Friday, September 28, 2012

Fisher Price Toy Catalogs

Hey Everyone,

Sorry for the long break.  Life has been crazy for a while now, but things seem to have slowed down for the moment, so thought I'd toss up a quick post to let you all know that I am still here, I have not given up on this blog and I'm thankful to all of you who have stuck with me through my severe writing drought.  I am amazed at how many hits my blog gets every month, even when I'm not posting.  Thanks guys!  You rock!

I also have good news: over the past non-writing months, I managed to acquire both the 1989 and 1990 Fisher Price Toy Fair Catalogs.  These are the 'dealer catalogs' that This Old Toy periodically refers to in its Precious Places listings. 

The 1989 catalog has 10 pages of Precious Places including the gorgeous 2 page spread everyone loves.

The 1990 catalog has only 5 pages of Precious Places, but two of those pages are the County Fair Sets, so that makes it worth owning in my book.

There is some stuff in them that my Precious Places obsessed self finds interesting.  I'll try to post about it soon, but in the mean time, if any of you are interested in getting your hands on your own copy, I recommend eBay.  They come up at regular intervals, and it just so happens that they are both currently listed for sale.  Just go to eBay and search for "Fisher Price Catalog" and they should come up.

Do any of you have the Toy Fair Catalogs?  If so, what is your favorite page?  Anything that you find intriguing?  Let me know!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Instruction Sheets: The Magic Key Mansion - Page 2

Back in March I started a series of posts about Precious Places instruction sheets.  It was my intention to post photos of whatever instructions I could get a hold of so that we could all puzzle through them together.  However, as you may know, I didn't get any further than posting about the first page of the Magic Key Mansion instructions.

Until now that is....

So, sorry it's taken me eight months, but let's go on to page two, shall we?

Here is a photo of the Magic Key Mansion instruction sheet, page 2 (from my personal collection):

I know it's hard to read such tiny print, so I've taken close-ups of the top and bottom halves of the page.  Here's the top (click on the picture to view a larger image):

 And here's the bottom:

Since it may still be hard to read, here's what it says (starting at the top of page one, working to the bottom of the first column and then back up again and down the right side):

Find Pink House.
Find Porch Roof and Battery Box (Bagged Separately).
[Illustrations: Battery Box and Porch Roof]
Open Master Bags A & B.
Find Chimney, Power Wall And 3 Basement Walls In Master Bag B.
[Illustrations: Basement walls, Chimney and Power Wall]
Find Bags 1-9 (Content List Follows) And Line Them Up In Front Of You In Order Of Numbers.
NOTE: Parts are not all bagged in assembly order.  During assembly, we suggest keeping unused pieces inside the numbered bags so they are easier to find when required.

Contents Of Bags 1 - 9:

Bag 1
House trim (vertical) (7)
Fence (3)
Porch roof trim (2)

Bag 2
Windows (9)
Round windows (2)
Oval window (1)
Outside doors with frames (2)
Door trim for power wall door (1)
Corner closet door/frame/wall (1)

Bag 3 
Bird tower (1)
Mousetrap cellar (1)
Fireplace (1)
Clock (1)
Mailbox (1)

Bag 4
Brick pillars (2)
Steps (2)
"Stone" stairs (1)

Bag 5
Front porch (1)
Side porch (1)
Bedroom floor (1)
Bathroom floor (1)
Ceilings (2)

Bag 6
Large roof (1)
Small roof (1)

Bag 7
Roof trim (8)
Bird tower trim (6)

Bag 8
Lights (5)

Bag 9
Flower boxes (4)
Flowers (4)
Porch roof triangular pieces (2)

Remember to check off steps as you complete them!
Be sure BASE LABELS are all applied. 
Turn base upside down after labels are all applied.

Snap in mousetrap cellar (Bag 3) from underneath base. Be sure it is securely fastened.
Snap the three basement walls to each other, matching A to A and B to B.
Snap basement walls to base from underneath, matching up all tabs and slots and pressing firmly to make sure they are securely in place.  Pull green tabs out slightly while pushing down side walls.
Turn base right side up.
[Illustrations: Rotate and insert Mousetrap Cellar, and Basement Wall assembly]

Snap in 2 brick pillars (Bag 4) near front walk
Snap in brick stairs at front (Bag 4).
Snap in 2 sets of steps with railings (Bag 4) at side and at front (higher steps go at side).
Snap 3 pieces of fence (Bag 1) onto base.
Attach mailbox (Bag 3) to small fence piece.
Snap front porch frame (Bag 5) onto base.
Add side porch frame (Bag 5) to base.
Set base aside.
[Illustration: Porch, Steps & Fence assembly]

Place outside of house in front of you.
Snap vertical trim pieces (Bag 1) into outside of house as shown in illustration.  Note that notches in trim pieces line up with window frames.
Remove windows and doors from Bag 2.
Snap in 9 house windows, bottom tab first. Note that shapes and sizes of windows differ.
Snap in 2 round windows at gable ends.
Snap in 2 outside doors.
Set house aside.
Snap oval window into bird tower (Bag 3) and set aside.
[Illustration: Window and Vertical Trim installation]

And thus ends page 2.

Nothing earth shattering as far as I can see, but boy would it have ever been nice to have had these instructions the first time I attempted to assemble the Mansion.  Those trim pieces are a doozy!

What do you think?  Does anything jump out at you?  And on another subject, anyone giving or hoping to get Precious Places sets this holiday season? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Most Wanted List Revisited

Last December I published my Precious Places Most Wanted List that detailed the five sets that are rare to the point that I thought they might be non-existent.  Since I wrote that post, I've gotten more information, so I thought it was time to revisit the list.

5) The Pretty Penny Wishing Well - Aqua Well with Pink Roof

Current Status: More rare than pink well with aqua roof, but definitely findable
Since writing my first list, two or three aqua wells with pink roofs have turned up on eBay including one that had a pink watering can.  (I still have yet to see a purple ladle though.)

4) Wendy and Her Ice Cream Cart with Aqua Wheels

Photo courtesy of eBay seller kcaparso22

Current Status: The picture says it all, this set is out there!  
Unfortunately my eBay app failed to remind me to bid at the end of this auction, so I missed the chance to actually own this set.  Grrrr..... But it is nice to know that it does indeed exist.

3) The Mother and Baby Pony in Pink 

Current Status: Still unsighted.  No further information available.

2) The Dining Room

Current Status: Still unsighted, but...
I've had one particular commenter give me good reason to hope that this set may yet turn up.

Anonymous commenter on 7-7-11 said:
"... about the dinning room set. i remeber my dad taking me to zellers in canada. i had the choice of the dinning room set or the purple bedroom set. i chose the bedroom! however knowing what i know now i woulda chose the dinning set lol!"

This is the first information I've gotten from anyone who remembers seeing the set in a store.  It's a promising sign, don't you think?

1) All the County Fair Sets

Current Status: Still unsighted by me, but...
Had a recent conversation with another collector who told me that about twelve years ago there was a Ferris Wheel prototype set for sale on eBay.  She didn't remember much about it except that it was definitely listed as a prototype (the seller said she got it from a friend who worked for Fisher Price) and that it sold for hundreds of dollars (no surprise there).

I also got information from an anonymous commenter on 8-4-11:
"I got news for those of you interested- I have spent the last hour on the phone with fisher-price and they said the county fair sets WERE sold to the public!! Only for a limited time and they are not sure how many but they ARE out there!! Also none of the precious places sets had more than 26,000 made and there are 4 sets that I have not found on any lists but that fisher price told me exist and were sold but in a smaller amount. They are number 5192 combo scene, 5179 special furniture, 5210 special kit and 6563 sign- that was all the info they had and they said they were promotional items. Also the dining room was also mass produced so those of you looking don't give up!!"

All this gives me just a glimmer of hope that whether prototype or mass-produced set, I may yet find one or (can I dare to dream) two of the County Fair sets to call my own.

(PS. If the winning bidder of the Ferris Wheel prototype set is out there, please contact me!  I'd love to know more about it.  You can reach me here:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Another Precious Places Commercial

Thanks to A.Lewis for alerting me to another Precious Places commercial posted on YouTube:

This one has the theme song!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Precious Places Village Tour Stop 4: The Best Friends Pet Shop

Continuing on from the Pink Slippers Ballet Studio, our tour of Precious Places Village now leads us to #5155, the Best Friends Pet Shop (also called the Cuddly Friends Pet Shop according to the English and French version of the PP Village Map).

Here is a picture of the set from my personal collection:


I believe my set is complete, other than the fact that I do not have the box or instruction sheet.  

This set has a special place in my heart because it was the only PP building that I owned as as child.  I can't tell you how many countless hours I spent making Cuddly Kitty pace the floor and swinging Perchy Parrot on his perch.  I think my favorite part about this set as an adult is the fish in the fish tank that you can make swim around.  All the cute little extra touches like that are what make Precious Places such wonderful toys!

When it comes to collecting, the Pet Shop is not really a hard set to find on eBay.  However, one thing to watch for if you're considering buying this set is that the litho on the cash register does tend to go missing, so check for that before you commit to a purchase.

What about you?  Did you have the Pet Shop when you were a kid?  What's your favorite thing about it?  As always, I'd love to hear anything you have to say, whether it's a question for me to answer or just an observation about the set.  Please leave your input in the comments section of this post.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Instruction Sheet Spot the Difference

Let's play "spot the difference"!  You remember that fun game they always have in kids magazines where two pictures look the same at first, but when you look closer, you realize they are actually quite different.


Here's Picture 1 - The Silver Bells Wedding Chapel instruction sheet:

Here's Picture 2 - Another Silver Bells Wedding Chapel instruction sheet:

Photo courtesy of eBay seller azmusicsales

What's the difference!?!?

Okay, there are actually several, but the one that I'm the most interested in has less to do with the Chapel, and more to do with what's out front.

Here's another hint...

A close-up of the first sheet:

And here is a close up of the second instruction sheet:

Do you see what I see?  There are heart-shaped sidewalk connectors pictured on the first set of instructions, but none on the second set!

What does this mean?  Well, nothing for certain, but I think it's further evidence that I was on the right track in my previous post about sidewalk connectors when I said that I didn't think all shop sets originally came with the little heart-shaped buggers.

My current theory (and yes, it is just a theory) is that the sidewalk connectors were in the sets when they were first produced, but then later removed, since they are completely unnecessary for the sidewalk to stay together (and actually make it harder to move figures around on the sidewalk).  This theory might be helped a little by the fact that the eBay auction that contained the second set of instructions (the one not showing the connectors) also included the box which had a clearance price sticker still stuck to it.  It seems most likely that the toy would have been on clearance in 1990 after Fisher-Price discontinued the line.  But again, this is really just speculation on my part, especially since the auction also included a Village Map showing the 1989 sets. 

So as usual, I have nothing certain to say.  You'd think that Fisher-Price would have made the same toy the same way over a brief two year production period, but clearly, that is not the case.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rugs, Rugs, Rugs

So, here's a question I could really use some help answering... You know how some of the furniture sets have rug stickers (lithos) pictured on the front of their boxes?  Well, what I'm trying to figure out is, which of the furniture sets came with rug lithos?

Here's what information I have so far...

Of the eight Precious Places furniture sets, five of them have rugs pictured with the furniture on the front of their boxes.  These sets are the Bedroom, Bathroom, Baby's Nursery, Living Room and Canopy Bedroom.  The website (TOT) includes the rug sticker in the parts list for each of these sets, but says about the lithos: "This rug is pictured in the Fisher-Price dealer catalogue, but we are not sure if it was ever included in the sets sold in stores."

When I first began collecting PP several years ago (and was addicted to reading the TOT parts lists), I thought that I ought to investigate whether there were any rug stickers out there, so that I could add them to my collection if they existed.  There seemed to be a pretty simple way to answer the question, i.e. just buy an unopened furniture set and see if there was a rug litho in the box.  So that's what I did.  I found a fairly inexpensive, never-been-opened Living Room furniture set on eBay, bought it, and with great anticipation, I opened it... only to discover that there was no rug sticker in the box.

"Case closed," I thought, "Furniture sets did not come with rug lithos." 

And so for a couple of years, I had no reason to look any further into the mystery of the rug lithos.

Then one fateful day last August, I noticed this picture on a completed eBay listing:

Unfortunately, I didn't see the listing until after it was over, so I didn't get a chance to bid on this item, but as the picture clearly shows, there was an octagonal rug included with the Living Room furniture.  I contacted the seller who told me that a) it was indeed a rug sticker, b) she believed it originally came with the Living Room set and c) it could not possibly have come with the Mansion, since these were her childhood toys and she'd never owned the Mansion.

This got me on the hunt for rug lithos and what do you know, they are rare, but some of them can be found.  So far, I've got two in my collection, those from the Baby's Nursery and Canopy Bedroom sets.

Baby's Nursery Rug:

Canopy Bedroom Rug:

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "That Canopy Bedroom rug sure looks familiar."  And you'd be right.  It is the same rug litho that was included with the Mansion set itself.  But I have four reasons to be fairly certain that the one I have originally came with the Canopy Bedroom set.  

1) It was sold in an eBay auction with the Canopy Bedroom furniture

2) It is just the rug sticker by itself and as far as I know the Mansion lithos always came on a large sheet like this:

3) I later saw another Canopy Bedroom set listed with the same rug litho.

4) Most importantly, the rug litho has the numbers 5177 on the edge and that is the Fisher Price item number for the PP Canopy Bedroom set.

So put it all together and it means that I am nearly 100% positive that the Living Room, the Baby's Nursery and the Canopy Bedroom each have a rug litho that was included with some (but not all) sets sold in stores.  

Why wasn't a rug litho sold with every furniture set?  I really have no good answer to that question.  It is possible that only sets produced in 1990 had a rug litho.  Or maybe only sets sold in a certain location (the United States, Canada or Europe for example) had rugs.  I have so little information to go on, it's quite likely that we will never know the answer to the 'why' question.

One question I am still hoping to answer (and here's where I could really use your help) is...

Did the Bathroom and/or Bedroom sets also come with rug lithos?
I have not as of this moment, been successful in locating a rug litho (or picture of one) for the Bathroom or Bedroom sets.  It would be really helpful to me if anyone out there has more information.  Do you have any new in the box furniture sets?  If so, did they come with rug stickers (lithos)?  

I'd really love to get as much information as possible about these stickers so that we can all know what to look for when we're bidding on furniture sets!  Post your comments, please!!!!