Lego strikes gold with collectible minifigure

He's become the hottest ticket in town: a real-life equivalent of the golden tickets in Roald Dahl's children's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

But Lego's Mr Gold doesn't come with a lifetime's supply of chocolate. He's an inch-and-a-half tall plastic figure like any other Lego product. His value – and he has been fetching over £700 on eBay – is in his rarity. There were just 5,000 made worldwide.

The desire of adult collectors to get their hands on one is fuelling a commercial bonanza for the Danish toy maker.

Part of the success of its Minifigures range is that they come in a plastic bag so buyers don't know what they are going to get. Children can therefore trade them in the playground, adult collectors on eBay. The introduction of the limited edition "Mr Gold" into Series 10 has changed the game, however. Mr Gold is causing a stampede, with some adult collectors buying up job lots in attempt to get their hands on figure.

That can be seen in the fact that just two weeks after its launch, complete sets of 16 without the limited edition superstar can be purchased on the auction site for as little as £35.

Because of duplication, you have to buy quite a few packets to get a complete set, although canny purchasers have been known to look carefully at barcodes – or simply attempt to identify the character in the packet by feeling it – in an attempt to avoid this.

The company says it's too early to say whether Series 10 is a best seller – but adds: "Initial reports show they are off to a flying start."

The popularity is such that even the Lego shop at Westfield East in Stratford has found itself without stock on occasion, and Sainsbury's has noted a rise in sales since the launch.

But is there a flipside to this modern day gold rush? Does its popularity with Afols (Adult Fans of Lego) mean that the kids are missing out?

The company thinks not: "The reaction to Mr Gold has been phenomenal," said a company spokesperson. "It's always a fantastic coup when our consumers engage with any of our brands, so we don't view the demand and interest as having a flip side. The search for Mr Gold is a modern-day treasure hunt – something that children have enjoyed for decades. There are 5,000 Mr Golds to be found worldwide so he really is an attainable treasure. We have had 51 winners in the UK alone bag a Mr Gold Minifigure for themselves so far, which is fantastic. Children around the world are truly in with a chance of finding a bag containing this highly collectible figure."

The commercial success of the line generally can be seen in the fact that, as of last month, Lego says its Minifigures was the number one toy for the year based on unit sales, citing April figures from the market research company NPD.

And if the Afols are buying up lots of them, the kids are still getting in on the fun as well: in addition to a commercial success the product has also been a public relations goldmine, with local newspapers from around the world featuring young "winners" who've found not so much the golden ticket, but the golden packet.

Suggested Topics
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain