Ronald McDonald Pen Toppers

 How much plastic have fast food chains given away in the past 40+ years? I've no idea, but it's a lot, and the environmental impact must be huge. Yeah, nowadays they claim to recycle old happy meal toys in to plastic play areas but that's hardly going to make up for it is it?

But the thing is, these things are collectable. And the older stuff is likely to be more collectable because not everyone kept these items. 

Below is a set of 4 McDonalds pens with pen toppers from the early 1980s - Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese, Hamburlgar and Grimace. There was also an Officer pen, which I'm sure I had but can't locate.

Price-wise, I would've thought these pens in decent appearance would be £10+ each. After this period of time the pens are unlikely to work, so I don't think that would be a factor on price.

1980s McDonalds Pen Toppers

Hasbro Transformers Time Warrior Watch


Transformers! Even Tell The Time!

Transformers - Robots in disguise. Transformers - They even tell the time.

Yep. I've got the cartoon theme music going through my head, haven't you?

This rather nifty watch was a send-away, which I think I acquired by sending away tokens from Transformers toy packaging (plus a sum of money, probably).

Whilst this watch is rare and highly collectable, what's even rarer is my parents letting me send away for this. I don't recall them letting me ever do that for anything else, even for competitions. In fairness, it was probably me being lazy and not getting round to it within the advertised period. πŸ˜€

Hasbro Transformers Time Warrior Watch 1984

The watch is pretty basic and plastic, but, hey, it "transforms". Yes indeed. Press the blue button and it transforms from the Autbot logo in to a digital watch. Wow.

Pretty much every one of these made had a design flaw in that the one of the faceplate "doors" doesn't open very well, requiring a manual transformation.

I have the instruction booklet too, below. 

Instructions for Hasbro Transformers Time Warrior Watch

These watches can go for hundreds of pounds, even not working and with corroded batteries. They're a real collectors item, The booklet on its own catch fetch £50 or more. 

Random Movie Books

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Poltergeist, Starman, Flash Gordon, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, and Judge Dredd. No big connection; Just a bunch of movie books I had on my shelf. I guess I liked reading books that were adapted in to books. 

Okay, the Indy Jones book is mainly pictures from the film. I digress.

The last one, Buck Rogers: Arrival is based on the TV character. I gotta say, I wish they'd bring Buck Rogers back. And Twiki too!

There are more movie books floating around on this blog, and my Original StarWars blog. Here's some Battlestar Galactica books

Leaf/Sport Billy Mexico 86 Pique World Cup promotional stickers

Football and Sticker Collectors -  Rare Leaf/Sport Billy Mexico 86 World Cup promotional stickers!

Got these in either crisp packets or sweets/gum packets. I honestly can't remember. There's not a great deal I can say about them, other than suggest you take a look at the stickers below.

South Korea, Uruguay, West Germany Pique Stickers

Mexico, Portugal, Paraguay, Scotland Pique Stickers

FIFA, Algeria, Brazil, Denmark Pique Stickers

England, France, Hungary, Iraq 1986 World Cup Stickers

Fun fact about, the Mexico '86 World Cup mascot, Pique; He's a a jalapeΓ±o pepper wearing a sombrero. His name is a based on a mixture of "picante" (the Spanish for "spicy") and "PK", which is short penalty kicks. There you go. That was a fun fact. 

I don't know how many different stickers were available. There were 24 teams at the tournament, and as you can see from the stickers above there was a Fifa sticker too. That means at least 25, though it probably a round number like 28, If I ever find out I'll update this page. 

The 15 I have are FIFA logo, then Pique wearing the kits of Algeria, Brazil, Denmark, England, France, Hungary, Iraq, Mexico, Portugal, Paraguay, Scotland, South Korea, Uruguay, and West Germany. 

Who is Sport Billy?

Well, Sport Billy doesn't appear on the stickers, but these stickers are made by the company that produced Sport Billy, so, you know, a nice tenuous link.
Sport Billy is a 1980 animated television cartoon made initially broadcast in Germany and other parts of Europe from 1980 to 1981. In 1982 it made its way over to the United States for syndication.
Sport Billy was adopted by FIFA as the Fair Play Mascot for FIFA World Cups, and a trophy of the character was presented to the most sporting team at each World Cup, and the character was  used as a mascot in some sporting youth programs internationally too.
I also remember Sport Billy appearing in the Mexico '86 sticker album (I think it was advertisement for Sport Billy products.) I'm convinced I have some other Sport Billy stuff, or at least, I think I had some. I don't recall seeing any the last time I went through my stuff. Don't make me go searching for this stuff because I may be gone a long time!

How much are these Leaf Mexico 86 stickers by Sport Billy Productions?

These are quite collectable, and, based on my searches, quite rare. After a fair bit of searching, I've not found many examples out there, though I do recall seeing a set sell on eBay once. I wish I'd taken note of what it sold for because getting a value is not straight-forward; If you search on eBay you'll normally come across Panini stickers (I have some of those too). These small perforated Leaf stickers are rare and don't come on the market often. So, if you're in to collecting football stickers you may want to keep your eyes peeled for these. 

Sooty's pal, Sweep!

 Yus! I still have my 1970s vintage Sweep hand-puppet! And it still squeeks!

One of my favourite things from my childhood! My brother had a silent Sooty hand puppet and I had the squeaking Sweep. Some alliteration there, kids. Whilst Sooty,  with his magician's wand, was the cool, quiet one, Sweep was contrastingly noisy. Yes, this Sweep hand-puppet has a working squeaker - despite many years of overuse trying to amuse/annoy family and friends it still works! 

Yes, he's seen better days but it's a much cherished toy and I guess after all these years it would classed a vintage item.

Anyway, I think our Sooty & Sweep would pretty much just hand wrestle each other. This might be my imagination, but I think Sooty would gang up with my bother's Emu doll and attack Sweep! Nah, probably not.

What is it worth?

Sooty and Sweep hand puppet dolls (and their pals, Soo, Butch, Cousin Scampi...) have been around since the 1950s.  Over the years they have been sold as sets, pairs and individual puppets. Some people sell them as a set, others sell them individually. Sweep was bought for me as a singular puppet (my brother had had Sooty for several years, so we know they weren't a split pair).

Actual ones used in the show can fetch thousands, but shop-bought ones, well value would depend on age, condition and make. Unlike some collectors markets (like Star Wars), there aren't readily available guides for prices of items such as TV memorabilia collectors items. Based on a quick look on eBay I would think one of these Sweeps from the 70s/80s would fetch at least £30.

Note: Be weary when buying as some sellers will sell modern ones claiming they're vintage. 

Midlands Bank Griffin Savers Account Gym Bag

In the 1980s banks and building societies (but mainly banks) were desperate for the business of youngsters. We just wanted the free stuff. 

Sadly, I never got the Nat West pigs, but I did get a sports bag holdall and other paraphernalia (including folders, & a pencil case) from Midland Bank when I opened up a Griffins Savers Account.  And I still have the bag! I might even have the other stuff somewhere. Am I still with the Midlands/HSBC? Nah, that account got closed years ago. I've had other accounts with them since, but not right now.

Okay, this isn't a great picture of it, it just happens to be one I already had on my phone. I'll dig out the bag sometime and take a better picture. 

But is it collectable, and what is the value?

Whilst perhaps not as sought after as the aforementioned piggy banks (let's face it, they'll look nice on a display shelf) these giveaways do find place in the heart of collectors. If you have the complete and unused Midland Savers Stationery Set and Sport Bag in good+ condition I would imagine this to fetch a 3 figure value. Various parts of the stationery set (pencil case etc, folders, badge) can be found on eBay for a few pounds each.

As for the bags, there are a few of them out there, and I've seen them go for either side of £15. Personally, I think the value should be higher than that, and it's about timing and listing it right. If I was putting this bag alone up on eBay I would probably start at say £20 and see how it goes. At the end of the day, as well as being collectable, it's also a perfectly usable bag.

Bandai Porsche 928S Instructions

Instructions for a 1980s Bandai Porsche 928S

To be honest with you, I'd rather have kept the transforming Porsche than the instructions for it, but like a of my toys from the 1980s they were sold at car boots. Yep, Star Wars and Action Man got sold to buy transforming toys, and the transforming toys were so sold to buy, erm, I dunno. Records probably.

This particular one was pretty cool, though I was hoping for the Autobot Jazz. I'd probably dropped hints about wanting a transforming Porsche and a well-meaning relative picked this bad boy up instead. It wasn't Jazz but I liked it nonetheless.

Thoughts on Value

Whilst there are likely to be quite a few unboxed Bandai transforming robots out there, there will be less boxed ones, and not all of the boxed ones will have the original instructions. So, someone somewhere would want these instructions to make their toy complete. Plucking a figure out of the air, it could be worth a tenner, possibly less, possibly more. I haven't seen the instructions being sold separately at any time, so it's a bit of a guess. 

Bobby Charlton Sports School - TSB Sports Holidays 1988

I find some unusual things amongst my boxed-up childhood. Some things I think, yeah I remember that, other things not so. This comes in to the latter category.

The leaflet refers to the a Sports School and a Soccer (football) School, so I guess Bobby was offering to teach more than just football. Now, for the record, I'm pretty sure I never attended the Bobby Charlton Soccer School, or indeed any other sport on offer. A certain Mr Beckham had done so a couple year earlier - of course with hindsight I would've nagged my parents to let me jump on the bus (probably would've had to get one in Stoke) to live the dream but, hey, hindsight is a wonderfully cruel thing isn't it?

I recall my brother and I going to a Bryan Robson footy school a few years earlier, but I have no proof of this (at least I've not found it yet) so that could just be fantasy.

Getting back to the leaflet/pamphlet/booklet/whatever, I guess it must've been sent out to all kids with a TSB Bank account. I think I had an account with pretty much every UK bank in the 1980s because of all the free stuff they gave on joining! Of course it's possible we got handed them at school. Not sure. It's even possible my Dad picked it up whilst working in the area and thought it would be something we fancied doing. I have no clue, and I guess ultimately it's not important. The important thing is my hoarding turned up something interesting. 😁⚽

So, here's a couple more photos of the leaflet. As you can see, I kept it in pretty good condition. 😊

 The photo of the booking form below is a bit blurry.

Did you attend a Bobby Charlton Soccer Camp, or perhaps a camp hosted by another footy legend?

As a footnote to this article,  this month it's 40 years since England's finest ever players died tragically in a car accident in Madrid, aged just 33.. Laurie Cunningham was fantastic and of course a pioneer too. Seriously, go on on Youtube and watch. Remember this was back in the 70s/80s when England wasn't exactly known for producing skilful footballers. Different Class.

Football 78 Sticker Album

Not much to say about this really other than it's a complete football sticker album that's over 40 years old. It's the only complete football sticker album I own. 

Wrist Racer Stunt Cars

Spoiler Alert. I don't actually have the stunt car. At least, I haven't found it amongst my boxes of old toys yet. But I do still have the Wrist Racer wrist strap, so here's a couple of pictures for you.

These toys were made by a defunct American company called Knickerbocker Toys.

I found this advert on Youtube.

I totally forgot the ramp comes out. When I get a moment I'll take a picture with the ramp out.😊

Norwich Union's Mirov 2 (II) - The Revolutionary Sports Car from the Soviet Union

Whatever happened to the Mirov II?

Well, I can't answer that, but I can provide some information about the advertising campaign that took place for this fictional vehicle. And, perhaps for some of you, this will confirm the Mirov 2 from the pre-collapse of the Soviet Union was not a figment of your imagination. 

Way back in the days before the Spanish-sounding Aviva (formerly CGNU) removed reference to 3 of the UK's largest insurance companies (not to mention subsidiaries like Scottish Insurance and London & Edinburgh), and even before Norwich Union floated on the stock exchange, the insurer Norwich Union came up with a marketing campaign to highlight the companies' strength in investment performance.

Mirov 2 publicity photos - Random 1980s blog

The Mirov 2 (II) was born - the centre of a £5 million national advertising campaign that got everyone talking. Indeed, at the time many wondered when the car would be available to buy (or was that just me?)

With the exception of the newspaper cutting, the images below are all of promotional material sent to clients to outline the aims of the marketing campaign. 

"Why are Norwich Union in the red?" - Mirov 2 marketing information - Random 1980/90ss Blog

"as we say in Russia" - NU Mirov 2 - marketing information - Random 1980s/90s Blog

Norwich Union Mirov 2 - marketing information - Random 1980s/90s Blog

Media Plan - Norwich Union Mirov 2 - marketing information - Random 1980s/90s Blog

Newspaper cutting about Mirov 2 -Random 1980s/90s Blog

Below, a page from the Press Release for the Mirov II commercial.
Mirov 2: Making the Commercial - Random 1980s/90s Blog

During my time working at Norwich Union in the early 1990s I had the opportunity to occasionally see the Mirov II, which was stored in a workshop next to a staff car park off All Saints Green. If I recall correctly, part of the car park was once part of Norwich Co-op and was used for stabling and deliveries. The car park was quite rubbly, and some cars parked under cover (the old stables?) There used to be a team of valets working for Norwich Union who would care for seniors staff's vehicles, and it was in their workshop where the Mirov II was stored.

The old buildings were knocked down (with the exception of one, which fronts on to All Saints Green opposite the old BBC offices) and there is now a YMCA there.

It was great to pop in and take a peak - Yes, nice to get close to Jaguars and other top-end vehicles, but for me it was always about seeing the red "Soviet Union supercar". Okay, it wasn't a real car that you could go out and buy but it looked cool. In my mind I had plans to buy it and make it work but of course that never happened. 

So, what really happened to the Mirov 2 (II)?

I always wondered what happened to it, and it turns out some bloke bought it from Aviva. Gutting because a) I wanted it b) it should've been kept and put on display somewhere on the Norwich office's island site). A bit of googling suggests there was actually 2 built, and I understand the same chap owns them both. How Norwich Union/CGNU/Aviva let these has never been mentioned anywhere, and to me to let these go is beyond comprehension.

NOTE: All photos uploaded are exclusive to this blog. Please do not republish without permission. 

Motorbikes sticker album

I don't really know why I had this in the first place, and I'm not sure why I kept it either. Hoarder?  Moi?

But I have, and it takes its place amongst many other incomplete sticker albums including many football seasonal albums, E.T the extra-terrestrial, Mask, The Simpsons, and Star Wars ROTJ amongst others.
MOTORBIKES ALBUM (sorry for the blurry image!)

This Motorbikes sticker album was released in 1982 and was by Flash Collection. I guess I probably got it free with a comic; Possibly Shoot!, Match, Beano, Dandy, Whizzer & Chips, Buster..... could've been any of them really. Another possibility is a well-meaning relative got them (my brother had one too) knowing we liked sticker collections. Maybe. I seriously can't remember. All I know is motorbikes weren't our cup of tea and I don't think any of our friends had these albums either. Our sole focus was on completing our football albums, which we never succeeded in doing anyway! 😳

As you can see from the photo below, I didn't collect many. I suspect I only added the stickers that came in the free packs that came with the book.

Shrunken Crisp Packet

Erm. How do I explain this? This was a thing we did in the 1980s. Possibly people might've done it before and since. I only ever did it once. With a pack of Hula Hoops and a pack of Monster Munch. I don't know what happened to the Monster Munch packet but it looked cooler than this one below.

Sorry about the quality of photo. It was quite small and in hindsight I would've chosen a better background than a light brown carpet!

Anyway, I think the idea was to make keyring fobs from crisp packets by sticking them in the oven. It might not work today because most packets now have some kind of foil for preserving the contents, so I guess the results might be different.

Suffice to say, I never made this in to a key ring. It has just sat in a drawer for many many years.

If you want to give it a go with your kids (supervised!) a quick google and you'll find some instructions.