Smurfs according to Zack

Allow me to introduce you all to Zack, who lives in Canada and this is his amazing Smurf story.

How long have you been collecting Smurfs, and what’s the appeal?

In the 90’s, I got ‘retro fever’ and my friends and I were constantly reminiscing about the 80’s which we all grew up in as kids.  So I started going to toy collectable shows so I could look at all the cool things from that decade.  At one particular show in 1997, I came across a table that sold a bunch of the Schleich Smurfs, and totally got happy flashbacks.  I didn’t think of collecting them, but I did buy a keychain version of the clown #2.0033 because I thought it would be a fun ‘retro thing’ to have hang off my keychain.  I had it on for a few months, but eventually it broke off and I lost it somewhere.  Oh well.  It was good while it lasted.  

My interest in the pop culture items I grew up with continued strong, and a few more months past before I decided I wanted to dive into collecting something from the 80’s.  It could have been so many things, because my thoughts and joyful memories were all over the place, from toys, tv shows, movies, fashion, advertising, etc. 

But ‘toys’ won me over, and Smurfs was a natural choice because 1) of its over-whelming presence in the 80’s, 2) the Smurfs being something that is ‘happy’ and ‘fun’, matching up perfectly to what I felt about my childhood, and 3) the toyline and merchandise list had a huge history, and that meant the possibilities on what to collect would be vast…and continuously fresh since it was STILL being produced! 

So, 1998 was the year I started, and it was a good year because it happened to be the 40th Anniversary of the Smurfs AND the Irwin 1996 toys were still on toy shelves in my area (believe it or not), so I had a great time getting my first batch of Smurfs the traditional way, just like when I was a kid!

How many do you have now? 

Like most Smurfs collectors, I started with the Schleich PVC figures.  To me, these figurines were perfect representations of all the Smurf characters I’ve spent watching on Saturday mornings for a decade (and then more, through syndication on weekday mornings, and, of course, holiday evening specials!!). 

It’s as if each 2″ figure jumped out of the screen; they were so compelling in their likeness.  So it wasn’t long before I made it a goal to collect ALL the Smurfs in Schleich’s numbered checklist, along with the houses and playsets, for the purpose of creating my own Smurf Village, just like on TV. 

I had no desire in obtaining all the paint and mold variations, the promos, the specialty figures, and figure extensions (i.e. as keychains, smurf-a-grams, etc), so my criteria was simply to collect 1 version of each number.  

The ironic part of collecting the Schleich stuff was I didn’t have any of it growing up!  The closest I got was a pen set, where the Schleich cowboy smurf figure was glued to the base.  I had TONS of merchandise, though, which was overflowing in North American stores in the 80’s.

From lunch pails and doodle sets, to stickers and shrinky dinks.  Not having any figures to play with definitely didn’t stop me from loving the Smurfs.  The brand and cartoon episodes were always in front of our face – even when I visited overseas, naturally. 

Although the Schleich line is/was my main line, I inevitably got hooked on gathering 7 other categories too:  puzzles, plushes, comics, mega bloks, McDonald’s, and some live-action movie stuff.  All with cap-offs or criteria, because I didn’t want to collect everything and anything from those categories.  

My 7th category was ‘promotions’, and this happens to be my favourite section.  It’s a small grouping, but I picked out a bunch of worldwide promotions I found fascinating in concept/product, and I obtained a sample of it.  For example, the campaigns for the 2008 Unicef 50th Anniversary, the 2013 Cora and Match supermarkets, the 2004-2007 ‘Je Collectionne Les Schtroumpfs Et Je Construits Leur Village!’ magazine (which translates to ‘I Collect The Smurfs And Build Their Village!), the 1978-1982 National Benzole gas stations, etc., etc..  

So if I had to take a guess, I’d say I have about 600 Schleich-numbered products, and another 400 or so items from all the other merchandise stuff.  I had a rule of thumb, that ‘if I bought it, I had to display it’, so eventually I’ll set that all up, but for now they are in storage. 

I also felt it was important to create an ‘end’ date for collecting (which was 2015) because if I didn’t, I would no longer be able to follow my ‘rule of thumb’, due to space restrictions.  Plus, collecting for the sake of ‘just collecting’ would de-rail my enjoyment and I didn’t have that ‘completist’ mentality across the board for all Smurfs items. 

There would always be something from the past I didn’t have, and there would always be something new coming out…I’d rather just appreciate now, what took years to collect.  

When did you start?

I officially started in late 1998, and after picking the shelves off all the Walmarts, Toys R Us’, Zellers’ and hobby stores around my surrounding area, it was pretty much online shopping, toy/retro conventions, and antique store visits from there-on-out.  I had no choice because I had a lot of catching up to do with the figures. 

But for the ‘new items’ Schleich put out annually, I was lucky enough to deal with local collectors and store owners that had connections with the Schleich.  As we all know, there were only a handful of new figures every year, so collecting those were quick and easy.  The real fun for me was researching the endless amount of Smurf-related items that were distributed around the world in the years gone past, and seeing what I could add to my collection as ‘bonus‘. 

I still remember my first two websites I referenced when starting out:, and  The both don’t exist anymore, but they helped me immensely.  And, I joined the official Smurf Collector’s Club International, naturally!

What’s my favourite item in my collection?

I never cared for getting autographs, so I never chased them, and definitely avoided buying autographed merchandise due to their high pricing and skepticism on authenticity.  But somewhere along the line while maintaining my twoother big collections, an autograph was added to each of them.  Wanting to make things even across all three of my collections, I decided to pursue an autograph for my Smurfs hobby, too.  

Getting a voice actor from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series made the most sense, and getting the actor (Danny Goldman) that voiced my favourite character (Brainy), also made sense.  Being quite informed of the pop culture convention scene, I was aware Mr. Goldman didn’t attend them…so approaching him at a booth for a signature was out of the question.  Therefore, I decided to go the traditional route, and write him a hand-written letter.  This was in 2015, by the way. 

All I needed was his address to mail it to him.  Finding his mailing address online was non-existent, but through some research, I found out that he recently retired from working, where he owned an acting agency.  Being retired, Mr. Goldman did not have a contact email anymore, but his younger associates that worked with him continued in the business, and I was able to find their new contact email on the web. 

I emailed three of them hoping the addresses were active, and politely asked if there was a way to connect with Mr. Goldman, or even if I could send them my letter to pass along to him (if home privacy was a concern, of course).  I never heard back from any of them.

But 5 days after sending those emails, I get an email in my inbox directly from Danny Goldman HIMSELF!!!  And it simply said “_______ said you are looking for me?  Danny Goldman.”.  UNBELIEVABLE!!! 

So communication went back and forth, and I scanned him my original letter too for him to read, and it was so great!!  In the end, naturally I asked if I mailed him something, could he possibly sign it for me; and he agreed!  He was ok with writing something specific on it, too, at my request. 

What I sent him was a hardcover notepad I had previously received as a gift, which had the Brainy Smurf character on the cover.  He was drawn holding a book, and holding up his pointer finger as if to speak his ‘knowledge’.  Typical Brainy depiction!  And I thought it was PERFECT for Mr. Goldman to sign a ‘book’ too, being that is what Brainy often carried around. 

I also asked him if he could inscribe it with “Papa Smurf always says…”, which was one of Brainy’s repeated sayings in the cartoon episodes.  And, of course, Mr. Goldman’s signature at the end. 

In a small package, I mailed him the notebook, a black marker, and a self-addressed stamped envelope to return the notebook to me.  It eventually arrived to my home in Canada and it is easily my most cherished Smurf possession AND experience.  I will be framing not only the book he signed, but portions of his emails and my letter to him, as well.  It had been a surreal moment!

Do you ever find yourself having to explain your collection to people?

Basically, ‘collectors’ understand other ‘collectors’, from what I’ve learned over the years.  There’s no need to give reason on why you have this hobby to the like-minded.  In fact, the late 90’s seemed to be the beginning trend for collecting things.  And today, it’s so mainstream, that’s it’s more abnormal if you don’t collect anything.  The companies – and society in general – make everything collectible and give strong pushes to people to do it and say it’s “ok”. 

Regarding Smurfs, whether I ever spoke to a ‘collector’ or a ‘non-collector’, I’ve yet to meet a person (young or old) that doesn’t know what/who the Smurfs are.  So, no explaining was ever needed.  And the other common trait was that it always brought a smile when they heard about my hobby.  Everyone loves the Smurfs!!!

Smurfs according to Kylie

I am an avid smurf fan and I have 129 smurf figurines. I started like most kids back in the 70s. Mum and dad only brought petrol at BP as they sold the Smurfs when you brought petrol. 

I am not sure why they appeal to me. I think it is an innocent thing about them. They don’t swear, they try and be kind to each other. They have different personalities and you can relate too or want to be like.

My favorite character is Brainy Smurf. I wish l was smart and I like smart people.  I can relate to him when he trys to help and the others keep kicking him aside. 

The favourite smurf figurine of mine is Smurfette on roller skates. I use to hold her and push her tiny legs together as if she was really skating.
People are surprised at first and then say they use to play with smurfs but they never kept them.

Randomly sometimes like to annoy people and say stupid stuff like “I have the smurf song on my mind lala la la la la oh what comes next I forget. Its just for fun and brings a smile to people as they tell me I’m weird.

Thanks, Kylie for sharing your Smurf story with us. I feel I can easily identify with parts of your story such as buying Smurfs from the BP Service Station. Kylie lives in Craigmore, South Australia.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Smurfs according to Jack

I am constantly learning new things when I collect Smurfs. Sometimes it can be discovering a new marking on a particular Smurf or hearing about someone’s childhood collection. My Smurf collection brings me a lot of happiness, especially in these uncertain times. This week I was able to interview Jack who resides in Memphis Tennessee, USA and this is his story.

How long have you been collecting Smurfs?

I have been collecting for about 40 years.

What’s the appeal?

I just love them. I show mine a lot of children and I am sometimes amazed at their reaction to them.

How many do you have now?

I have about 10000 of them. They cover all four walls in my Smurf room. When people see what I have they can’t believe it.

When did you start?

I am 85 years old and I started collecting after I retired from the United States Marine Corps.

What’s your favourite item in your collection?

I really don’t a favourite. I love them all. Well, maybe the Jack in the Gargamel and the History Smurfs.

Do you ever find yourself having to explain your collection to people?

Yes, I do find myself explaining why I collect them and how many do I have and where do you find them. I live outside of Memphis Tn. It is getting harder and harder to find them without getting on the internet. I have at least one of all the original Smurfs plus Jaaks, plush and some vending machines plus McDonalds, Hardees and Burger King.

There is a lot to like about Jack’s story. Not only has he been collecting for a long time but he is also happy to share his passion to a new generation. It’s amazing how a simple Smurf figurine can bring a smile onto someone’s face. For a collector, there are no words that can describe that feeling when their collection brings such joy to others.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Smurfs according to Kathy

My name is Kathy and live just outside Orlando in a little town called Chuluota, Florida, USA and here is my story.

How long have you been collecting Smurfs?

I’ve been collecting Smurfs on and off for 40 years. I stopped while raising our children and had packed them away for a long time. About 7 years ago I rediscovered them and it was like finding an old dear friend. We’ve been inseparable ever since.

What’s the appeal?

Nothing looks as nice or as sweet as a Smurf. Even the Halloween Smurfs make you smile. And they are a whole world of their own. In a very jaded world, Smurfs are a wonderful reminder of how sweet life can be.

How many do you have now?

Now that’s a loaded question. I have display cases, plush dolls, posters, buttons, stickers, key chains, lunchboxes, mugs, books, ceramic sets, Christmas items, bed sheets, wallpaper, baby items (tethers, spoons, bibs, etc.), DVDs, LP albums (records), calendars, and much, much, more. Here’s a summary of the items I really collect.

Regular Smurfs – 525 figures. Some of those are variations but I’m still missing 7 of them. I also have about 150 duplicate figures.

Super Smurfs – 52 super smurfs, most in their original boxes. 

Promo Smurfs – All of the 1996, 1997, 2011, 2013, and 2017 McDonald’s (American) happy meal toys plus 5 other non USA Promo Smurfs. 

Buildings – All of the small cottages except the 1980s blue one. 3 large smurf houses (1980s & 2010s). The 1980s windmill. 

Playsets – 7 of the play sets including the Moon Explorer play set in its original box and packaging.

When did you start?

I started collecting while I was in college in 1980. My husband (then boyfriend) gave me Grouchy Smurf as a makeup gift for a silly argument. He gave me a few more and it took off from there! Collecting Smurfs in the Southern United States has not always been easy.

After the Smurf cartoons were taken off American television it was very difficult to find new figures. People insisted no one made them anymore. When my husband’s company was bought by the Siemens Corporation, he started traveling to Germany and would bring me new figures.

What’s your favourite item in your collection?

It’s toss-up between the first one my husband gave me and the Moon Explorer play set. I worked on the US Space program for 26 years and my family gave me the play set as a birthday present many years ago. I was shocked to find out how much it’s really worth. However, I could never part with it.

Do you ever find yourself having to explain your collection to people?

All the time! The running family joke is who will be stuck with them when I die. People chuckle when I tell them I collect smurfs and describe how big my collection is. They really gave me side looks when I tell them I went to Europe for my 60th birthday to attend my first Smurf fair and to visit Brussels.

I hope you are enjoying these interviews as much I am. Tell us what you think by leaving a comment. And if you have any other great ideas, feel free to share those too.

Also don’t forget to share the post with others.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Smurfs according to Carl

It is very easy to feel overwelmed by the amount of Smurf merchandise there is out there. Because of this, I made a descision very early on to only collect the pvc figurines. I occasionly I would be tempted by other Smurf things such as the Plastoy Smurfs, but mostly I kept to my original plan. But collecting Smurfs is such a personal thing that can be hard to explain to others. Here’s Carl story, who currently lives in Perth, Western Australia.

How long have you been collecting Smurfs?

I first started collecting Smurfs when I was about 7 and my first Smurf was a red Judge Smurf. I started in New Zealand and stopped when I was about 10 as shops stopped selling them. I did not start collecting again until I came across some in Spain in a small shop in about 2007. After that I went a little crazy on eBay and the internet and found out that they never stopped making Smurfs. And kept buying them.

What’s the appeal?

I am not sure what drives me to buy them, I only collect the pvc Smurfs. And I would like to one day have a complete set which would be very hard to do.

How many do you have now?

Well, I did not know how many I had until I had to answer this question. I thought I had about 500 but after counting them I have 1288.

What’s your favourite item in your collection?

My favourite items would be my rugby collection or my Surprise Box Super Smurf.

When did you start?

I started when I was about 7 years old and I am now in my 40’s.

Do you ever find yourself having to explain your collection to people?

Sometimes. I don’t really tell a lot of people but some people that collect other toys are usually interested in them.

Carl’s story is very similar to my own and no doubt others who are reading this. The Smurfs have such a nostalgic influence on many of us, that can be hard to explain to people who don’t collect. Perhaps this is the reason we don’t even try, but when we meet others who do collect we feel a special bond with them.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

P.S Are you enjoying these interviews? Tell us about it by leaving a comment. And if you have any other great ideas, feel free to share those too.

P.P.S Don’t forget to share this post!

Smurfs according to Joan

There are no fixed rules when it comes to collecting Smurfs. When I first started collecting Smurfs I had no idea and I even felt a little self conscious about it all. That quickly changed when I found others who also collected Smurfs and also how others were interested in my Smurf collection.

I am a big believer that every collector has a story to tell. Recently I was fortunate enough to interview Joan from the USA about her collecting Smurfs and this is her story.

How long have you been collecting Smurfs?

I started collecting Smurfs about 40 years ago as inexpensive rewards or surprise gifts for my young son. When my husband and I traveled to other countries we always looked for Smurfs. As the collection grew my son’s grandfather built a case to display the Smurfs, but eventually the case was too crowded. A much bigger one was built in our study where it still is today and crowded with Smurfs because when my son outgrew Smurfs, I didn’t.

What’s the appeal?

I guess the appeal was that they are so darn cute, and it became a challenge to see if I could find all that were produced. I was able to add some of the more difficult to find and special Smurfs through my membership in the Smurf Collectors’ Club International which was run by Suzanne Lipschitz.

How many do you have now?

I have never counted how many Smurfs I own but it has to be well into the hundreds as I have continued to this day to add to the collection, acquiring new ones, promotional ones, and variations. Unfortunately no new Smurfs were produced for 2020.

What’s your favourite item in your Smurf collection?

It is hard to pick a favorite in that each Smurf has something appealing about it.

Do you ever find yourself having to explain your collection to People?

People who visit me are surprised to see the display case filled with Smurfs and are even further surprised when I tell them I have so many more packed away in boxes because there is no room to display them. My biggest concern is what I will do with the collection and all the related Smurf items I own when living in my home is no longer practical.

I hope you enjoyed Joan’s story as much as I did. The wonderful thing I am rediscovering about the Smurfs is their mass appeal not only across the world but also across the ages.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B