During the Christmas holidays, I got the chance to compare my oldest child’s brand new Lego set with some from the mid-1980s. It is quite striking how much larger the things in the sets have become, and how much more affordable (in relative terms) Lego has become since then.
In the picture below, we have the “Knight’s Castle” kit from 1984 (set #6073). I remember this as being a major kit at the time, one of the dream things to buy, and one of the biggest ones around. Compare it to the new Police Command Center (set #7743) from 2008. The small police station accompanying the large trailer is as high as the old castle, and the trailer as long as the castle is wide. It has about 25% more pieces that the old castle.
Also, note the old small vehicles in the front. Four Lego notches wide, unlike the six-wide police trailer. I remember the highway truck as being one of the magical models of my childhood.
To me, the most interesting aspect of comparing Lego sets is that it is a very good illustration of the economic growth that we have seen over the past 30 years. In relative terms, Lego sets have become far more affordable. Average income has certainly increased faster than the price of Lego, and my kids have quite a few more pieces to play with than I did at the same age. The nice thing with comparing Lego buying power with my childhood is that it is a product that is mostly “the same”, unlike comparisons involving electronics…