One Word: Minifigures.
The LEGO® Lord Of The Rings sets have LEGO® minifigures with uniquely printed designs and armor pieces that can only be found solely in these sets. In general, unique minifigures will drive up the price of a set, and the price of that set once it retires. Couple this factor with a beautiful franchise loved by billions? The set is going to be expensive! There were a total of 41 LOTR LEGO® sets made, 3 unique polybags, and 56 minifigures. For such a small assortment of a discontinued theme, that is a ton of minifigs.
Why Do LEGO® Minifigures And LEGO® LOTR Minifigs Drive Up The Price?
For starters, these characters were niche, and yet…immensely popular and appealing to the fans. Plus, some of them were highly unique to the sets. For example, any LEGO® LOTR Big Fig (Cave Troll) or some of the menacing Uruk-Hai minifigures were only made for these set lines. By the way, a singular Uruk-Hai is anywhere from $30.00-$40.00, that Boromir above? $94.00. The Cave Troll which I cover further down? $90.00. The printings, accessories, and sets are rare, discontinued, and more than likely, will never touch a shelf again – unless, that shelf is yours, you own it, or you are willing to spend a fortune to buy them. I highly recommend buying LEGO® LOTR minifigures. One day, these minifigures will be worth an even larger fortune.
When Did The Lord Of The Rings LEGO® Franchise Begin?
While the Lord Of The Rings movies premiered in December of 2001, spanning a total of 3 years of marvelous cinema, LEGO® did not come out with its first iterations of Lord Of The Rings LEGO® sets until 2012.
A Few Lord Of The Rings Sets Released in 2012 – Here Are Their Prices Then And Now:
- Gandalf Arrives Set 9469 – In 2012 it was $12.99, now it sells for $75.00 New In Box (NIB)
- Shelob Attacks Set 9470 – In 2012 it was $19.99, now it sells for $107.00 (NIB)
- Uruk Hai Army Set 9471 – In 2012 it was $29.99, now it sells for $164.00 (NIB)
- Attack On Weathertop Set 9472 – In 2012 it was $59.99, now it sells for $189.00 (NIB)
- The Mines Of Moria Set 9473 – In 2012, it was $79.99, now it sells for $300.00 (NIB)
The Minifigures Make These Sets So Expensive But Are Too Great To Pass Up
From the Cave Troll exclusive in the “Mines Of Moria” LEGO® set, and the Aragorn (“Strider” at the time) minifig in “Attack On Weathertop,” these figures appeared just once in the vast LEGO® collection making them a must-sought after piece. With the arrival of the new “Rivendell” LEGO® UCS collector sets, there is speculation that the minifigures being more prevalent could drive down the price.
Will Lord Of The Rings Sets Lose Value?
Absolutely not. Anyone who says these sets are not priceless…well they do have a price but its expensive…are not understanding the market! Eventually, LOTR sets will quiet down again, and even with the release of minifigures, a short plateau in set price will ensue. But you can bet it will climb again. And again.
LEGO® Lord Of The Rings sets are expensive because they are arguably some of the most unique sets in the LEGO® Universe.
A Chronological History Of LEGO® Lord Of The Rings
LEGO® has always had a knack for encapsulating the magic and wonder of various intellectual properties through its unique brand of interlocking plastic bricks. One such property that LEGO has made a successful foray into is the epic fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”. Beginning in 2012, LEGO® introduced a range of sets that portrayed key scenes and characters from this iconic trilogy. This venture into Middle-Earth provided fans a new, interactive way to experience the cherished stories.
LEGO® LOTR In 2012
The first wave of “LEGO® The Lord of the Rings” sets hit shelves in June 2012, a collection that offered six different builds capturing major scenes from the series. From the modest “Gandalf Arrives” set (9469), which portrayed Gandalf’s arrival to the Shire with a small Frodo figure, to the more grandiose “Battle of Helm’s Deep” set (9474), consisting of over 1300 pieces and nine minifigures, the initial wave catered to a wide array of enthusiasts.
The Helm’s Deep set was particularly impressive, featuring a sprawling fortress with multiple levels of interactive play, along with a host of characters like Aragorn, Gimli, Haldir, and the iconic Uruk-hai. Other sets, such as the “Attack on Weathertop” (9472), also garnered praise for its faithful recreation of the hobbits’ first encounter with the Ringwraiths.
LEGO quickly followed up with a second wave of sets in late 2012. This included a grand version of “The Mines of Moria” (9473), featuring an elaborate cave troll, and “The Battle of the Black Gate” (79007), allowing fans to recreate one of the most thrilling confrontations from “The Return of the King.” This wave also introduced the largest set in the series, “The Tower of Orthanc” (10237). A towering edifice over 2 feet high, the Orthanc model was a breathtaking sight to behold, replete with six floors filled with fascinating details and various memorable scenes from the trilogy.
LEGO® LOTR In 2013
2013 was a year of expansions and exclusives. LEGO® released the “Council of Elrond” (79006) and “The Wizard Battle” (79005) sets, which gave fans the chance to stage the council meeting and Gandalf’s clash with Saruman. LEGO® also released several exclusive sets, like the “Pirate Ship Ambush” (79008) set, boasting an intricately detailed ship and nine minifigures, including Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli.
LEGO® LOTR In 2014
Despite the growing popularity of the line, LEGO® The Lord of the Rings series ended in 2014, with several planned sets remaining unreleased. However, the legacy of the range has remained strong in the years since, as demonstrated by the buoyant second-hand market. Many fans still cherish the chance to recreate their favorite scenes or engage with the characters in ways that watching the films or reading the books simply cannot offer.
LEGO® Lord Of The Rings In 2023 And Beyond…
While not many sets have made a great appearance, The UCS LEGO® Rivendell set hit the market and took collectors by storm. This set is habitually on backorder on the LEGO® website. While a massive set, the rest of the Lord of The Rings franchise has remained dormant. We had the Gandalf and Balrog BrickHeadz set…but besides an awesome display piece, there was not much there in terms of incredible LEGO® Lord Of The Rings Minifigures. Hopefully, with the Rings of Power introducing Lord of The Rings back into the vernacular, LEGO® might explore some avenues with Second Age LOTR sets.
Lord Of The Rings LEGO® Sets Are Expensive Sets And We Still Love Them!
Looking at the wider picture, the impact of the LEGO® The Lord of the Rings series goes beyond just the sets themselves. The launch of these sets also led to a successful video game adaptation, further cementing the bond between LEGO® and The Lord of the Rings. The game encompassed the entire trilogy and included voice acting taken directly from the films, capturing the spirit of the cinematic saga and the charm of LEGO®.
The LEGO® The Lord of the Rings sets have thus played a significant role in fan culture, enabling new methods of storytelling and interaction with beloved characters and places. While the line may have been short-lived, its influence is long-lasting, and it has firmly cemented its place in the history of LEGO®!