Nearly a year has passed since crowdfunding opened on the third round of the Bricklink Designer Program. I had pretty much forgotten what I ordered in that time. Well, half of what I had ordered anyway. It took the order shipment notices to jog my memory on the fact that I had ordered not one, but two sets… spending a ridiculous amount of money in the process. Luckily for me, running this blog allows me to spend what some might consider excessive amounts on plastic bricks. However, this Bricklink Designer Program Haul did highlight an interesting issue for me: exclusivity of crowd-funded LEGO® sets and fear of missing out. I say this because I fell prey to just that with this order. One of my two sets was completely an impulse buy. Watch my video below or read on for more!
When round three rolled around, I decided to buy the Mountain View Observatory because I love realistic space themed and science related sets. With a research center and telescope built in, I could hardly resist this one. You can bet I was online as soon as crowd-funding opened to make sure that I would get one of the coveted 10,000 copies. Without even thinking about it, I was already prey to a clever marketing strategy. Make something limited edition and exclusive, and collectors will climb over each other to get one. Of course, I voted for this set when it was originally on LEGO® Ideas. If it had made it through the review process, I certainly would have bought one anyway.
Mountain View Observatory Specifics
- SET #: 910027
- THEME: Bricklink Designer Program – Round 3
- COST: $329.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 3876
- MINIFIGURES: 8 + 1 baby
- COST/BRICK: $0.09 (Excellent value.)
- BRICKS/FIG: 485 (Low fig count in general, but inline with other large 18+ sets)
My shopping didn’t stop there. Since I was reporting on the Bricklink Designer Program for the blog, I returned to see what sets made the production cut a couple of hours later. By 5:00 pm on order day, the Mountain View Observatory had sold out along with the Diner, Winter Chalet and Studgate Train Station. The Modular Construction Site had made the top 5, and was still available. On an impulse, I ordered one. As a LEGO® city builder, the set interested me for sure. But I had not really intended to order it. By the next morning, less than 24 hours after the crowd funding opened, all five sets were sold out.
Modular Construction Site Specifics
- SET #: 910008
- THEME: Bricklink Designer Program – Round 3
- COST: $399.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 3374
- MINIFIGURES: 5
- COST/BRICK: $0.12 (Good value.)
- BRICKS/FIG: 675 (Low fig count, even for an 18+ set.)
Bricklink set prices skyrocket on the secondary market.
Do I regret buying two sets? Not at all. Both these sets are phenomenal and rare. I am also in the business of reviewing LEGO® sets, so acquiring interesting kits goes with the territory. Additionally, I am really looking forward to building these two kits. Do I feel a little suckered after falling for old “rare and exclusive” trick? Maybe a little. I had only intended to buy one set after all. Therein lies my current conundrum. The Bricklink Designer Program offers fans the chance to get rare and exclusive sets that the LEGO® Group would not otherwise produce. These sets appeal to particular tastes, but are only available for a very limited time through crowd funding. Inevitably, the second they are released, their prices skyrocket on the secondary market.
Let’s take my first two Bricklink Designer Program orders as an example. In round one, I was lucky enough to get the Castle in the Forest. I paid $229.99 CAD for it. Currently, the average price for a new one on Bricklink is $600 CAD. Meanwhile, the average used price is around $550 CAD. Either way, it is more than double what I paid for it. In round two, I ordered the Venetian houses. That one cost me $369.99 CAD. Bricklink currently lists new copies of that set for an average of about $665 CAD, while used go for about $513 CAD. Not quite double in this case, but still a significant markup. And on eBay? Tack on at least $100 to either set.
My previous Bricklink Designer Program sets have approximately doubled in value.
I guess I am not sure how I feel about the Bricklink designer program. On the one hand, I love the sets I have gotten. Without this program, I would not have them, plain and simple. However, the exclusivity and rareness leads to hoarding, jacked up prices, and disappointment from fans who could not get online fast enough to get one. The Bricklink Designer Program continues this year. Submissions for the next round are up for vote until March 31. Afterwards, we’ll find out which sets go up for crowd funding. How do you feel about this method of marketing LEGO® sets to collectors? Did you, or will you make a Bricklink Designer Program haul? Let me know in the comments or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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