If you are still looking out for the ideal Christmas gift cast your an eye over this advert from BP Australia that appeared in the Victorian TV Week, 22 December 22 1979 to get some inspiration.
Keep on Smurfin
As we gradually head towards Christmas I wanted to share with you the different Christmas themed smurfs Schleich released. These were originally sold as a counter display carton, with the article number 20833. What is interesting is to see the number of smurfs increase each year, which goes to show how popular they were.
In the first year – 1983 only two smurfs were released, Santa #20124 and Santa Smurfette #20153. Santa is wearing a red jacket with a yellow belt, white pants, a red hat with a white pom pom while carrying a sack of toys including a doll. Depending where Santa was painted will determine the colour of the pom pom on the hat and also the colour of the doll’s face. Santa Smurfette is wearing a long hooded red coat with a white trim, while holding a large rectangle shaped present with a red ribbon around it.
In the second year – 1984 two more smurfs added. This included Christmas Smurf #20207 and Christmas Smurfette #20208. Christmas Smurf is also referred to as Christmas Candy & Gift which really isn’t surprising as the smurf is carrying a big candy cane and a green present wrapped in a red ribbon. Christmas Smurfette is wearing a short red coat with a white trim while holding a square shaped present with a red ribbon around it. In my opinion out of all the Christmas themed smurfs these two are the hardest to find.
By the third and the fourth year – 1985/1986 Schleich introduced two other Christmas themed smurfs, Christmas Smurfette #20200 and Christmas with Lantern #20201. This Christmas Smurfette is wearing a long green coat while holding out in front of her a white rectangle shaped present with a thin red ribbon. Christmas with Lantern can be found wearing a light brown jacket with a white trim and matching brown hat with Christmas Holly attached to the side. In his right hand he is holding a green square shaped present with a red ribbon and a red & yellow lantern in his left hand.
The next time we see the six Christmas themed smurfs is in the 1990 Schleich catalogue. This may have something to do with Schleich declaring bankruptcy in the beginning of 1987.
When thinking of Christmas smurfs most people think only of the ones with a gold cord. Most collector’s sites will display these Christmas smurfs in their own section, where as the Schleich Christmas smurfs are just listed with their other smurfs. This may explain why some of these Christmas themed smurfs are considered rarer and are harder to find.
Keep on Smurfin
This smurf is sometimes referred to as Frogman. This was the name National gave the smurf when it was first released in the UK back in 1981 and for some collectors the name has stuck. Wearing his orange wetsuit, black flippers & goggles, red snorkel and a silver spear gun.
There are not many variations of Diver, the main difference appears to be with the tip of the spear gun with some curving forward or back. However this is most likely how the smurf has been stored as the tip is quite flexible.
Diver was one of the last smurfs made by Bully back in 1979. In 1980 Schleich had the rights to produce all the smurf figurines, so they continued to sell Diver with Bully markings right up until 1984. After 1984 Schleich removed the Bully marking and added their own marking under the flippers. Schleich continue to sell Diver up until 1990.
Diver was also made out of Hong Kong and was sold in Australia, possibly New Zealand and in America. In America Wallace Berrie only sold Diver for two years, 1982 to 1984. So it is possible to find with Hong Kong markings and also Hong Kong W. Berrie markings.
There are appears to be very little differences between the W.German and Hong Kong versions as it appears they both used the same mould but like a lot of smurfs produced in the early 1980’s the difference lies in the type of paint used.
For example the Diver sold in the UK was typically painted in Portugal (mustard paint dot) and has matte paint colours. The Hong Kong ones were painted with darker shiny paint colours. Diver was also painted in Tunisia, so possible to find with a green paint dot.
Like many smurf collectors, I have a ‘Most Wanted’ List of smurfs that instead of decreasing in size appears to get bigger everyday. There are two Diver smurfs that are on this list and they include a Spanish (CNT) Diver in an all red diving suit, flippers and goggles. The other is often referred to as ‘Prototype’ and displays Diver with flat feet compared to the ‘regular’ Diver which has it’s back foot raised. I am pretty confident that I am not the only one out there that would love to have this ‘Prototype’ Diver.
In 2000 Schleich released a new generation of smurfs including Scuba Diver (#20466). Though they may share a similar name both Divers are very different from each other, making both worth collecting. I am a big fan of both, though if I had to chose I would probably say Diver is my favourite just because of his expression on his face, especially his eyes. The smurfs made back then seem to have more of a comic disposition to them compared to the smurfs made in the last twenty years.
Keep on Smurfin
I have often wondered are Christmas Smurfs more expensive in December than any other time of the year? Though I have many smurfs within my collection, I still don’t have all the Christmas themed smurfs as I always get distracted buying other smurfs throughout the year. By the time it reaches December I always feel that I have left it to late. Where does one start, when looking for Christmas themed smurfs?
There are twelve different themed Christmas Smurfs. Released by Schleich from 1983 to 1985 and then again in 1992 to 2001. The Christmas smurfs were also released by Wallace Berrie in the USA but as they don’t appear in their catalogues I am not really when – possibly around 1982 to 1985!
Now depending on how you collect your smurfs will determine which path you go down when looking out for Christmas Smurfs. If you collect smurfs based on their markings all twelve Christmas Smurfs can be found with Portugal markings. Some can be found with Hong Kong markings, some with Portugal CE markings and some with China markings.
The Christmas Smurfs are sometimes referred to as the Christmas ornaments with cords. Typically the older ones can be found with their original golden cord or at least with an eyelet for the cord. The eyelet can be positioned on different positions on the smurf. A good example is Christmas Tree Smurf where the older version has the eyelet between the head and the tree.
For those who like to collect smurfs with different colour variations, the Christmas Smurfs are good value because they were painted in different countries. I like the matte colour paint colours compared to the dark shiny paint colours. Santa Claus is a good one to keep a look out for, as the China version has a white pom pom on his hat compared to a yellow pom pom. Santa Claus was also made out of white or red pvc material.
It is also interesting to note that some of the Christmas Smurfs have been produced as fakes. This includes Wreath (5.1906) Candy Cane (5.1907) Praying Smurf (5.1910) and Praying Smurfette (5.1911). It can be hard to tell a real from a fake and I still don’t remember all the differences. It can also be hard to tell by just looking at a picture, so buying from experienced seller such as Toydreamer can put your mind at rest. At least they can tell you when buying whether it is real or fake, so it takes the guesswork out of the equation.
There have been other Christmas themed smurfs produced over the years by Schleich. These are just as cute and sometimes more collectible as they don’t have a whole in their head where the eyelet once sat.
Keep on Smurfin