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Samsonite Canada Rare Undocumented 80's Space Minifig Set

jpeg07jpeg07 Aotearoa Member Posts: 13
Currently on Ebay is a very unusual and rare blister pack.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/311843769059?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

I have been collecting Samsonite Lego for many years and have never seen one of these. It has two minifigs: a standard white spaceman and a red one with no space logo and black "fused" legs from the early "faceless" minifigs. Also included are two engine pods, what might be a white steering wheel and two walkie-talkies. It has a long cardboard backing with a picture of a spaceship, rocket and base that are not official sets. It is an official Samsonite set, however - packaged in Canada from parts made in Denmark. Like similar blister packs Samsonite put out in the 80s, it is unnumbered (I have a rare blister town-value pack which has Samsonite versions of 6609, 6624 and 6628 - it has no number but is similar to sets: 1976, 1978 and 1979). They also did a range of numbered minifig blister packs, although the numbers don't feature prominently on the packaging. Look up 0011 to 0016 in the database.

 The inclusion of the red fig with no logo and the "charlie chaplin" black legs might suggest it is not original but since Samsonite did their own packaging, it's highly likely it is original. The seller, equiti, bought it himself and is trustworthy; he has been selling for many years (I've bought quite a lot of Canadian sets from him). What is likely to have happened is that Samsonite have seen a way of getting rid of old stock. The outdated legs would have been useless to them. The red torso was likely from a batch of early ones that required stickers. I've got a few 1978/79 Canadian space sets that have the stickered torsos - especially red ones.

 So a very interesting set that already has quite a lot of buyer interest (It has already gone beyond my price range!). Sets like these can't be added to the database without an official Lego number but perhaps the small number on the back, bottom right hand corner could be used @Huw?  It is C503907. 
Galactus

Comments

  • kbenjeskbenjes Member Posts: 53
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,836
    edited April 19
    OK.... I've been doing a lot of research on LEGO of Canada before I started my LEGO Encyclopedia Volume series for China, and learned a lot about their wonderfully "quirky" way of packaging sets... sometimes without set numbers.

    That black LEGO "stiffs" torso of the 1970s was last used in 1980-83 in the 1592 Town Square sets (supposedly some of these may have been sold in Canada).

    At first I though that unnumbered blister pack may have been an incomplete 6822 set that was opened and some parts were missing, while others got added.  But it is a sealed blister pack.  Those parts are just unrelated in as-is sealed condition.

    Here's what I think.  TLG bought the LEGO license back in 1985 from Kohlberg Kravitz and Roberts... the Wall Street hostile takeover firm that broke apart the Beatrice Corporation... the huge multinational corporation that purchased Samsonite in 1973.  Samsonite was spun off again in 1985 as an independent company, but without the LEGO license.  However TLG was doing so well with LEGO sales in Enfield CN that they didn't have the capacity to add on Canadian sales in 1985... and TLG licensed Samsonite of Canada to continue production at their Stratford Ontario plant until mid 1988, when production was phased out and moved to Enfield (although Canadian LEGO catalogs weren't merged to the USA catalog until 1994).

    So in October 1988 Samsonite had a huge liquidation sale of leftover inventory of LEGO parts and sets at reduced prices, and the public eagerly bought up every thing.... here is a 25th anniversary news article of that 1988 event....



    I believe that Samsonite of Canada took all their left over Samsonite related items... such as blister packs... and just loaded them with unrelated parts that were machine packaged and sold at giveaway prices.

    I think that this sealed set was one of those items... not a real LEGO set... but a last minute "dumping" set.  Do I think it's worth the high price?  No not really.
    -------------
    When the USA lost the Samsonite license, they did something similar with their leftover parts.  They created the #695 Bulk Pack set... no two of which were the same... here's 3 of those sets....



    gmonkey76stluxDedgeckocatwranglerSeanTheCollectorThe_Mad_VulcanricecakeGalactus
  • jpeg07jpeg07 Aotearoa Member Posts: 13
    Your theory may well be correct. Finding a similar set with different parts would provide the evidence needed.
     What I notice is that the packaging is not like the 1979 - early 80s blister packs the Canadians made. The font style is different; more akin to the later 80s. Also, the age recommendation is only 3 years of age, as compared to the 1979, 0012 Space figures that has 6 years and the 1983, 6711 Space Minifig pack that has 5 years (Clearly the "safety" factor was a decreasing "concern" over the years, which seems to go counter to popular theory!).
     As to the value - well it is certainly extremely rare, is undoubtedly genuine and (this particular example) may well be unique. It is also odd while still having the "cuteness" factor. For a collector (with deep pockets) that ticks quite a few boxes.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 376
    I saw this when it was first listed and have been watching it because I'm curious about the final price.

    It's too bad there isn't a date anyway.  Saying that it could only have been made between 1978-1988 is a huge range.  The packing has an image is that is from the back of #6907.  Lower center image as seen here.  That might narrow it down a bit.

    I'm wondering if this is somehow a Canadian version of 14.   I've always thought sets 14 and 15 were made as a way dumping or reducing inventories.  Given that I personally don't think anybody really knows anything about this sets and there are no known sealed examples, seems like it could be likely.  Anyway, it's all pure speculation on my part.

  • jpeg07jpeg07 Aotearoa Member Posts: 13
    Good spotting with the image LusiferSam! It's definitely the back of #6970 (rather than 6907...). Of course Samsonite did their own packaging so would have had access to all of the images. So it may not necessarily narrow down the date, unless the "big sell off" of 1988 is not the true story, in which case it would place it in the early to mid 80s. Anyhow, all speculation, as you say. Now to wait for the final price!
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 376
    Yes, I meant 6970, not 6907.  Thought I had double check all that.  (Slaps forehead) 
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,748
    I don't know... Boost looks off.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,836
    Recently I had the rare good fortune to get scans of all the Canadian LEGO catalogs from 1970-94 from 2 Canadian collectors.  I need to go find and check those from 1985-88, but here are the ones from 1980-84... and there are no packs that could be identified as the one in question.... Canadian version of #14...

    http://www.youblisher.com/p/1028569-1980-Canada-LEGO-Catalog/
    http://www.youblisher.com/p/1028879-1981-Canada-LEGO-Catalog/
    http://www.youblisher.com/p/1028883-1982-Canada-LEGO-Catalog/
    http://www.youblisher.com/p/1028887-1983-Canada-LEGO-Catalog/
    http://www.youblisher.com/p/1030479-1984-Canada-LEGO-Catalog/
    MAGNINOMINISUMBRA
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 3,908
    Now past $1600. This is proving to be very entertaining to follow. 
    Mynatt
  • jpeg07jpeg07 Aotearoa Member Posts: 13
    $1,783.85 is a lot of money for some 1980s cardboard and plastic! Little would the original packager imagine that the (possibly slightly random?) parts he or she was putting together to sell for a couple of bucks would increase by such a staggering amount...
    Unfortunately, while I was eating my lunch here in New Zealand, I missed the Canadian boxed 6931 from the same seller that I was bidding on... Might take another couple of years before another one of those comes by again - or longer! Patience is a must in the collecting game.
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 3,908
    I shouldn't really be spending that kind of money anyway, but I did give it a go and fell just short.

    Very neat piece of LEGO/Samsonite history that some lucky bloke will get to add to their collection. Hopefully, for them (but not likely) Gary is wrong and it is an actual LEGO set.
  • jpeg07jpeg07 Aotearoa Member Posts: 13
    Good on you for having a go. Better luck next time...

    The set doesn't appear in the catalogues but it is a legitimate Samsonite set and since they had the Lego licence at the time, anything they labelled as Lego can reasonably be considered a set. Even if it was a way of moving old stock, they went to the trouble of printing the card and creating the "blister". They could have sold them as single, unpackaged pieces, or in unmarked or stickered plastic bags. Instead they chose to create legitimate looking packaging. It is certainly a part of Lego history which is very interesting. 

     Another obscure Lego distributor was in Brazil in the 1980s - They packaged and distributed to South American countries in the 80s. I have a 6657 Fire Patrol Helicopter MISB that was made in Brasil. I must do a post and add a pic about it.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 376
    I was going to guess a final price of $1,500.  I guess was off by a few hundred. 

    Between the final price on this set and what a sealed Town #6002 sold for my dreams of owning an of the rare Castle minifigure packs are well and truly shattered.  For this to be in the range that they were tells me the rare Castle packs are likely to be over $2,000.  And that's well out of my price range.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,836
    edited April 20
    If both torso's had the space logo and moveable legs, I would consider it a set.  But random parts.... no.

    Samsonite of Canada LEGO is quite the collectible.  If you thing about it, it's the smallest LEGO market where items were made there... the others being USA (1961-72 Samsonite, 1973-present TLG), Britain/Ireland/Australia (British LEGO Ltd. 1960-78), and TLG continental Europe & Asia + Britain/Australia after 1978.  Of course this was before the move to Mexico for North America, and the partial move to Czech Republic & Hungary and China.

    Here's a Canadian 1975 sold #182 Train set that was made in Denmark. but shipped to Canada (rather than made in Canada)... the Canadians just added a pair of stickers to the front of the box....



    And here's a real rarity.... a Denmark 1976 produced #183 set that was sold in Argentina at that time...  (very limited quantities)....




    The_Mad_VulcancatwranglerGalactus
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