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Retailer Display Models

IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
Several of my LEGO collectors friends collect retailer display models, that were always glued together at the model shops, and either sold to the retailers in the early days of LEGO, or used for promotional displays with large size models today.  Now we have models such as Darth Vader or other licensed characters made of LEGO.

In the 1950s and 1960s, there were entire catalogs of models that retailers could buy from TLG to display at their local toy store.  Many of these were geared to the Town Plan in the early years, although larger models were also produced.

Here's a display item that has been puzzling many of my old time LEGO collector friends, but I think I have finally figured out what this model was, owned by my Dutch collector friend Henk.....  I'll see if anyone can guess what this was.... 





Here's a model from circa 1960-61 of a LEGO house.  Sloped bricks were first sold in 1958-59 in red, and starting in 1960 in blue.  This is a nice house model with classic LEGO windows/doors.... and an oval LEGO logo with the "dog bone"" font....




Those of you familiar with the Palace Cinema Modular set.... here was the first Palace Cinema of the UK around circa 1961.  You can tell that the parts are of Cellulose Acetate, due to the warping showing between the bricks....





And for those of you who know the name Big Ben.... well that is know officially known as the Elizabeth Tower.... here was an early 1960 restored model of that tower....



I have two chapters of my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide, one devoted to retailer display models, the other devoted to retailer LEGO furnishings, shelving, signage and display areas.

Andor

Comments

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    One of my new collectors guide chapters is still a work in progress... but it shows the previous Elizabeth Tower in its' unrestored state...

    http://www.youblisher.com/p/789575-LEGO-Retailer-Store-Chapter/

    Of course if you're going to have a model of the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben)... it would much better if it were with the rest of the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), as seen in this historic early 1960s USA Samsonite display model at a USA department store....




    The number of 1x1x2 white classic windows in this model is mind boggling...

    andheAndor
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,073
    It looks like a planter to me. But i'm sure ilit was used for impulse items?

    However, with regard to the current store displays - is there a market for such things?

    How would one go about contacting such collectors and asertain value?
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Of course back in the early 1960s... the model shop for USA/Canada was very nearby to where I live.... in a Samsonite plant in Detroit, right across the international border with Canada, where all USA (and Canada) LEGO was produced from 1961-65 at the Stratford Ontario Samsonite plant... before a USA plant was opened near Denver Colorado, in a suburb called Loveland.

    Here is a 1962 toy trade publication mentioning the Detroit model shop (all USA/Canada LEGO set boxes also came from a Detroit Samsonite factory)... which produced the Houses of Parliament model shown above,


    AndorGalactusprevere
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    @SumoLego yes there is a decent market for LEGO display items.   It's a growing area of collectibles among LEGO.... in recent models the Star Wars large models and diorama's are especially sought after....

    http://www.ebay.com/bhp/lego-star-wars-display
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    In my LEGO collectors guide, I not only have a chapter on display models, but also the history and display catalogs, of how these came about.... thanks to my Dutch friend Henk and British friends Chris and Phil.... I've got an endless supply of images in my guide.  

    My Dutch friend Henk... we fondly call him 'the glue sniffer"... because he's always restoring (with glue) old damaged LEGO display models....

    Here's one of my favorites of his...  from the inside......




    And from the outside....  a 1963 built skyscraper....





  • samiam391samiam391 A log cabin in PA, United StatesMember Posts: 4,375
    Istokg said:
    @SumoLego yes there is a decent market for LEGO display items.   It's a growing area of collectibles among LEGO.... in recent models the Star Wars large models and diorama's are especially sought after....

    http://www.ebay.com/bhp/lego-star-wars-display
    Ha! One of those is mine :)

    The market for store displays (where the sets are glued) isn't very large. However, the "big figs" that are 19" and above command quite a sum. I've sold a few for $2,000 plus to buyers overseas. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,651
    Istokg said:

    And for those of you who know the name Big Ben.... well that is know officially known as the Elizabeth Tower.... here was an early 1960 restored model of that tower....

    Back in 1960 it would have been known as the Clock Tower. It has only been called the Elizabeth Tower since 2012.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    edited March 2015
    CCC said:
    Istokg said:

    And for those of you who know the name Big Ben.... well that is known officially known as the Elizabeth Tower.... here was an early 1960 restored model of that tower....

    Back in 1960 it would have been known as the Clock Tower. It has only been called the Elizabeth Tower since 2012.
    Ah yes.... but to us Yanks..... the "Clock Tower" name never existed.....  ;)

    And don't get me started on Westminster Hall!!   :)
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 3,430
    "In Detroit, 12 pretty construction workers..." made me smile. The days before political correctness I guess.

    That skyscraper reminds me of the President/Lord Business's from the Lego Movie.
  • sstoroesstoroe Member Posts: 156
    edited March 2015
    Has anyone ever seen a copy of this catalog?  I mean online?
  • MAGNINOMINISUMBRAMAGNINOMINISUMBRA Member Posts: 993

    "as seen in this historic early 1960s USA Samsonite display model at a USA department store" - Looking at the floorspace used and the sign hanging above - would this display be more akin to a travelling exhibition? I can't imagine that the average department store would sink that much floor space (and cost of the built models) into a fixed display in the one location.  (though happy to be corrected!). My guess on the 'object' in the first post - I think its a lightbox to hang inside the front door (with a little Lego dude waving hello and goodbye to everyone)...


  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    A lot of large displays are a thing of the past.  With Department Stores becoming dinosaur's, the 1-2 million square foot stores that have a whole floor to just toys are fast becoming a thing of the past.  This is especially true in North America.
    Andor
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    sstoroe said:
    Has anyone ever seen a copy of this catalog?  I mean online?
    First of all the larger creations are often custom jobs not found in catalogs.  There are quite a few Retailer catalogs with small and midsized display models for sale to the retailers.  Are these available to view online.  Not generally.  But I do devote several chapters of my 73 page collectors guide to store display LEGO models, shelving, and retailer binders.

    LEGO retailers had binders that they stored their TLG produced products into....




    And they were subdivided into sections.....





    And updates would become available from year to year....  for displays, and other items....




    You would get annual updates for different LEGO items.... such as display models...





    And retailer accessories....







  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Sometimes I get really lucky and I find a match of a custom historic model, and where it is today (thanks to my Dutch collector friend Henk).

    Here is a historic image (from my LEGO Collectors Guide chapter on LEGO Sales by Country).....  from 1976 with the opening of new LEGO Sales Offices in the Netherlands.. with LEGO owner Godtfred Kirk Christiansen showing Prince Claus of the Netherlands (late husband of former Queen Beatrix) a unique LEGO model of his home Soestdijk Palace, during the opening of the new LEGO offices.



    And now many years later, here is the reconstruction of this once ruined model being repaired.




    This model is now fully restored and one of my favorite images in my collectors guide!   :)



    Andor
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    edited March 2015
    And as for this item.....



    I believe that this was merely used as a container sitting on a LEGO retailer counter filled with LEGO bricks.... waiting for curious customers (LEGO was not universally known back then) to just reach in and pick out a few bricks and just assemble them to see how well they stick together, and also to see how many different ways they can be assembled.

    This was only for continental Europe, and just for small toy stores display counter.  By 1961, there were over 11,000 independent small toy stores in Europe selling LEGO.

    Other hands-on items for customers were available from TLG for Retailer sales, but none so fancy.   :)

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    edited March 2015
    Well since I mentioned LEGO display counters.... a concept that is foreign to folks who shop at TRU or Target or Kmart or Walmart, etc....

    A 1957 Image of a continental European display counter.... (with mom and child, retailer, and a LEGO sales rep all displayed).....




    Here's a display counter image from 1959, from a 1960 LEGO Retailer Binder....



    Here's a 2 piece counter display unit that you could purchase separately from a LEGO retailer catalog.....



    And here is an example of the lower unit that is owned by my LEGO friend Thorsten in Germany.  That this has survived intact for 1/2 century in such pristine condition is amazing.   This is the type of item that TLG would love to get their hands on for the LEGO HOUSE being built in Billund.   :)



    All images form my collectors guide chapter on LEGO Retailer Items.



    catwranglerhkcrazy88GoldchainsAndorGalactus
  • MrTjipsMrTjips Member Posts: 32
    Amazing things to have. I love the last display (including the content). Thanks for sharing it.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    2 years ago someone from Hawaii was trying to sell this USA Samsonite LEGO (1967-71) countertop LEGO display stand for spare parts packs (no parts packs included)....




    I'm not sure if it ever sold on Ebay... since shipping alone was $100.  Today shipping would probably be much more than that.  Also, filling a display such as this one would be very difficult, because these spare parts packs rarely come up for sale.  In fact on Bricklink, the garage door kits are the only items that have even been available in the last 6 months.  USA/Canada spare parts packs of the 1960s are much rarer than their European counterparts.
    hkcrazy88
  • chuckpchuckp NYMember Posts: 684
    edited April 2015
    Istokg When researching the retail displays have you ever come across any classic space displays from the 80's? Reading this thread brought to mind one in particular I remember from a midwest department store chain, Richman Gordman. When they opened in our area, they had a large rotating space station / landing pad display that was pretty impressive. 

    It's hard to describe, something along the lines of a space aircraft carrier. It was probably about 3 feet long, maybe a 1-2 feet wide and 1 foot tall, with sloped ends. It was made mostly of white bricks, but had black opening/closing hanger doors with white brick built numbers on them. It may have also had some lighting inside as the display was big enough for an interior and had space for ships sold at the time, like the 6803 Space Patrol, to fit inside. 

    I tried searching for pics but couldn't find any. However, I thought I would mention it in case you were looking for more retail displays for your guide. 
  • MrTjipsMrTjips Member Posts: 32
    I'm not collecting displays but it looks very interesting.

    I've just one little display for Lego Duplo. LOL


    And about the last display you showed: that garage with box:

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    @MrTjips  ... very nice!!

    Andor
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Here's a very nice German glued LEGO display model... Schloss Johanisburg of Aschaffenburg Germany... the summer palace of the Archbishop Electors of Mainz Germany....


    hkcrazy88
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    .... and the original.... that I must have passed a dozen times when on the A-3 Autobahn (Frankfurt-Nurnberg) while visitig relatives in Germany....


  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    edited April 2015
    This was my own version of a Renaisssance Castle using the 2 towered version found in the 238 Idea Book (1960-68).... but expanding it to a 4 tower version similar to Aschaffenburg Castle above.   I built this about 20 years ago.....


    Andor
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    The original version in the early Building Idea 238 book (the first numbered of all LEGO idea booklets).....





    Also from the international version of this same 238 Idea Booklet is what I always thought was just artwork... but it is a colored in actual model (you can tell by the shadow of the Victoria Tower in the left foreground.  This may have been the model that was shown in a USA department store a few posts back....







    khmellymelMorkMan
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,434
    I think you broke my rods and cones with that castle. Impressive detail especially with only two colors. And two non-castle like colors at that.
    Istokgkhmellymel
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Istokg said:
    .... and the original.... that I must have passed a dozen times when on the A-3 Autobahn (Frankfurt-Nurnberg) while visitig relatives in Germany....


    Looks like the flyover in Willy Wonka.
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the West (US)Member Posts: 2,442
    Istokg said:
    Here's one of my favorites of his...  from the inside......




    SPOILER ALERT!



















    This model was Interstellar BEFORE Interstellar was Interstellar!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    @77ncaachamps  Hehehe... you got that right... if it wasn't for the spoiler of the LEGO tubed bricks in the back of the image... most people would have no clue what this was!!   But it really does look interstellar!!  :smiley: 
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Well my Dutch friend Henk who likes to restore old glued LEGO retailer display models (his Dutch LEGO friends call him "the glue sniffer"   :)  )... has come thru again with an amazing old retailer display model!!

    This model is of a German famous half-timbered house in Hildesheim Germany.... which shows up in the 1960-64 238 Building Idea Book....



    This model is pretty much 2 dimensional... and is even more beautiful in real life (although Henk says it hasn't been restored yet).....




    This is a beautiful model... and will make a nice addition to my LEGO collectors guide chapter on LEGO retailer display models!!  :smiley: 


    MrTjipsjoel4motionchuckp
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    That medieval house will look good next to the Swiss House....  :)




    Or later half timbered house made with only fence pieces for windows....






    MrTjipsAndor
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    edited April 2015
    Among British LEGO Ltd. display models was this 1960s version of the facade of YORK MINSTER..... Britain's largest surviving medieval cathedral....  





    Well I guess that's enough for one chapter of my LEGO collectors Guide images... plenty still left of mammoth cruise ships and airplanes.... as well as a million other subjects!   :)
    SumoLegoMrTjips
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    edited April 2015

    .

    SumoLego
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259

    Nice info and images @Istokg

    A couple of years ago I saw this in an Antique shop. The scales that the Mouse & fish were on moved up and down while the cats head moved side to side (Trying to decide what to have first no doubt).

    Was pretty cool, but at over $800 it was a bit steep for me. 

    khmellymelDaraghchuckpMorkMan
  • Dgonzo919Dgonzo919 Member Posts: 6
    Hi thanks for adding me to the group I am a huge Lego fan and my collection is still growing, came across this on craigslist had to get it! I haven't found any info on it I was wondering if anyone could help me with that. Thanks!
    MorkMan
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    edited April 2015
    Welcome Dgonzo919!  That model dates to the early 1980s.... the small classic LEGO windows were discontinued in 1986.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,073
    Odd that there is a CMF Princess and CMF King.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Yeah... I was just studying the entire model... different figures for sure... in the early 1980s they only had the smiley Minifigs.... nothing fancy like the two in front of this display model....   :)
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,073
    edited April 2015
    The "minifigures" are the boxy brick-built knights that are to the right of the CMF minifigures.

    To be frank, I think it detracts from the display.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Hehehe.... I think I need new prescription eyewear....  I bet that at one time there was a knight on each of the 4 spokes of that blue round turntable.  The 1x1 round bricks are solid stud, so this likely dates from the later 1970s... probably before the introduction of the Yellow Castle....
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    edited April 2015
    This Church model dates to before 1976 (it was seen in a 1976 dated image)....



    And it has the same type of 4 spoked turntable on the lower left side....



    Although this was seen in a 1976 photograph... the LEGO logo in the corners dates to about 1968-72, thus putting this model at that time frame.   But the castle model has a large LEGO logo that dates to 1973 or later.  So mid 1970s sounds about right....

  • Dgonzo919Dgonzo919 Member Posts: 6
    Thanks for the response guys, I added them to the castle they are from the current minifigures pack series 13 lol I wanted to show the size comparison to them. YES! They spin just like that church model. There is a motor under it and the castle actually lights up so year would be 1980s?
  • Dgonzo919Dgonzo919 Member Posts: 6
    Here are some additional pictures
  • Dgonzo919Dgonzo919 Member Posts: 6
    .
  • Dgonzo919Dgonzo919 Member Posts: 6
  • MorkManMorkMan Phoenix, Arizona, USAMember Posts: 867
    @Dgonzo919  what a lucky item to find on craigslist! 
    SumoLego
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Although these are not glued models, these represent some of the finest display models outside of a LEGOLAND.  A fellow metro-Detroiter that goes by the name Deco Jim has spent the last few years building some of Detroit's great 1920s architectural masterpieces.  Back during the booming 1920s, Detroit was the 3rd fastest growing city in the USA after NYC and Chicago, and has an enormous collection of Art Deco era masterpieces.

    Here are some of Deco Jim's designs... spending over $10K on Bricklink parts alone...



    Deco Jim and Michilug (Michigan LEGO User Group) do annual shows at Detroit's Henry Ford Museum and at the city's historic Orchestra Hall.


    Here are some of the original buildings from an aerial view....




    SumoLego
  • Dgonzo919Dgonzo919 Member Posts: 6
    Awesome! What's something like the castle worth?
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 14,073
    I like that for a potential modular!
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