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There are a multitude of reasons LEGO® sets retire, and depending on your set, the correct answer can vary quite a bit.

Manufactured sets usually reach their “EOL,” also known as end of life, at around 18-24 months. It is safe to say that most LEGO® sets will retire after a maximum of two years. Of course, there might be re-releases, promotions, or a remake of the set. LEGO® routinely retires sets to open up production for new sets, keep the world of colorful bricks, reselling and investing alive. The toy company ensures their product remains fresh for the consumer.

If you are getting into the realm of LEGO® investing, it is important to remember the supply and demand philosophy of buying sets. Once a set retires, it usually goes up in pricing. Therefore, holding onto a set for a minimum of 3 years will usually provide an ROI, or return on investment for your LEGO® set.

LEGO® Retires Sets To Keep Their Product Line Fresh And The Reselling Market Lucrative

The community and The LEGO® Group thrive off the reselling market – with side hustles on the rise, LEGO Group loves to keep the exclusivity factor alive for their sets. The Lord of The Rings LEGO® sets had a short run, but the expensive LOTR minifigures within them make reselling insanely fun. So get your hands on a fresh set before it retires. I always say to buy two: one to save and one to build memories with!

LEGO® Set Retiring FAQs

Discover even more about how and why LEGO retires sets

Why Do LEGO® Sets Retire So Soon?

Retired LEGO® Sets refer to those that have completed their life cycle (EOL) in terms of production. These sets are usually accessible for a brief duration before ceasing to be manufactured. This practice benefits LEGO®, as it enables the introduction of new sets annually while maintaining the novelty of the product line by phasing out older sets.

What does it mean when LEGO® retires a set?

When LEGO® retires a set, it means that the company has decided to discontinue the production and distribution of that particular set. The retirement of a LEGO® set indicates that it has reached the end of its life cycle (EOL), and the company will no longer manufacture, stock, or sell the set. This allows LEGO® to focus on creating new sets, maintaining variety in their product offerings, and keeping the brand fresh and engaging for consumers.

How long do LEGO® sets last before they retire?

The duration for which a LEGO® set remains available before retirement can vary significantly, depending on factors like the theme, popularity, and demand. Generally, most LEGO® sets have a shelf life of around 1 to 3 years before they are retired. However, some highly popular or limited edition sets may sell out faster, while others with lower demand may stay on the shelves for a longer period. Keep in mind that LEGO® frequently updates their product lineup, so retirement timelines are subject to change.

Are retired LEGO® sets worth more?

Retired LEGO® sets can indeed become more valuable over time, as they are no longer in production and may become increasingly difficult to find. Several factors can contribute to a retired set’s increased worth, such as rarity, popularity, demand, and the set’s condition.

Collectors and enthusiasts often seek out discontinued LEGO® sets, which can drive up their prices on secondary markets like eBay, BrickLink, or other online platforms. Limited edition sets, sets with popular themes or licenses, and sets that have gained a cult following can appreciate considerably in value. However, it’s essential to note that not every retired LEGO® set will become a valuable collectible. The potential increase in worth varies on a case-by-case basis.

What is the longest running LEGO set?

The longest-running LEGO® set is the 10188 Death Star from the Star Wars theme. This set was initially released in 2008 and continued production until 2016, making it available for about 8 years. It’s essential to note that the set was replaced with an updated version, LEGO® 75159 Death Star, which was released in 2016. Since new sets are continually being introduced and older sets retired, the longest-running set may change over time.

Does LEGO® ever bring back old sets?

LEGO® occasionally brings back older sets or introduces updated versions of classic sets. These re-releases or reimaginings often feature improved design elements, new building techniques, and sometimes additional pieces or minifigures. For example, the LEGO® Star Wars Death Star set, initially released as set number 10188 in 2008, was replaced by an updated version, set number 75159, in 2016.

While LEGO® does not frequently bring back exact replicas of old sets, they do revisit popular themes, characters, or concepts, and release new sets that capture the essence or nostalgia of the original. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that not every retired set will be reintroduced or reimagined by LEGO.