If you’re a parent of a smart kid like me, you know the must-have toy this holiday is Lego Minecraft.
The only problem? You can’t find one. Anywhere. At least not in Lego or other brick and mortar stores.
Sure, you can get one on Amazon, but only after shelling out $120 or so, more than three times the list price of $34.99.
eBay you ask? Good luck with that. You might some luck there, but like me you’ll probably watch bidders push the final price to over $90.
I was lucky enough to get one during one of the (very short) periods of availability at shop.lego.com, and it’s a lovely little set. Probably not the best of the year (have a look at Brickset’s gift guide), but I can see why it’s popular.
Now that I have a 5-year-old, I pay attention to things like Star Wars branded Lego sets. And they are a rip off. Why are these little plastic bricks so expensive? The cheapest set I can find is $7, most of the minifigs are more expensive than that, many sets are a few hundred dollars, and the most expensive sets are the price of a used car: there’s a Lego Star Destroyer for $1600 and a Lego Millenium Falcon for $3400.
Now get off my lawn!
I was going to comment on the fact that Kottke’s looking on Amazon at the price of discontinued sets, but his main blog has been updated to reflect that. What I’ll do instead is note that if you want predictable prices for discontinued Lego sets, you should be looking at Bricklink. For example, here’s the UCS Millennium Falcon, with US sales from $1,700 used, $2,150 new in box- way less than the $3,400 quoted (although, yes, a good appreciation from the $500 it was when Lego sold it).
On the broader points: Lego, even licenced sets, typically sells for around the 10¢ a piece it’s cost for most of the last fifteen years, despite the cost of crude oil more than doubling in that time. It’s true that there are very few small sets in the Star Wars range (apart from the occasional polybag, the cheapest sets are the $10 Planet series), but the flipside of that is you tend to get more to play with. (Typically the $12 “battle pack” sets have four minifigures.)