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.
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).
Gold Chrome Plated C-3PO
Only 10,000 lucky collectors found this shiny C-3PO in specially marked Lego Star Wars-themed sets back in 2007. Rarer still are the 14 karat, solid-gold C-3PO minifigs that Lego gave away to five fans in a contest that same year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars.
Like the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon, this gorgeous Taj Mahal model is hard to come by mainly because it's so expensive. When Lego released it in 2008, it retailed for $299.99, which isn't that bad, really, considering it's the largest set they've ever produced at a whopping 5922 pieces (that's only 5 cents per piece). Since Lego stopped making it in 2011, it will cost you at least $2,000 to get a mint set.
Sometimes the rarity of a particular Lego set is all about the minifigs. That's the case with the elusive and now absurdly expensive 2003 Star Wars Cloud City, which features four minifigs found only in this set, including a unique printing of fan favorite Bob Fett. It's also the first time fans could get their hands on a tiny Lando Calrissian, one of the early examples of Lego making a black minifig.