The devil is in the detail, the devil is in the smurf. The difference between something really rare to something that has been made to look rare could save you heartache and money. A good example of this are the Rugby Smurfs.
The introduction of the smurfs to the UK started to peak around 1980. This was the year that Rugby (#20065), Cricket (#20066) and Congratulations (#20067) was produced by Schleich.
Out of the three, it was the Rugby Smurf that really caught the imagination of the nation. In 1980 the British Lions Rugby Team toured South Africa. To coincide with the tour, two Rugby Smurfs were sold in South Africa. A British Lions Rugby Smurf wearing red shirt, white shorts & green socks and South African Rugby Smurf wearing Green shirt & socks, yellow collar and white shorts. At the time of release they were just sold for 65cents.
In 1981 the Five Nations Rugby Championships was played from 17 January to 21 March with a total of ten matches being played. These included the following countries France, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
To coincide this tournament, five Rugby Smurfs were produced painted in the team colours.
France colours – Light blue shirt, white shirts, red socks.
England colours – White shirt & shorts, black socks.
Ireland colours – Green shirt & socks, white collar, white shorts.
Scotland colours – Navy shirt & socks, white shorts.
Wales colours – Red shirt & socks, white shorts.
What is a little unclear was when was the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Smurf was produced, though it is understand National Benzole did sell it with their other Rugby Smurfs. In 1980 the New Zealand All Blacks toured Wales, so it may have something to do with this. The New Zealand Rugby Smurf wears a black shirt, black shorts and black socks.
If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to buy one of these Rugby Smurfs there are a couple of small things you should watch out for.
Firstly the British Lions and South Africans should not have a mustard paint dot on them as these were not originally sold in the UK only in South Africa. The others though should have a Mustard paint dot under their foot.
The other thing with the Rugby Smurfs is that none of them should have any markings on the actual figurine. The markings should be found under the grass pattern oval base.
Like a lot of other smurfs, the Rugby Smurfs are on my most wanted list. Perhaps one day I will be lucky enough to find one or possibly eight selling for just 65 cents each!
Keep on Smurfin