The LEGO Group unveiled one of their most anticipated new sets today, in the form of 10253 Big Ben. This model of the iconic London landmark is quite impressive, standing at over 23 inches (60 cm) tall and containing 4163 pieces! It will be the fifth largest LEGO set (by piece count) ever released, with only the Taj Mahal, UCS Millenium Falcon, Ghostbusters Firehouse and Tower Bridge having more pieces. And surprisingly, the price of the model will be a (relatively) modest $250 / £170 / 220€, which is a considerably lower price-per-piece than most other LEGO offerings.
What does 10253 Big Ben Tell Us About Retirements?
Many LEGO collectors and investors have wondered recently about which Creator Expert landmark set will be the next to retire. Both 10234 Sydney Opera House and 10214 Tower Bridge are currently available, but they both have lived long lifespans and could be at risk of retirement — this is particularly true in the case of the Tower Bridge. So what does the introduction of 10253 Big Ben potentially indicate? To start, it is a virtual certainty that the launch of Big Ben signals the retirement of one of the existing landmark sets because there is limited shelf space, and slots in the product lineup, so naturally something will have to be discontinued to make room for the Big Ben. There is a limit to how many 3000+ piece sets LEGO can sell at a given time before sales start to cannibalize each other. So which set will it be? Well, there is a potentially significant clue given by Jamie in the official designer video for 10253:
“The scale of it we’ve tried to make inline with the Tower Bridge, so if you have these in the same display they’ll actually work quite well.”
Now, this quote on its own does not necessarily mean that the Tower Bridge is not retiring soon, but it does indicate that LEGO made a deliberate effort to make the scale of the two models the same. It seems illogical that they would do so if they did not plan to sell the two models alongside each other, for at least some period of time.
In addition, we identified in a previous article that 10214 Tower Bridge received an updated box design (quite similar to the box for 10253 Big Ben) and 10234 Sydney Opera House did not. When we consider the box redesign for the Tower Bridge, and the Big Ben being designed to the same scale, it begins to look much more obvious that the Sydney Opera House will be the next Creator Expert landmark set to retire.