Is the LEGO The Friends Apartments (10292) a Good Investment Set?
10th February 2023
Although there's some uncertainty at this stage, The Friends Apartments set is expected to retire at the end of 2023, one year after Central Perk (21319). In this article we explore whether this set is one to prioritise in the year ahead.
This set depicts the two apartments that act as the central locations in the popular sitcom. The proportions of the two flats accurately reflect how they appeared onscreen, and the colours are also well matched. The detail throughout the interior is fantastic and there are a great number of charming easter eggs referencing various episodes of the TV series.
The design shows the real-life filming set-up, with plenty of overhead lights at the front of the stage. However, if you don't like this, they can easily be removed.
If you're a Friends fan there's little to complain about and this set is going to be a must buy. However, if you're not familiar with the show, there's definitely less appeal, and probably not enough to warrant buying it.
If I had to pick between the two Friends sets, I would choose Central Perk, because of it's more colourful design and better display value. That aside, the Apartment's is still a very nice set that complements Central Perk nicely when shown together.
The Friends Apartments retails for £159.99 / $179.99 / €179.99 and has a piece count of 2,048. Unfortunately, this set was one of the many sets that were subjected to price hikes in 2022, but with a price per piece of 7.8p / 8.8c, it's still reasonable value in this day and age.
The set comes with seven minifigures, which includes the six main characters and Janice, Chandler's long-time on-off girlfriend. Although each of the six main characters have exclusive minifigures, they all also appeared in Central Perk (21319). Therefore, if you're looking to buy the minifigures from this set separately, Janice is the one to go for first, and she is the most expensive to buy right now.
In my opinion, the printing on these minifigures is better than those in Central Perk, and I especially like the detail on Rachel and Joey. They are also two of the most popular Friends characters, so they could also be worth buying.
The Friends Apartments has a wide range of unique and rare pieces, given the colourful nature of the interiors. This definitely makes it a more promising investment set, and may help push up its value after it retires.
This set looks to be the latest in a number of US sitcom-inspired sets to have come and gone. Not all of them have been successful, with the Queer Eye - The Fab 5 Loft set being a complete flop, having its shelf life cut short and being heavily discounted on shop.LEGO.com for most of that. The most popular has been 21302 The Big Bang Theory, which now sells for several times its original RRP.
The other Friends set, Central Perk (21319), only left shelves a couple of months ago, so it's too early to tell if it's going up in value. However, looking at sales since it retired, it doesn't look to have been the best investment, despite it being very popular. This is likely to be down to its long shelf life and generous discounting by LEGO retailers.
The Friends Apartments is expected to fair better, as it will have a much shorter shelf life if it retires at the end of 2023. It's also a LEGO exclusive, so is less widely available and cannot be bought for a discount, meaning less copies are going to be sold. This will all help its value post-retirement.
Ultimately, if you're thinking of buying this set, it's worth watching how well Central Perk does in the coming months and basing your decision on that.
Investment opportunity: Good/Fair
This is a well-detailed set and a good replica of the Friends apartments, which will go down very well with fans of the sitcom. I'm not sure on the extent of the overlap between Friends fans and LEGO collectors, but I suspect the crossover between fans of The Big Bang Theory and AFOLs was much, which is why that set has done so well on the secondary market.
However, Friends is likely to remain popular for many years, so I can see this set doing reasonably well after it retires. Because of all the Easter eggs and unusual parts in the build, I think this is an example of where it might be better to buy the set than just the minifigures. Overall, I think it's a reasonable investment set.
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