Have you ever had a needle in a haystack experience? I did last week when I found a Smurf that was made in Sri Lanka. For some collectors, the markings on a Smurf mean nothing and for others like me, they mean a lot! So adding a Smurf with Sri Lanka markings, can make a big difference to ones own smurf collection.
To truly understand the importance of this marking, it helps to have an idea of the history of the Smurfs especially in the early 1980’s. The ever-increasing demand for Smurfs in the USA meant that Schleich had to look for other manufacturing options to keep up with the demand. At that time the majority of the smurfs for the USA were being made in Hong Kong.
Smurfs started being made in Sri Lanka in around 1983. In the beginning Smurfs were only being painted in Sri Lanka. In some instances Smurfs were sold with a small oval sticker with the words – Made in Hong Kong Painted in Sri Lanka attached under the foot. Other Smurfs would have a red paint dot added to their markings under their foot.
At some stage between 1983 and 1987, a small number of Smurfs were made in Sri Lanka. As there has been no official records ever released by Schleich no one really knows how many were actually made in Sri Lanka. On the Blue Cavern Forum, it has been suggested that only 23 Smurfs were made in Sri Lanka.
Here is the list below:
#20023 Rock n Roll #20099 Head Chef
#20031 Postman #20100 Cake
#20033 Clown #20126 Rollerskater Smurfette
#20040 Gift and Flowers #20141 Papa Captain
#20041 Hiker #20144 Indian
#20045 Painter #20177 Thanksgiving
#20062 Telephone #20196 Thanksgiving Smurfette
#20064 Toothbrush #20197 Indian with Corn
#20076 Courting #20198 Witch
#20083 Hammer #20199 Gargamel Mask
#20093 Tennis Player
When the hype for the Smurfs dropped in America, drastic action was required by Schleich to ensure its own survival in the world of making toys. Both the Hong Kong and Sri Lanka factories were closed in around 1986.
To find or have a Smurf made in Sri Lanka is like owning a bit of your own history. Good luck to those who go in search for Smurfs!
Keep on Smurfin