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Discovering Unknown LEGO Sets...

IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
One part of doing research on LEGO sets, parts and everything LEGO related is that other folks like to ask me questions (via Email)... and I don't mind that a bit... since there's some times where I'll be stumped (not too often! ;-).... or better yet... they'll show me something totally unknown to the LEGO world. That really makes playing LEGO Sherlock Holmes worthwhile.... ;-)

The most recent item was from a Norwegian acquaintance, who showed me a box he found 2 months ago... (see first image)... I about fell out of my chair... he found a 1309 ESSO GARAGE set... a set that I had always thought was a typo in a Norwegian catalog... but has shown to be an actually produced set in Norway (only) from 1956-57.

I checked with my Billund TLG Archives/Collections folks... they had never heard of this set!

This set was an "Esso Service Lite" type set of the 310 Esso Service Station... but because of the similarity to the 236 garage set, it was never put into production by TLG Denmark, and remained a set produced by the Oslo Norway A/S Norske LEGO subsidiary... for them alone. I created a Mock insert image (the box had none), using a real 236 Garage Set insert image, with modifications, to show how the contents would have been held in place, like many of the model sets of that era.

So far this 1309 set is the only known example of this set, and I would value it $2000+.

(More unknowns to come...)


  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Another set that I had always wondered about was a 1237 set, as seen in Swedish and Norwegian 1956-57 LEGO catalogs. This was listed as a "Garage side set"... that was something like a 1/2 Esso Service Station... but the 1/2 that was not the garage. I thought that this again was just a catalog error (common back then). But now that I have seen that the 1309 Esso Garage exists... then there's no reason to be dismissive of the 1237 set of the same era.

    When this set is finally discovered, the box will likely look virtually identical to the 1235 Garage Set box as seen here.

    The price in the 1957 Norwegian Retailer catalog (another indication that the 1236 set is as real as the 1309)... shows the 1236 at Norwegian Krone 8,80... same price as the 1235 Garage set (the 1309 Esso Garage in the inlay box was Kr. 9,90).

    WHEN this set is found... I will have to remove it from the Prototypes Sets & Parts Chapter of my collectors guide.... something I will gladly do, in favor of a REAL photograph!! ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Here's a retailer box set that I saw in a 1955 Danish Retailer Catalog... and knew that one day one would be found.... an early Retailer Windows/Doors Box for the early LEGO windows that fit into the slotted bricks... 700 B/C (700B were the early Automatic Binding Bricks flat windows, and 700C were the tall classic windows with glass)...

    Only 3 known... 1 in Belgium (white background image) and 2 in Billund at the Archives (blue archive image)... with inserts this set is worth many thousands... especially with very rare blue and dark blue tall classic windows...
  • sonsofscevasonsofsceva Member Posts: 542
    That is fascinating!
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Sometimes I discover an unknown set that stays unknown! As puzzling as that may sound... what I mean is that I find a set we expect to exist... it doesn't. Can't always go by what's in the catalog, especially with older sets.

    As an example... in 1952 two new Automatic Binding Bricks sets were introduced. From 1949-52 there were 3 LEGO basic sets... the large 700/1, medium 700/2 and smaller 700/3. In 1952 Automatic Binding Bricks catalogs were updated to include 2 new sets... the smaller 700/4 and smaller yet 700/5 basic sets. Here's the updated catalog page...
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    And also in 1952, a LEGO retailer announcement page went out to LEGO retailers introducing the new 700/4 and 700/5 sets...
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    And the TLG Archives even have images of the box top artwork...
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    But then something odd happened.... nothing... there are no known examples in private hands of either set. Nobody has either of them, but plenty of folks have examples of the larger 700/1, 700/2 and 700/3 of that era!!

    So what happened?

    TLG checked their Billund Collections... and they did find an example of the smaller 700/5 set....
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Well the folks at TLG Archives don't have the necessary surviving archival documentation to really know why this set hasn't been found in production.

    But I think that I know... and this is the only logical explanation...

    In 1953 (the year after the 700/4 and 700/5 sets were supposedly introduced)... TLG came out with entirely new packaged 700/x basic sets.... from 700/1 thru 700/5 (plus new 700/3A and 700/6 basic sets).

    Here are the new 1953 box designs... with the Automatic Binding Bricks renamed LEGO Musten bricks...
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    What I think happened is that TLG produced mock-up boxes with "Automatic Binding Bricks" on the box top and matching artwork... and one of those boxes is in the Billund Collections.... and the mock-ups were shown in the retailer brochure...

    But when it came to actually producing the 700/4 and 700/5 sets... TLG probably decided to use the new box designs (of 1953)... that were likely already designed in 1952.

    So all the very first 700/4 and 700/5 sets that actually went into production in 1952... had the 1953 LEGO Mursten designs!! ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    I talk about this mystery and many others in my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide in Chapter 2 - Automatic Binding Bricks & PRIMA.

    Other weird things that I recently discovered... the 700/1, 700/2 and 700/3 sets... 3 different sets... and there are only 2 different known box sizes.... I talk about why that is (thanks to a Swedish owner of a 700/1 set that gave me the answers!).

    And then there 's the mysterious PRIMA sets sold in Sweden... why do they have the same ABB box top artwork (and brochures), and why are they called PRIMA and not LEGO?? Another mystery solved! :-)

  • knooseknoose Member Posts: 45
    Has anyone ever heard of or see this set before? I came across it online and I have never heard anything about it before.


    For all the images:
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Thanks for bringing that up Knoose..... I just saw that LEGO set for the first time this past weekend.... an Ebay in-house exclusive.set that LEGO free lance architect Adam Reed Tucker designed. Very nice.

    This brings up a whole new genre of LEGO sets... usually unnumberec, and not part of any LEGO system. These sets can be promotions for companies, or publications, or many other scenarios. These "non-LEGO" LEGO sets have been produced since 1955, Someone recently mentioned that sets such as these should be listed for sale as custom sets on Bricklink. I would tend to differ.... they are a unique genre, often not meant for sale to the public (or given away to the public)... and have their own unique category.

    Here are some... of the MANY peculiar sets that were produced by LEGO... but just not as a regular released set. These are all discussed ad nauseum (starting with the 1955 Esso Tanker Trucks)... in my Unofficial Sets/Parts Collectors Guide.... Enjoy! :-)
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    Well rather than opening another thread.... somewhere I sent out 2 images of the instructions for a LEGO truck asking if anyone knew where they came from, or what set...

    Here are the 2 images... from the 1960s... since the LEGO tires were gray (meaning real rubber).... in 1968 black synthetic tires replaced real rubber gray ones.... so this image had to date between 1962 and 1967.

    The flip side of the instructions....

    Well I found by accident that this truck was one of the builds of the 1968-72 #055 Basic Set.... shown on the back side of the set...

    This 055 set was one of a series of basic sets produced from 1968-72 that came without instructions.... just the box images....

    So if these sets came without any instructions (which they didn't).... that still begs the question of where did the instrucions for that one 055 set build come from?   We may never know!!   :/

  • MorkManMorkMan Member Posts: 900
    edited June 2015
    Istokg said:
    ... This brings up a whole new genre of LEGO sets... usually unnumberec, and not part of any LEGO system. These sets can be promotions for companies, or publications, or many other scenarios. 

    Is there an archive or a Brickset filter that can show these sets as a grouping? It is these sets, while rare and very hard to find, I see as my highest interest in finding. 
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