LEGO Historian

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    LEGO, History, Architecture


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  1. LEGO Historian

    Any old Lego store display photos?

    In my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide, I have 2 additional chapters on LEGO retailer items... one chapter is glued display models (1958-present), and the other is on LEGO retailer displays.... (1955-present). Here's a few... 2 images of a 1967 USA Samsonite retailer LEGO display... Here is some mid 1970s LEGO shelves, from a toy retailer magazine image showing how much retailers can earn selling LEGO. 1960 Odense Denmark toy retailer display window... 1955 Goteburg Sweden department store LEGO display counter... 1960s UK LEGO glued window display models... 1970s European glued display castle... Over 100 different (mostly more recent) images in my collectors guide....
  2. Well each of you can make your own choices, although I do feel completely quitting with LEGO is an overreaction. I'm way older than most of you (started collecting LEGO in 1961, first LEGO year in the USA), but I have an anecdote that makes much of the above scenario's pale by comparison. Here is the 1961-63 USA/Canada first LEGO catalog image (parts packs on the reverse side)... My well-to-do childless aunt asked me what I wanted for Christmas back then, and I told her I wanted that #717 Junior Constructor set (a Cotswold Cottage type house) at the top of this early LEGO catalog image. I gave my aunt a copy of this early small Samsonite LEGO catalog, and for 2 years she was looking to buy that set for me, but never found it. I remember being in tears as a 9 year old when I got a bike from her for Christmas instead, because she could not find that particular set (I know... WTF... right? ) But I really really wanted that set. Then circa 2004, when I started writing my 2800 page Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide... I was in frequent contact with the Billund Archives and Collections. And 40 years after I had really wanted that set as a child, I found out that the early Samsonite LEGO catalogs were produced before the sets were introduced. So that 717 set was never actually sold (looking like that) to the public, even though it had been in the USA LEGO catalog from 1961-63, and in the Canada LEGO catalog from 1962-65. That set would have taken up 9 10x20 thick baseplates, and way too many bricks to fit into the box it was intended for.... ( a zoom in of the catalog image)... The Billund Archives folks told me that that box was a mock up... and does not survive in the LEGO Collections today. The actually produced 717 Junior Constructor Set (1961-65) was much smaller (only 4 10x20 baseplates) with a modern design... So, although I spent 40 years waiting for that set.... by 2005 I was able to find a 3 stages of construction image for the larger model, and have it built here at home for 15 years.... Over the last 15 years, I have found this model design was only used as a retailer glued display model in 3 variations... EU, UK, and USA/Canada. I include detailed instructions of this model in my computer desktop online Collectors Guide so other people could build this model. LEGO... the dream crusher....
  3. LEGO Historian

    LEGO history, to the Moon... and back

    It is a 2800 page computer desktop (666MB) download (10 minutes to download), with 73 chapters (expanding to about 150 chapters (free to current owners) in 2020). Follow my post link below..I use Paypal,. (last link). I used to sell it as a DVD as well, but shipping worldwide has gotten to expensive, and getting it as a download eliminates Customs and $8 shipping (I email download instructions within hours or less).
  4. LEGO Historian

    LEGO history, to the Moon... and back

    Glued display models have been available to LEGO stores to purchase since circa 1955. There are even glued display model catalogs of what was available from year to year. This was mainly for midsized models. For larger models, they were specially made for department stores and larger toy retailers. I have a chapter devoted to older (pre-1985) LEGO models, with images going back into the 1950s. In updated guide coming out in a few months, I will have a 2nd chapter devoted to more modern glued display models. Here are some of the images I have from my guide... Probably the grandest (architecturally) display model is an early 1960s USA Samsonite LEGO glued example of the UK Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament)... Here is an "artworked" image of the same mode (different angle), from a 1963 #238 Building Idea Book (International no text version)... Early 1970's Church model... Also in my guide.... images from my 2 major glued display model collector friends... Chris (Scotland) and Henk (Netherlands). They both buy old (usually somewhat trashed) glued display models, and restore them. Here's a large public glued display model collection of Chris's restored models... And my friend Henk has these wonderful restored models.... (also to be found in my guide)... Rare 1958 display model... Mid 1960s model.... 2 pages of a 1960-61 LEGO Retailer Glued Display Model catalog... Circa 1965 glued model.... Very large glued model (1965) of Germany's Johannisburg Castle in Aschaffenburg. Medieval house in Hildesheim Germany... (a personal favorite).... And here's one that took a long time to figure out what it was for. This was for small European independent toy retailers, to have loose bricks inside for parents with kids along... for the kids to try building with LEGO loose parts kept in this "box".... for parents to decide on buying LEGO. This box with loose LEGO was kept behind the counter and brought out at certain times when a child had never played with LEGO before! Over 150 images in my 2 LEGO Guide chapters.
  5. LEGO Historian

    Restoring a Very old LEGO Set...

    I don't know any particular seller that will part with his old LEGO, but there are some sellers on Bricklink that will. You have to look under the parts section under "CLASSIC".... In order to save shipping costs, this one Danish seller seems to have a lot of the parts you might need...{"itemType":"P","catID":"423","showHomeItems":0}
  6. LEGO Historian

    Restoring a Very old LEGO Set...

    The block letter logo is earlier than the dogbone font, but since TLG never threw anything away, mixing bricks in the same set is not unusual.
  7. LEGO Historian

    Restoring a Very old LEGO Set...

    Hi, Yes it looks like your seller pack the box exactly like this set from a Portuguese collector... this image is 10 years old.... This Portuguese collector put together the box (which was empty) as he thought it should look like (your seller must have used this image as a guide to pack the box). Sweden started selling LEGO in March 1955. By then all the Swedish 700/x basic sets should have only had red and white bricks (with 2 clear 2x4s). The windows would have been the tall classic windows/door (of 1954-56). The last page of this Nov. 1954 leaflet shows what a 700/3A set of 1955 should build. The 10x20 baseplate color is not important, but it should be a thick baseplate, and not a thin 10x20 ABB baseplate. Also, the windows/doors were not always red. I have seen examples of some with other colors (yellow, green, orange, blue)... all very rare colors for the tall classic 1954-56 windows/doors, or even the common white. Gary Istok
  8. Thanks for the vote of confidence! Yes I can shed light on your question.... With LEGO, the START date of new parts, new colors, or color changes is known. It's the END date that we don't know. Here's why... when TLG introduces a new color (new blue-gray to replace old gray)... we know that year as 2004. However, all old parts in inventory in the old gray continued to be used in new sets, even though they were mixed with new blue-gray parts for many years after 2003. TLG will NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY!! That has been their unwritten motto for as long as they produced LEGO items. They always use up the old inventory of parts that have changed design or color. Back in the 1970s Homemaker sets had a lot of tile bricks. And I had several MISB sets that I opened up to find a mix of tiles with and without the lip at the base (to make them easier to remove from other LEGO parts). The tiles with lips were introduced in the early 1970s... but the older versions were found in LEGO sets for many years afterwards. Even after 1963 (when TLG switched from Cellulose Acetate to ABS plastic)... I have seen Cellulose Acetate parts in newer sets. I had two 325 Shell Station sets (1966-70)... and that set came with one 2x3 white brick. In both sets that single 2x3 brick was Cellulose Acetate, while all the other parts were ABS. A recent variation on this "LEGO Mayhem" was the 10152 Maersk Line Container Ship, which came in 2004, 2005 and 2006 boxed versions. All the 2x4 bricks in these sets had cross-supports connecting the tubes on the underside with the inner sidewalls of the brick. But a funny thing happened in the 2006 version. TLG didn't want to run another batch of Maersk blue 2x4 bricks (6 were in each set).... so they asked the model shops if they had any of these Maersk blue bricks in stock. The Windsor UK model shop had enough in stock, but these were the old type (from the 1980s) without cross-supports. And that is why these are available on the secondary market.... (all known examples come from the 2006 version of 10152 via the model shops)... So it is easy to determine when a LEGO element type or color was introduced... but it is nearly impossible to determine what year they were finally retired.
  9. The key word here is "Many"... and that is the truth... The 725 set number was a USA/Canada Town Plan set of 1961-65, a 12V Freight Train set of the mid 1970s, and a Basic Set of 1990... There are many examples of 3 digit set numbers reused 2 or 3 times. Then there are some sets that have the same number used at the same time, but in different parts of the world. The 346 Samsonite USA Jumbo Jet set was used at the same time as the 346 EU/Australia House set... LEGO Mayhem!
  10. LEGO Historian

    How should I lay out my 700/4 set?

    Yes! That looks great. Good job! There is always at least 1 or 2 trans-clear bricks in these sets, so you got that right as well. Recently I talked to a gentleman whose father used to own a toy store... and these flat box sets used to drive retailers crazy... because if it was dropped or tipped... there would be LEGO flying everywhere. So, many retailers taped the boxes shut, and there are a lot of these sets with tape or tape marks on 2 sides. You are fortunate if you have no such tape marks on your set. This set now looks like it would when it was originally sold in circa 1957. Very nice!
  11. Sorry to take so long to answer... but I have to agree with Paul on this one. Once a set is opened (seals broken), there is no guarantee that any set is original. I had this (and several other Castle sets) in the 1980s, and I see a lot of replacements in both sets. First of all the drawbridge strings in the sets of that era were thin and black. The French version of the 6080 has just white thick string.... not something that I never remember TLG using for their castle sets... so that was the first red flag that there were replacement parts in the French 6080. And that white string is likely not even LEGO... just a generic piece of string. And the Austrian 6080 even mentions that some parts were missing and replaced. But replaced with what? I would never assume that an opened Ebay set (or even Bricklink set) to be 100% original. At least the Austrian 6080 owner acknowledged that there were replacement parts.
  12. ..... and then there is the 1958 Danish Catalog... only 2 sides of 1 page back then. It was the year they shouldn't have put prices in the pricelist just yet.....
  13. LEGO Historian

    How should I lay out my 700/4 set?

    You have the right idea in checkerboarding, but have too many red bricks, and not enough white ones. This is a pair of Dutch 700/3A sets (the next larger size from the 700/4). They too have more red bricks that white, but not to the point that you do.... You need to figure out the parts for a few more 4x4 checkerboar squares in white ... using these hollow bottom white bricks. Find a (European) seller that has them all, and order from one person to save postage. Since these are all Cellulose Acetate bricks, you really can't build anything stable from the anyway, so building with them is not important... just displaying them in the box is. So order some of the white bricks to get your box to look more checkerboard like.
  14. LEGO Historian

    Death of Lego Investing? Rerelease of Taj Mahal

    I guess we are on the same page.... I once bought 34 of the 760 (USA) LONDON BUS Sets ($7.65 each) from a Detroit area toy discounter (bought closeouts and out-of-business inventory) back in 1980. There were 35 sets on the shelf, and a lady asked me if she could have one, after I had loaded them all into my shopping cart (1980 was a few years after the London Bus was discontinued). She said her husband was British, and wanted one for him. I let her have it, and was happy to take the other 34. The sad thing is that I opened all of the sets (they were classic window intensive with 24 per set), and only built one bus. The remaining windows (about 800) became classic window inventory for my skyscrapers. 25 years later I did resell sticker sheets and instructions, and made a lot of collectors happy.
  15. LEGO Historian

    Death of Lego Investing? Rerelease of Taj Mahal

    The term reseller has so many possible meanings... I was a reseller when I sold my sets, a collector who buys one set to play with and puts another one away to eventually sell to recap his expenses, is another reseller... and then there are those that are not interested in LEGO at all, except as a profit motive.... those are the ones I am talking about as resellers (in that sense). Once LEGO becomes (or maybe the right word is "became" unprofitable for them, they are off onto the next money making venture. Those resellers I am glad to see leave the LEGO market. I don't think that a LEGO collector would leave a kid who wanted a set that the "reseller' just bought up the supply of... in such misery. I think LEGO collectors who resell would have a heart, and remember when hey were young and waned a set they could not find. I am pleased that THOSE resellers are (hopefully) leaving the LEGO market.