Recent topic research unexpectedly led me to a fascinating saga: The tale of the Mr. Gold LEGO.
His somewhat controversial story might be all-too-painfully familiar to ardent LEGO collectors. The world at large, however, hasn’t heard about Mr. Gold.
Now, I’m taking it upon myself to share his tale.
Mr. Gold LEGO: Origins
In early 2013, LEGO launched its 10th edition of collectible minifigures, aptly named “Minifigures Series 10.”
As with most of the previous series, this line included 16 collectible LEGO minifigures that fans could randomly find in single-figure packs that cost about $3.
Unlike the previous series, LEGO introduced a curveball to Series 10: a super rare, 17th minifigure called “Mr. Gold.” Only 5,000 Mr. Gold figures were ever produced.
Mr. Gold was distributed at random throughout the Series 10 packs. Those lucky enough to find Mr. Gold would also receive a special VIP code inside the package. Think Willy Wonka’s “Golden Ticket” but with a much lower risk of drowning in a river of chocolate.
Entering this VIP code on minifigures.lego.com would award you a virtual “Diploma”:
Then your location would be added to an online map of all discovered Mr. Gold figures. On the map, LEGO displayed a digital tracker to keep tabs on how many Mr. Gold figures have been found:
Mr. Gold: The minifigure
Mr. Gold himself was basically a LEGO take on “Mr. Monopoly” (aka Rich Uncle Pennybags).
Top hat? Check. Monocle*? Check. Walking cane or staff? Check and check! Barely hidden disdain for us mere mortals? You bet.
(*Mr. Monopoly actually never wore a monocle to start with, but he’s morphed within our public consciousness into a monocle-wearing aristocrat.)
Mr. Gold was painted almost completely golden except for his white hands. (Presumably he’s wearing fancy white gloves to complete his pretentious billionaire image.)
He also carried a staff and came with a black plastic base on which to place him.
All in all, Mr. Gold was just another minifigure, albeit with a nice shiny finish and a “limited edition” status.
Nothing could possibly go wrong…
Mr. Gold: The drama
Here’s the thing about creating artificial scarcity in your line of minifigures with a cult-like following among collectors and AFOLs (“Adult Fans Of LEGO“): People are bound to absolutely lose their shit.
And lose their shit people did.
You see, even though finding Mr. Gold was supposed to be a purely random occurrence, his signature top hat made him very easy to identify by touch through a closed Series 10 pack. Plus LEGO severely misjudged the lengths people would go to in order to secure their “Golden Ticket.”
You can tell where this is going, right?
Yup! In what quickly became known as “Goldgate,” the frenzied hunt for Mr. Gold brought out the worst in people.
From LEGO fans…
Stories surfaced of fans buying entire cases of Series 10 minifigure packages, bringing them home, feeling them for Mr. Gold, and then returning them en masse for a refund.
Jay, an especially dedicated fan in Australia, documented his 1,000 km journey across Eastern Victoria in search of Mr. Gold.
This hunt had a happy end: Jay found his Mr. Gold after rifling through multiple sealed packets of Minifigures Series 10 at the back of a David Jones department store in Melbourne.
…to toy stores…
On the other end, a Toys R Us store in the US announced that all of their Series 10 packets have been screened for Mr. Gold prior to making it onto the shelves. (The assumption is that the store removed and sold the Mr. Gold LEGO figures for a hefty profit.)
Other stores resorted to sealing the $3 minifigure packs in hardened plastic security cases usually reserved for more valuable items.
…to disappointed completionists.
Understandably, many ardent LEGO collectors were pissed. They felt cheated out of a realistic shot at acquiring the complete Series 10 set of minifigures due to Mr. Gold’s rarity (and the above LEGO-hoarding shenanigans).
Hey, LEGO, here’s a thought: If you’re going to drum up interest for an ultra rare minifigure, maybe don’t give it easy-to-identify headwear that can be sensed through the packet it’s “hidden” in.
Mr. Gold: The “cover-up”
With all the backlash, LEGO quietly swept the Mr. Gold debacle under the rug and walked away, whistling. Today, you’ll be hard pressed to find any official references to Mr. Gold.
Mr. Gold certificate site? Gone.
The world map and Mr. Gold tracker? Gone.
Even the official page for the Minifigure Series 10 set doesn’t display or mention Mr. Gold by name. Yeah, he’s been elevated to Voldemort status.
This short segment of a YouTube video does a decent job summarizing the whole Mr. Gold story:
Mr. Gold: Trivia
Still here? Great. Let’s answer some of the questions people often ask about that rascal Mr. Gold.
Is Mr. Gold made from real gold?
Despite what the mad dash to find him may have led you to believe, no real gold’s been involved in the making of Mr. Gold. He’s a liar and a fraud.
Instead, Mr. Gold is the same old plastic figure but with a chrome-gold metallic finish.
Is Mr. Gold the rarest LEGO minifigure?
To be sure, Mr. Gold is pretty damn rare. In 2013, it’s been estimated that the chances of finding Mr. Gold in a random Minifigure Series 10 bag was one in 1.2 million.
But Mr. Gold’s limited batch of 5,000 figures is outdone by a number of even rarer LEGO minifigures. The list is topped by a rare Boba Fett minifigure that’s actually made of real 14K gold. In his case, just two (yes, 2!) figures were ever made.
How many LEGO Mr. Gold’s are left in the wild?
First off, there’s no guarantee that the Mr. Gold tracker has ever been an accurate reflection of the number of discovered figures. Claiming your digital Mr. Gold certificate required visiting websites and typing in codes, so there’s a good chance many people simply didn’t bother.
Secondly…well…the Mr. Gold tracker is now offline, so we’ll never have the full picture. The last known screenshot of the map lists only 2,154 “found” figures. Math experts I’ve talked to assure me that means over 2,800 unregistered figures are still out there.
For all we know, hundreds of unopened Mr. Gold packs are gathering dust in a forgotten corner of a department store warehouse somewhere.
Now…for the big question that’s likely been on your mind since you started reading…
How much is a Mr. Gold LEGO worth?
Hold on to your (top) hats! This is about to get a bit cooky.
Mere days after the Series 10 hit the market, Mr. Gold LEGO minifigures were already selling for over $600. Remember: an individual blind bag was going for $3 at the time.
Seven years later, Mr. Gold is still going strong. Stronger, actually. You’ll find genuine Mr. Gold figures on Bricklink that cost as much as $6,000!
In general, the average LEGO Mr. Gold price seems to be in the $3,000 range. A bargain, if you ask me.
But…if you’re not dead set on getting the original Mr. Gold, you can find convincing replicas for as little as $5. After all, when it really comes down to it, both are just tiny figurines made from colored plastic. Blasphemy, I know!
Where can I buy a Mr. Gold LEGO?
There aren’t all that many ways how to get LEGO Mr. Gold these days. He’s not sold on Amazon, either directly or via Series 10 packages. In fact, it appears there’s no way to get the blind Series 10 packages at all anymore.
So if you’re after the original, your best bet is BrickLink, which as of this writing lists a total of 8 LEGO Mr. Gold figures for sale.
You can try your luck at finding Mr. Gold LEGO on eBay, but the vast majority of listings are replicas. The low price is usually a dead giveaway.
Some eBay entries do claim to be genuine, in which case it’s best to ask for the original certificate if you want to be sure. Alternatively, Bricknowlogy has this picture-rich guide that shows how to tell LEGO Mr. Gold fakes apart from the real thing.
That’s all folks…
This wraps up the Mr. Gold tale.
Have I missed some important details? Do you own an original Mr. Gold and would like to brag? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.