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Culture News

The 15 Best LEGO Architecture Sets

Since the theme’s inception in 2008, LEGO Architecture has brought some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks to life year after year. While the builds have gotten more complex over time (thank goodness they did, the very first ones were way too minimalist), there is a certain charm that comes with these scaled-down models of real-world locations.

The Architecture series is aimed at more mature, adult collectors. They do not include LEGO mini-figures and they are built to a scaled-down size, often using as few pieces as possible to build the monuments, buildings, and skylines that represent our global community. 

While the Architecture theme may not be for everyone, those that love it—like myself—tend to be pretty dedicated fans. From its earlier inceptions to the “skyline series” that debuted in 2016, the LEGO Architecture theme has endured and put out some incredible sets. Today we’ll be taking a look at the Best 15 LEGO Architecture sets released so far! 

1.) Statue of Liberty (21042)
2018 – Present / 1,685 pieces
https://amzn.to/3xEQirq
LEGO Group

Bigger doesn’t always mean better, but it sure does in the case of ol’ Lady Liberty! This set is an amazing display piece and it utilizes some really unique sculpting and building techniques. This set is not one I’d recommend to new builders, but it is definitely one of the best displayable LEGO sets available today.

buy on amazon, $96
https://amzn.to/3xEQirq
2.) Empire State Building (21046)
2019 – Present / 1,767 pieces
https://amzn.to/2VHSLDv
LEGO

Much like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building is a behemoth of a set that will take several hours for you to build but will make for a great conversation piece when it’s complete. This set will tower over your other LEGO sets, and while the build may be very repetitive, it is one that will be hard to forget. 

buy on amazon, $103.99
https://amzn.to/2VHSLDv
3.) Fallingwater (21005)
2009 – 2015 / 881 pieces
https://amzn.to/3rbS1SU
LEGO

While this set isn’t #1 on this “best of” list, it is my personal favorite for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s an amazing build; from the small details in the greenery to the unique shape of the building, Fallingwater displays beautifully and commands attention.

I grew up about an hour from where Fallingwater is located in Mill Run, PA. I always wanted this set, but it came out in my “dark age”—a term LEGO collectors use to refer to a time when they’re not actively buying sets. I missed the opportunity to get it when it was on store shelves, but about two years ago I bought a collection on Facebook Marketplace and found this sitting in the bottom of a bin full of loose bricks. That is still one of the happiest moments of my life as a LEGO collector! 

buy on amazon, $600
https://amzn.to/3rbS1SU
4.) Arc de Triomphe (21036)
2017 – 2018 (short life!) / 386 pieces
https://amzn.to/3hDemW0
LEGO

Of all the LEGO Architecture sets, this one had the shortest window of availability. It is a masterful model of the iconic Arc in Paris, France, and is among my favorites ever released. It captures all of the essences of the real Arc without sacrificing anything—besides size!

buy on amazon, $109.95
https://amzn.to/3hDemW0
5.) The White House (21054)
2020 – Present / 1,483 pieces
https://amzn.to/3kkeY4S
LEGO

There are two LEGO White Houses, both in the Architecture line, but this one reigns supreme. It comes with a 1×2 tile with the American flag printed on it, and if you’re strapped for display space, you can remove the East and West wings to take up less space. Talk about a great feature! 

buy on amazon, $106.99
https://amzn.to/3kkeY4S
6.) Trevi Fountain (21020)
2014 – 2016 / 731 pieces
https://amzn.to/36yonxl
LEGO

This set depicts the iconic Trevi Fountain found in Rome, Italy, and it spares no details. From the horses in the water to the detailing of the pillars and windows, this set utilizes a blue and white color scheme that makes it stand out from every other set in the line. 

buy on amazon, $254.99
https://amzn.to/36yonxl
7.) The Eiffel Tower (21019)
2014 – 2018 / 321 pieces
https://amzn.to/2Vzf0eC
LEGO

Perhaps the most iconic of the LEGO Architecture structures, the Eiffel Tower had one of the longest availability windows of any set in the theme. The set utilizes a lot of interesting features to achieve its “tower” shape. The top section is not very sturdy, but the design of the set and display value more than make up for it. 

buy on amazon, $104.48
https://amzn.to/2Vzf0eC
8.) United States Capitol Building (21030)
2016 – 2019 / 1,032 pieces
https://amzn.to/2UeoLi1
LEGO

This set is among the largest Architecture sets in terms of width, and it utilized a very unique blend of colors to bring the iconic American structure to life in LEGO form. I sometimes wonder how well these American government-centered buildings sell outside of the US. It’s hard for me to picture a collector in Germany wanting a set like this, but hey, you never know! 

buy on amazon, $269.99
https://amzn.to/2UeoLi1
9.) The Louvre (21024)
2015 – 2017 / 695 pieces
https://amzn.to/2U4MAsO
LEGO

The Louvre is absolutely beautiful in person, and its LEGO counterpart lives up to the real thing. Utilizing a wide array of flat tiles, this set has a certain smoothness to it that very few LEGO sets achieve. This is definitely a must-have! 

buy on amazon, $209.98
https://amzn.to/2U4MAsO
10.) Big Ben (21013)
2012 – 2016 / 346 pieces
https://amzn.to/2U9VLrO
LEGO

Of all the LEGO Architecture sets, I think Big Ben was the best value for your dollar compared to the likeness of what it set out to represent. It’s a small build but packs the punch of Big Ben’s iconic towering presence. I got this one used, but man am I glad I did! It always brings a smile to people’s faces when I give them the tour of my LEGO collection. 

buy on amazon, $149.98
https://amzn.to/2U9VLrO
11.) Buckingham Palace (21029)
2016 – 2018 / 780 pieces
https://amzn.to/3i543cq
LEGO

Although I’ve never been to Buckingham Palace, having the LEGO set is the next best thing. This set is unique to all others due to its inclusion of the London Bus out front. Very few LEGO Architecture sets feel “lived in” and real in the way that this one does, and I will always love this set for that reason. 

buy on amazon, $144.97
https://amzn.to/3i543cq
12.) Sydney Opera House (21012)
2012 – 2014 / 270 pieces
https://amzn.to/3igdTse
LEGO

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic Architecture structures in the modern world, and its LEGO counterpart captures all of its beauty in scaled-down fashion. I think if LEGO remade this one, they could build it a little more sleekly, but this set still gets across its likeness and displays beautifully.

buy on amazon, $258.94
https://amzn.to/3igdTse
13.) Leaning Tower of Pisa (21015)
2013 – 2015 / 345 pieces
https://amzn.to/3rbsedp
LEGO

Very few LEGO sets are built with an intentional lean, so when they set out to do one, they had better do it right. The LEGO Leaning Tower of Pisa absolutely delivers, and the clever build of the set’s base allows the tower to truly lean just like its real-world inspiration. 

buy on amazon, $241.26
https://amzn.to/3rbsedp
14.) New York City Skyline (21028)
2016 – Present / 598 pieces
https://amzn.to/3yUxVPu
LEGO

LEGO created the skyline sub-theme for Architecture in 2016 and a lot of fans love it because it lets you display many (smaller) locations from a city instead of just one large structure for a similar price. While some of the other skyline sets have great builds and features, the New York City skyline reigns supreme, from its large Empire State Building to its miniaturized Statue of Liberty. 

buy on amazon, $56.25
https://amzn.to/3yUxVPu
15.) Paris Skyline (21044)
2019 – Present / 649 pieces
https://amzn.to/3ki9XcR
LEGO

Another selection from LEGO’s skyline Architecture sub-theme, the Paris skyline offers all of the subtleties of Paris in one condensed row. The Eiffel Tower reigns over the set (as it should) with the Tour Montparnasse not far behind it. This set utilized several interesting structural builds that allowed it to have a unique feel when compared to any of the other LEGO Architecture skyline offerings

buy on amazon, $40
https://amzn.to/3ki9XcR
Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

Four Things I Wished I Knew Before Starting MiniSuperHeroesToday

In a recent study done by The Sun, it was discovered that 1 in 3 kids want to be a YouTuber, and 1 in 5 kids want to be a Blogger/Vlogger. I am both of these things, but I never planned to be. I absolutely love what I do for a living, which includes building LEGO, then turning around and creating content around what I build for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and of course articles like this. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my LEGO hobby would someday become a career, but that’s the reality I’ve worked to build and I am truly grateful. It has been a lot of hard work, but I truly believe anyone can do this within their interests given the dedication and determination. 

With that being said, it’s not often that content creators pull back the veil and really talk about what it’s like. In March 2021, I celebrated my six-year anniversary of creating daily content online without ever missing a day. Yes, you read that right: WITHOUT EVER MISSING A DAY. Creating daily content with a perfect record is an achievement I am proud of, and I have learned a lot about myself, my followers, my hobby, and what it is to be an influencer.

Today, I want to share the four things I wished I knew before starting my influencer journey in hopes that it inspires you. Whether you’re working on building a new page or breathing life into an existing one, I hope these influencer insights help you gain a better picture of what life is like, un-photoshopped and unedited:

1.) Nobody takes you seriously… until they do.

I started my influencer journey in 2015 while studying my Freshman year at Belmont University. I was going through a tough time personally, and I had a random idea while looking at the toys I’d had on my desk: I challenged myself to post a daily LEGO photo on Instagram and see how long I could go for. That challenge remains ongoing to this day and has taken me further than I’d ever imagined. I went from a 19-year-old with six LEGO figures on his desk to a 25 year old with over 3,000 minifigures, a literal LEGO room in my house and a partnership with LEGO themselves through the coveted LEGO Ambassador Network.

My wildest dreams have (and continue) to come true every day. I had people I thought were friends laugh at my account when I started it, and for a long time, I ran my account anonymously. These days, more people think it’s cool than not when they learn about my alter ego, but things were not always that way when I had less than 200 followers and nobody took my dream seriously. 

Lesson Learned: The first few chapters of becoming an influencer are the hardest, but that’s why most people aren’t influencers. Stay true to yourself, don’t focus on the numbers and be consistent. Eventually, you’ll end up exactly where you want to be, right when you’re meant to be there.

2.) Finding a healthy balance of how often to post is important.

I wish I wouldn’t have made myself a “daily content creator,” because there are times I’ve felt uninspired to make a new post. At the same time, my daily commitment is what kept me going all these years. Just like the gym, once you skip a day it becomes a slippery slope to start skipping more often. Stay committed, stay focused, but don’t burn yourself out! 

After more than half of a decade, it seems silly for me to skip a day at this point. I know my following would forgive me if I missed a day, and the world certainly would not end, but at this point I might as well keep my perfect streak going!

Lesson Learned: Don’t overcommit to a schedule you can’t handle, but DO commit to a plan that holds you accountable!

3.) Finding a niche is crucial, but don’t stress it too much.

My original niche was “white background photography,” since that was the only way I could photograph my minifigs at my humble dorm room desk my freshman year. The white background quickly became “my thing,” and even to this day, when I deviate from it I do see a decrease in my engagement. Sometimes I wished I was more of a “general photography” page, but at the same time, I am glad my images have a certain consistency and brand to them. Catch-22! 

Lesson Learned: Give people something to expect and recognize when they engage with your content. Let them know it’s your post before they even see your name attached.

4.) Getting started is more important than how you get started.

My first IG photos were taken on an iPhone 4s while I knew nothing about lighting, composition or any other photography basics. Still, I was able to attract an audience through storytelling, posting content at the right place at the right time and offering consistency. The fact that my first 100 photos look awful by today’s standards doesn’t matter in the long run; it helped me build a solid fan base all those years ago that has transitioned into my audience today, eclipsing 150,000+ followers across all platforms.

Lesson Learned: Your first several dozen pieces of content will probably be subpar, but that’s what will set you apart. Everyone dreams, but very few people do

I wouldn’t trade my influencer journey for anything. Although I’ve been at it for over half a decade, I truly feel like I’m just getting started and the best is yet to come! I wish you all the success in the world in whatever path lies ahead for you as a content creator, and if you ever have questions, DM me on IG and tell me you read this article.

Categories
Grind Money

Top 10 LEGO Sets to Watch on StockX

StockX recently got into the LEGO game and their stock-based approach to buying and selling collectibles is super well-suited to the LEGO game. So I put together a list of the top sets you should keep your eye on on the platform.

First, a few notes before getting involved:

  • Sealed, never-opened sets are ALWAYS more valuable than loose sets. There are occasions where the two prices can be close-to equal, but the vast majority of the time, a brand new set will outpace the value of a used set.
  • LEGO sets are rarely quick profit makers. If you can get an in-demand LEGO set early and/or on release day, there is a small window to make gains, but I do not recommend it. I strongly recommend waiting for deals and buying LEGO at discounted rates when LEGO runs sales then storing the sets away to sell at a later date.
  • Historically, licensed themes (namely Star Wars) appreciate the most in value over time. They’re always a safe bet, especially the higher-end sets
  • Architecture sets and LEGO Creator Expert Modulars perform well, too, but both require more time for realized gains. 
  • Think of sets that in 10, 15, 20 years, adults will look back and say, “I wished I had that as a kid!” Those are the sets that will skyrocket with time. 
  • Just like actual stocks, watching the news is essential to timing your investments. If a set is rereleased (like the Taj Mahal was) then the original’s value will plummet. If there is controversy around a movie/actor/character, that can affect the price in either direction.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some sets to watch out for.

1. Back to the Future Delorean Time Machine – 21103
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-back-to-the-future-the-delorean-time-machine-set-21103
StockX

This set was just $35 when it released in 2013. Representing one of the most iconic cars in all of cinema, this set will surely continue to increase in value as it has for the last 8 years

Buy Now on StockX, $195+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-back-to-the-future-the-delorean-time-machine-set-21103
2. LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon Ultimate Collector Series Set – 75192
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-millennium-falcon-ultimate-collector-series-set-75192
StockX

This is the third-largest LEGO set ever made, and the first largest in the LEGO Star Wars line. This will always be desirable to final, and although it’s available for purchase directly from LEGO at the time of this article, it will eventually retire and that is when prices will start to soar.

Buy Now on StockX, $913+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-millennium-falcon-ultimate-collector-series-set-75192
3. LEGO DC Batman 1989 Batmobile Set – 76139
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-batman-1989-batmobile-set-76139
StockX

The 1989 Batmobile is largely considered the “coolest’ on-screen Batmobile to date. It’s no surprise that this set has had fans of all ages excited by it, and for that reason I think this one is a solid investment. It debuted in 2019, so it will be on LEGO store shelves for quite some time yet, but I see this being a huge potential gainer in the next 10 years.

Buy Now on StockX, $240+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-batman-1989-batmobile-set-76139
4. LEGO The Disney Castle Set – 71040
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-the-disney-castle-set-71040
StockX

The only group of people more dedicated than LEGO fans are Disney fans, so it should come as no surprise that the iconic LEGO Disney Castle will surely rise in value over the years. There have been rumors of this retiring after 2021, so act soon if you’re ready to invest in this one!

Buy Now on StockX, $354+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-the-disney-castle-set-71040
5. LEGO Creator Roller Coaster Set – 10261
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-roller-coaster-set-10261
StockX

Maybe a bit of a surprise inclusion, but this set is so fun and original that I predict it will be highly desired after it retires.

Buy Now on StockX, $350+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-roller-coaster-set-10261
6. LEGO Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay Set – 21322
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-ideas-pirates-of-barracuda-bay-set-21322
StockX

This set was one of my favorites released in 2020, and I think that long after this retires it will be a highly sought-after set. It’s the perfect combination of nostalgia from the original Pirate ship and modern awesomeness from this existing model that vein diagrams fans of all ages.

Buy Now on StockX, $175+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-ideas-pirates-of-barracuda-bay-set-21322
7. LEGO Star Wars The Ghost Set – 75053
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-star-wars-the-ghost-set-75053
StockX

Unless The Ghost shows up in a future Star Wars movie or Disney+ show, I do not see this ship ever being remade by LEGO. Seeing as it is the main ship for the heroes from the Rebels cartoon, this will have a lot of desirability from kids who grew up with this show once they’re adults with expendable income. Not to mention, this is the ONLY set to include Zeb!

Buy Now on StockX, $550+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-star-wars-the-ghost-set-75053
8. LEGO Super Mario Nintendo Entertainment System Set – 71374
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-super-mario-nintendo-entertainment-system-set-71374
StockX

This set appeals to fans young and old, and with a built-in nostalgia factor, this set will surely raise in value over time. It’s not yet retired, and it’s still fairly new, but that means you still have time to get in before it balloons!

Buy Now on StockX, $190+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-super-mario-nintendo-entertainment-system-set-71374
9. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown Set – 76108
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-sanctum-sanctorum-showdown-set-76108
StockX

This set is largely regarded as one of the best LEGO Marvel sets to date. All but one of the minifigures are exclusive to this set, the build is fantastic, and it’s hard to imagine getting another LEGO Marvel set that lives up to this one in the $100 retail range. This set has long been retired, but if you can get your hands on one cheap these days, it is worth every penny.

Buy Now on StockX, $164+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-sanctum-sanctorum-showdown-set-76108
10. LEGO Ideas FRIENDS Central Perk Set – 21319
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-friends-central-perk-set-21319
StockX

This set caused a commotion when it released in 2019 and it was near-impossible to find this in stock around the time of its release. Since then, stock has caught up with demand, but I project that this LEGO Ideas set will be desired for a long time past its retirement, much like the Back to the Future set and the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 before it (all of which were LEGO Ideas sets, as well!)

Buy Now on StockX, $67+
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Flego-friends-central-perk-set-21319
Categories
Grind Money

How To Invest In LEGO

2020 saw the rise of numerous nontraditional markets: From sports card trading to the recent explosion of NBA Top Shot and other NFTs, folks are finding ways to make money in more ways than ever before. Personally, I love investing in LEGO because the process combines my love for bricks with business. With that in mind, I wanted to bring you some of my favorite tips and tricks for getting involved in the LEGO investment game.

1.) Set a budget and a timeline, as well as some guide rules:

It’s important to ask yourself some questions before you get started. How much can you afford to spend, and how long are you willing to sit on your investment? The last thing you want to do is invest money you can’t afford to lose! LEGO sets are never guaranteed to go up in value, but most do over time. We all have to make our best-educated guesses at which sets are worth holding onto because investing in LEGO is rarely an overnight money-maker.

Another more product-specific question is what condition of LEGO sets would you like to collect? Will you only buy sealed sets? What about sets with damaged boxes? Will you only buy Minifigures? Would you buy sets and sell them individually piece-by-piece? Set some ground rules for how you’ll invest to ensure you aren’t buying junk and/or everything you can get your hands on (believe me, I’ve done it!) Of course, you can change your mind as you get deeper into the game, but it’s a good idea to set some ground rules so that you’re not investing your money on everything you come across in your LEGO hunts.

2.) Research LEGO themes and current events to see what suits you as an investor

As is the case with all markets, what’s hot ebbs and flows. That said, LEGO Star Wars, Castle, LEGO Ideas, and LEGO Creator Modular buildings are always safe bets to go up in value, as they’re some of the most timeless series in the LEGO lineup. Some of the early modular buildings are worth double or triple their original price tags, not to mention certain LEGO Star Wars sets’ value increases.

Another good tip is to watch current events. When Kobe died, the sets he came in skyrocketed. When Gina Carano was fired from The Mandalorian, her Minifigure tripled in value from $7 to over $24 inside of one week! Just like the stock market, you’ve got to watch trends and ride hype waves as they come and go.

3.) Dedicate a space to store your sets/figures

LEGO can take up a lot of space. The better condition your LEGO sets/Minifigures are in, the more valuable they will be, so you don’t want to cram your sets in a corner or in your garage. Find a place to store your sets that is away from pets, smoke, sunlight, or anything else that can damage your investment pieces. LEGO sets are toys, but if you’re investing in them, need to treat them like cash. You wouldn’t leave your nest egg crumpled up in a corner of your room, would you?

4.) Find some deals!

This is one of my more open-ended tips, but it boils down to exploring all of the marketplaces available. In the 21st century, there are so many avenues through which you can buy your LEGO sets. Consider yard sales, garage sales, thrift stores, antique stores, used toy stores, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, and anywhere else you can think of for conducting your purchases. Beware of scammers though; if you’re meeting someone from online in-person, do your best to verify the authenticity of sets, and always meet in a public location (I recommend the parking lot of your local police station for large cash transactions!) If you’re buying online, only buy through verified or well-reviewed sellers.

5.) Make an exit strategy

This final tip comes full circle and compliments my first tip: Plan, plan, plan. Just like investing in the stock market, you’ve got to set a plan for when you’ll cash in. Are you looking for a short-term investment? Are you looking to hold onto products for years? 5 years? 10 years? When it’s gone up 50% in value, or maybe doubled? These are all good factors to keep in mind as you’re making your purchases and building out your investment strategy.