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The "Crown Jewel" of LEGO sets....

IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
Maybe not among most minifig collectors.... ;-)    But any museum would love to have one of these.....



The very first LEGO set.... the 700/1 set of 1949 (they made smaller 700/2 and 700/3 sets that year).   The box evolved into about 5 other variations all with the same images, but different writing. (LEGO Mursten added, 3 fonts for "Automatic Binding Bricks, etc")

The contents to this set would look like this (a different box inside is shown).....



4 colors of bricks to the Danish Automatic Binding Bricks sets (replaced by "LEGO Mursten" sets in 1953).  I had always wondered why they didn't make 3 box sizes for the early 700/1, 700/2 and 700/3... but only 2 box sizes were ever known.  Then I discovered that if you took out the bricks from the central 3 partition part of the 700/1 set contents... then, you would have the 700/2 set contents.

The smallest set, the 700/3 is shown here... (from the Billund LEGO Collections)...



Interestingly enough... these earliest 1949 LEGO sets have 2 wood partitions in the center area.

Sets of this era in mint condition could probably fetch up to $10K.

Images: from my LEGO Collectors Guide.

catwrangleroldtodd33stluxdatsunrobbiericecakeLusiferSamMynattthedingman5SalamalexAllBrickTheOriginalSimonBakunthitaJackad7kiki180703kezLego_StarGlacierfalls265madforLEGOClutchPowerTheBigLegoskiblogzillysnowhitiechuckpCaptainLego

Comments

  • ecmo47ecmo47 North CarolinaMember Posts: 2,101
    ahhh...and here I thought we were going to talk about 10179 again....
    BumblepantsAllBrickkiki180703Yodaliciousbobabrickschuckp
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 511
    I'd love to be able to get some of these '49 sets.  I think they are likely out of my price range.  Oh well, one can dream.

    Great stuff as usual Istokg.
    Istokgkiki180703madforLEGO
  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 800
    Or lost to fire(s) ;)
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,252
    Mr. Gold?
    SprinkleOtter
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    edited January 2017
    There are still many unanswered questions about early LEGO (Automatic Binding Bricks).... such as this 1952 LEGO Retailer brochure that TLG sent out to toy stores in Denmark....



    This leaflet announced the introduction (in 1952) of 2 smaller Automatic Binding Bricks sets, that also had "LEGO Mursten" (Mursten = Bricks) on the box as well.  These were in addition to the already introduced large 700/1, medium 700/2 and medium-small 700/3 sets.

    There's only one problem with these 2 new  (1952 introduced) 700/4 and 700/5 small Automatic Binding Bricks/LEGO Mursten sets..... no one has ever found one on the secondary market!!

    When questioning the folks at the Billund Archives/Collections... they had no explanation for this... but did manage to find an example of the smaller 700/5 set in their archives... (TLG image)....



    The only logical conclusion that I can find on this is that these sets must have been planned for a very late 1952 introduction, and the prototype boxes were made up (one of which is above), but these boxes were never introduced.  TLG probably delayed the introduction of these sets for the beginning of 1953, when the new "LEGO Mursten" sets were introduced in all sizes....



    Shown are 1953 introduced LEGO Mursten sets including the smaller 700/4 and 700/5 (upper right)... and produced from 1953-55 (also sold starting in late 1953 in Norway, and 1955 in Sweden... since Mursten = Brick in their languages as well).

    If anyone were to find an earlier prototype (or very limited release) version of the 700/4 or 700/5.... it would probably be worth in the mid 5 digits!!   :-O

    Another LEGO anomaly I mention in my collectors guide.

    catwranglerTheBigLegoskisnowhitie
  • RevBluesRevBlues Member Posts: 117
    CoughKiddicraftcough. 

    ;o)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Yee ask and yee shall receive.... ;-)

    Kiddicraft in 1947.... bland box... (compared to colorful LEGO ones starting in 1949)...



    By 1955 Kiddicraft had more colorful boxes.... but just the same 6 parts as in 1947....



    By 1955 TLG was light years ahead of just 6 different parts that Kiddicraft still had, and there was no longer any comparison.  The first country that LEGO was sold in that Kiddicraft had a patent in was Switzerland starting in 1957.... by then none of the LEGO parts resembled Kiddicraft (the 2x2 and 2x4 bricks lost their slots, and the old windows were replaced by modern ones).  

    1955 Denmark Catalog image....




    catwranglerstluxsid3windrTheBigLegoskiGalactus
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    When LEGO started production of the slotted bricks they immediately had more part variation than Kiddicraft. The first LEGO mold introduced bricks with only a single slot, and more versions followed soon. Kiddicraft only used bricks with two opposite slots. 

    I believe that the new version was introduced for aesthetic reasons. LEGO wanted their bricks to be beautiful. Having unused slots in the side of buildings was not good enough, so LEGO immediately tried to improve on the Kiddicraft design. 
    catwrangler
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Thanks WoutR.... you "mould guys" have done so much research on the evolution of the LEGO moulds and the bricks that they produce, that I've learned a lot from you folks as well.  Because Kiddicraft had such a huge number toys (besides the brick system)... that they didn't get far beyond the 2x2 and 2x4 bricks.

    Some of my favorite slotted bricks are when they started making the 1x2 and 2x3 slotted bricks (at TLG), that not only were there 1 or 2 slotted bricks... but there were also perpendicular slotted bricks... where the slots were not on opposite sides.


  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,490
    if kiddicraft only had 6 bricks (or rather 8, according to the box), how were you supposed to build the truck or the windmill for example?
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    This is the earliest known photo of LEGO constructions... dating to 1949.  It shows the 6 parts (2x2 & 2x4 bricks, 3 window sizes and 1 door) that were the entire Automatic Binding Bricks system... until a thin 10x20 baseplate came out in 1950. Early sets also came with 2-3 art cards... which looked like small post cards with simple designs.  These were so that you could build a photo frame out of the slotted bricks, with the card fitting firmly within the slots.




    catwranglerstlux
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    Istokg said:
    Thanks WoutR.... you "mould guys" have done so much research on the evolution of the LEGO moulds and the bricks that they produce, that I've learned a lot from you folks as well. 
    Thanks! 

    The different approach helps to solve some of the questions. It is a nice addition to the amateur historian's toolkit. :-)
    Istokg
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Fauch said:
    if kiddicraft only had 6 bricks (or rather 8, according to the box), how were you supposed to build the truck or the windmill for example?
    They did have some paper roof pieces and wooden flat pieces.  But for wheels, I really don't know?   Check out the images from this Kiddicraft auction....

    http://www.ebay.ie/itm/322279355991
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,252
    Fauch said:
    if kiddicraft only had 6 bricks (or rather 8, according to the box), how were you supposed to build the truck or the windmill for example?
    Um... use you imagination!
    SprinkleOtter
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    LOL.... LEGO sometimes added things to their model images that were not included in the sets...  such as the windmill wooden blades and the army men on the castle.... ;-)



    This was a 1953 4 page ideas leaflet... and no wheels here either...
    stlux
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    Kiddicraft did something similar. They used parts from their other productlines:



    The windmill used paper blades attached with a pin.
    See https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4004416714/

    catwranglerstlux
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 2,798
    ^ That's quite a Frankenstein build right there!
    catwrangler
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    It is called "ingenuity" and is included in the book "playtime in the first five years" by Hilary Page. 
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 2,798
    ^ That's beautiful in full colour! Thank you for sharing! I feel bad for gently mocking it now... :-(
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    edited January 2017
    It is beautiful, interesting and unstable. Looking at how toy building bricks evolved (or were created in Frankenstein's lab) makes you appreciate the current designs even more. 


    Note that LEGO's single slot bricks would have allowed to hide the slots in the engine hood. 
    MaffyDcatwrangler
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,490
    wouldn't some people lose their mind over a toy suggesting children to use pins now?
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    With the width of the slots.... I don't think any pin would do.... it would probably have to be a nail.
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 511
    Speaking of mystery sets, any thoughts on this one that showed up on eBay late last year.

    Looks highly incomplete and maybe mixed.  The bottom of the box reminds me of the Samsonite 725 and 717 boxes.  The outside is some faux-alligator skin.  I've never seen Lego box that this before.  If I remember correctly it was being sold out of Sweden or Norway. 


    catwrangler
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Thanks for showing that @LuciferSam.  There are a few things that question the authenticity of that box... one is the logo... never seen that one before?  From the 1960s, it should have this logo....



    However if as you say, it came from Norway or Denmark.... it could have been a Norwegian "A/S Norske LEGIO" presentation box of some sort (Norway produced LEGO for both Norway and Sweden until the Norway import ban was lifted in1 61.... If this is a real Norwegian item, I would date it to 1959-61.

    There are other mysterious LEGO items that appear to be unique and have not been identified... not by the Billund Archives or collectors.  Here's one... it looks (based on the parts... that it's a German 700K Kindergarten type set... but why the fancy box??









    What makes this look real is that it has the necessary 24 partitions (including the 8 pullout partitions.  And the image of he LEGO man (Gnome) with the building is almost identical to the back side of LEGO spare parts packs of 1958-60.  But this is the only know set like this, and there's nothing known about it.
    -----------------------
    Here's another unknown set.... a red Automatic Binding Bricks set, with the writing in upper/lower case and the use of apostrophe's.... never seen this before.  Unless this was an early 1949 prototype ABB set (the contents sort of confirm this), I have no idea why the logo would be changed to upper/lower case later.  Only (real) version of this set I've ever seen.....

    Again.... no clue as to its' originas, but I don't doubt that this set is real.

    -------------------
    And then there's this very odd Dutch set.... it is also a wooden box set... but a red exterior (never seen another one)... with a blue interior with very odd shaped partitions)






    The parts don't appear to all be original... that green brick is not from the 60s, and neither are the 2x4 bricks with cross supports in the lower left corner partition.  I don't see any classic windows or doors... so even if this was an real set, it's mising some strategic components.
    --------------------------

    And some countries made plastic (carrying case type) plastic travel case.  They consist of a hard plastic top, a large bottom with a tray that fits inside.  But this item (with LEGO logo on the other side)... defies all such case designs.  These were introduced in 1965-75... which is long after the 1962 return of LEGO production from Norway to Denmark...



    ----------------------------------

    So there are some very unique LEGO items I've never seen before... I'm sure that many are real... but they were not part of the regular LEGO items for sale.  And others are likely very well crafted fakes.  

    I need to start a separate chapter in my collectors guide for LEGO sets of unknown origins.... ;-)
    catwranglerMooreFXstlux
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    Istokg said:
    -----------------------
    Here's another unknown set.... a red Automatic Binding Bricks set, with the writing in upper/lower case and the use of apostrophe's.... never seen this before.  Unless this was an early 1949 prototype ABB set (the contents sort of confirm this), I have no idea why the logo would be changed to upper/lower case later.  Only (real) version of this set I've ever seen.....

    Again.... no clue as to its' originas, but I don't doubt that this set is real.
    If that baseplate is original to the set, should it not be slightly later? 1950-1953 or something like that?
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    @WoutR, I would tend to agree with you.... but all of the 700/1, 700/2 and 700/3 sets both TLG and Geas came without the thin 10x20 baseplate in the box... it was a separate purchase.  It wasn't until the 10x20 thick baseplate was introduced in 1953 that they started becoming part of the set, although later Geas PRIMA sets may have had the thin baseplates.

    The big guess is more... were the set and baseplate purchased together?  And even so... it was not unusual for old sets to sit on shelves for years... so if this was an early ABB prototype set (that made it's way into the marketplace)... it may not have been sold off the shelf until starting in1950, when those thin baseplates were first introduced, and sold separately.
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    Geas included the baseplate before the name changed to PRIMA.
    The available catalogs (7 known versions) prove that.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/26076646365

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    @WoutR I've never seen a version of the Geas catalog with "Grundplatta" (thin 10x20 baseplate) sold as part of the (700/1, 700/2, 700/3) sets, although they were sold separately (without a number).  Do you have such an image?
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    Richard/RB-BBSL sent me images from his catalogues. 
    Here is a cropped image from catalog 15459.


    Image by RB-BBSL (cropped)


  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    See personal message for the rest :-)
  • CaptainLegoCaptainLego FloridaMember Posts: 385
    I gotta show this to some of my friends as well as my parents. This is a very interesting thread! Thanks for sharing!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    Thanks WoutR.... after I yell at Richard (I'm kidding, but he's been a friend for over 10 years).... this is the first time I've seent his image.... the Geas 700/1 went from 84 2x4 and 84 2x2 bricks down to 72 2x4 and 58 2x2... to help make room for the baseplate in the box... ;-)
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    The images were made in April, so this is another candidate for your new (old) discoveries in 2016.
    Istokg
  • MaffyDMaffyD West YorkshireMember Posts: 2,798
    I know this thread is full of the very best early sets and how unusual they are, but I've been sorting stuff in the garage and just thought I'd share my oldest Lego piece (not a full set, yet):

    It needs a good clean! Not so old or rare, but I'm very pleased I still have it!
    catwrangler
  • WoutRWoutR NetherlandsMember Posts: 44
    Value is in the eye of the beholder, and few things are more valuable than good memories. Enjoy your find! :-)
    MaffyDLusiferSamricecakeGalactus
  • Pumpkin_3CK5Pumpkin_3CK5 CaliforniaMember Posts: 784
    I wonder how much this guy would appraise it for.


    SprinkleOtterMaffyD
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 511
    Istokg said:
    And some countries made plastic (carrying case type) plastic travel case.  They consist of a hard plastic top, a large bottom with a tray that fits inside.  But this item (with LEGO logo on the other side)... defies all such case designs.  These were introduced in 1965-75... which is long after the 1962 return of LEGO production from Norway to Denmark...

    I've one of these cases.  Picked it up some German collector who was selling off a bunch of stuff a few years back.  

    Istokg said:
    So there are some very unique LEGO items I've never seen before... I'm sure that many are real... but they were not part of the regular LEGO items for sale.  And others are likely very well crafted fakes. 
    If the eBay box is a fake, it's one of the better and most insidious fakes I've seen.  Not only is done using an box, but the logo almost looks like a real one.  It kind of reminds me of the 40s style logo. 

    One thought I had was that it is not a deliberate fake, but an accidental one.   I've seen any number of custom storage items over the years that look like they could have been real.  It's possible a parent or someone took a sturdy box with compartments and painted LEGO System on it for a kid to use as storage.  And over 50+ years the origin of the box could have been lost.

    Anyway here's another picture of the top.  I thought I had saved the auction, but either it's been too long or I already deleted.

  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,191
    @LusiferSam.... I don't think that box is a fake.... some items are... but I always look at it from the perspective.... of why someone may have gone to the trouble of creating something that is a fake.  This box doesn't fit that criteria... it's not a fake of a valuable real item.  To me it looks like something that a high level TLG employee may have been given with  a gift inside.  And the contents were likely not toy related.
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