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LEGO Church Set

IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
edited November 2014 in Everything else LEGO
On the Brickset front page there is an article about my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide... and someone there asked about a LEGO Church model.

Actually TLG once did make a church set... from 1957-62. This set was introduced in 1957 as set 1309, and sold in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

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In 1958 the set was renumbered 309, and sold in all continental European countries....

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In 1960 the 309 Church set box was redesigned. Although the contents included a new 1960s style Pine tree, the box top still showed the old 1950s style Pine tree. This 1960 redesigned Church set was also sold in Britain and Ireland. This set was however, never sold in Australia, USA or Canada.

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The different sides of the 309/1309 boxes....

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The 309 set never did have separate instructions. They were always on the box....

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These images are new updates to my LEGO collectors guide, chapter on 1955-72 LEGO Model Sets.
rancorbaitcarlqLegoKippharmjodAndoricey117MynattcatwranglerSeanTheCollectorJonathanChauwhisperwill28
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Comments

  • TLGTLG Member Posts: 125
    edited November 2014
    Great thread Gary, what does anno mean.(It is on the 1 by 6 printed brick)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    During the 1957-62 era that the 1309 and 309 Church Set was produced, they had a rare 1x6 printed brick that was not sold elsewhere. These came in 3 types (1762/Anno 1762/AD 1762) and a total of 6 variations during those 6 years.

    All 6 of these are rare, and command $50+ each on the secondary market!

    image
  • TLGTLG Member Posts: 125
    TLG liked 1762...
  • carlqcarlq Ruislip Manor, MiddlesexMember Posts: 792
    @TLG‌, "Anno" is latin for "in the year of" (roughly). So "Anno Domini" is "in the year of Our Lord" - and in case you didn't know, Anno Domini is abbreviated to "A.D." When describing years following the birth of Jesus Christ in the Christian calendar. :-)
    thenosLegoKiprancorbaitAndoricey117andheSumoLegosid3windrwhisperwill28
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    edited November 2014
    Anno is Latin... and is short for "Anno Domini"... which translates to "the year of our Lord".

    This was before we had all that newfangled "CE" and "BCE"....

    ... as carlq beat me to it by 1 minute... ;-)
    LegoKipcarlqOrmskirkBricks
  • TLGTLG Member Posts: 125
    carlq said:

    @TLG‌, "Anno" is latin for "in the year of" (roughly). So "Anno Domini" is "in the year of Our Lord" - and in case you didn't know, Anno Domini is abbreviated to "A.D." When describing years following the birth of Jesus Christ in the Christian calendar. :-)

    Thank you @carlg.
  • TLGTLG Member Posts: 125
    edited November 2014
    ...and Gary( @Istokg )
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    It is very common in Europe to see "ANNO 1575" or some such text on medieval buildings.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 511
    I actually own this set. I number of years ago I picked up a 309 in a System box. I believe the pine is the newer 60s style and the printed brick is the black "AD 1762" version. I'll have to double check on those. I've try to build it a couple of time, but the CA are just too wrapped and worn to hold together. Maybe I'll use ABS bricks at some point for display.

    This is one of my favorite sets of the Town Plan era. Mainly because it's so different from anything that has been made since.
    Andor
  • AndorAndor United StatesMember Posts: 252
    It would be great if TLG made another Medieval church Lego set.
    LegoKipFarmer_Johnicey117rancorbait
  • mrbradfordmrbradford Fort Worth, Texas, USAMember Posts: 45
    Gary - any info on this LEGO church?
    Andor
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Yes mrbradford.... that church is a smaller model of Germany's Cologne Cathedral. I've seen it in a few small brochures and advertisements. A more interesting model is a larger scale one that was at TLG in Billund. Here we see a large LEGO layout from 1960, with the Cathedral in the left background.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    It wasn't until about 2 years ago that the son of an old employee found a slide of that same church, at high resolution, from much closer....
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    There were other Cathedral models that were produced by LEGO model shops. In the early 1960s the Samsonite LEGO model shop in Detroit produced models of Germany's Ulm Cathedral, which had the world's tallest church tower.

    From 1961-65 Samsonite only had a plant in Stratford Ontario (not far from Detroit Michigan) that produced all the LEGO sets for USA and Canada during that era, so a nearby model shop in Detroit was convenient.
  • TLGTLG Member Posts: 125
    Were those models glued? @Istokg
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    edited November 2014
    And then there was a model produced by British LEGO Ltd's Wrexham Wales model shop... of the front of York Minster... the largest surviving medieval cathedral in England.

    All of these images are from my LEGO Glued Display Model chapter. All LEGO display models have always been glued.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    edited November 2014
    The larger LEGO models were usually for touring displays, but smaller models could be purchased from TLG. There were a number of glued display model catalogs. From 1959-60 a blue catalog had an assortment of LEGO models for sale (already glued) to European LEGO retailers, such as the small church shown here in the lower right (among all the other "for sale" display models)....

    image
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Interestingly enough... one LEGO set had a church on the box top, but the set never had the parts necessary to build that model. That would be the continental European 810 Town Plan set of 1961-66. There were not any small classic windows included to build many of the models on the box top (left box). Only the models shown on the UK 810 box top (right box) could be built...

    image

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,090
    There was also a microscale religious looking building in the 2001 and 2002 advent calendars (left hand side) ...

    image

    which has been catalogued as a church on bricklink.
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    And there are churches in several IDEA Books
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^^ Presumably wrongly as it has a star over it. I would have thought its more likely a fully booked Bethlehem inn.
    Andor
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561

    ^^ Presumably wrongly as it has a star over it. I would have thought its more likely a fully booked Bethlehem inn.

    I prefer to call it a brothel with exploding fireworks overhead during Independence Day or Guy Fawkes Day instead.
    AndorTheBigLegoski
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,138
    ^Which wouldn't really be found in an advent calendar though would it...

    Seems to fit the 'church with steeple' or 'Bethlehem with star' description.
  • KingDaveKingDave UKMember Posts: 969
    I would presume that the 'Anno 1762' would probably correspond to the completion date of a church that this model was based on. Don't know where to start researching which church it could be (probably in Denmark somewhere). It is a bit random to put it on the side of a set if it had no meaning at all.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,090
    1974 said:

    And there are churches in several IDEA Books

    They aren't official lego books though.
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    Yes they are
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,090
    I though DK had editorial control over them, not lego.
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    I'm talking about 6000 etc ;)

    image
    catwrangler
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,090
    Ah, OK. The really old ones! :-)
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    andhe said:

    ^Which wouldn't really be found in an advent calendar though would it....

    You haven't looked enough at Christianity if you think brothels and costly-yet-senseless celebrations don't fit into religion. ;-) A brothel and fireworks sums up the reality of a lot of American evangelical "Christianity".

    However, I meant if you reread what I wrote you'll see that I didn't suggest that it represented a brothel, I said that's what I preferred to consider it.
    caperberryTheBigLegoskimdtvandy
  • gelkstergelkster MN, USAMember Posts: 607
    1974 said:

    And there are churches in several IDEA Books

    Yep that's the one I thought of immediately!

  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    CCC said:

    Ah, OK. The really old ones! :-)

    The ONLY ones ;)
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    And from 222 :

    image
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    image
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    The 238 Idea Book of 1960-65 had this image of a church (as well as a half timbered historic house)...

    image
    catwrangler
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Churches were in LEGO idea books going all the way back to the very first one, the 1955 Danish "Byggebog"....

    image
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,090
    A six storey (plus attic) half timbered house .... wow. We have plenty of (real) three storey ones in my town, and some four, but some of those are so bowed and leaning, I doubt taller ones would have been very stable.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Nobody said they'd be straight - definately not in France!

    image

    Although of course the German's would be!
    image
    AndorcatwranglerLittleLori
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    It's quite refreshing in a way, that back in the day they could suggest that people would build churches, just because they're such an integral part of European architecture that they would fit in in any town layout.

    Though I absolutely understand why the company would not want to offend the PC brigade, given how much power they hold in their ability to whip up a media frenzy.
    AndorandheTheBigLegoskiesfrolios
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    One of the most impressive gabled buildings I've ever seen is the 500 year old "Mauthalle" or Grainary in medieval Nuremberg Germany. It rises a full 9 stories, and is built on an earlier town moat, so there are 6 stories below ground as well, making a total of 15 stories!

    image
    LegoKipcatwranglersklamb
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 511
    Well I was wrong on both accounts. I've got the older 50s style pine tree and the thin text "ANNO 1762" name beam.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    The 309/1309 Church set was likely patterned after one in the town of Give Denmark, a neighboring town to Billund. This Ringive Church dates to AD 1200 however...

    image
    LegoKipcatwranglermdtvandy
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    The Church set was one of 5 sets introduced by TLG in 1956-57. The others were the 306/1306 VW Service Set, the 307/1307 VW Showroom Set, the 308/1308 Fire Station Set, and the 310/1310 Esso Service Station Set. All of these sets are very highly collectible, and command steep prices on the secondary market.

    Here are the 1956-59 box versions of these sets...

    image

    A Dutch collector friend Jeroen Van Dorst, has mastered the use of photography, and is giving me access to his huge collection of historic LEGO set images for my LEGO collectors guide updates. :-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Here are the early 1960s versions of these sets from Jeroen's collection, including the 236 Garage set...

    image

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Yes that UK seller originally tried to sell a huge number of sets all in one bundle, but people were scoffing at such a large auction. So now he's separated it into individual items.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    edited November 2014
    About 6 months ago I came across a Norwegian LEGO catalog that mentioned the 1309 Church set with a surprise addition...

    image

    It seems that the catalog mentioned that the set contained a lighting device! This was unusual, because no LEGO set of the 1950s or 1960s ever came with a lighting device.

    However, the 1245/245 Lighting Brick Parts Pack was introduced in the 2nd half of 1957... at the same time that the 1309/309 Church Set was introduced.

    image

    Even the late 1957 Norwegian Retailer Pricelist mentions that the 1309 set contains a 1245 Lighting Device...

    image

    So now it appears that the very earliest Norwegian 1309 sets had a lighting device included... but no examples of an early set with this lighting device has ever been found.... until YESTERDAY!! :-)

    My Swedish LEGO collector friend Daniel Johanssen (known as Vonboden in LEGO forums)... came across one of these recently at a Danish museum... and never thought much about it until I started talking about the possible existence of this early version of the sets.

    What made this even better was the fact that he found a glued display model of the 1309 Church at a Danish museum....

    image

    So it appears that this early 1309 set was not only produced in Norway (by A/S Norske LEGIO, the Norwegian licensee for LEGO)... but also produced in Denmark, by TLG Billund.

    By looking at this glued display model, we get some indication why the lighting part of this set was soon discontinued. Namely that the heat buildup inside the model of the light... was enough to melt part of the plastic... as seen in the glued display model. There was no heat venting anywhere on the model.

    So this previously unknown version of the Church set did come with a lighting brick kit for a very brief period in 1957... but we have never seen how it was packed in the box.

    A mystery yet to be solved... ;-)

    KingDaveAndorLegoKipcatwrangler
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    edited November 2014
    The existence of this 1309 Church Set with lighting device also answers a mystery about the lighting device set.... namely the existence of the lighting brick not only in the standard trans-clear color... but also the known existence of this brick also in trans-red, trans-blue, trans-green and trans-yellow.

    My German LEGO collector friend Jan Katanek obtained a very rare set of these, and until now it was thought that these might have been prototypes.

    Now I believe these may instead have been produced for the shortlived 1309 Church Set with lighting device....

    image

    These may have been produced so that the 1309 Church Set appeared to have colored stained glass.
    AndorcatwranglerSwitchfoot55
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    Istokg said:


    These may have been produced so that the 1309 Church Set appeared to have colored stained glass.

    So would they just have been stacked inside and powered by 5 separate batteries? Or were they more spread out inside? (Or is this one of the mysteries of the world?)
    And just out of interest, how did they work? Was there a cylindrical bulb which went in between the two contacts inside the brick?

    My mum/uncle's collection at my grand-parents' has a few of these (trans-clear, of course!), and I guessed they were light bricks, but never knew how they worked. They also have some of the 1x2s with notches for the cables, and I always wondered what they were for - I never put two and two together before!
    Andor
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    edited November 2014
    Unless there were more than 1 of the lighting kits included in the 1309 Church Set, there would only have been 1 lighting brick inside each of the Churches... not 5 different.

    Here is a diagram of the 245/1245 lighting instructions...

    image

    It is very possible that more than 1 kit was included in each of the glued display models of the Church, since it doesn't seem very likely that all that melting was caused by just one lighting brick.
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