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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

Catalogues and Price Lists: Page 1.

I have always loved catalogues. Perhaps that's why this site has turned into one. As a normal working class lad, I could never afford all the things I wanted. I might have done very well at birthdays, and Christmas, but this only allowed me to skim the surface of my favourite toy ranges, and for the rest of the year I would have my nose in a catalogue planning all the things I would buy when I was grown up. All the big toy manufacturers produced yearly catalogues, and these were usually available free, or for a few pence at most. My parents were probably lucky that I was happy with my visit to the local Gamleys if I came away with a couple of catalogues, rather than anything expensive.

Being a hoarder, I still have a box of well thumbed catalogues from Lego, Matchbox, Corgi, Britains, and of course, Subbuteo. Without that collection, this site would never have been attempted. I've since discovered that Subbuteo have produced a catalogue every year from the 1940s to 1996. These catalogues were usually included in the box sets, and so luckily are reasonably common. 

I'm aware that many site visitors like to collect Subbuteo paperwork - it takes up less room for a start. The next two pages illustrate many of the Subbuteo catalogues I've spotted on the internet. Where I actually own the catalogue, or have been supplied details, I have tried to comment on the number of teams available in that year, and which accessories are being advertised. If anyone can send me these details from the other catalogues, I would be grateful. I am especially interested in obtaining the 1989 catalogue, plus some of the 1960s ones.

The third page of this list features any other bits of advertising paperwork I've seen.

The 1940s.

1948-49

1949-50

1948-49: Subbuteo collector Ashley Hemming has dated this catalogue for me to August "Season 1948-49", and has advised that this was the first Subbuteo catalogue produced. The A-Z accessory range had already reached Set O, which was the celluloid teams. However, these were only available in red and blue shirts. The range of card teams stood at sixteen, which was small enough to still be listed under the card team reference of set G. The most interesting fact is that team five was not the sky blue/white of Man City, but black and white stripes with white shorts. The list also had an advert  for the "Soccer Market" card game. Everything was mail order only at this point, and Subbuteo was just the name of the game, not the company.
1949-50:
This is the earliest commonly seen catalogue, and suggests a more professional footing for the fledgling company. The long winded "Popular Introductory Assembly Outfit" was still the only box set available though. The number of teams had increased to twenty four, and these were laid out in a square table complete with team names. This format for the teams continued until 1977. The celluloid figures were now available in more colours, but whilst the card figures were available in all 24 kits, the celluloids were 1-18 only. Team No5 had switched to its familiar light blue Man City, and team 19 was the red, amber and black hoops of Bradford (Park Avenue). The A-Z range reached Set U (without any duplication of letters).

The 1950s.

1950-51

1951-52

1952-53

1953-54

1954-55

1955-56

1956-57

1957-58

1958-59 1959-60

Thanks to everyone who has been sending details in for this section. A few different covers were tried, and the best (in my view) was the kicking footballer used with different colour backgrounds for the three catalogues between 1953-54 and 1955-56. The familiar 1960s cover of the desperate goalkeeper arrived in 1957-58.
1950-51:
This catalogue still had twenty four teams, with 19-24 available in celluloid from November 1950 (the catalogue is dated August 1950).
1951-52: Peter Adolph was taking a breather.... there were no changes to the number of teams or accessories, and an identical cover.
1952-53:
Another dull cover for this one. The team list increased to 26 with the addition of Celtic and Leeds. The card teams were advertised as "press-out" except for teams 3, 4, 11 and 12 which still had to be cut out with scissors. The accessory range reached set X, with the whistle, timer, and glue being added.
1953-54:
The first showing for the big kicking footballer design used until 1955-56. The classic 1950s catalogue, and this decade's range was now fully established. The game now came in three different versions, Popular, Combination and Super. The small box set (popular) therefore left the accessory range, and was replaced at Set A by the "Basic Accessory Outfit". The accessory range reached Z, the score recorder, and also included Sets FF, HH, NN. Team numbers moved to 28 with the addition of Hearts and Norwich City.
1954-55:
A very similar catalogue to the previous year. Set QQ was added to the accessories, and teams moved on to 30 with Partick Thistle and East Fife added.
1955-56:
Another quiet year, as team numbers increased by one to 31 with the arrival of Blackburn Rovers. There were no longer any "cut-out" card teams.
1956-57: A brief return to dull covers. The team list remained at 31, whilst the accessories list saw sets JJ (ball raising chute) and LL (spare goalkeepers), as letters continued to be doubled up
1957-58: This was the first list to feature the diving goalkeeper cover that was used for most of the 1960s, through the coming of the continental figures and accessories. The EPNS cups, plaque and medal were illustrated in black and white on a extra slim panel,  and these were the first photos in a Subbuteo catalogue. The team range extended by another two teams to 33 adding then giants of the amateur game, Barnet and Bishop Auckland. 
1958-59: This had the diving goalkeeper cover in a lovely two tone blue and green. Sadly, most of the later versions were far duller. It is actually an odd picture if you study it - The goalkeeper seems to have been chipped, but the ball is going past the post... Inside the catalogue, team numbers were up to 36. The accessory list saw set MM (a rugby pitch) introduced.
1959-60:
No new teams this year. The key change was in set N, where the goals changed from copper wire to plastic.

The 1960s.

1960-61

1961-62

1963-64

1964-65

1965-66

1966-67

April 1967

As you can see, the price list was remarkably unchanged until the Waddingtons take-over in 1967-68

1960-61: In this blue catalogue, there were still no "continental" style sets or OO scale players, and the cups continued to be illustrated on a side flap. Note the final appearance of the 1950s kicking footballer logo, and the PA Adolph name below it. For the third year running, the team range was unchanged, while the accessories only saw a new Set Z, and set ZZ, which was the name sheets for the new score recorder. All change next year though....
1961-62: This monochrome grey cover hid the most important milestone in Subbuteo history. The OO scale figures had arrived. Details appeared on the small end-panel fold-out on the reverse of the cups and medals page (replacing the illustrations of those sets). This stated "Late News! New Subbuteo 'Continental' de-luxe equipment for season 1961/62 (available from late September)." It only mentioned the team set and the floodlighting at this stage, and no numbers were given. The number of teams was unchanged from 1958, with 36 available. However, the old Bradford PA strip (ref 19) was replaced by the blue and red stripes of Barcelona thus preventing it from gaining an OO scale version. The accessories were otherwise unchanged.
1962-63: The new continental range was established here with C100-C104. However, C103 and C104 weren't available until November 1962.
1963-64: The green catalogue. The Continental range continued its expansion to C109, with C107-C109 being "available from August 1963". This first version of C109 was two deluxe goals with "black or white PVC netting". The team list stretched off its usual two pages reaching ref 40, Crystal Palace. The back page featured rosettes and favours, which were a short-lived statue. In the A-Z range, a badge at Set BB arrived, but sets I, J, K and MM departed.
1965-66: Teams reached 48 this year, and the continental range was at C114. C113 and C114 were their first versions, being simply the parts of the football club flag (C112). The A-Z range remained unchanged.
April 1967: I'm not sure why this extra catalogue was produced, although price increases seem a possible cause. The teams reached 52. The Continental accessories are back down to C112 (and C109 was also dropped) whilst the A-Z range lost sets A and B. 

1967-68

1968-69

1969-70

1970-71

A welcome change of cover for the final few price lists before they become full catalogues. I've allowed a slight cross-over with the 1970s because of this. The change of design was probably due to the Waddingtons take-over. The first catalogues here are important to early team collectors as they mark the change-over from short-sleeved heavyweights to the classic version. 
1967-68: With its new colour cover, this list ushered in the glory period for Subbuteo. The list opened out differently, to produce twelve sides of text, rather than the previous eight. There was a full colour picture illustrating most of the continental range, plus the details of the 1966 World Cup team range. Teams were still at 52, and this was the first year of the classic heavyweight, which replaced the short-sleeved version. We can be sure of this, because it is the final catalogue with the original hoop ref. 40 Crystal Palace and the black shorts on ref 28 Norwich. It is possibly the final catalogue for short-sleeved teams, depending on whether teams 53-55 were produced in that figure. The Continental accessory range was at C116 (the car sticker). The colour illustration still showed the goals as C109, but that had already been dropped.
1968-69: The next catalogue had minor, but important changes. The team range increased to 55. This was the final count for the celluloid teams, and might be the final count for the short-sleeved heavyweight (unless that was 1967-68). This was the only yearly list to show the green version of ref 54 (although it is in the big late 1960s catalogue shown below). It was also the last year for black shorts on refs 20 and 24. The 1966 World Cup teams were simplified, with 9 of the 16 sides referred back to the number range. The accessory ranges did not change (but the prices increased). The International Edition was introduced (for 119/11d).
1969-70: This list was, in some ways, a step back. The illustration and extra colours have gone, making room for the cricket range and an order form (both previously had their own forms). The fold-outs were wider though. The football accessory ranges leapt forward. The Continental range reached C126 (making ten new items) and Sets L and Z were updated in the older range. The teams raced on to 61 (an unnamed red/yellow striped team). The 1966 World Cup teams were still listed, and ref 46 now had amber shorts.
1970-71: This year was an even bigger fold out list, with an extra fold bringing sixteen pages. The order forms were still incorporated, and rugby teams and accessories joined the mix. The team range moved on to 75, and the named teams were now those at the Mexico World Cup (1970). Ref 26 suddenly had blue shorts, 32 had black shorts, and ref 47 had tangerine shirts. None of these changes survived the arrival of illustrated teams in 1973. The continental accessory range made it to C127, but lost C115 and C116. The old range lost Sets T and Y. The green version of C108 was introduced (as were the different coloured rugby and cricket versions). In the box sets, the new World Cup Edition became the biggest set thus far (at 158/). Fivesides was still available, and Angling was introduced (cost was 49/11d). The track-suited teams swapped from light and dark blue to red and yellow, although the earlier colours were still available "while stocks last". And last they certainly did.

This superb twenty-four page catalogue was undated, but can be pinned down to 1969, as team numbers have reached the original 55 and the Continental range reached C126, with several items shown as "new". The training sets were "stop press" and the rugby set has also squeezed in towards the back, although no teams or accessories were mentioned.

This page is has gone on for too long, soI'll break the list at this point. If you want to look at the later catalogues, then follow the link.


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