With LEGO Originals seemingly having been quietly retired, Blocks takes a look at the theme that celebrated the history of the LEGO brand
What is LEGO Originals? No, it’s not some brick-crazy pop band, but rather a line of products celebrating the LEGO Group’s rich history. Most weren’t available to buy though, which is why the Originals range is quite obscure, with most of its products only obtainable through the revamped VIP Rewards Centre online.
Back in the summer of 2019, there was a big shift surrounding the LEGO VIP programme. The reward scheme is free to join and allows fans to accrue points from purchases online and in official brand stores. Once a certain points quantity has been reached, the points become money off purchases. Before the change, 100 points meant £5 ($5/€5) off a purchase. But when the system was revamped in 2019, the whole points value changed. It took more points to get money-off vouchers, which understandably didn’t please a lot of fans. However, the upgrade also came with some other things that proved intriguing.
Instead of just getting money-off future LEGO purchases, fans could use points to ‘buy’ exclusive items from the VIP Rewards centre. This included the, at the time, brand-new LEGO Originals line. Prints were launched under the branding in the Rewards Centre, with one of the first items available being a print of the British LEGO patent application. A little larger than A4 in size and printed on card stock, it captured the highly detailed sketches of the iconic 2×4 brick from 1968. It was something for LEGO fans to frame and put up on the wall.
That first print drop then led to a flood, with designs based on patents from all across Europe released. They typically showcased different bricks, but some focused elsewhere, such as a limited-edition German patent print was for a wooden car model from the days before the LEGO Group was making plastic products.
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It has tended to be iconic moments from the company’s history that have made the Originals cut. Another limited-edition print was for the famous LEGO wooden duck, limited to only 5000, which now sells for about £20 ($27/€23) on eBay. Not bad for an almost freebie.
These were all paper products only available to VIPs in the Rewards Centre, but late in 2019 came the first, and so far only, physical Originals product available to purchase. 853967 Wooden Minifigure is a 5:1 upscaled recreation of a minifigure carved from oak. Its release came with a time limited art gallery event in London, but the model itself split fans. Some loved the customisation options a blank minifigure presented, others didn’t understand the concept at all. Either way, it has become a collectible, available on eBay for prices of up to £200 ($275/€230).
There are two main things that makes LEGO Originals rather collectible – most have short print or production runs (853967 was only on shelves for one year), and they are only usually available in certain regions. It was relatively easy to get the Originals in the UK and the USA, but the choices of VIP Rewards in other countries was frustratingly limited. So, some international collectors had no choice but to turn to marketplace websites.
Interestingly though, the Originals line has gone quiet. A few new prints were released in the Rewards Centre for just 150 points each, suggesting that the take-up for these at 750 points was pretty limited. Has the brand been quietly retired? For now, it’s impossible to tell, but some of the prints are still available, so it’s worth double-checking the Rewards Centre if you have a lot of points to use and want something a bit different.