1526: the classic space set that never was

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©1986 LEGO Group

When I visited The Vault in Billund in 2004, I found an empty box for a classic space set that was previously unknown. There was much excitement at the time although I speculated that it might just be a mock-up because, unlike every other set in there, it was just an empty box.

Now that the LEGO collector's guide has been published, we have a means of verifying whether the set exists or not and I'm sorry to say that it would appear that it doesn't as it is not in the book.

It's interesting to see that someone has attempted to inventory the set on Bricklink, and someone even has the parts for sale. I guess they listed what they saw in the box pictures.

 

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20 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Whoa! I didn't even hear about this set....

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By in United States,

WOW! Why didn't Lego release this one?

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By in United States,

I sourced parts for this model based on someone's Ldraw representation of the model. So I "have it" even though it's unofficial.

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By in United States,

Interesting.

Just for reference, I have a set out of the Classic-Space Series.

It looks cool.

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By in Belgium,

"Now that the LEGO collector's guide has been published, we have a means of verifying whether the set exists or not and I'm sorry to say that it would appear that it doesn't as it is not in the book."

Regarding the fact that this book has quite some errors and is missing some sets, especially from the 80s and before, I think I would rather rely on the presence of the 1526 box at Billund to prove its existence than on the 'information' provided by the catalog.

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By in United Kingdom,

Good point Karto. However if it was released I think it's reasonable to assume that someone out there on the Internet would own it and/or it would have been sold on Bricklink at some point.

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By in Germany,

This set is a prototype only, therefore LEGO decided not to include it in the collector's guide - therefore Huw's conclusion is correct.
As a member of the "advisory" team for this collector's guide, I can give you the following information: Since LEGO decided in the end which set has to be removed from the book, several known items are not included - for example all Dacta sets. The 75 years jubilee keychain has been removed as well as a few other items, and some information (like release years) has been modified by LEGO according to their own company database - as long as we couldn't bring an evidence that their information is wrong.

Cheers,
Jan

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By in United States,

Did those peaces even exist when LEGO classic space was out?

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for the insight, Jan. The book must have been fun project to work on.

[Didn't we used to trade/correspond way back in time?]

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By in Belgium,

I was not pretending that this was an official set ;-) What I meant was not to rely on the catalog for such cases. As an old collector, especially of town and train sets starting from 1978, I was quite disappointed about the accuracy of the catalog.

I will give one example:

Take the Houses 376 and 560. These are both identical releases, the first one was available in Europe, the second was in North America. The set numbers were different in EU and NA from 1978 to 1979 as far as I know.

- Set 376: released in 1978, the set has 221 parts, 2 minifigs and a few spare flowers. The guide says it has 248 parts, that's 27 extra? The set is also pointed to have been released in NA under this number. I guess it's possible but not on an official base as the NA catalogs never mentioned it.
- Set 560: released in 1979, it is called 'Town House' according to the very official NA catalog of 1979 and the instructions, not 'Town House with Garden' (this says enough...). The collectors guide says it has 253 parts, that's already 5 more than the 376 set in the same book and 32 (minus minifigs) more than the actual amount of parts needed to build it. Both instruction booklets are identical (besides the front page) and were printed by H.O. Persiehl in Hamburg, Germany.

So I'm a 'little' confused about it. I hoped to be able to correct my personal database with it. I compared a lot of sets and even more recent ones wich are still avalaible on [email protected], but I found too much errors to rely on it. Just look at the 2007 Eiffel Tower 10181. The offical count is written on the box... it says 3248 while the catalog says 3427 (you even see it on the provided picture!). It is still an interesting good book though, not too expensive.

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By in Belgium,

There's another picture on Brickshelf with two 1526 boxes showing both sides.

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By in United States,

Does anyone own one? I am just saying that.

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By in New Zealand,

Currently, 14 people here at Brickset say that they own this set!

Unofficial building instructions can be found at www.legoat.com
This set is on page 5 of "original models".

There is also an inventory of this set at Bricklink but apparently, it is not correct.

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By in Germany,

@Karto:
a few explanations how the data of the collector book has been collected:

Set 376 has been released in Canada as well, and Canada IS part of NA :-) (I do have a 1979 Canada catalogue in hands showing the set). Therefore you will find many non-US sets (take spaceship 918 for example) marked as "sold in NA".

Looking at the 1980 AUS and UK catalogues (99870-AUS and -UK) Set 376 is named "House with garden", so we faced the issue of either being inconsistent with 376 and 560 naming or modifying the official US set name. It can be discussed if we took the right decision here, of course. Several sets got different names in different selling regions, but even having a collection of more than 600 LEGO catalogues will not give you all information you need.

Regarding piece counts: Even LEGO is not sure how to count the number of pieces in a set. I have boxes of the Mobile Lab (Set 6901) with printed piece counts of 123 (US set) and 128 (Canadian set) - an odd gap of five pieces cannot even be explained by different minifigure counting rules. So... it's hard to tell.
Therefore, after hours of discussion, we decided NOT to try to find the "correct" number, but went with inventory counts from BL in many cases. I have to admit that I can't even tell anymore where we took these counts for 376/560 from, but no number is reliable, that's for sure. "How to count minifigs?" is one of these question where you won't find a correct answer at all. I think we counted them with their own inventory - but this information should have been mentioned in the introduction, of course. The count for Eiffel Tower 10181 is definitely a mistake, of course - even though it misses only by one piece and not by 179 as per your typo ;-)

regarding print sources of instruction leaflets: Almost every leaflet has been made in several different German/Danish printing companies, usually without any visible difference besides their small company branding. But even if there are variations in the layout, several printing companies made both/all variants, no content can be assigned to a single source, unfortunately. If you have a larger collection of copies of one older set, you will notice this (I did with 38 copies of spaceship 918 instructions purchased over the past eight years).

@Grahame:
MANY people define "I own" by building a copy of it from loose bricks, sometimes with a copy of an instruction leaflet. My personal opinion is that this may me done in very rare occasions only - for example with set 7750 where getting hand on all necessary parts for this set is almost impossible without buying a complete copy.
Normally, I consider at least the original instruction to be mandatory for a complete set (like the BrickLink definition).

sidenote: The picture of 1526 boxes linked by Huw above has been taken during my visit to the vault 02-SEP-2004:
http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=2662619
http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=269838
The boxes are made of thin cardboard not glues but stapled together - as a layout prototype. The Velcro strips on the back show that they have been attached somewhere for display/presentation purposes - maybe just before a marketing decision that removed this set from the launch list?

Cheers,
Jan

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By in Australia,

I can certainly agree with your comment about the instructions coming from different printers...I even have a copy of instructions for set 6659 in very good condition, where the "front" has a (C) for Mühlmeister & Johler, Neumünster and the rear of the same sheet of instructions is (C) H. O. Persiehl, Hamburg. (For those who haven't seen the instructions for this set, they consist of a single "strip" of paper, printed on either side, and not a booklet or multiple sheets of paper.)

Of course I have no idea why it was printed by 2 different companies, but it does make a nice "one of a kind" mis-print for the instructions collection, although I am sure there will be more like it out there.

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By in United States,

Speaking as someone who has checked the 'I own this set' checkbox, I put the pieces together using the Bricklink list and the user-made instructions. I have no doubt that's what the other 13 did as well.

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By in Belgium,

@Jan:

I didn't know the '78 and '79 sets with EU numbers were sold in Canada. A comment about that in the book would have been useful ;-)
Maybe it would be interesting in a next edition to make the distinction between more markets such as the USA, Canada, the UK, Italy, Continental Europe for older sets because some countries had specific product lines (non-promotionals, but exclusives). The UK had: 1592, 6387, etc. Italy had Minitalia (note: Minitalia N°3 is set to 'NA only' in the guide), The US had the Exxon line, 6377, 6380, 6383, 6391, etc. It is very confusing to see, for example, the set 6391 as being sold in Europe. I have never seen in shops by then (in Belgium) and I have never seen it for sale on European (non-UK) auction sites (besides the American 'Town System' edition which I saw once in Germany, but it was imported like mine).

I guess the real issue with the piece count lies at TLG (for older sets). I was always wondering why we didn't had a (official) collector's guide earlier. They didn't kept an accurate database of their own products? That's quite strange (I've read about a fire at Lego in the 80s but is this the reason?). That reminds me the pictures of the vault at Billund I've seen. Some older sets show heavy shelfwear, some are even opened. It was just like they started to collect their own sets only 40 years after the company was founded :-p

I hope the piece count issues for the newer sets will be corrected. I just have checked the town sets from 2007 and compared them with [email protected] and BL. About half of them have the same amount of pieces, the others have more (or even less). So this cannot only be caused by the way of counting minifigs (check the difference between the Café Corner and the Market Street) ;-)

I understand that if you have to provide the information required for the guide by comparing catalogs and instruction booklets, counting bricks manually (BL) and writing down your own experience, it is a hard job. I tought it was just some kind of transcription of TLG's own database. Apparently, they haven't something like that (shame on them).

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By in Germany,

Hi Karto,

while MANY details would have been worth being added to the catalogue, this is still a limited source with limited space. The information that EU set numbers have been released in CA also might be common knowledge to some and without any value to others - and you can also figure it out by knowing that the US had different numbers than these "sold in NA" sets have.

A finer distinction between sales regions is a good idea too, but again, it's a question of space - AND a question of resources. While you might find out about 1000 sets where exactly they have been sold, what about the remaining 6000?
Information from LEGO has been put into the catalogue as far as possible, and in several case TLC itself imposed restrictions (did you find any Dacta set?). There's no use in adding information that you can't provide for all shown sets, therefore we had to carefully select what to add.

As per your example: 6391 has very well been sold in Europe - not all information you find sursprising is necessarily a mistake, and there a several facts to learn for everyone in this book :-)
[set 6391 has been distributed as a VEDES exclusive in Germany - and I've seen it being sold at eBay.de three times with box - one of them sealed]

Your assumption about the LEGO database is correct - there are some mistakes, and several entries nobody knows anything about (A set name with number and a year - most probably never been released). LEGO started to purchase their own products worldwide, and many items are missing and/or in bad condition - after more than one fire in their company history, the gaps to be closed have been huge.

I agree with you that the piece count issue needs to be fixed, and I hope there will be more time for doing so before the next release in two years. Without any reliable "official" information, it's been really tough work, I can confirm this.

Jan

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By in United States,

i submitted corrections to the bricklink inventory months ago and they were updated so the bricklink inventory is now correct.

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