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Possible different year of introduction for an old set?

PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 293
In July 1978, my parents took me to Hershey, Pennsylvania for a vacation around my father's attendance at the National District Attorneys Association conference.  I was five.  At some point on this trip, they gave me a Lego set to build in the hotel room.  I recall it being #554 Fuel Pumper (an Exxon fuel tanker truck).  I distinctly recall sitting at the hotel room desk and assembling it and putting the little gray shutters on the door with the hose and applying the stickers.  It was my second Lego set (following #492 in 1977) and my first with an actual minifigure.  The set hasn't been disassembled since then (although I've had to put some pieces back on as they've come off during play or with moves over the years.)

One problem though...  Bricklink says this set was released in 1979.  I'm certain the Hershey trip was in July 1978 because we have a photo album that has photos from that trip.  (Unfortunately, there's no photos that show the set on the desk of the hotel room.)  ...so could the release date of this set in the database possibly be wrong?  ...or am I mis-remembering this even with the clear memory of building this in that 70s-style hotel room?
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Comments

  • iwybsiwybs PlutoMember Posts: 331
    I don't have any special information, but it seems possible to me. After all, the first Classic Space wave was released in 1979 on one side of the Atlantic and 1978 on the other.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,651
    Paging @Istokg
    MarshallmarioWesterBricks
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,044
    The LEGO Collector book confirms 1979.
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,365
    @PDelahanty maybe you brought #492 with you and built that on the hotel desk, and a year later you got #554- and maybe built it on a different desk, or somewhere other than at home, and the two memories blended? But also, how do we know the LEGO collector book is 100% accurate? 
    madforLEGOAstrobricksBrickchap
  • Blockwork_OrangeBlockwork_Orange ON, CanadaMember Posts: 168
    Could it be a matter of the release years and the production years being different.  Kind of like with cars, where the 2023 models will be available on the dealer lots (hopefully) in fall of 2022.
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,328
    edited February 11
    Sounds like what @Istokg calls “Lego Madness!” :)
  • PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 293
    edited February 11
    Could it be a matter of the release years and the production years being different.  Kind of like with cars, where the 2023 models will be available on the dealer lots (hopefully) in fall of 2022.
    I considered that...and maybe if this conference was late in 1978 I'd have figured it got released early, but it was definitely July 1978 since that's what's written in the photo album and the photos are in there chronologically with Christmas 1978 later in the album.

    It's entirely possible this is some sort of manufactured memory...but I've had the memory so long that I've accepted it as fact.  There was definitely Lego built there though and I didn't bring a set with me from home.  I'll have to see if my mother remembers.  (I doubt it.  She probably only remembers me getting sick from eating too much Hershey chocolate.  Pretty sure that's the reason they gave me the Lego set...to cheer me up or something.)  Dad passed away in April, so I'm unfortunately not able to ask him.

    I see that 1978 sets are Shell-branded.  1979 has Exxon brands.  They even changed the road plate packaging to remove the Shell sets and show non-branded or Exxon sets.  I guess it's gotta be a 1979 set and my memory is wrong.  (I was 5 at the time of the conference in 1978.)
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    edited February 11
    This site shows a listing for one for sale, and lists a date of 1978:
    Description: "Vintage 1978 Lego Set #554 Exxon Fuel Pumper W/Box and Instructions"
    So, I have to wonder: Where did the listing seller get the year 1978 from?  All the databases seem to report 1979 (BrickSet, BrickLink, LUGNET, Peeron).  The Peeron scan of the instructions doesn't give a year, but I'm wondering-- does the box have a copyright?  Could that be where the seller got the year from?
    Of further note: The LUGNET database has some admin comments behind-the-scenes, which state:
    "1977? Where'd that come from? Mini-Figures didn't come OUT until '78! My 1978 brochure has no 554, but my 1979 does. (No "New" specifiers were using in 1977-1978-1979) picture from brickshelf, touched up by me"
    That seems to indicate that the initial entry in the LUGNET DB, or from the Pause Guide showed #554 as being from 1977, and that its year was updated with the only online-verifiable information of 1979 when it showed up in a catalog.
    Does anyone have a box to examine more closely?  I don't see any closer scans online that might yield a copyright.
    There's a seller on BrickLink that has a copy of this box.  I sent them a contact message on BL to see if they can confirm.
    DaveE
  • PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 293
    davee123 said:
    This site shows a listing for one for sale, and lists a date of 1978:
    Description: "Vintage 1978 Lego Set #554 Exxon Fuel Pumper W/Box and Instructions"
    That links to eBay and that auction has a photo of the bottom of the box.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/224774606039


    It says "©1978 LEGO System A/S".

    ...but would they put that on there because the box was printed in 1978 and the set was released January 1, 1979?

    I just checked #40518 and it says ©2022.
    Astrobricks
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    edited February 11
    Oh, paydirt! I didn't even notice the extra images on that auction!
    I wouldn't think the box year would show a different year than the release year. If I recall correctly, sometimes they'd actually do the reverse, and print them with the NEXT year, even though they were sold in December the year prior.  Although I don't know specifically if that was the case in the 70s and 80s.
    Of further note, my #6075-2 shows a copyright year of 1980, despite the DB having a year of 1981 (so, maybe a similar case!)
    DaveE
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,044
    If it's (c) 1978 on the box that's good enough for me to change it so I have done so.
    The_RancorMr_CrossPDelahantypxchrisSwitchfoot55
  • PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 293
    Thank you!  At least I can stop doubting my own memories now.

    I'll be checking copyright dates on boxes on my sets when I finally get around to doing a full inventory.  (Sadly, this isn't a box that was kept.  We didn't start saving boxes until I got #483 Alpha-1 Rocket Base later on...)
    560HeliportmadforLEGO
  • 12651265 The Great State of TexasMember Posts: 1,110
    Now that the year has been solved, any leads on where Jimmy Hoffa is buried?
    Astrobricks
  • PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 293
    1265 said:
    Now that the year has been solved, any leads on where Jimmy Hoffa is buried?
    In a steel drum under the Pulaski Skyway.
    1265
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 563
    Huw said:
    The LEGO Collector book confirms 1979.
    That is hardly an authoritative source.  Those books are so full of errors I'm not sure I would trust them as a paperweight.
    davee123 said:
    Oh, paydirt! I didn't even notice the extra images on that auction!
    I wouldn't think the box year would show a different year than the release year. If I recall correctly, sometimes they'd actually do the reverse, and print them with the NEXT year, even though they were sold in December the year prior.  Although I don't know specifically if that was the case in the 70s and 80s.
    Of further note, my #6075-2 shows a copyright year of 1980, despite the DB having a year of 1981 (so, maybe a similar case!)
    DaveE
    #6075 is a perfect example of why box copyright isn't always "right" either.  The US catalog says #6075 is new for 1981.  There are lots of others like this from that time period, but #6075 is the only one I know by heart.  The box copyright tends to skew to the year before catalog date when the two don't match.

    I don't know what the right answer is for #554.  I can tell you the 1979 date comes from Lugnet.  Lugnet based this on the fact that #554 first shows up in the 1979 US catalog, not the 1978.  US catalogs didn't start highlighting new sets until 1980.  Pre-internet Lugnet always favors catalog date.  Every other set database is derived Lugnet.  Few, if any, are independent.  The Lugnet database started from Todd Lehman's Fibblesnork database.

    I think there is wider debate to be had about why Release Year really means.  Is it really the actual calendar year the set was release?  Is it the copyright year, if there is a copyright?  Is the intended release date?  And was is intended date mean?
    pxchrisstluxSwitchfoot55
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,352
    edited February 15
    Yes... as @LusiferSam mentioned... the LEGO Collectors Guide (Fantasia Publisher) is not the best accurate reference guide... although the 2011 version is much better than the 2008 version.  They took LEGO Archives information for much of that material.  Even though I am referenced as a contributor to that guide... some of what my contribution was... deviated from what the LEGO Archives had in their records.  For early years the Archives are very sparse, and sometimes the records are incorrect.

    As for LEGO set introduction... the annual catalogs are often printed before new items are introduced, so the catalog date and the copyright date don't always match up.  For example, the first LEGO wheels (parts pack 400) was introduced in March 1962.  Yet every single LEGO country catalog for 1962 fails to show LEGO wheels... with one exception... the 1962 Australia Catalog, which does show LEGO wheels (pack 400).  And that is because LEGO sales in Australia started in March 1962... the same time that LEGO wheels did, so the Australian catalog for 1962 is the first LEGO catalog anywhere to show them.

    As for using copyright dates on the box or package... that too can sometimes be problematic.  As an example... the first Service Packs... 1101 thru 1142... they all have a 1977 copyright date... even though 4 digit Set and Service pack numbers started in 1980.  The reason for the 1977 copyright date on service packs is because they were first sold as loose LEGO parts (either from mail-order or in-store Service Boxes) that were put into generic plastic bags by the LEGO retailers.

    Here is a page of the 1978 German Catalog showing some of the pseudo early type service packs at the end of the catalog... but they just had numbers 1-42.




    And here are the German service packs for the 1119 Rod/Piston set.  The upper ones are the earlier 1977-79 1-42, and the lower ones are the 1101-1142 Service Packs with a 1977 copyright date.  So the copyright date refers in this instance to the parts and not the packaging.




    Now as to the 554 Exxon Tanker Truck... I would like to have several other owners of this boxed set come forward and confirm that their boxes also say "1978" copyright date on the box.  Because I have seen a few sets that have more than 1 copyright date.  But those may have to do with a change to the design of the box.  I have seen some of the late 80s/early 90s MODEL TEAM truck sets (some came in an earlier and a later box design), and they sometimes have different copyright dates.

    I guess the best answer I can give is that there is no exact science to accurately determining WHEN a LEGO set was released, vs. when it was copyrighted or show up in a specific country LEGO catalog.  🙄
    1265WesterBricksiwybsmadforLEGOpxchrisSwitchfoot55
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    #6075 is a perfect example of why box copyright isn't always "right" either.  The US catalog says #6075 is new for 1981
    Ha, I guess I would generally trust the box over the catalog! I suppose the best reference would be if we had merchandiser catalogs from the time, but even then I'm sure there are bound to be discrepancies everywhere!
    The Lugnet database started from Todd Lehman's Fibblesnork database.
    Actually, not quite! At the time, Todd bought the rights to the Pause Magazine Guide data, which he used to seed the LUGNET database. That was partly thanks to the fact that Fibblesnork didn't have info for things like Technic, Duplo, Town, Fabuland, etc. And it's also why Fibblesnork had things like ratings and minifig selection, but the LUGNET database never did. (Well, they had user-generated ratings later on)
    I think there is wider debate to be had about why Release Year really means.  Is it really the actual calendar year the set was release?  Is it the copyright year, if there is a copyright?  Is the intended release date?  And was is intended date mean?
    I was told by LUGNET set admins that the golden source was the year printed on the box, and that was basically treated as the golden source, even if it was available in (say) December the year before, or if it disagreed with other stuff. Maybe that's where my bias comes from! But I agree, the exact meaning is a little nuanced-- especially as time has gone on, and sets have specific release dates rather than release years, and can differ between regions.

    DaveE
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    Istokg said:
    Now as to the 554 Exxon Tanker Truck... I would like to have several other owners of this boxed set come forward and confirm that their boxes also say "1978" copyright date on the box.
    I heard back from the BrickLink seller, and his box also had a year of 1978!  So, that's 1 more!

    DaveE
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,352
    @davee123 I agree... the box should be the last word, not the catalog... although for older sets (50s and 60s), that isn't an option, the copyright or introduction year is not on the box.  But I've found retailer pricelists which are more accurate than old catalogs, for those years.

    As to those 1101-1142 Service Packs of Europe/Australia... not sure how those should be treated?  🤔
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 563
    I vehemently disagree that the box date should always trump the catalog date.  In the case of 6075 there is zero proof this set was sold before 1981.  There are no ads I've seen for this set for Christmas of 1980.  No catalogs (Sears, JCP, FAO) that I've been able to find.  The 1981 catalog is very clear about this and several other sets being new for 1981.  If they were sold in 1980 after catalog was printed and an updated catalog was never made why you mark them as new for 1981? 

    In this case this set is unique to the US, it was not sold in other markets.  If it were sold in other countries one could argue that box copyright is from those other countries.  Not the case with 6075. 

    Could it have been sold in the final couple of weeks of 1980?  Sure, but that those general viewed as being following year's sets anyway.  But again I can find no ads this in 1980 and earliest ads I do find are from the fall 1981.

    There are also some very serious Castle collectors out there who I would have thought ran this one to ground years ago.  Somebody like JoJo, who is a Yellow Castle expert, would have said something if there was an merit to that idea.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,732
    edited February 15
    I vehemently disagree that the box date should always trump the catalog date.
    Seconded. Boxes (together with instruction manuals and any advertising materials included in set boxes) will need to have been printed well in advance of the release date, and seem to be dated according to when they're printed, not when they (eventually) reach the shelves.

    When I was blogging I regularly ran into issues trying to reconcile release and availability dates of older sets versus the dates on associated printed materials; if anything it was the norm, rather than the exception, for printed materials to carry a copyright date a year prior to the release date.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    edited February 15
    I vehemently disagree that the box date should always trump the catalog date.
    I guess the reasoning would be that customer catalogs were typically incomplete, especially for smaller sets.  Some sets just didn't seem to appear in catalogs at all.  But for larger sets like 6075, they'd probably be included in a catalog if available.
    There are no ads I've seen for this set for Christmas of 1980.  No catalogs (Sears, JCP, FAO) that I've been able to find.  The 1981 catalog is very clear about this and several other sets being new for 1981.
    I admittedly haven't seen other print media from the era, so I guess I wouldn't know how common it was to see them in things like TRU circulars or catalogs or what-have-you.  Is the coverage of sets pretty thorough for other sets?
    If they were sold in 1980 after catalog was printed and an updated catalog was never made why you mark them as new for 1981?
    I would assume that if it weren't in the 1980 catalog that they weren't sure it would be ready for 1980 when they laid out the catalog.  And if it were sold in 1980, then it was probably towards the end of the year-- maybe targeted to be in stores for Christmas, despite not being available until (say) October or November or something.  In which case, you'd probably slap a "New!" label on it in 1981, since kids whose only source for new LEGO sets was the catalogs (I was certainly one) would know to ask for this brand new set.  Marketing peeps in general seem to like adding stuff like "New!" when they can.
    In this case this set is unique to the US, it was not sold in other markets.
    I was always curious about the details there-- I assumed that sets with alternate set numbers were at least partially molded in the Enfield, CT factory, but it seems that (according to the 6075 box I have) that the elements were actually not made in the US, but in Denmark (they also list Switzerland).  It would have helped to explain why US releases seemed to lag behind European ones.  But instead, it must have been more for shipping content and getting the US packaging prepped and wrapped up.
    IIRC, Samsonite was still doing distribution in Canada at the time-- and since the US box doesn't seem to have Spanish on it (like later sets from the 90s do), I'm assuming it didn't make it to other countries in the Americas.  Where would (say) Mexico or Brazil have gotten LEGO from in that interim time period?  Was the Canadian packaging showing the European number or the US number?  Was Samsonite making its own packaging?
    Anyway, as noted earlier, the best source for availability would probably be merchandiser catalogs.  Even though they might have had amendments made to them, they'd be able to tell you if merchandisers could even get the sets-- which would be the only way they'd get to consumers back then (except for a smattering of sets available through the fledgling [email protected] service).
    Boxes (together with instruction manuals and any advertising materials included in set boxes) will need to have been printed well in advance of the release date, and seem to be dated according to when they're printed, not when they (eventually) reach the shelves.
    Do we have any idea how long in advance boxes/catalogs/instructions were printed?  In this case, certainly they knew about #375-2 in Europe by the time that they were making the 1980 US catalog, and probably knew that a US-version was on the way.  If I had to speculate, I would guess that when they were printing the catalogs, they didn't expect it would be ready for 1980, but when they were printing the boxes, they may have expected it to be possible for 1980.  But the proof-of-the-pudding would probably be when merchandisers could actually start ordering them!
    DaveE
    560Heliport
  • pxchrispxchris Oregon, USAMember Posts: 2,105
    I have nothing to add, but this discussion is a fascinating read!
    Switchfoot55WesterBricks560HeliportPDelahantyjason1976andhe
  • Blockwork_OrangeBlockwork_Orange ON, CanadaMember Posts: 168
    So here is another consideration as to why there may be different dates.  Set #554 looks like it is an Exxon version of the Shell set #671 which has a 1978 date assigned to it.  So would the earlier copyright date apply since the model and the assembly instructions are the same, just done with different colour pieces and decals?
    560Heliport
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    edited February 15
    Set #554 looks like it is an Exxon version of the Shell set #671 which has a 1978 date assigned to it.  So would the earlier copyright date apply since the model and the assembly instructions are the same, just done with different colour pieces and decals?
    I ... wouldn't expect so, especially since things like the aforementioned 375/6075 don't share the same copyright on the box.  For things like 375/6075 it might be easier to mess that up since a lot of the box art was the same.  But for 671/554, all the box artwork had to be changed with new photos and such.  Plus, with the Exxon labeling and different colors, it does feel like a very different set.
    Interesting to see the instructions steps, though.  It does look like they took the same images and just re-colored elements by hand, and added in some "dividers" between some of the slopes that don't break in the same places (and of course adjusted the stickers).
    I think for 554, it seems like a good bet that 1978 is correct, since PDelahanty's experience seems to corroborate the 1978 box year, and 1979 doesn't seem all that solid in the catalog given that they didn't denote any "new" sets that year.  But the general question of other sets' discrepancies is still a good question to be asked!
    DaveE
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 563
    Three vintage newspaper ads for 6075 (and others).  I'd added a red box to highlight 6075 as it can be hard to spot sometime (particularly the first one).

    JC Penney ad October 1981

    Target ad November 1981

    JC Penney ad November 1982

    Interestingly some newspaper would publish kid's letter's to Santa with wish lists of toys they wanted.  You know what's not in the Christmas 1980 letters?  Kids asking for a Lego Castle.  You know what is?  Kids asking for Lego police stations, Lego fire stations and Lego space ships.  Kids do ask for a Lego Castle in the 1981 letters.  If such a set were available for Christmas of 1980 why was it not being asked for (I realize these letters are a small sample size) or advertised?  For me the simple answer is they weren't available.

    Some thing major to know about the toy industry is they make most of their money in December.  The other months are breakeven or in the red.  To not have major new toy for Christmas is about as dumb as a business decision as you can make.  The lack of advertising tells me it was not sold in 1980.
    pxchrisjason1976
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,365
    The castle could well have been on sale in the USA late 1980. The reason it wasn't advertised is because a lot of those ads are printed well in advance. And kids weren't asking for the castle because they didn't know about it- if it was sold late in 1980, then it wouldn't have been in the LEGO 1980 catalogs.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,651
    I know a lot of folks that would love to see the 375 yellow castle for 39.99 USD. I think I now know why my brother and I did not get one, we both got AT-ATs that year from our extended family (and were made to return one due to their size), that was the Christmas of a LOT of Star Wars toys, though I remember having the #6880 Surface Explorer as well.. and Stompers, and slot cars....ahh, the memories.. 
    560Heliportjason1976
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    edited February 18
    Three vintage newspaper ads for 6075 (and others).  I'd added a red box to highlight 6075 as it can be hard to spot sometime (particularly the first one).
    Wow, that's a neat find!  Where did you get the scans?
    I'm kind of surprised to see the #6880 in there, actually-- just goes to show how much the retail sale model has changed, since that should have been new for 1982, and was going on sale for 20% off during the Christmas season.
    If such a set were available for Christmas of 1980 why was it not being asked for (I realize these letters are a small sample size) or advertised?  For me the simple answer is they weren't available.
    I guess I wouldn't really push one way or another on 6075 being available in 1980, apart from the fact that the box year does make it a possibility.  Since it's a big set, you'd be more likely to see it promoted heavily, unlike (say) #6077 or something, which might not be as much of a draw.
    But as for Christmas letters, I would largely suspect that it it were available, the reason kids wouldn't ask for it is because they wouldn't be as likely to know about it.  When my parents asked me for a Christmas list back in the 80s, I pulled out my trusty catalogs-- LEGO, Transformers, Star Wars, etc. So if it's not in the 1980 catalog, they won't know to ask, regardless of it possibly being on shelves.
    I think the case for #554 is better for 1978, especially given the personal testimony.  And the thing for me would be if it turns out that we can corroborate availability for more sets that have box printing of a year prior, then it strengthens the case for things like 6075 being 1980 as well.  But as was mentioned, things get unclear for availability since records back then often have discrepancies.
    DaveE
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,328
    edited February 18
    For those who were confused like me, the 6075 under discussion is #6075-2 in the Brickset database. For some reason the 6075 from eleven years later, 1992 is #6075-1

    Cool to see the listing for Expert Builder #8859 in that first ad :)
    560Heliport
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,044
    For those who were confused like me, the 6075 under discussion is #6075-2 in the Brickset database. For some reason the 6075 from eleven years later, 1992 is #6075-1

    Cool to see the listing for Expert Builder #8859 in that first ad :)
    You can blame BrickLink and whatever list seeded its database for that. We've just followed suit for compatibility.
    Astrobricks
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,479
    Strawberry Shortcake Ragdolls... That takes me back. I remember accidentally setting fire to one of those as a kid when playing about with Estes rocket motors.
    Astrobricks560Heliport
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    Huw said:
    You can blame BrickLink and whatever list seeded its database for that. We've just followed suit for compatibility.
    Did BrickSet's original ID numbers correspond with 6075 (Castle) having the earlier version ID, before compatibility was aligned with BrickLink?
    I know BrickLink originally seeded its data from LUGNET, but I admittedly don't know if those discrepancies came from the Pause Guide or earlier.
    FWIW for those not in the hobby then, my understanding is that a lot of that data was being aggregated by hobbyists in the 1990s, probably between 1993-1996.  Essentially people started compiling lists of "all known LEGO sets", usually starting with whatever catalogs they had lying around at home, as well as what had been posted by other fans.  At that time, "6075" (Wolfpack Tower) was currently available, so was in all the "current" catalogs from the time, where most people likely started building their data.  But the earlier version of 6075 (Castle, US version) was likely noticed by hobbyists afterwards, and hence got the "version 2" ID, rather than "version 1" ID as it arguably should have.
    Note by contrast that 6083's version #1 was assigned to the earlier set (1981) rather than the 2nd 6083, since most hobbyist databases were already established by the time that 6083 (Samurai Stronghold) came out in 1998.
    And also by contrast, 6077's version #1 is also the earlier version (1981) rather than the later version (1989), most likely because 6077 was no longer in the current set of catalogs in the 1993-1996 timeframe when a lot of that was first getting hashed out by hobbyists.
    DaveE
    560Heliportpxchris
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,365
    CCC said:
    Strawberry Shortcake Ragdolls... That takes me back. I remember accidentally setting fire to one of those as a kid when playing about with Estes rocket motors.
    Was it really accidental?  ;)
    AstrobricksFizyxandhe
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,044
    davee123 said:
    Huw said:
    You can blame BrickLink and whatever list seeded its database for that. We've just followed suit for compatibility.
    Did BrickSet's original ID numbers correspond with 6075 (Castle) having the earlier version ID, before compatibility was aligned with BrickLink?

    Quite possibly. We took an independent route to collating our database. Initially it contained only promotional sets and stuff that the others didn't (the sets that most interested me at the time) but in the late 1990s I teamed up with New Zealander Grahame Reid, who had  been collating a list for some years and very active on rec.toys.lego, and imported his data. He still works behind the scenes on the database today.

    Talking of rec.toys.lego, I thought I'd take another look at some of my first posts, including a roll call in January 1995: https://groups.google.com/g/rec.toys.lego/c/RTsgGPQyIX8/m/hPvw2LAW_2YJ and the first ever review I posted, https://groups.google.com/g/rec.toys.lego/c/c3UgAd8QfXI/m/d7EA6wDGr8cJ, of a Technic helicopter :-)
    jason1976560HeliportFizyxpxchris
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,479
    ^ That is a collectors item, the first review. And your reviews have definitely improved!

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,479
    That roll call is interesting in terms of number of sets owned. Some look very low. It would be interesting to overlay the distribution from back then to Brickset users now.
    Fizyx560Heliport
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,288
    CCC said:
    That roll call is interesting in terms of number of sets owned. Some look very low. It would be interesting to overlay the distribution from back then to Brickset users now.

    I was actually shocked at first glance by how high some of them were, since I saw at least one 300+ and at least one 500+ in just a quick read through of the top 20-30 entries or so.  A quick query of the database seems to show around ~3300 total sets released at or before 1995.  (I didn't filter out EVERY non-set, but did at least eliminate gear and books).  300 sets then would put someone at almost exactly 9% ownership of the total available collection, and 500 would put them at just over 15%. 

    I was really impressed at those numbers, but then I decided to see how they held up.  Another quick query with the same filtering, but for sets released at or before 2022, showed over 15,300 sets.  And then I put in my set count for unique sets, 2324, and got just over 15% as well.  Which was both an indictment of my collecting habits, but also kind of shocking to me :P  I'm currently at 350th on the set list, (like 4 place behind @560Heliport actually!  I'm coming for you, I've got like 15 sets in boxes I haven't been able to unpack and catalog yet! Better not rest easy!) but I guess what I'm saying is yeah, you're totally right that it would be pretty interesting to see the overlay in sets owned now vs then, especially if we could find a good way to normalize it somehow for better comparison. (Maybe total % of set ownership or something similar IS a good normalization, I dunno to be honest.)

    Also, for what it's worth, I do still feel like owning 15% of total sets in 1995 is more impressive than today, for 3 reasons:  LEGO was relatively way more expensive, there hadn't been nearly as much time for collections to grow, and, probably most importantly, the internet was still pretty much a non-factor when it came to commercial transactions, which I would think would make it much harder to track down things one didn't own.
    560Heliportpxchrisjason1976
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,365
    @Fizyx Challenge accepted! :)
    FizyxAstrobricksjason1976
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 3,365
    In 1995, I had 359 sets, except a few of them might have been bought in 1996. 
    My total set count now is a little low because I only log one of each CMF because I used to give some of my duplicates to several kids who are mostly adults now. So rather than having to adjust my CMFs owned numbers, I just count one for each.
    pxchris
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,352
    One of the most confusing LEGO sets was the 858/8858 Auto Engines Expert Builder sets of 1980.

    1980 was the year when most LEGO Systems sets (except parts pack boxes and basic sets) went from 3 digits to 4 digits.

    The 858/8858 Technical/Expert Builder (TECHNIC) set is somewhat of a contradiction in this.  The 858 version was first sold in Canada and Australia in 1980.



    Also in 1980, the USA version was sold as 8858....



    However both the 858 and the 8858 sets have instructions with the 8858 number on it.  There are no known 858 instructions.

    And to make matters even more confusing... although the Canadian box says 858 on the box top... in the 1980 Canadian catalog it shows the Auto Engines set as numbered 8858...




    "LEGO Mayhem"... at its' finest... 😮
    Astrobricks560Heliportjason1976WesterBricks1265pxchrismadforLEGOstluxMr_Cross
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,244
    In 1995 I was 16. I'm rather shocked to learn that Huw is 16 years older than me!
    Switchfoot55
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,328
    edited February 22
    In 1995 I was 16. I'm rather shocked to learn that Huw is 16 years older than me!
    I'm even more shocked to be older than Huw !!
    560Heliport
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 563
    @davee123 What you are describing is clearly the modern standard, ie 1998 and later.  If the box dates were the true standard we wouldn't be talking about this right now.  The mid 90s seem to be ok and people's memories aren't too faded.  Early 90s starts to see some regional difference that are causing problems.  By the time you get to the 80 or early it's clear people are generally relying on catalogs. 

    I don't have that many US boxes from 1974-1983, but the ones that I do have clear tendency to have the box date be the year before the year listed in most databases.  This is a small sample.

    #948 Go-Cart (1978)  By the way Brickset uses the wrong photo for this set and has a non-English spelling of cart.  US sets use English spellings.


    #565 Moon Landing (1976)


    #580 Brick Yard (1975)


    #585 Police Headquarters (1976)


    Based the presents of the © and month on three of these boxes I'm incline to believe this is when the set was copyrighted in the US, not released.






    Istokg
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 5,328
    ^ Interesting that they included the month on those.
    PDelahanty
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 838
    @davee123 What you are describing is clearly the modern standard, ie 1998 and later.
    Regarding what I had been told by LUGNET guide admins, that's certainly the timeframe they were looking at for most things-- basically 1990s and onward.
    Based the presents of the © and month on three of these boxes I'm incline to believe this is when the set was copyrighted in the US, not released.
    That's actually pretty interesting with the months on the boxes!  Is it coincidental that the ones you've got are during the fall (October and November)?  That is, do the ones with mismatched catalog/box dates tend to fall in the later half of the year?  I feel like I need to start tracking box vs. catalog vs. release dates as totally separate things!

    DaveE
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 563
    I don't find PDelahanty's recollections to be remotely compelling (please don't take this personally).  Memory is very fickle thing.  People misremember things all of the time, from simple things to like what you had for dinner last night to world events.  The Mandela effect is a real phenomenon.  PDelahanty has already stated in his first post that maybe he is remembering this wrong.  That alone should cast doubt.  Show me a dated receipt, photos, or something, anything physical and I'll have reason to believe.  Until then, cool story bro.

    My own personally experience with a false memory of a childhood toy involves a Star Wars figure.  I have a very clear and vivid memory of my mom taking away the Cloud Car Pilot figure as a punishment and it never being returned.  Taking away a toy for an hour or two was a common punishment she would use with my sister and me.  Sometimes it was last for up to a day.  But the item was always returned.  She would keep these items in the dresser drawer where she keeps her jewelry.  No toys have ever been found there since we grew too old for this to be an effective punishment.  She does regularly clean and organize this drawer.  Beyond this memory there is no proof I ever had this figure as I kid.  No photos, none of the accessories, or no space reserved in either of my collector's cases.  In fact I don't have any other memories of even playing with this figure, not even at friends' houses.  I have long concluded that this is a false memory. 

    560Heliport
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,479
    "Expert Builder" and "9 years and up".

    It is amazing how times change. 

    560Heliport
  • PDelahantyPDelahanty Petaluma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 293
    edited February 24
    I don't find PDelahanty's recollections to be remotely compelling (please don't take this personally).  Memory is very fickle thing.  People misremember things all of the time, from simple things to like what you had for dinner last night to world events.  The Mandela effect is a real phenomenon.  PDelahanty has already stated in his first post that maybe he is remembering this wrong.  That alone should cast doubt.  Show me a dated receipt, photos, or something, anything physical and I'll have reason to believe.  Until then, cool story bro.
    Yeah, as I said, after realizing the trip was a year before the listing for #554 said the set was introduced, I began to question my memory.  The photo album of that trip clearly marks it as July 1978...and I know that year isn't wrong because the photo album is in chronological order.  (I was also able to confirm with this link from a guest lecturer that there was indeed a National District Attorney's Association conference in Hershey, PA in 1978.)

    Although I recall putting it together with the little gray shutters and stickers, it's entirely possible this memory is from later.  I am 100% certain that I was given a Lego set on this trip, but it may have been #492 (from 1977).  I have no memory of assembling that or when/where I was when I got it.  Unfortunately, the very few photos from the trip that were taken in the hotel room don't reveal any Lego sets.

    So, yes, I'm perfectly willing to accept the Mandela Effect and I when I started this thread I actually expected to have my memory rejected in the first reply and the thread end right there.  I really never expected this to launch such a fascinating conversation about copyright dates, catalogs, and sources for old Lego set data.
    560HeliportpxchrisAstrobricksjason1976
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,732
    edited February 25
    PDelahanty said:

    .....I really never expected this to launch such a fascinating conversation about copyright dates, catalogs, and sources for old Lego set data.
    :-)

    Some of us need to get out a bit more I think, myself included!
    560Heliportpxchrisjason1976
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