20th Century Toy Collector

Illusion is the Ultimate Weapon!

Dutch 1980’s Toy Industry Trade Magazines

I’m a total sucker for everything that has to do with the fantastic toy lines that were available in my youth in the 1980’s. I’m especially interested in everything that went on “behind the scenes” and by that I mean is when did these toy lines exactly hit toy stores here in Holland, where did these toy stores get these toys, who distributed them, what types of assortments were available, etc.

Transformers dealer catalog (1985) – MB

“Dealer Catalogs”

That’s why dealer/trade catalogs are so interesting. They contain extra information about a toy line that is not available in the consumer catalogs. Sometimes these dealer catalogs will also contain photos of prototypes, because these catalogs are often made at a very early stage, before the toys are available at retail. Sometimes they can also hold information about things that “might have been”, but did not occur, because of legal issues or other complications. I absolutely love that type of stuff.

Toy store catalogs from the 1980’s

“Toy Store Catalogs”

Another great source of information are toy store catalogs. As you might have noticed I’ve acquired a great deal of Dutch toy store catalogs from the 1980’s recently and I’ve posted some photos of those in the past couple of weeks.

“Trade Magazines”

There is a third source of information that I stumbled upon a couple of months ago and that is trade magazines! A trade magazine is, as the name implies, a magazine that is published for a specific industry. A trade magazine is made not for consumers, but specifically for the industry or type of trade it targets.

Article from a Dutch toy industry trade magazine

My first exposure to trade magazines came from my good buddy Maz from TF-1.com, who had acquired a few Dutch toy trade magazines from the 1980’s. The good guy that he is, he gave them away to me for free! These magazines contained tons of cool information about the toy industry in Holland and featured articles about Transformers, Masters of the Universe, M.A.S.K. and too much more cool stuff than I can recollect right now. It goes into detail about retail release dates of toy lines, broadcast dates of commercials for these toy lines and everything a toy store retailer needs to know to make a decision on which products to carry. I was in nerd nirvana!

Mattel trade advert announcing the launch of Mattel Netherlands BV (1985)

“The Hunt is On!”

As soon as I had read the two issues that Maz had sent me cover to cover, I was hungry for more! Maz had acquired these from the son of a purchasing manager for a large Dutch high street department store, who had acquired them at Dutch toy fairs in 1985 and 1986. Because these publications are trade only, they were never available to consumers, so it was virtually impossible to find these anywhere. Through a bout of luck I found out the original publisher of this trade magazine and contacted them to see if they had any back issues from the 1980’s.

Article on newest pre-Mattel MOTU line up in Holland (1984)


Not expecting to get any response, and if at all a negative one, I was contacted by a very friendly employee of said publisher. She said she would dig into their archives to see if they had anything left. The result was more than I had could ever have hoped for. I casually asked if they had anything from 1984 to 1987, because those are the years I remember buying and seeing the coolest toys when I was growing up. She came back to me a few days later and could offer me the complete runs of all four years, bound inside hard covers! Mega nerdgasm!!!

Bandai Dutch trade advert for their Robo Machine line (1985)

“The Start of a Good Weekend”

Last Friday the package with four volumes of Speelgoed+Hobby arrived and since then I have frantically been reading and reading. There’s tons of cool inside information on the toy industry in the Netherlands during those years, with lots of cool photos of toys, never seen before trade oriented advertisements and photos of toy stores from the 1980’s!

Interior of an Intertoys toy store (1985)

My mind is currently reeling from an information overload. I plan on taking all the interesting info and photos apart and publishing the most interesting info here as soon as I get a grip on all the info I have absorbed.

Article on introduction of Blackstar toy line in Holland (1985)

“Heavy Load”

These four volumes weigh in at a total of 10 kilos (approx 20 pounds), so the poor mail man almost broke his back when he delivered these at my door. :-) I paid a pretty penny for these publications, but they are so totally worth it, because they paint such an accurate picture of the time they were originally published and contain so much nerdy info that will keep me going for a long time to come. I am very excited at the prospect of sharing the many cool photos and info inside these magazines here on my blog so stay tuned!

Speelgoed+Hobby magazines volumes 1984-1987

posted on May 14, 2012 by 20th Century Toy Collector in Toy Store Catalogs and has Comments (5)

5 Responses to “Dutch 1980’s Toy Industry Trade Magazines”

  1. dennis says:

    vet cool,man…
    i wanna see and read more about those old toy store stories.
    i’ll keep watching this blog.


  2. Marc says:

    I love that last picture. They look like Bibles, though the information in them probably has more of a Dead-Sea-Scroll feel to it. I’m very curious to read about the gems of information you’ll manage to squeeze out of these babies.

    • 20th Century Toy Collector says:

      Thx guys. LOL! The first thing I thought as well when I saw these. The plus sign faintly resembles a cross, which makes them look like bibles. To me they *are* bibles ;-)

      @Dennis: I’ve been planning to do an article on Dutch toy stores (and the way they were in the 80s) for quite some time. I will now thankfully have loads of photos of the interior of said stores to accompany the article. Not sure when I will finish it (it’ll be done when it’s done ;-)

  3. dennis says:

    can’t wait to read it.
    if you have any store foto’s for my collection,you know….
    ….show me the pictures : )

  4. hallo, ik ben een enorme Blackstar fan en recentelijk heb ik mijn collectie weer opgepakt en ben op zoek naar alles wat met Blackstar in NL te maken heeft. Mijn vraag is of je het Blackstar artikel uit de 1985 Speelgoed+hobby voor me in zou willen sannen en mailen? dat zou echt te gek zijn! Alvast bedankt!

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