People looking to make money could do worse than investing in LEGO. A 2018 study found that buying new LEGO sets to sell later yielded greater returns than stocks, bonds, or gold. Some LEGO products are more likely to multiply in value than others (e.g. anything with the name Star Wars on the box), but if LEGO collectors want to know if their old toys are worth cash, they should start by looking for these sets.
LEGO is known for its elaborate Star Wars sets, and its Millennium Falcon model is the most sought-after of them all. The 7541-piece Ultimate Collectors Series edition, an update of the 5197-piece Millennium Falcon, hit the market for $800 in 2017, making it the priciest set the company had sold at the time. The toy was only around for a limited window, and now it sells on websites like eBay for more than $2000.
LEGO delighted Harry Potter fans when it released a detailed replicate of Hogwarts Castle in 2018. The set, which has over 6000 pieces, is a masterpiece of interlocking brick architecture. All of the building features that fans remember from the films—including the chambers, towers, classrooms, and even the Whomping Willow—are recreated in the toy model. Lego sells it for $400.
The 5922-piece Taj Mahal broke the record for most LEGO pieces per set when it debuted in 2008. That record has since been toppled by the 2017 Millennium Falcon, but the Taj Mahal is still legendary among LEGO collectors. It originally sold from LEGO for $300, and today buyers are willing to spend thousands on the classic set (Wal-Mart has two sets left, which are going for nearly $1500). The Taj Mahal model is so popular that LEGO relaunched the set in 2017. It's still available at the LEGO shop for $370.
This 1:300-scale Eiffel Tower set from LEGO stands more than 4 feet high when assembled, making it one of the tallest LEGO sets ever made. The toy maker released the set in 2007 for $200, and while other Eiffel Tower LEGO models have been manufactured since then, none can compare to this stately structure. The set is currently available for $2757 on Amazon.
The Death Star is another valuable Star Wars-themed product in LEGO’s collection. This set, featuring 4000 pieces, is available for $500 from the LEGO shop. When assembled, the 16-inch-high (and wide) model is good for more than giving your Luke Skywalker minifigure something to fly around; the interior chambers are exposed, so you can recreate several scenes from the film.
In 2007, LEGO released the Street collection, which featured eight separate sets of buildings you would find on a city block, such as a pet shop, firehouse, and movie theater. The Cafe Corner set in this collection, featuring a little over 2000 pieces, sold for around $100 upon its release. Today it’s available on Amazon for close to $2000.
The castle at the center of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is available as a LEGO set. The LEGO shop sells the 29-inch-tall Disney Castle for $350. With the 4000 pieces that come in each box, builders can construct a five-level palace that’s fit for a princess—or at least fit for the Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Tinkerbell minifigures included in the set.
With 3263 pieces, nine minifigures, and a motorized, rotating platform, the Grand Carousel is one of the more impressive sets ever released by the LEGO company. Even though it’s not attached to a particular property, it’s prized by collectors, fetching more than $2000 on online marketplaces. The set debuted at $250 in 2009 and was discontinued roughly a year later, and its limited availability drove up its value.
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With the help of social media, slang words and phrases can gain momentum around the globe in what feels like mere minutes. But trendy terms were making splashes long before YouTubers were stanning guyliner-wearing pop stars who slay all day and woke Gen Z-ers were tweeting their hot takes about fake news, mansplaining, and more.
In a new study, digital subscription service Readly analyzed data from its magazine archives to identify some popular terms from years past and present and pinpoint exactly when they stopped appearing in print. Among more positive terms like crinkum-crankum (“elaborate decoration or detail”) and sweetmeat (“item of confectionery or sweet food”) lies a treasure trove of delicious insults that have all but disappeared—and could definitely add some color to your future squabbles.
View Readly’s full timeline of terms here, and read on to find out which insults were our favorites.
This alternate form of loathsome, meaning “repulsive,” had an impressive run as an insult for nearly 900 centuries, starting in 1099 and not falling out of public favor until 1945.
According to the Merriam-Webster entry, purblind originally meant “blind” during the 1400s, and later became a way to indicate shortsightedness or lack of insight.
The next time you encounter an “utter coward,” you can call them a poltroon. They’re probably too much of a poltroon to ask you what poltroon means.
Though this term for “a person who stays in bed late” hasn’t been used much since the early 20th century, it’s the perfect insult for your roommate who perpetually hits the snooze button.
This obscure term for a foolish person also once meant a "fickle, unstable person," according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Fainéant derives from fait-nient, French for “doing nothing.” Its tenure as a popular insult for “an idle or ineffective person” lasted from 1619 to 1670, but the fainéants themselves didn’t disappear with the term—there’s one in practically every group project.
If you want to pack an extra punch when you accuse someone of being a fainéant, you could also call them otiose, meaning “lazy” or “slothful.”
In Italy’s commedia dell’arte—a type of theatre production with ensemble casts, improvisation, and masks—Scaramouch was a stock character easily identified by his boastful-yet-cowardly manner. Much like scrooge is now synonymous with miser, the word scaramouch was used from the 1600s through the 1800s to describe any boastful coward. Wondering why the obsolete expression sounds so familiar? The band Queen borrowed it for their operatic masterpiece “Bohemian Rhapsody,” though scaramouches aren’t necessarily known for doing the fandango.
From the Latin phrasequid nunc, or “What now?”, a quidnunc is an “inquisitive, bossy person” who’s constantly sniffing around for the next juicy morsel of gossip. Usage dropped off in the early 20th century, but you can always bring it back for that friend who unabashedly reads your text messages over your shoulder.
A sciolist is someone “who pretends to be knowledgeable.” Though they might fool a mooncalf or two, any expert would see through their facade.
11. and 12. Rapscallion and Scapegrace
Rapscallion and scapegrace are both wonderful ways to offend a mischievous person—if such a person would even be offended—that overlapped in popularity between the 1700s and the 1900s. While scapegrace refers to an incorrigible character who literally escaped God’s grace, rapscallion is an embellished version of the identically defined (but rather less fun to say) word rascal.
As streetwise boxer Rocky Balboa (in eight films) and haunted Vietnam veteran John Rambo (in five films), the man born Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone has made his brand of muscular melodrama a staple of the action film genre across five decades.
The latest Rambo chapter, Rambo: Last Blood, opens September 20. In the meantime, check out some of the more intriguing facts about the actor, from his modest beginnings as an accidental porn star to his peculiar rivalry with Richard Gere to his waylaid plans to run a pudding empire.
1. An errant pair of forceps gave Sylvester Stallone his distinctive look.
Many comedians have paid their bills over the decades by adopting Sylvester Stallone’s distinctive lip droop and guttural baritone voice. The facial feature was the result of some slight mishandling at birth. When Stallone was born on July 6, 1946 in Manhattan, the physician used a pair of forceps to deliver him. The malpractice left his lip, chin, and part of his tongue partially paralyzed due to a severed nerve. Stallone later said his face and awkward demeanor earned him the nickname “Sylvia” and authority figures telling him his brain was “dormant.” Burdened with low self-esteem, Stallone turned to bodybuilding and later performing as a way of breaking through what seemed to be a consensus of low expectations.
2. sylvester Stallone attended college in Switzerland.
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Despite a tumultuous adolescence in which he was kicked out of several schools for misbehavior, Stallone eventually graduated high school while living with his mother in Philadelphia. He went on to attend American College, a university in Leysin, Switzerland, where he also worked as a gym teacher and dorm bouncer in addition to selling hamburgers on campus. It was there he became interested in theater—both acting and writing.
Stallone continued his education at the University of Miami before moving to New York with the hopes of breaking into the entertainment industry. While auditioning for parts, Stallone worked as a movie theater usher and cleaned lion cages at the zoo. He was fired from the theater for trying to scalp tickets to a customer. Unknown to Stallone, the customer was the theater owner.
3. Sylvester Stallone’s mother was an expert in “rumpology.”
Stallone’s parents separated while he was still a child. His father, a beauty salon owner named Francesco Stallone, was apparently prone to corporal punishment, and would cuff his young son for misbehavior. (Stallone was once caught swatting flies with a lead pipe on the hood of his father’s brand-new car.) His mother, Jackie Stallone—whom he once described as “half-French, half-Martian"—later grew interested in the study of rumpology, or the study of the buttocks to reveal personality traits and future events.
4. Sylvester Stallone had a small part in a porno.
Carlos Alvarez, Getty Images
While struggling to make it as an actor, Stallone was talked into making an appearance in Party at Kitty and Stud’s, a 1970 softcore adult film that was not as explicit as other sex features of the era but still required Stallone to appear in the nude. While he was initially hesitant to take the role, Stallone was sleeping in a bus shelter at the time. He took the $200 for two days of work. Following the success of Rocky in 1976, the film’s producers capitalized on their now-valuable footage and re-released it under the title The Italian Stallion. In 2010, a 35mm negative of the film and all worldwide rights to it were auctioned off on eBay for $412,100.
5. Sylvester Stallone wrote a novel.
In addition to his acting ambitions, Stallone decided to pursue a career in writing. After numerous screenplays, he wrote Paradise Alley, a novel about siblings who get caught up in the circus world of professional wrestling in Hell’s Kitchen. Stallone finished the novel before deciding to turn it into a screenplay. Paradise Alley was eventually produced in 1978. The book, which was perceived as a novelization, was published that same year.
6. Sylvester Stallone was not a fan of the Rambo cartoon series.
After the success of 1982’s First Blood and 1985’s Rambo: First Blood Part II, Stallone was confronted with a litany of Rambo merchandising. Speaking with the Chicago Tribune in 1986, he said he disliked that the psychologically-tortured war veteran was being used to peddle toys. “I couldn’t control it,” he said. “I tried to stop it, but I don’t own the licensing rights.”
On the subject of Rambo: The Force of Freedom, a 1986 animated series featuring a considerably softened-up version of the character, Stallone was resigned. “They’re going to make this Saturday morning TV cartoon show for kids with what they tell me is a softened version of Rambo doing good deeds. First of all, that isn’t Rambo, but more important, they tell me I can’t stop them because it’s not me they’re using. It’s a likeness of a character I played and don’t own.” The show lasted just one season.
7. Sylvester Stallone never planned on the Rocky series enduring as long as it has.
Through the years, Stallone has made some definitive declarations about the Rocky series, which has been extended to eight films including its two spin-off installments, 2015’s Creed and 2018’s Creed II. Speaking with movie critic Roger Ebert in 1979 shortly before the release of Rocky II, Stallone indicated Rocky III that would conclude the series. “There’ll never be a Rocky IV,” he said. "You gotta call it a halt.” In 1985, while filming Rocky IV, Stallone toldInterview magazine that he was finished. “Oh, this is it for Rocky,” he said. “Because I don’t know where you go after you battle Russia.” In 1990, following the release of Rocky V, Stallone declared that “There is no Rocky VI. He’s done.” Upon the release of Rocky Balboa in 2006, Stallone once more declared he was finished. "I couldn't top this," he toldPeople. "I would have to wait another 10 years to build up a head of steam, and by that point, come on."
Creed was released nine years later. Following Creed II, he posted a message on Instagram that served as a “final farewell” to the character. Several months later, in July 2019, Stallone toldVariety that, “There’s a good chance Rocky may ride again” and explained an idea involving Rocky befriending an immigrant street fighter. It would be the ninth film in the series.
8. Sylvester Stallone was offered the lead role in Beverly Hills Cop.
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In one of the more intriguing alternate casting decisions in Hollywood history, Stallone was originally offered the Axel Foley role in 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop. Not wishing to make a comedy, Stallone rewrote the script to focus more on the action, as Detroit cop Foley stampedes through Beverly Hills to find his friend’s killers. Stallone described his version as resembling “the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan on the beaches of Normandy” and said his climax involved a game of chicken between a Lamborghini and an oncoming train. Producers opted to go in another direction. It became one of Eddie Murphy’s biggest hits. Stallone would later use some of his ideas for a rogue cop in the 1986 film Cobra.
9. Sylester Stallone does not get along with Richard Gere.
While filming 1974’s The Lords of Flatbush, in which Stallone and then-unknown actor Richard Gere both played 1950s street toughs, the two actors apparently got off on the wrong foot. Stallone recalled that Gere drew his ire for being too physical during rehearsals—and worse, getting mustard on Stallone during a lunch break. Incensed, Stallone demanded the director choose one of them to stay and one of them to be fired. Gere was let go and replaced by Perry King.
10. Arnold Schwarzenegger once tricked sylvester stallone into starring in a box office bomb.
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
Stallone has often discussed his rivalry with Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the two action stars were believed to be the two biggest marquee attractions in the 1980s. Recalling his 1992 bomb Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Stallone told a journalist in 2014 that he believed Schwarzenegger was to blame. “I heard Arnold wanted to do that movie and after hearing that, I said I wanted to do it,” he said. “He tricked me. He’s always been clever.”
11. sylvester Stallone wanted to create a pudding empire.
In 2005, shortly before Rocky Balboa resurrected his film career, Stallone embarked on a line of fitness supplements. His company, Instone, produced a pudding snack that was low-carb and high in protein. Stallone even appeared on Larry King to hawk the product. A legal dispute with a food scientist over the rights to the concoction dragged on for years and Instone eventually folded.