LEGO bricks are a better investment than gold, study says

Don't open that LEGO set.

You can build anything out of LEGO—from a working difference engine to a full-scale giraffe to a diversified investment portfolio.

It turns out that LEGO Hogwarts Castle kit could one day put your kids through college.

The plastic construction sets demonstrated stronger returns than large stocks, bonds, and gold over the three decades ending in 2015, according to a study titled LEGO – The Toy of Smart Investors, by Victoria Dobrynskaya and Julia Kishilova of Russia’s Higher School of Economics.

It seems absurd that a 7,541-piece Millennium Falcon model could yield enough money for the downpayment on a house.

But, thanks to supply and demand in the collector’s market, a new (re: unopened) LEGO set that sold for $500 in 2007 can earn close to $4,000 a decade later.

Not all LEGO kits are created equal, though: Average profits range from -50 percent to 600 percent per annum. Small and large sets are more profitable than the medium-sized ones, while seasonal, architectural, and movie-based themes tend to deliver higher returns.

“The popularity of LEGO investments is partially driven by the fact that this alternative asset does not belong to the luxury segment and is therefore affordable to any retail investor,” the study noted.

Compared to typical high-net-worth items like artwork, antiques, jewelry, fine wines, or rare automobiles, LEGO sets are downright cheap.

Collectible toys are a great investment—as long as you can resist the urge to rip open their packaging and make He-Man and American Girl Molly play house on a LEGO Millennium Falcon.

Folks are still paying their rent with original Beanie Babies—stockpiled by many through the 1990s and noughties as a financial investment.

Invented by Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen in the early 1930s, LEGO bricks were one of the original 1998 inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, N.Y.

In 2012, LEGO’s official MMO video game shut down because policing player-built structures resembling penises became too costly. In 2015, LEGO replaced Ferrari as the “world’s most powerful brand.” In December, Tiffany & Co. announced a set of “Sterling Silver Building Blocks,” available in packs of 10 for a reasonable $1,650. (But just think of the future returns!)