LEGO Historian

LEGO Magazine Advertisements

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LEGO ads have been around since the early 1950s. The oldest ones were monochromatic, later ones were in full color. Chapter 68 of my DVD./download has dozens of LEGO ads from all around the world...

This is the oldest one I've ever seen... 1953 from Norway... advertising "LEGO Mursten" (bricks)...


Here's a 1963 magazine ad from Sweden, talking about the new "LEGO Wheels"... with lots of nice glued models in the background....


Here's a French ad from 1977 (the year before LEGO minifigs were introduced)... showing the LEGO people with big heads, and the 1974-77 minfig "stiffs"....


Here's an Italian 1960 magazine ad showing a young Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen playing with LEGO with a basic set and a parts pack in the foreground. This image shows many of the very collectible 1:87 cars and trucks, as well as other Town Plan accessories....


Here's a 1979 Toy Trade Publication add telling retailers that there's a lot of money to be made in LEGO sales...


Edited by LEGO Historian

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One of my favorite magazine ads was a magazine ad proof that was rejected for use. In the triple image below, the image in the middle was the proof. It was part of an estate collection of illustrations by comic book illustrator Joe Certa (1913-1984) who created the "Martian Manhunter" comic book character in the 1950s, and illustrated "Dark Shadows" comic books in the 1960s, among many other comic book works.

It was investigating the history of this ad that makes me enjoy playing LEGO Sherlock Holmes.... Mr. Certa was approached by USA Samsonite Corp. in 1963 to try making an ad for one of their LEGO advertisements. Although the artwork is first class, and the realism of the boy in the picture is top notch, Mr. Certa failed in a couple of areas.... 1) he didn't know the proper way to hold a LEGO brick.... 2) his window/door dimensions were not close to the real classic era LEGO parts, and 3) his use of Lime green, and what appears to be Maersk blue were decades ahead of their time. So instead Samsonite LEGO decided to go with the photograph used in the ad in the right image. But that building that Mr. Certa attempted to build looked like I had seen it before... which I did... it was from a 1958 continental European Retailer Glued Display Model Catalog (left). Mr. Certa apparently was given this image to work from, but the end result was not up to the requirements of LEGO images.

It was fun to put the historic pieces of this puzzle together and come up with all the parts! :sweet:


This 1961 UK ad shows one of the earliest castle images ever seen in LEGO....


This 1972 USA Samsonite LEGO ad looks like a regular ad. But this image shows secrets that it's hiding from the public... 1) the USA Samsonite LEGO license would be revoked within a few months (by 1973), 2) Samsonite is trying to get rid of all the remaining LEGO parts in its' inventory before the (already determined end of sales) end date arrives, and sold the last of their inventory in huge boxes of 500-900 parts at cheap prices, 3) yellow elements and red windows/doors were already depleted from their inventory, so only red, white and blue parts, with white windows/doors were still in inventory by the end of 1972 (other images of 1972 confirm this). Some 1971-72 Samsonite ads even fib about the impending loss of the LEGO license by saying that due to improved manufacturing processes, the number of parts in LEGO sets has been greatly increased, without increasing the price.


This is a 1960 Dutch magazine ad that shows that in the late 1950s and early 1960s red and white were by far the dominant colors in LEGO basic sets. Blue and yellow were only available in spare parts packs, and a few model sets. Only a few clear parts were found in basic sets of that era, and black parts wouldn't be introduced until late 1961.


This Belgian (Flemish) 1968 magazine ad mentions some of the new parts of the 1966 introduced LEGO Train System. What was new in 1968 was the train buildings (station, tower, warehouse), and the new magnet couplings.


There are dozens of magazine ads in this chapter of my LEGO DVD/download... in the future dozens more will be added (future downloads are free to current owners). There is also an entire chapter on LEGO Department Store Mail Order Catalog LEGO images, another chapter on LEGO Retailer Display items (and models), a chapter on the over 40 LEGO logos used since 1934, a chapter on how LEGO instructions have evolved over the last 60 years, and a chapter on LEGO box artwork, and how it evolved from painted images to photographic images (especially after the introduction of the LEGO Photography Department in 1959). These are all things you won't find in any online database.... :wink:

Gary Istok

Edited by LEGO Historian

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Thank you for the interesting pics. :classic: Do you have also a Flickr stream?

Edit: I've found your flickr, But the "Dutch Disney Ad" from 17 november is not in Dutch, Probably one of the scandinavian language, but I'm not sure.

Edited by Wout

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Hi Wout... yes, I found out (from one of the many Scandinavian posters on this thread)... that the "Dutch ad" is actually Norwegian". I was suspicious when I saw the word "og"... which is not Dutch (I only know English, German and French). It seems that "Anders Duck" is the Danish way of calling Donald, but "Donald Duck" is the Norwegian way.

My Flickr site...

This is only part of my 6000 image collection... about 2/3 of which are in the LEGO DVD/download... with more coming in future editions (free to current DVD or download owners when I send out periodic updates).

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From my longtime Swedish LEGO friend Tore Eriksson... Swedish LEGO Ads of the 1960s and 1970s...

1960 Swedish Ad.... LEGO Idea Book 238....


1960 Swedish Ad... LEGO spare parts packs....


1962 Swedish Ad ad for new items... LEGO Wheels LEGO 1:87 Cars and LEGO Hobby Sets...


1968 Swedish Ad.... LEGO Train Ferry Set 343...


1971 Swedish Ad... LEGO Town vehicles...


1973 Swedish LEGO Ad.... LEGO Homemaker sets.. new 1973 sets....


1979 Swedish Ad... new LEGO Space System sets...


These ad will be in the new version of the LEGO DVD download.

Edited by LEGO Historian

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One of the earliest British LEGO Ads (1962) shows something that we've seen a lot of lately.... THE PALACE CINEMA....


This is the old version of the modern remake!

Another interesting image is this 1962 USA Samsonite LEGO advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post...


And here's an ad that was mis-identified as Dutch... it is however (I believe) Norwegian.... 1962...


... and if I'm wrong... someone will correct me!! :classic:

These images in my newly expanded LEGO DVD download chapter on LEGO Advertising....

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The giant duck with human hands is quite possibly the most terrifying thing I have ever seen. I'd be surprised if Lego sold anything with that ad.

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Here's a different take on LEGO in a magazine.... here's a 1962 German magazine ARTICLE... (as opposed to ad)... and the article talks about LEGO in Germany. This image is of a LEGO designer in Germany building LEGO models. In March of 1962 TLG came out with LEGO wheels... so this image had to be from soon thereafter... since there are a lot of models with LEGO wheels in this image.... (from my DVD/download)....


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Here's an extremely rare advertisement for the very first USA Toy Fair where LEGO was prominently displayed... the New York Toy Fair of March 1962. LEGO came into production only about 6 months earlier... in time for the 1961 Christmas season in the USA.


In my LEGO DVD/download...

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