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Click herespacerUltra-rare vintage playmobil blister pack and sports figures
by Mr. Stinkhead

I'm an opener. I rarely, if ever, leave toys mint on card or in box. You have to enjoy them from every angle. I have a small handful of toys that I kept in Mint in Box, but frankly, I love opening them and trying out all the poses and really getting to know the subject at hand. They need to be touched, examined, flipped over. Open the packaging and let them out! Ok, you know where I'm going with this joke, so I'm going to stop now. I'll save this "second base" joke for the Baseball player later on. Whew that was close. I almost made the joke I said I wouldn't. Now nobody gets offended.

Anyway, some time ago I shared with you my visit to the little store in Fredricksburg VA that had a virtual gold mine of vintage, mint in box, rare, hard to find playmobil. By the thousands. Here are the pics in case you missed em the first time. I bought a couple of old sets on my first visit, but after having some time to dream, and think it over, I finally was able to get my hands on one of the vintage blister packs from the very beginning.

Click hereAs you know, playmobil comes in boxes. But more than 30 years ago, when these toys first arrived on the scene, they also came in blister packs. This particular blister pack I got is a store's exclusive (some German toy store, we're trying to dig up that info now) and was released in 1975, long before they were introduced in America in the early 80s. This pack includes three Native Americans, some accessories, a horse and a canoe. But the thing I noticed first, is that the bubbles are still crystal clear, and the cardboard is near mint. There is some slight bending on the one corner, but otherwise, this puppy is pristine. Whoever the German is that bought this 31 years ago, they not only neglected to give it to a child to open, they put it some type of air-tight storage. This isn't like the heyday of Beanie Babies, where everyone was protecting a long-term investment in hermetically sealed boxes, it's pretty amazing to find something like this in this good a condition. Hey, just think, some guy made a fortune producing those little plastic sleeves that when around the heart shaped TY tag?

Click hereOn top of all of that, playmobil was just getting started, they were hardly an established brand, so it's even more rare that someone would think of this set as an investment. Speaking of playmobil's beginnings, you'll notice that the eyes and mouth are printed on... they eventually realized that these marks rub off quickly in the hands of young children, so they switched to actually injecting brown plastic when the heads are formed. Also notice that the hands are part of the arm. They didn't get twisting, flesh-colored hands until 1982.

Click hereTo prevent the plastic bubbles from yellowing while in my care, I've purchased a shadow box to display it in. It will also prolong the condition of this set if I keep it out of direct sunlight. I've been working on a method of securing the blister pack within the shadowbox, I do not want the weight of the whole set hanging on the peg hole, nor do I want to put any level of adhesive on the back (even though the back is simply unprinted cardboard). Some readers have pointed out that I could make a black shelf for it to rest on.

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So, how much is it worth? That'll depend on the collector trying to buy it. Not only is it a significant age to the history of playmobil, this combination of figures and accessories is rare. I'll just say that if it went on eBay, it could probably get $300. Depending on the veracity of the other bidders. If you're interested in the history of playmobil, I recommend some further reading. The first is Playmobil: The Story of a Smile by Felcitas Bachmann. It just recently was republished in English. (I'm featured on page 167!) I also recommend Axel Hennel's Playmobil Collector. The 2nd Edition just came out and will be available on playmobil's web site soon. It's full of over 3000 color pictures of playmobil boxes over the years.

Click hereSoccer Players
As you probably heard, the 2006 World Cup was hosted in Germany. The birthplace of playmobil. So it was only fitting that they decided to produce an exciting soccer line. Hey Mr. Stinkhead, how could playmobil guys play soccer? It's true, the traditional playmobil body wouldn't be able to have much fun playing soccer, as both legs bend at the waist in unison. However these specially designed soccer players have one stable leg, and a free swinging, kicking leg. They have a small base they can clip into, and a lever on their posterior. Line up the ball and tap that ace—I mean the lever—and they'll give a good kick. I'm not a sports fan really, however they gave me a fun mission for my trip to France and Spain. Playmobil made representations of the major World Cup countries, with different color schemes (and skin/hair color) so you can build your own play-offs. However, it was announced in this year's playmobil catalog, that the French team would not be available in the United States. Hey! But tracking down the French soccer player while in France, made for a good souvenir hunt. It was fun buying something that was not available in America, it's easy to pack, and it was a decent souvenir. Problem was, while I was in France, France won their match against Spain, so all of the French players were sold out by the time I made it to a Le Grande Recre. Ratzenberger. Luckily for me, we stayed in Barcelona for a week, and they had plenty of French figures. While I was abroad, I picked up a couple of French, a German, and the Goalie. Otherwise in France, the most sought after souvenir was

Click hereThe thing I really like about playmobil, are all the extra little steps they take. For instance, with each soccer player, you get a cardboard "goal" you can put together, so you have something to aim at. Secondly you get a sheet of stickers with a bunch of numbers on it. One sized for the front of the jersey, one set for the back. So if you buy multiples, they can all have different jersey numbers. There are also little stickers for writing the player's name and putting it across the shoulders. To top off all that, the generic-gray Goalie figure comes with a whole set of colored collars, so he can match the team you put him with.

If you really like soccer, you can get all kinds of sets for them to play with. There's a full blown arena (it's huge!) to soccer nets to female players rowwwwwrrrrrrr. Check out everything here.

Click hereOk, so I'll stop talking about action figures that you can't buy all that easily to something a bit more common. Right now at Target you can pick up this playmobil baseball player. From what I can gather online, he's not currently available in Germany... so wow! We have something that the motherland collectors don't. It's probably because the Germans could give a rats behind about American sports. But if you like baseball, you'll dig this little guy. His baseballs are even magnetic, and stick to the little baseball glove he comes with. Sweet! I kind of wish they gave him the sticker-jersey treatment as the soccer players, but what can you do. He's at Target right now. Man, I forgot to make that boob joke I was going to earlier. Sorry.

It's playmobil week on, so check back later this week for more reviews. See our archive of playmobil articles, including the free backdrops you can print out to hang behind your toy shelves!

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All images and article © 2006

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