OK first of all if someone showed a stash of gold 2x4 bricks or had a couple dozen Mr. Gold you could beat this image... but this is the most valuable piece of LEGO small scale real estate I have ever seen in my 54 years of collecting!
This scene (plus the boxes that the parts came in)... would fetch (at auction) over $18,000 USD, or 16.000 Euros or GBP 12,000... :o
Most of the items here are in a category of "fewer than 10 known"....
The Norwegian owner of this diorama sent me this image this morning... and I'm still in a state of shock...
I'll give out one quick hint... the yellow auto is a 1957 prototype... produced by A/S Norske LEGIO (yes there's an "I" in this name).... the Norwegian licensee for LEGO from 1953-62 while a toy import ban was in place. That auto is a Opel Kapitän, one of only 3 known in yellow (8 others are known in other colors)... and this auto is worth about GBP 4,000+ (over $5,000).
This image will be the new cover to my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide chapter cover page on LEGO Garages & Service Stations.
Box images and details to follow shortly! :p
What is unusual about this set is that they used a regular 700/4 small basic set box and just placed a paper band around the box top with the 1309 label. This could easily have been changed to 1300 when the new 1309 Church Set was introduced in 1957.....
At auction this still unique set could fetch GBP 3,500 or more ($5,000).
I love this brand, but have virtually no interest in sets that pre-date my introduction to LEGO (early 80s). It's not that I don't think they are cool, it's just that I don't really see a use for them other than saying "hey, I own this."
It is also something insanely rare. Those with disposable incomes, or museums would probably look at it.
Due to the frenzy with everything Minifig, Star Wars or Modulars today, a lot of the older items can still be purchased without breaking the bank. Granted the 1950s items are very valuable and are bid high by knowledgeable collectors, but 1960s LEGO (still Town Plan era) is quite reasonable when compared to the frenzy of when a new item is discontinued.
If there ever is a "bubble' in LEGO, you will find that the truly vintage (and low existing population) early items will hold their value.
As for these collectors just hold onto their LEGO as "relics".... well I've not found that to be true. Granted... they're not going to break the cellophane seals on MISB boxes, which are very rare. But among older gently used items, most of my collector friends love to build with their old LEGO.
Here are 2 images from a Scottish friend Chris. The first image is the large amounts of duplicate rare sets that he has purchased. Addiction? No, he says that when he looks at some auctions, and everyone is busy bidding up the CMFs or old Modulars at "exubarent" prices... he finds bargains, and buys up those bargains. I know several collectors that have amassed vast quantities of historic LEGO items because everyone else is just buying up new items, made in huge quantities at high prices.
Recently he had a LEGO party for the kids of his town... and he pulled out some rare items for them to play with (even I would cringe at this)... and they were playing and building on valuable Town Plan boards of the 1960s with rare built models. He said he forgot to bring out his 1:87 cars/trucks for them to play with, or he would have done so... :o
Now granted this is an anomaly... but you won't find old time collectors as Octogenarians who have their LEGO items behind glass cases (cough CMFs).... most old time collectors of all ages like to enjoy and build what they have, unless it is in abolutely pristine condition.
Recently I asked one younger of old LEGO collector why they were interested in the older sets, and the response was "everyone else is going after all the new LEGO, and the prices are going crazy... I decided to go against the herd and buy up the rare older stuff that has more limited availability, at less crazy prices".
I can't argue with that!
As mentioned above, people that collect 50's and 60's era sets are a different type of a collector than collectors of modern Lego. 50's and 60's Lego obviously has their place, but not on my mantle :)
Even the gas pumps found in Norwegian 1310 sets are unusual, as are those found in the 1247 Esso Accessories parts pack....
Someone mentioned the Town Plan mat.... yes in 1955 a soft plastic rollup mat was used as a Town Plan board.... and a Norwegian version was used in the first pic on this thread.
This mat was #1200, and was introduced in 1955 in Denmark with a right driving mat.... (System i leg printed on the one block... System of Play in Danish.)
In Norway a similar #1200 right driving mat was introduced.... (System i lek printed on the one block... System of Play in Norwegian.)
In Sweden a similar #1200 left driving mat was introduced (they drove on the left side of the road in Sweden until 1967).... (System i lek printed on the one block... System of Play in Swedish.)
Note.... the white traffic lines where traffic must stop shows right vs. left driving.
A year later in 1956 the larger left/right driving mats were replaced in all 3 countries with a smaller #1200 mat that was universal... i.e. no left or right driving markings... here we see the comparison of the larger 1955 #1200 mat and the smaller 1956 #1200 mat.
This smaller mat was also sold in other continental European countries under the #200 number. Also in 1956 a Masonite hard board Town Plan board was introduced, and sold alongside the soft mat. The hardboard one was #1200M or #200M, depending on the country it was sold in.
Also of note... the larger older mats had the gas station plaza block oriented north, while the newer smaller mats had the block oriented west.
All of these different boards, their sizes, and also other variations are discussed ad nauseum in Chapter 3 - LEGO Town Plan Sets and Boards of my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide, as well as the 1960s cardboard bi-fold boards... which once again introduce a left and right driving board.
All the LEGO basic sets made from late 1957 until 1960 had the same image of Ole Kirk Christiansen's 3 grandchildren on the box top of a LEGO Town Plan scene on a Masonite Town Plan board. Ironically the yellow car with white roof parked in front of the hotel is an Opel Kapitän. This example is not in the Billund LEGO Collections, so it could one day be found on the secondary market.
Here is one of the 3 all yellow versions of the ultra rare Opel Kapitän's... the one from the first image of this thread. Value in excess of $5000.
Many of my collector friends have been getting very good at photography of their LEGO collectibles. So my next version of my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide will have hundreds of new images of exceptional quality replacing smaller less detailed images.
So Norwegian trucks with just "ESSO" would be worth about $500 each... but since these are all early versions with the rare brass wheels (instead of white metal).... and have the boxes, you can double the value to $1000 each....
.... with the only known Opel Kapitän car in green....
The front (here) and back of the #1235 and #1236 boxes are identical to each other.
Only the sides give away which set you have... and which of the 3 countries...
Here's a much smaller group of LEGO from Iceland... much rarer than even Norway LEGO (Iceland only had about 150,000 inhabitants back in the 1950s)... I could see these few common slotted bricks (although there are a few Bilofix toys mixed in) go for well over 1000€...
With these Icelandic bricks, colors such as the medium blue and dark green bricks would sell quite nicely on an individual basis... (the sum of the parts is worth more than the whole)...
So to to answer the original question... if you have the boxes included with the parts.... yes 16000€ is very much "doable".... and part of the reason is because in this instance.... the Billund Archives/Collections would be interested in bidding on many of these items that they don't already have in their collections.
I stay in touch with the folks in Billund at the Archives/Collections (it's a 2 way street... they help me out with info for my guide, and I help them out with some items that are questionable if they are LEGO or not)...
Example... TLG purchased this at auction about 2 years ago....
They asked me if I thought the road signs were original (back then LEGO in Sweden came via Norway, so some items were foreign to TLG Denmark). I told them no, these were another company's toy product (who's name escapes me at the moment), but TLG did make yellow plastic road signs for the Swedish market (only)... but these were not them. So they removed them from the box. But those tall classic yellow windows are original to this set... at about 150€ each they are the true rarites in this 700/3 basic set of 1955-56. Classic windows are known in many rare colors... as can be seen here in an assortment of 1x6x4 tall classic Panorama windows.... (TLG still is missing orange and green)...
So rare early LEGO is very valuable... because the collectors interested in it have to sometimes bid against very deep pockets TLG, as well as each other!
Although Europeans have the bulk of the rare LEGO items in their attics and basements.... as far as collectors interested in it are concerned.... there is a lot of interest from collectors in USA/Canada, Australia, and even Japan and Hong Kong, as well as Britain and continental Europe. But, just as there are far fewer rare old LEGO items... there are far fewer collectors for these as well.
Those road signs look very similar to road signs used today in second rate die- cast car sets. Is there any type of marking on the genuine signs at all to distinguish them as LEGO or is it just a question of knowing how to tell from years of learning and experience?
I guess I could ask that question of distinguishing marks on all of these vehicles and pumps and such. (Sorry if I'm asking too many questions.)
One more question though, have you ever posted a picture of your whole collection or is it just too vast? :smile:
How can I get copies of your unofficial LEGO guides or are they not for sale or do they just exist on line or are you not allowed to say on BRICKSET because that would be some kind of self promotion?
But about 5 years ago I started selling off my collection. It was just taking up too much room in my house... and also I had lost the "collectors bug"... the urge to own all the rare stuff. So all my rare items are sold off. I'm now just into collecting images and anecdotes/history/info... from over 100 folks worldwide, who have been extremely generous in offering me photos of their own rare items. It is this repository of rare images (now at about 20,000 images)... that makes my collectors guide so interesting, along with all the statistics, prices and variations of LEGO.
This maybe small group of collectors, but demand is huge and there are some real whales out there. I've watched some auctions and seen the some of the insane prices people are willing to pay for the stuff. I'd like to own more, but most of the time these whales out bid me. Most of the stuff I've gotten is by pure luck. If the collect market were bigger the prices would be even larger.
The Vauxhall and Jaguar only came in white (common), red (rare) and black (very rare). But some of the 1:87 cars came in a mind numbing number of different colors. Here are the #261 VW Beetles.... and this Swiss collection owner has an amazing number of different colors and color variations... 26 different. What is even more amazing is that they all have intact front and back bumpers... which break off easily...
Trying to get a group such as this together in this day and age would be a Hurculean task, running into the many thousands at auction.
Of course not every 1:87 vehicle comes in that many colors... here's a collection of #265/#665 Karmann Ghia's, in 11 of about 14 known colors....
One of the other colors the Karmann Ghia comes in is a color that is rare, but many of the different cars are known to have a few vehicles produced in this rare color.... metallic blue... very very expensive!
These images are all new for the next version of my collectors guide.
The 250/1250 Bedford Tanker truck, probably the most common of all LEGO 1:87 trucks comes in a large assortment of varieties. The most common are the English (ESSO EXTRA MOTOR OIL) and Danish (BENZIN ESSO SMOREOLIE), which were found throughout the world (except Norway and Sweden)... and both spellings were found in all countries (except the English variety may not have been found in Denmark). Value on these are $25-$100 if not damaged.
The Swedish variety, very rare comes in 2 versions BENSIN ESSO EXTRA MOTOR OIL, and ESSO EXTRA MOTOR OIL BENSIN.... both equally rare, and worth $500+ (depending on condition).
The Norwegian variety only had ESSO... but sometimes it had brass wheels, most of the time chrome wheels like elsewhere. All the wheel types of Norway were different than elsewhere. Again... value = $500+ for great example trucks, double that if the wheels are brass.
Image from my German friend Lothar....
Well surprisingly it would be a USA/Canada Samsonite item. It would be a 1961-66 retailer box of LEGO 1:87 cars.
Here is a similar item (only 2 known) but involving much larger LEGO parts packs size boxes of that era... this is a box of 48 miscellaneous Samsonite LEGO spare parts packs (as uniquely orderd from a Samsonite LEGO order sheet)....
This very large box of 48 parts packs recently sold for $1500... not a huge sum....
These only sold for $1500, because the contents didn't include any specialty parts, such as LEGO trees/bushes, road signs, street lights, or Esso Accessories. Had they been included in any abundance, and the price of this box of 48 would have doubled.
Here we have part of a 1965 USA Samsonite re-order form for LEGO sets and parts packs. In the left hand column, 2nd from bottom, is the crown jewel of all LEGO finds anywhere.... the "Minature Car Assortment"....
This Miniature Car Assortment is a brown cardboard box (much smaller than the one for the parts packs shown above).... and is shown in the Samsonite LEGO catalog with the prefix 470 and number 472. This contain 72 individual LEGO 1:87 cars in their plastic garages with a paper banderole around them... such as these individual cars....
These MISB individual 1:87 cars (#261-#268) are each worth about $200-$300 (depending on the color of the models inside, some could be worth over $1000)... so a box of 72 of these could fetch $20,000 at auction or more!! :o
Currently none of these boxes of 72 1:87 vehicles is known to exist.... and there may not be any that have survived intact. But at such a steep price per vehicle.... this would truly be the crown jewel of LEGO collectibles.
One interesting side note... the 472 number is a generic number assigned in USA LEGO advertising as 1:87 cars.... but only in this order form is the number shown in its' correct context... as a USA reorder number for 72 1:87 LEGO cars. No online LEGO database has this shown correctly.
P.S. These small cars in the garages were sold by USA LEGO retailers for 75 cents each, although in mail-order catalogs (such as Sear's) they are reduced to 72 cents each. Just more info to add to my collectors guide...
The LEGO Jaguar's were produced in Britain/Ireland/Australia from late 1962 until 1965, and found in a plastic garage. This was under the #670 number. Here is an example... and although the white Jaguar is the most common color, it is very scarce in a sealed garage with banderole, probably worth about $300....
In 1965 TLG decided to discontinue all the plastic garages, and replace them with the same cars as before... but with cardboard boxes. This plan was only to continue the cars in continental Europe, and discontinue them in Britain/Ireland/Australia.
However some of the Jaguars from Britain were put into a cardboard box as prototypes. About less than 5 are known... all under a new #601 number. At some point it was decided not to make any more Jaguars, and instead a #601 Morris Marina car was produced under that number instead.
So the #601 boxes with the Jaguar #601 labeling on them are very rare and valuable. Someone could have taken one of thes boxes (which were never sealed) and placed a mint black (rarest of 3 colors) Jaguar into it... thus making a double rarity a #601 Black Jaguar car. The black Jaguar alone in mint is probably worth about $1500... add to that the box which is also worth about that much... and now you have a $3000 collectible.
Since this set was never sealed, the original provenance to this set cannot be established. However, since this is a known possibility.... even if someone replaced a white Jaguar with a rare black Jaguar... it still enhances the value.
Old time collectors can differentiate between a probable and improbable outcome of a rare LEGO item. In this instance... it's the best of all combinations.
Fair warning.... fake boxes are known to exist! But close inspections and comparison to other real boxs of this era can usually spot a fake.
As real as all of these boxes look... and all of these exist as real boxes... but these here are all fakes.... recreated with similar paper stock, and all the stains and spots you might find in an orginal... old LEGO, as well as new LEGO is shown in my Fakes chapter, and a lot of it is quite well produced, so I give clues on how to identify a real item from fakes.
A 1959-60 Esso Service Station 310 in Excellend (not even mint!!) condition...
3309 Euros (about $3600)... for a used box... wow... starting to approach the 10179 Millennium Falcon in price.... and this is used...
Or an older (1956-58) used one with busted up rare parts... for 3000 Euros ($3300)....
Set 536 uses one for the house of the main picture.
Two of the garages were built into the houses on the left, the 3rd was built into the Shell Station on the right (the only USA Shell Station).
Images from the chapter on Department Store Mail-Order LEGO Items from my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide.
Here is a group of these with a pair of the 307 boxes....
Here are the different printed bricks used....
And here is a group of the 261-268 VW Garages in a different box with a door at the front....
These garages are much different than the VW showroom clear box (notorious for almost always being warped) is open on the 4th side (facing downward towards the 4x8 white plate), and without a door.
About those 310 auctions...obviously, some people lost control...ebay can be like a gambling addiction. In the heat of the moment, fingers seem to click the mouse all by themselves! When I told my husband about it, he threatened to list my 310 sets on ebay :s
It's the rarer version that I wonder about....
These 1956-57 Swedish and Norwegian boxes are 1310 versions, and the early German box is a 310 box... but this is early version has "ESSO WAGENPFLEGE" on the box instead of the common "ESSO SERVICE" for this box type.
I would imagine that these each could fetch $5000 easy. :o
Here's the Danish version's box....
The very very rare Esso Service Station contents....
The 1310 Swedish version....
The 1310 Norwegian version....
And the 1310 Danish version....
The Danish and Norwegian version have the same build, but with different color windows/door, but the Swedish version had me stumped.... until I found 2 very old LEGO ad images showing that version, and how the different windows were positioned in the station. This tells me that the Swedish version is the oldest. In my guide I show the difference in how the models are built.
In his Email to me.... he said it was a lot like finding a pair of good used condition boxed 10179 Millennium Falcon's but at only approximately 100 Euros each... with other people not knowing how much they were worth!! :)
I love stories like that!! o:)
I am not "knocking" older Lego sets, but when you mention Lego to someone, you are most likely talking about Lego bricks and pieces. Automobiles are great, but they aren't brick built. The play mats are great, but they remind me of my childhood playing with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.
I know the marbled bricks are rare, but I think the average person would rather pay for a 14k Gold brick than a bunch of bricks that were basically molded from spillage from the injection mold process.
Hehehe.... when I think "collection of parts".... I think of the days long before Bricklink when you could enjoy many of the same service... but without the shipping charges.... :)
Such as the Continental European (only) 214 1-10 Retailer Windows/Doors boxes of 1957-66.
In fact, most modern collectors would be amazed at the selection of PAB type parts that were available back then.... although back then they didn't have thousands of different parts in a multitude of colors. But the parts that they did have back then were all part of a "system"... which allowed for matching parts of different types in the same colors.