Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
This is a platform for User Generated Content. G/O Media assumes no liability for content posted by Kinja users to this platform.

Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)

Surprise Saturday is upon us again, time for something different. As vdubyajohn has discovered, I own a time machine, and I go back now and then to pick up a few castings (gotta be discreet). I’ve also picked up some Christmas catalogs - something those of a certain age will fondly remember. These are an interesting historical snapshot of what was on the market at a given time, and how it was marketed. Pricing is also interesting - seems steep, but these catalogs were generally just slightly more expensive than a normal local discount retailer.

First, JCPenney, Christmas 1982:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)

As one can see, HW and Matchbox had diverse offerings that year - cars, trucks, playsets. This was probably the zenith of Dukes of Hazzard products. There are also some other brands.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

Here’s the 1982 spread from Montgomery Ward, a once-defunct and reorganized (now catalog-only, I think) retailer I vividly remember from my childhood. A diverse selection of brands:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)

Stompers were a big new thing that year:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

These Ertl sets are interesting, I like the Smokey and the Bandit II themed one:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

And of course, venerable Sears had a wide assortment in 1982. Everything from Stompers to Roadmates (some look like MBX and Tomica copies and maybe Zee or Playart?) and everything inbetween:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)

Darda!

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

Speaking of Dukes of Hazzard, here are illustrations from various catalogs of the Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheels offered in the early 80s. I had one of these, and I loved it:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)

On to 1983. This is probably the first Christmas I clearly remember in terms of gifts received, and I remember we had a lot of snow that year.

Advertisement

JcPenney, 1983:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)

Including this as I had the Air Jammer Bug Scrammer (pump powered, runs on compressed air) and the Knight Rider set shown below:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

Montgomery Ward, 1984:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)

Including this as I had an RC Camaro like the one shown, and those 3-wheelers seem cool. Mass market catalogs like these didn’t have the cool fancy Japanese RC vehicles:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

Back some years, to the Montgomery Ward 1976 Christmas selection. I was hoping to see the rare final run redlines, but this was it - some seemingly expensive MBX and others:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

I have yet to see Tomica or Siku in any period Christmas catalogs.

And back a long time, FAO Schwarz, 1958. The cover looks like this (not my pic, from pinterest):

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

This catalog along with some older ones (with HW content) resides at my mom’s house, I took this pic some years ago. This is their 1958 Matchbox selection. The various varieties of the 8 car ‘Presentation Set’ are a Matchbox holy grail:

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

The vehicles aren’t the rarity, it is the special outer box. They look like this (from the Nick Jones Matchbox site):

Illustration for article titled Surprise Saturday: Vintage Diecast in old Christmas catalogs (pic heavy)
Advertisement

Mint in mint box, these would bring $5000 or much more today, per set of 8 vehicles. As far as I know, a complete set of 6 sets of 8 vehicles does not exist today, and some sets are unknown.

I only have the one pic from the 1958 catalog, I will take more pics of this and some of the other catalogs when I visit my mother in a couple weeks, maybe for a Christmas installment next year.

Advertisement

That is all.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter