go down in defeat? It's a game of skill and strategy that's fun for chess fans and LEGO fans too! Includes full-size chess board (measures 10 x 10 inches/ 25.4 x 25.4 cm) with sturdy storage case featuring leather handle & bindings and snap closure. Chess board is held inside carrying case with touch fasteners -- play at home or on the go! Total of 32 chess pieces, including 24 mini figures! Storage case includes compartments to hold them all!

    BrickPicker.com says: Basic Lego Chess set with 24 Kingdoms mini figures.  The first of the Lego Chess sets.  Nice packaging and excellent playability.

        G577-1: Vikings Chess SetViking's Chess Set(G577): Pillage your opponent in this exciting game of skill and strategy! This exclusive LEGO Vikings Chess set includes a total of 32 chess pieces, featuring 24 minifigures. Just choose your color and you're ready to begin! One-piece chess board measures 10" x 10" (25.4 x 25.4 cm). Includes sturdy carrying case with leather handle, snap closures, touch fastener for holding board in place and storage compartments for each piece. 32 chess pieces include 24 LEGO Vikings minifigures! Available exclusively from LEGO!  



    BrickPicker.com says: Very similar to the above Knight's Kingdom Chess set.  Basic Lego Chess set with a Viking theme and 24 Viking mini figures.  This set also has quality packaging and the playability is above average.

        852001-1: Castle Chess SetCastle Chess Set(852001): Battle your opponent in this exciting game of skill and strategy! This exclusive LEGO Castle Chess Set includes a total of 32 chess pieces, featuring 24 minifigures. Just choose your side and you're ready to play! One-piece chess board measures 10" x 10" (25 cm x 25 cm)! Includes 32 chess pieces featuring 24 LEGO minifigures including knights, skeletons, wizard, king and princess! Includes sturdy carrying case with leather handle, snap closures and storage compartments for each piece!  



    BrickPicker.com says: This LEGO Chess set is a little more detailed than the Knight's Kingdom and Vikings Chess set.  The packaging/storage box is quite nice and keeps the pieces and board in easy to maintain sections.  The mini figures are a bit more varied and detailed.  Overall, an improvement from the earlier LEGO Chess sets.

        852293-1: Castle Giant Chess SetCastle GIANT Chess Set(852293): There's never been a chess set like this one before! Now you can build the biggest and best LEGO chess board of all time, covered in incredible LEGO Castle details and complete with a dungeon, armory, and decorative dragon heads'¦and that's just the board itself! Pieces include king, queen, good and evil wizards, witch, knights, dwarves, trolls, skeleton warriors and horses, castle turrets, rolling siege towers, and more. It's the ultimate LEGO set for any chess player, collector, or LEGO Castle fan! Includes 31 minifigures, 2 giant trolls, 2 horses, 2 skeleton horses and 2 dragon heads! Minifigures are ready for battle with armor, swords, shields, and other cool accessories! It's a battle of good dwarves and knights vs. evil trolls and skeletons! Build the 4 realms in the corners of the chess board - the skeleton realm, troll realm, dwarf realm and castle realm! Measures 17" (43cm) squared! Complete with a giant storage case, measuring over 24" (61cm) high, 20" (50cm) wide and 7" (17cm) deep.

    BrickPicker.com says: Spectacular LEGO Chess set.  Whether you play Chess or not, you can appreciate the amount of detail and love that went into this creation.  Over 2000 pieces and 31 mini figures make up this wonderful set.  Trolls, skeleton horses, Dragon heads, castles and dungeons make up this Chess set.  The packaging/storage box is probably the most stylish of all LEGO boxes ever produced in my opinion.  It looks like a huge antique book.  Very nice.  The board, once completed, is huge and the mini figures are quite interesting and varied.  A bit pricey, but worth every penny or pound in my opinion.  One of my favorite all time LEGO sets!

      852751-1: Pirates Chess SetPirate's Chess Set(852751):
    * No LEGO description available








    BrickPicker.com says:  Another basic LEGO Chess set, this time with a Pirate theme instead of Kingdoms or Vikings theme.  Nice set.  Standard 24 mini figure count.  As with the previous sets, the variety of the mini figures is adequate and the packaging is very nice and usable.  An overall above average LEGO set.

      Well, from the above descriptions, you can see that the LEGO Chess Sets as a whole come with a substantial amount of mini figures.  Each set comes with at least 24 and the Castle Giant Chess Set comes with 33, but how does this translate into value when the Chess sets hit the secondary LEGO market?  Take a look at the below chart which illustrates the amount the 5 main LEGO Chess sets released since 2005 have appreciated in value:    



    Set Name Set Number Year Released MSRP Current Value % Increase
    Knight's Kingdom Chess Set G678 2005 $49.99 $131.00 162.00%
    Viking's Chess Set G577 2006 $49.99 $124.00 148.00%
    Castle Chess Set 852001 2007 $49.99 $108.00 116.00%
    Castle Giant Chess Set 852293 2008 $199.99 $523.00 161.00%
    Pirates Chess Set 852751 2009 $49.99 $141.00 182.00%



        Overall, LEGO Chess Sets have posted quite solid returns over the past 7 years.  While they might not be the investment juggernauts of STAR WARS and Modular Buildings sets, the Chess sets are no slouches either.  With % 'increases' of 116% to 182%, the Chess sets make a worthwhile addition to any LEGO collection.  Each set contains a minimum of 24 mini figures and that in itself is a valuable commodity.  New Chess sets like the 853373-1: LEGO Kingdoms Chess Set, could be quite a value at $49.99(US) for 28 mini figures.  What other set can you find 28 LEGO mini figures for less than $50?  I don't know of many, if any.  On a personal note, The Castle Giant Chess Set (852293) is a "work of art" in my opinion and I would highly recommend this set to any serious LEGO investor/collector.  The set is a bit steep in the secondary market, but it has been making a steady move upward in value and I see room to grow.  Also, I am waiting for LEGO to release a STAR WARS LEGO Chess Set (known as 'Holochess' to all you STAR WARS fans) that was being played  by Chewbacca and R2-D2 in The New Hope.  That would be a LEGO Chess set that might rival the 10179 Millennium Falcon...

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