Not counting some bizarre missteps such as the Scala, Fabuland, and Jack Stone offshoots, Lego has had a consistently excellent track record of delivering awesome, long-lasting building sets since 1949. But let's face it: some of them are so rare, expensive, or just flat-out weird that you're never going to play with them, let alone collect them. Some really rare Lego sets, in fact, sell for more than 500% of their original retail price of just a decade ago. They're basically plastic gold.
This list features Lego sets that are prohibitively expensive, insanely rare, or repulsively engineered. They're the sets that live in the fringes of the Lego universe - the inbred cousins and snooty step-siblings of the mainstream Lego we all know and love.
All images on this list ©LEGO Group.
Getting your hands on this 2015 super-limited-edition sweepstakes beauty was a doozy: you had to be a registered Lego VIP member, which is simple enough, but you also had to buy a DC Super Heroes-themed Lego set from June 1-30 at a Lego Brand Retail store or Lego.com to register for your chance to win - you couldn't just hit up your local Target. VIP members in Australia and New Zealand couldn't enter for "unspecified operational reasons," and everyone was limited to just one entry per day, further limiting the pool of potential winners. In the end, only 750 were ever made.
Only 5,000 copies of this smug plutocrat were ever made, given away Willy Wonka-style in 2013 as a surprise in the tenth incarnation of Lego's Minifigures blind bags. Unlike regular minifigs made with Lego's standard acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, Mr. Gold thinks he's better than everyone else and has a chrome gold finish.
Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon
Released in 2007, the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon is rare because it's the most expensive Lego set ever produced ($499.99) and the second largest (5195 pieces), meaning it's harder to find complete used sets. Lego stopped manufacturing it in 2009 and sold out of it in July 2010, meaning you'll have to pay about $4,000 to a collector to get a copy that's MISB (Mint in Sealed Box). See also: the 2008 Death Star, the second-most expensive set Lego ever offered ($399.99).
Town Square - Castle Scene
So Lego probably just mixed their medieval "Castle" theme and their modern "City" theme here to unload some extra unsold parts, right? How else do you explain the reasoning behind this odd set from 1980 that has axe-wielding knights parading down a very 20th-century street. The posters on the castle say it's the "Legoland Carnival," so maybe it's a Renaissance Faire? That would explain the American stop sign. Regardless, the set looks like it would have been a blast to play with, right? Feeding your knights fish and chips after defending the book store from top hat-wearing thugs? Sounds awesome.