LEGO Historian

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    LEGO, History, Architecture

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  1. LEGO Historian

    Lego Stores...

    Thanks for the heads up! Very interesting! I'm doing something similar, but with other LEGO Retailer items as well... I have expanding my LEGO computer desktop guide chapter on LEGO Retailers, retailer shop windows, retailer glued display items, LEGO display stands and signage, and LEGO retailer documentation... from the years 1949 to the present. This is for my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide (2800 pages). Here are some of the interesting older LEGO retailer displays (before the time LEGO company stores came out)... 1955 Swedish (first year of LEGO in Sweden) sales kiosk in a department store in Göteburg Sweden... Copenhagen Goldschmidt & Chrome Departments Store LEGO window, December 1959.... USA Samsonite LEGO Window... Detroit J. L. Hudsons Department Store... 1961. LEGO display stand... from a LEGO retailer catalog page.... 1959. Samsonite LEGO model shop Detroit... 1962. USA LEGO Retailer promotion 1975... USA LEGO display... 1967... 1960 Odense Denmark LEGO display window....
  2. LEGO Historian

    Lego in China

    Tell the Chinese LEGO folks that next year a translated to simplified Chinese (also for rest of world in English) series of 9 books of my encyclopedic LEGO Collectors Guide will be out in 2020 to help them catch up on the extensive history of LEGO sets and parts, as well as every LEGO item imaginable, from LEGO retailers, to the Billund HQ... (a shameless plug)...
  3. Red was the color that TLG uses for testing new moulds. So it was a TLG test piece that got out of the factory... rather than found in any set. Apparently red is the easiest color to determine if the mould has a problem, by looking at red test strikes. Here is a very rare 1960s garage baseplate... (Bricklink part 820)... only found in white and gray in the 1960s... a red test strike. They made this piece as a regular item in red from 1955-57, and those can sell up to $200 each (in mint). This is the only 1960s version known (this one has LEGO on the studs, the earlier one does not)... and as this is the only known piece, this could easily be bid up to $500 or more at auction... if it ever came up for sale. Image from my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide chapter on LEGO prototype parts.
  4. 24K gold is at about $1335 an ounce, while pure platinum is $835 an ounce. Those 2x4 solid gold bricks were given to special employees of TLG on their milestone anniversary. A deep pocket buyer recently asked if I knew anyone who had one... he was willing to pay $15K for it... which is what the platinum Bionicle mask went for. Interestingly enough I found out why platinum costs more than gold in jewelry. Platinum is so hard that it can be 95% pure and fashioned into jewelry... while gold is so soft that 14 Carat gold (approx. 58% pure) requires more other metals mixed with the gold to make it usable as jewelry.
  5. LEGO Historian

    LEGO CEO suggests Chinese inspired sets

    Sorry for my outburst... had a really bad winter... besides losing my 93 year old aunt, I lost 2 other dear friends, both to cancer... and then the adult son of one of them committed suicide... so it was really bad timing. Those that know me, know that I don't have outbursts. My apologies.
  6. LEGO Historian

    LEGO CEO suggests Chinese inspired sets

    It took me a few days to cool off before replying... since my aunt just passed away at 93 (die Tante Maria)... but after reading your blogs and Facebook page... why don't you go back to playing with your LEGO Friends collection, and leave this conversation to the grownups. Ich könnte auch ordinaire sein...
  7. LEGO Historian

    Unknown LEGO Sets...

    Thank! The best is yet to come... all current guide owners will get free upgrades to the next edition which will have over 4000 pages (update instructions will be emailed to current owners to download). I have many collector friends from around the world who have contributed many items that are not even found in the Vault or Archives in Billund. Many of the photos in the current computer desktop online guide will be upgraded with spectacularly better photos. Many of my LEGO friends have greatly improved their photography skills!! That German 700 wooden box set you have actually came in a slightly larger version that was only sold in Denmark and Sweden as a Institutional/Educational set number 700K. These are not mentioned in any LEGO catalog, and were a surprise to me when they first showed up about a year ago. Here is a 1957 "museum quality" Swedish version. If you notice, the image on the cover is the same size as on the slightly smaller 700 wooden box set of Germany... TLG used the same size image, but on a slightly larger box. These larger sets were sold to schools and institutions. I was surprised to learn that TLG marketed these sets to Beauty Parlors and Barber Shops as well as schools/institutions. If you were getting your hair done.... you could bring your children along... and they would be well behaved by playing with the stores large LEGO set with Town Plan board. What a clever idea!! Also included in the free upgrades will be the addition of bringing the computer desktop guide up to the present. So the 73 chapter guide will end up at about 150 chapters!
  8. LEGO Historian

    Unknown LEGO Sets...

    William that would be the 700 wooden box set. Here is the oldest (1957) German 700 box with 2 sliding lids that make a 1950s Masonite Town Plan board.... Here are the 4 different German 700 boxes.... Upper left 1957, upper right 1958, lower left 1959, lower right 1960-62. If the wooden box has room for a 2 piece board, then the set is either the 700 set "mit inhalt" (with contents), or 700K Educational set... both have 2 piece Town Plan boards. If the box only has room for 1 piece (box top only without board layout on the other side)... then it is the 700 set "leer" (empty)... and it was just sold as an empty box without a 2 piece board... Images from my 2800 page computer desktop online "Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide", which I spent 10 years working on.
  9. LEGO Historian

    LEGO CEO suggests Chinese inspired sets

    Actually in a sense, that has already been done... partially. The Palace Cinema entryway is patterned after the former Grauman's Chinese Theatre (now known as Mann's).... During the movie palace era of the 1918-32, many different historic/national styles of theatres (inside and out) were created as movie palace. Grauman's Chinese is about the most famous, and although it has little embellishments on the inside... the facade at least has Chinese influences. I don't think anything else in that genre is necessary. Although if TLG thinks that it could sell an Asian motive version in Asia... more power to them. They could give it a try with one and see how it does.
  10. LEGO Historian

    Unknown LEGO Sets...

    Hi Swedish 007! I forgot to put a NOTIFY on the previous post, so do read that one please. I have several Geas Catalog images, including the very first one from 1950, so I will be glad to share that with you. Yes Geas Automatic Binding Bricks and PRIMA sets are quite valuable. I no longer collect old LEGO sets, but I know several people who do, in case your family wishes to sell any. Your comment about the fire at the LEGO company makes sense (although I thought the Billund LEGO fires happened in 1942 and 1960). They claim to have no information about GEAS, which is true. Anyway, I'm very interested in images of what you have. Here is a group of images of the Automatic Binding Bricks box tops from Denmark and Sweden. The Swedish GEAS boxes all have the writing in very thin letters.
  11. LEGO Historian

    Unknown LEGO Sets...

    Hi Swedish 007, Thanks for your posts, and I too am interested in any info on PRIMA, or on Geas Automatic Binding Bricks. In the last few years the mystery of PRIMA has correctly been solved. Norway has nothing to do with PRIMA. PRIMA was produced in Sweden by Geas Konstharts of Gislaved Sweden. They had also produced Automatic Binding Bricks for the Swedish market (LEGO Denmark produced Automatic Binding Bricks for the Danish market. Anyway, recently I was able to show that Geas produced not only Automatic Binding Bricks (for Sweden) from 1950-53... but that in 1953 LEGO Denmark discontinued the Automatic Binding Bricks name in favor of 'LEGO Mursten'. Well it seems that Geas was not allowed to continue using the Automatic Binding Bricks name, nor the new LEGO Mursten name. So Geas came up with the PRIMA name, and PRIMA was allowed to produce (with LEGO Denmark's OK) the same bricks and windows/doors, but with the PRIMA name. Here is the proof I found that Geas also produced PRIMA. The Geas 8 sided LEGO catalog leaflet (left) has one page that is nearly identical to the PRIMA leaflet page (right). The difference (both leaflets are in Swedish) was that the PRIMA leaflet did not mention the Automatic Binding Bricks name. Otherwise, they are identical. Also they both mention the name of the same printing company in Värnamo Sweden on the bottom of the page. I found many interesting new items out about PRIMA and its continued association with LEGO Billund. It wasn't until March 1955 that LEGO Mursten sales started in Sweden, and the PRIMA sales had to stop by Geas Konstharts. Here is a circa 1953 PRIMA 8 panel catalog in Swedish... it is also almost identical to the earlier Automatic Binding Bricks brochure/catalog for both Sweden and Denmark... but the basic sets were renumbered. The large 700/1 house set became 507 under PRIMA, the medium 700/2 house set became 506 under PRIMA, and the small 700/3 house set became 505 under PRIMA. More info to come....
  12. LEGO Historian

    LEGO CEO suggests Chinese inspired sets

    Um.... you do know that LEGO sales are sizzling hot in China right now. By 2022 they will have a middle class of 550 million people... so China may be a case of the "tail wagging the dog". I'm in the middle of writing a 9 volume LEGO Encyclopedia for the Chinese market (simplified Chinese). Of course the book will also be in English as well... but China is where the money is. With 1 child households, the Chinese will be lavishing more money on their kids... and that includes LEGO. It would be kinda foolish for TLG to ignore a market that size. Who says that they can't do more than one series of LEGO sets? It's been done in the past. Until 1980 North America had different sets (or sometimes just different set numbers) than Europe/Australia/Asia. I could envision some LEGO set series mainly for the Asian market, and others for western markets.
  13. LEGO Historian

    For how long will the LEGO company exist?

    One thing that should be noted is that 87 years after the 1932 founding... LEGO is owned by only 4 people. Ole Kirk Christiansen had 4 sons... but due to a disagreement in 1960 not to re-establish the wooden toy line after a fire destroyed the wooden toy factory, 3 of the 4 sons sold out to the 4th... Godtfred Kirk Christiansen. Godtfred had 3 kids. Gunhild, Kjeld and Hanne... but Hanne died in a tragic 1969 car accident, and Gunhild sold her interest to her brother Kjeld for $1 billion around 2007... while the company was recovering from economic problems earlier in the decade. So now instead of having a 3rd or 4th generation of keeping over 20 family members from not wanting to quarrel or sell-out... we have only Kjeld and his 3 adult children... Sofie, Thomas and Agnete who own 100% of the company.... thus making the privately held company more cohesive... and likely debt free. No quarrelsome shareholders to deal with....
  14. LEGO Historian

    Old School Lego Castle (lego designed and MOC)

    Jan, very nice. All of your models and rebuilds. I produced a very large castle myself back 20 years ago. it was one that was used as a glued display model, as well as an image in a 1960-64 #238 Building Idea Book 1. Here is the idea book version.... (shown in the 238 idea book in all countries).... I decided to build it as a 4 tower castle with a courtyard.... and use windows instead of clear bricks.... Now this one could be considered minifig scale... The inside courtyard was the perfect size for this rare 1970 #078 Samsonite LEGO 50x50 road plate, which I used to allow access to the courtyard entrance, and the 2 castle entrances on 2 side wings. It wasn't until many years later that I found the 1958 continental European retailer glued display model catalog, and found the original glued castle (but in white and red) that was restored by a Dutch LEGO friend of mine... These are just some of the buildings that I have included in my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide (computer desktop 2800 page download). I am in the process of upgrading my guide to over 4000 pages, but current owners get the upgrades, when they are finished in mid 2019. Among the 73 chapters are a few on LEGO display models. Here we have the Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) in London. This is a USA Samsonite 1963 glued display model, the largest ever producedby Samsonite LEGO. Here is a glued display model of Johannisburg Castle (in Aschaffenburg Germany).... another restoral project by my Dutch collector friend Henk. And here is another glued display model of the facade of a half-timbered house in Hildesheim Germany.... also restored by Henk. This one is almost minifig scale. I love the look of this model (also shown in the 238 LEGO Idea Book #1 For those of you who have my collectors guide, many of these models are yet to be added to the Retailer Model chapters. But those updates will be sent to you.
  15. LEGO Historian

    New Flickr limits

    I think that people should first "cull the herd" in their photos. I have 30,000 photos (the majority which I don't keep online because they're for my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide). But the problem with photos that you post here on Eurobricks and elswehere, will get a broken link if removed, which is no fun at all. One of my biggest beefs about Flickr was not a Flickr problem, but lazy posters... who just post an image labeled with their photo ID.... such as "DSC001040", which is useless when you try to do a "LEGO" search. But I digress. I do like Flickr's large image size capacity, not available on some other image hosting sites.