Unofficial LEGO Collectors Guide available!

by admin on August 20, 2012

in LEGO History

If you have been around the LEGO community for a while you have probably heard of Gary Istok. Gary is the undisputed authority on LEGO’s history – especially the early history of the company. Gary frequents many of the LEGO forums and blogs, sharing his incredible knowledge, and answering questions no-one else can. (Gary is a contributor here as well. Read his contributor’s page here: Gary Istok). If you ever have any questions about the history of the LEGO Company, he is the person to turn to.

Gary produced a DVD that includes extremely detailed info on all aspects of LEGO’s past, and he just released a new and updated version with even more info. If you are interested in the story and timeline of the LEGO Company, if you are a collector, or if you just want to know where some old LEGO you found came from, this is a must. Below are the stats:


(1949-1990) by Gerhard R. Istok

➡ 2,800 pages of information on LEGO sets from 1949-1990s. Information on LEGO parts from 1949-1980 (newer parts are well represented at BrickLink and Peeron.

➡ The guide has 1/3 million words, over 6,000 historic images, 73 chapters, 4 appendices, and thousands of things most people never knew about LEGO.  There are 5 links to online websites (LEGO Commercials, LEGO company history, LEGO brick types, etc.).

➡ The download version can be obtained within 24 hours without shipping and customs.  The Billund Archives, Collections and Vault helped with this project, and in return, I gave them many items that they had no knowledge of – since LEGO Norway, Sweden, USA and Canada often did their own thing without letting TLG Denmark know. 😎

➡ The download makes a nice desktop document, which will have future (free) updates, as new (old) LEGO items are discovered.

➡ Price is $29.95 (only for download)… plus shipping ($2.00 USA, $3.00 Canada, and $3.50 rest of world).

If you would like to buy the Collectors Guide – either the DVD (with shipping) or just the download (no shipping charges & no custom fees) – go to Gary’s website:

The images used here are from the LEGO Collector’s Guide, many of which were even unknown to The LEGO Group. You can also check out a sample chapter of the DVD here: LEGO Collectors Guide Sample Chapter

For Gary putting together this new version of the DVD was a labor of love… and also a labor of pain.  He lost his mother at 88 (whom he’s been the primary caregiver for 11 years through 5 cancers), he’s lost his employment and income, he’s lost his house, and for the first time in his life he’s gone through long periods of depression… but it was the work on this LEGO project that really kept him going… pushing on through the obstacles to serve the LEGO community with an important legacy.

Gary Istok and his mom before she became ill.

I would highly recommend getting the download version of the DVD as you would get it much faster and will also get updates. And if you have any questions for Gary about the LEGO Collectors Guide or LEGO’s history, feel free to ask in the comment section below. 😉

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jasper August 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Cool! I might buy it!

legolotr August 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

In the minifigs picture, there is a soldier with a parrot. I have him. Any idea what set that’s from?

legolotr August 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Nevermind, I looked through a list of pirates sets and found it.

DX ZX KENDO NRG PWR JAY-MOUTH OF LIGHTNING (Seriously i have a mouth of lightning) :) August 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM

amazing! 🙂

gid617 August 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

I have some of those old window things – but in red. 😀

Gary Istok August 20, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Those old windows are not the 1956-86 classic windows that are still readily available on the secondary market today… but what are known as “tall classic” windows… without studs on top. They had “wings” on the side the fit into the slotted bricks of 1949-56 (although those window types were only produced from 1954-56). These tall classic windows/door are 1 stud taller than the later classic windows/doors, and are known in 4 “more common” colors (although all colors are rare and valuable)… red, white, blue, dark blue.

They were produced only for Denmark, Norway and Sweden (the only countries that sold slotted bricks). Also for Sweden these were also made in yellow, and for Norway they were made in green. The rare yellow Swedish ones are probably worth about 60 Euros each, and the rarer green Norwegian ones are worth about 100 Euros each.

What is unique about these is that the doors (1x2x4) have a textured finish to the glass (sort of non see-thru), and the 1x6x4 large Panorama windows have the word “LEGO” molded into the glass.

In Denmark and Norway, these windows were sold from LEGO retailers as either individual parts, or in a (one of each) #700C parts pack. In Sweden they were only sold in a (one of each) spare parts pack numbered #1214.

Quad August 20, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Me too.

admin August 20, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Thanks, Gary for the valuable details! Those windows came in dark blue??? I didn’t know dark blue was such an old color! I always thought that it was introduced more recently. Always great to learn some LEGO history from you! 😉

Gary Istok August 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

The early blue windows actually came in 5 shades of blue!! My friend Richard Bintanja of the Netherlands put together a wonderful color image showing the different shades 0f 1954-56 blue windows. I’ll send Admin an image to post, he’ll be flattered to see his image! 🙂

Gary Istok

The Yellow Ninja August 20, 2012 at 7:54 PM

AWESOME my grandparents have the forunner of the minifigure. you know, the ones with know faces or arms and posable legs.

Chris of Yoda Archives August 20, 2012 at 9:45 PM

Toy history is real interesting. I really like to see the history about some toys. There’s even a “Science in Toyland,” exhibit at a local museum I really want to visit.

admin August 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Just amazing! Wonderful! I had no idea there were so many different LEGO blue in the early days! And those windows with the shutters are so sweet! 😀

Gary Istok August 21, 2012 at 12:53 AM

The Yellow Ninja, I call those the “Minifig Stiffs”… because there was nothing to move!! 🙂

All of those 1975-77 early Minifig types came with a yellow solid stud Minifig head… but without faces. There was however a #215 Indians (with canoe) set that had the same “big people” scale as the Homemaker sets… with red colored heads. That set had the only “no face” Minifig Stiff in a color besides yellow… it had 1 red solid stud head.

The Yellow Ninja August 21, 2012 at 8:09 AM


Eric at A Lego a Day August 21, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Gary, your Lego knowledge is nothing short of amazing. Thanks for sharing it! I remember reading your histories back in the Lugnet days. I’ve always enjoyed them.

VIE August 22, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Maybe Santa will bring it to me? I been a good girl or a great old aldy lol

VIE August 22, 2012 at 8:42 AM

or lady duh

admin August 23, 2012 at 8:27 PM

VIE, it is never hurt to ask Santa. Who knows? He may be in a good mood! 😉

Yonga July 4, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Wow, this is great stuff!
I bought the download version yesterday and paid via PayPal. Now what? I received the usual PayPal confirmation, but nothing from Gary..

admin July 5, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Yonga, I would suggest to wait a few days as I’m pretty sure Gary sends those out manually. He could be busy due to the holiday weekend. If you don’t hear from him by Monday I would suggest you send him an email. 🙂

Yonga July 6, 2013 at 12:04 PM

True, it’s the independent weekend! A’ight, no haste then. 🙂

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