For me there are two Papa Smurf variations – one has a blue tail and one has a red tail. But like anything if you dig a little deeper there is more to find with the common Papa Smurf, #20001.
Papa Smurf – 1st version
Papa Smurf was first made in 1969 by Schleich and was used a promotional figurine for BP Holland. The first version of Papa Smurf was made out of blue pvc material, painted red and has its arm is held higher. It also has a red tail.
It can be found with either no markings or just a © Peyo marking on the back of the right arm.
Papa Smurf – 2nd version
Some stage between 1969 to 1972 Schleich started to make Papa Smurf out of red pvc material. It is unclear why they changed the colour of the pvc material but all other features from before stayed the same.
Schleich also started to add their own markings to Papa Smurf by adding their own emblem and W.Germany under the feet.
Papa Smurf – 3rd version
In 1972 Schleich changed the mould for Papa Smurf so its arm was held lower but still kept the red tail.
The © Peyo marking on the arm was also removed from the arm and added under the feet. So now all the markings were to be found under the feet – W.Germany Schleich emblem © Peyo.
Papa Smurf – 4th version
In my opinion this is probably the most common version of Papa Smurf that can be found. In 1974 Bully won the rights from Schleich to manufacture and sell Smurfs. When this happened, Bully removed the Schleich emblem from the Smurfs. But as Bully had not actually made the moulds they could not add their own marking to the figurine.
Oddly enough, when Schleich won the rights back to reproduce Smurfs in 1977, they also did not make any changes to the markings to Papa Smurf. It is also unclear if it was Bully or Schleich who decided to change Papa’s tail to blue.
Papa Smurf was sold like this between 1977 to 1990 with just the markings W.Germany © Peyo.
Papa Smurf – 5th version
In 1979 Schleich started making Smurfs out of Hong Kong for the first time. The Smurfs made out of Hong Kong were later sold by BP for both Australia and New Zealand and Wallace Berrie for the USA. The Papa Smurfs made out of Hong Kong were only ever produced with a blue tail. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a Papa Smurf with a red tail!
Papa Smurf – 6th version
Around 1990, Papa Smurf had changes made to it’s markings to include a CE mark; – W.Germany © Peyo CE. Schleich continued to make Papa Smurf out of red pvc material and paint it blue. It was made like this right up until 1999.
Papa Smurf – 7th version
In 2011 Schleich released Papa Smurf again as part of the decade display boxes. The markings can be found on the back of the head and also under Papa Smurf’s feet. Later in 2013, the same Papa Smurf was included a special release by Schleich and Toys R Us on a blister card. I now wish I had kept this Papa Smurf on its card, now that Toys R Us declared bankruptcy in 2017.
I have over 200 Papa Smurfs within my collection. I just love that when the painters added his eyes they mixed things up. So in way there are no two Papa Smurfs alike, just by the way they painted his pupils. That is a very simple but effective trick. That’s what I call diversity!
Keep on Smurfin