I am at a loss to explain what happened. For some reason Lover Smurf was never sold by National Benzole in the UK back in the late 1970 early 1980’s. In South Africa, BP released Lover on Valentine’s Day in 1980. So how did the Brits celebrate Valentine’s Day?
It is easy to assume that all the Smurfs that were made by Schleich in the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s were also sold in the UK. This I have found is not true. One such Smurf was Lover first produced by Schleich in 1979 right through to 1992.
This shy Lover Smurf holds out a bouquet of red flowers, with his eyes closed while wearing his customary white trousers and hat. Early versions of Lover also can be found with no eyebrows which was quite common at that time. Also different shades of red and green were used on the flowers. But perhaps what sets this Smurf apart from all other Smurfs is the outline of his heart on his chest.
Lover – Made in Hong Kong
Lover was also made out of Hong Kong and was sold by BP both in Australia and New Zealand and also by Wallace Berrie for the USA. It was produced out of Hong Kong between 1981 to 1984, so there are at least four different markings that can be found.
For some reason, Smurfs made out of Hong Kong with a mould year earlier than 1980 they changed the year marking to reflect 1980 and then shortly afterwards changed back to the original year. So it’s possible to find a Lover Smurf with the year 1979 or 1980.
Lover – CE marking
Around 1991 they started to add a CE marking to Smurfs. But before this Schleich added a hand etched CE marking to their Smurfs. This was due to regulations that were about to introduce to anything produced with Europe and also due to the high number of existing Smurfs they had on the shelves.
Lover has also been a popular Smurf to copy and repaint. There are versions with a red or yellow painted heart or with yellow flowers. Some of these are beautifully painted and can fetch high prices such as the CNTs from Spain.
So back to my original question – How did the Brits celebrate Valentine’s Day? The answer to this is that National Benzole used to refer Postman #20031 to as Valentine’s. Perhaps the Smurf’s shyness would lead to too many questions being asked.
Keep on Smurfin