The Ultimate FAQ Guide to ‘Retired’ and ‘Retiring’ LEGO Sets

Nerdacity Apr 28, 2024
1948 People Read
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For LEGO enthusiasts, it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest news and information. One topic that often comes up as a source of uncertainty is the 'retirement' of LEGO sets.

With so many sets being released each year, it can be confusing to know what 'retiring' actually means, and subsequently, which sets are retiring and when.

In this guide, we'll answer 18 of the most frequently asked questions regarding retired/retiring LEGO sets, providing you with all the essential information you'll ever need to know.

1. What Does it Mean When a LEGO Set is 'Retiring'?

When a LEGO set is retiring, it means that LEGO has decided to discontinue its production and has a planned date in mind. This is sometimes denoted by a 'Last Chance' label above a set's name on its product page on LEGO.com

2. What Does it Mean When a LEGO Set is 'Retired'?

Once a set has retired, LEGO will no longer produce it or sell it directly through their website or official stores. A retired product will be denoted by a 'Retired Product' label below a set's name on its product page on LEGO.com.

Bear in mind though, retired sets may still be available whilst other retailers sell their remaining stock. Other third-party sellers or resellers may also offer a retired set for a price above its RRP due to a new lack of availability.

3. Why Do LEGO Sets Retire?

The most common reason for sets to retire is LEGO wanting to make room for new sets and/or themes. By retiring older sets, LEGO can introduce fresh designs and concepts to keep the brand exciting and relevant.

Additionally, regularly retiring sets helps maintain the value and sales of LEGO products, by making them more collectible for enthusiasts, as well as creating a fear of missing out for 'on the fence' buyers.

4. Does 'Sold Out' on LEGO.com Mean a Set is Retired?

In some cases, a set being listed as 'sold out' on LEGO.com can indeed indicate that a set is retired, especially if coupled with a 'retiring soon' label on the product page.

Sets can sometimes be listed as 'sold out' temporarily due to high demand or production delays too though. LEGO often restocks popular sets, so it's crucial to check the product page often, and keep an eye out for any updates and announcements.

5. Do All LEGO Sets Retire?

Eventually yes. Every set will retire at some point to make way for new products and themes.

6. How Long Do LEGO Sets Stay on the Market Before Retiring?

The lifespan of a LEGO set varies depending on the individual product's theme and popularity, but a set will usually remain on the market for around 1-3 years. Some sets may retire sooner, while others may stay in production for longer.

7. How Can I Find Out When a LEGO Set is Retiring?

LEGO typically announces the retirement of sets on their website (by listing them here) or through official social media (LEGO's Twitter/X Account) or press releases.

Additionally, LEGO fan communities and websites dedicated to LEGO news often share information about retiring sets based on rumours and/or insider knowledge.

8. Which LEGO Sets Are Retiring in 2024?

We're currently in the process of creating an article listing all LEGO sets confirmed to be retiring this year. Check back here soon for a link!

9. Do LEGO Set Retirement Dates Change?

Yes, regularly. LEGO can push a retirement date back by a year one week, then revert the change the next, so it's important to stay up-to-date. 

10. Can Retired LEGO Sets Come Back or be Re-Released?

In a few isolated cases, LEGO has re-released retired sets, as was case with the Taj Mahal set.

Re-releases are rare and typically come with slight modifications or updates to differentiate them from the original sets. This ensures that in the collectors market, a re-release and their original counterpart are distinct from each other.

It's important to note that the majority of retired sets do not get re-released - once they're gone, they're gone.

11. Are Retired LEGO Sets More Valuable?

Retired LEGO sets often become more valuable due to their limited availability. As time passes, the supply of retired sets decreases, while the demand from collectors and enthusiasts can remain high (depending on the set, theme and/or included pieces/minifigures).

This combination of scarcity and demand often steadily drives up the price of retired sets in the secondary market. For examples, search for your favourite retired set on Brick Economy, which will show you its annual and overall growth based on actual sale trends.

12. Do All Retired LEGO Sets Increase in Value?

Most sets will steadily increase in value year-on-year (sometimes due to the inflation in LEGO pieces in general), but not necessarily wildly. While it is true that many retired LEGO sets have become highly sought after by collectors, there are several factors that determine whether a set will increase in value over time.

The most important of these factors being the popularity of the set (both before and after retirement) and the demand for the set. If a set was widely produced and purchased by many LEGO enthusiasts, its value may take more time to increase significantly.

On the other hand, sets that were limited in production or had unique and/or exclusive features are more likely to see a sharp rise in value.

As a side note, the condition of the set plays key a role in its potential value. Sets that are still new and sealed in their original packaging and in pristine condition are generally more valuable than those that have been opened or show signs of wear.

13. Is it Worth Buying Retired LEGO Sets?

Not all LEGO sets are equally valuable or sought after by collectors, so adequate personal research is key. Some sets, especially those from popular themes or limited editions, tend to appreciate the most in value over time.

Personal preference should play a role in deciding which sets are worth collecting for you. Ultimately, collecting LEGO sets should bring you joy and satisfaction first and foremost.

14. What Should I Do if I Want to Buy a Retiring LEGO Set?

If you're interested in purchasing a retiring LEGO set, it's best to act sooner rather than later to avoid the risk of that set selling out.

You may still find a sold out set through third-party sellers, such as those on Bricklink or brick-and-mortar stores specialising in LEGO products... but expect to pay at least a slight premium if that set is in high demand.

15. Why Are Some Retired LEGO Sets So Expensive?

Retired LEGO sets can hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts alike. As time goes by, these sets become increasingly rare and hard to find, resulting in an increase in their price.

This scarcity plays a major role - Once LEGO officially retires a set, it is no longer produced, leading to a limited supply in the market. Whether it's a beloved Star Wars spaceship or a nostalgic castle, the emotional attachment and nostalgia associated with retired LEGO sets can contribute to their high price points.

16. Can I Invest in Retired/Retiring LEGO Sets for Future Value?

While it's true that many LEGO sets have increased in value over time, investing solely for financial gain can be unpredictable.

The value of LEGO sets can fluctuate based on various factors, including supply and demand, new/similar sets, trends, and market conditions.

It's best to approach LEGO collecting as a hobby by choosing sets that genuinely interest you, not spending above your means, and seeing any appreciation in value as an added bonus.

17. Can You Make Money Selling Retired LEGO Sets?

Investing in retired or retiring LEGO sets can be a smart move for well researched collectors looking to maximise returns in the future. As LEGO sets become discontinued, their value tends to increase over time, making them highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

It's important to do thorough research before starting this investment strategy though; factors such as the popularity of the set, its condition, and its rarity all play a significant role in determining its future value.

Additionally, keeping an eye on trends and market demand (through sites such as BrickLink and Brick Economy) can help LEGO investors identify which sets are most likely to appreciate in value.

While there are no guarantees in any investment, focusing on retired and retiring LEGO sets can be a fun and potentially profitable way for a collector to diversify their portfolio.

18. Who Buys Retired LEGO Sets?

There's a diverse community of LEGO enthusiasts and collectors who eagerly search for their favourite discontinued sets. Adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) make up a significant portion of buyers, as they appreciate the nostalgia and rarity of these retired sets.

Many collectible investors also see the potential for profit in purchasing retired or retiring LEGO sets (just take a look at r/legoinvesting), as their value tends to increase over time.

Whether it's for personal enjoyment, as a gift, or as an investment, there's a demand for retired LEGO sets from a wide range of buyers.

Final Thoughts

Retired and retiring LEGO sets offer a unique aspect of LEGO collecting, blending nostalgia, investment potential, and the excitement of the hunt. Whether you're building, investing, or collecting, knowledge of these sets is key.

Understanding which sets are retiring soon and which ones are already retired can, with the right precautions and research, be an exciting and profitable endeavour for LEGO enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Have another question we didn't answer here? Feel free to contact us!

Disclaimer: This article should not be considered as financial advice. Do your own research (that's part of the fun) and make informed decisions.

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