The Top 10 Most Expensive LEGO Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Sets
25th August 2022
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit themes were both introduced in 2012 alongside the release of the first move in the Hobbit trilogy. The last sets to retire from both these themes left the shelves in July 2015, meaning there was only a short window in which to buy them. In that time there were 16 LotR sets and 19 Hobbit sets that could be purchased from LEGO stores. In addition to these, there were several San Diego Comic-Con exclusive minifigures and polybags.
Due to the short shelf life and high popularity of the two movie franchises, it's not surprising that these sets now sell for significantly more than their original RRPs. In this article we look at the ten most valuable regular sets (i.e. excluding Comic-Con exclusives) based on their Bricklink sales in new condition over the past six months.
10. The Battle of Five Armies (79017)
Current Value £142 / $168
The Battle of Five Armies was a relatively small set at 472 pieces, which retailed for £59.99 / $59.99 / €69.99. The build is rather nondescript, as it contains only a small outpost and a giant crossbow-style siege weapon. However, the set had a generous minifigure offering, with seven in total. This included an ornate looking Thorin Oakenshield and the only appearance of the dwarven king Dáin Ironfoot. Due to the quality and uniqueness of these minifigures, they’re among the most expensive of the Hobbit theme.
9. The Goblin King Battle (79010)
Current Value £144 / $170
The Goblin King Battle was one of the largest sets under the Hobbit theme, coming in at 841 pieces and retailing for £79.99 / $99.99. The main build offers some decent playability, with a variety of moving parts, and is fairly accurate to its source material. It also contained a number of useful pieces that act as decoration, such as the bountiful collection of skulls.
It contained eight minifigures, which was the most of any Hobbit set. One of these was the giant goblin king who is depicted in a very distinctive big figure that captures his grotesque and rotund appearance rather well. Like The Battle of Five Armies (79010), this set also contains two minifigures which make the top ten most valuable list for the Hobbit theme. These are the two dwarves Nori and Dori who both only appeared once in minifigure form.
8. Dol Guldur Battle (79014)
Current Value £151 / $178
Dol Guldur was a stronghold of Sauron, which is depicted in the movie trilogy as a rocky fortress. The set retailed for £69.99 / $69.99 / €79.99 and included 797 pieces, which combine to produce a small generic section of the fortress. Given Dol Guldur’s drab and gloomy on-screen appearance, the build is unsurprisingly almost entirely grey. As a play set, it’s rather limited because of its cramped proportions and lack of moving parts. So like many of the Hobbit sets, its value is a result of its minifigures. There were seven of these, eight if you count the statue, with the most desirable being Radagast the Brown. His long beard and eccentric hat make him one of the most distinctive Hobbit minifigures and he also only appeared once in a Hobbit set, so is one of the rarer characters.
7. Battle at the Black Gate (79007)
Current Value £195 / $230
The Battle at the Black Gate is a set from the last of the Lord of the Rings movies. It depicts the final major battle in the War of the Ring that was fought at the entrance to Mordor. The set contained 656 pieces and had an RRP of £59.99 / $59.99.
The build of the Black Gate is well detailed, visually appealing, and captures the look of the giant fortification very well when comparing it to its on-screen counterpart. However, while it looks accurate, the proportions are completely wrong. In the Return of the King the gate towers above the warring armies, but its impressive size is lost in this set, as the wall is only three times the height of a minifigure. Therefore, as a display piece it is a little underwhelming.
The minifigures help make up for this as they all look fantastic and are the best offering of any Hobbit or LotR set in my opinion. Gandalf, Aragorn, and the Mouth of Sauron are highly desirable and among the most expensive from the LotR theme. In addition to the five minifigures, you get a giant eagle and the Mouth of Sauron’s menacing black horse.
6. An Unexpected Gathering (79003)
Current Value £200 / $236
An Unexpected Gathering is the best set from the Hobbit theme. It depicts Bag End, which is arguably the most-loved location in Middle Earth. The quaint underground home and its idyllic setting has captured the imagination of many fans of the books and films. The set is packed full of small details and makes excellent use of parts that add a variety of texture and colour. The result is a build that looks exceptional from every angle. Our only gripe is that we wish it was bigger, as the 652-piece count makes for a modestly sized Bag End.
The minifigure selection is also of a very high quality. You got Gandalf, Bilbo, and four dwarves from Thorin’s company. Bofur and Bombur include some unusual, moulded pieces and are the most desirable and expensive of the lot. The popularity of Bag End and the excellence of the design make this the second most valuable Hobbit set.
5. Pirate Ship Ambush (79008)
Current Value £207 / $244
This set depicts a ship belonging to the Corsairs of Umbar, who were a race of men known for their naval piracy. Their ships only appear very briefly in the theatrical release of the Return of the King but have a slightly bigger role in the extended version where they are attacked by the Army of the Dead. Nevertheless, it seemed an odd choice for a LotR set, as there are more prominent locations that never appeared in LEGO form.
This view aside, the build looks good due to its impressive proportions for a set that retailed at £89.99 / $99.99. This is due to the use of eight large, moulded pieces for the ship’s hull, although the drawback is that it doesn't achieve the same detail as a brick-built hull. However, the top deck is nicely fleshed out and the sails also add some visual interest.
The main appeal of this set though is the nine minifigures, the most of any LotR set. The most striking of these are the King of the Dead and his two soldiers, who have a sand green appearance. It also includes the heroic trio of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, but neither of them are unique to this set.
4. The Mines of Moria (9473)
Current Value £222 / $262
The battle between the Fellowship and the orcs of Moria is one of the most memorable scenes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The design of the set looks excellent and offers up an interesting building experience. There is clever use of parts and good detail throughout, with lots of playability features. Being one the larger LotR sets at 776 pieces, there is ample space to stage your own battle.
If you want to recreate the whole movie scene though, you’ll have to buy a few additional LotR sets as several members of the Fellowship are missing. However, there is a good selection to get started with, as there are nine overall, although two of these are skeletons. The Cave Troll big fig, Boromir, and Pippin are especially good. Given Pippin’s large role in the movies, it's surprising that there is only one minifigure of him. This is in part why he’s now one of the most expensive LotR minifigures.
3. The Lonely Mountain (79018)
Current Value £344 / $406
The Lonely Mountain is the biggest of the Hobbit sets, coming in at 866 pieces. It was the most expensive at the time, having retailed at £99.99 / $129.99 / €129.99, and is by far the most valuable from the Hobbit theme today. The main build is of a decent size and offers good playability, thanks to its many moving parts and hiding places for Bilbo. As a display piece it also performs well due to the variety of colours and high level of detail. The green and gold combination work beautifully together in my opinion. The part list also contains some unique and rare pieces, with the printed Arkenstone being a highlight.
The minifigure collection could have been improved, as although they all feature some nice torso printing, none are equipped with cloaks. They therefore look a little ordinary compared to those in other sets. However, what is lacking in the minifigure department is made up for by the presence of Smaug. On-screen he is depicted as a massive dragon, and his figure has equally impressive proportions. He measures in at 24cm tall, 47.5cm long, and 42.5cm wide, which makes him by far the biggest dragon LEGO have ever produced. The detail on the figure is exceptional and he has excellent pose-ability. He makes up most of the value of the set and is the most expensive LEGO "animal" ever made.
2. The Battle of Helm's Deep (9474)
Current Value £348 / $411
Helm’s Deep is an iconic location in Middle Earth and the setting for one of the best movie battles in history. As a result, this set is highly sought after by LEGO and LotR enthusiasts.
The build is very substantial and can also be made even bigger by adding on the Uruk-hai Army (9471) set. The layout of the stronghold is accurate to the Helm’s Deep we see in the Two Towers movie and is well proportioned. However, like the Battle at the Black Gate, the walls could have benefitted from being taller. Regardless of this scale issue, overall it has a suitably impenetrable appearance and there are plenty of defences built into the fortifications that add good playability.
There is also a fine minifigure selection, with King Theoden and Haldir being the pick of the bunch. Theoden is equipped with beautifully printed body armour, helmet, and shield and is given a horse with movable back legs, so he can rear up in the face of any nasty orcs. In all his gear he looks fantastic and is one of my favourite minifigures across both themes.
1. Tower of Orthanc (10237)
Current Value £366 / $432
The Tower of Orthanc is by far the biggest Lord of the Rings set, and also eclipses any Hobbit set. With 2,359 pieces, it’s nearly 1,000 pieces bigger than the next largest, Helm’s Deep, so it's not surprising that it tops this list. In addition to being based on its size, its price today is also reflective of how good the set is.
The building experience is arguably the best of any Middle Earth-based LEGO set, as it combines Technic and System pieces, and makes use of plenty of unusual and creative construction techniques. The multiple levels all contain fantastic details and features that give the set great playability. Its height, striking black colour scheme, and iconic design means it's also hard to beat as a display piece.
For an original price tag of £169.99 / $199.99, it’s not unreasonable to expect more than five minifigures, but you also get a nicely designed brick-built Treebeard and eagle figure. Given the large RRP, the minifigures in this set are on the rarer side, as the Tower of Orthanc wasn’t the most affordable. The two that are unique to this set, Saruman and Wormtongue, are now very desirable, with the latter now being the most expensive Lord of the Rings minifigure.
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