Thursday, October 14, 2021

LGB STAINZ - The Train Sets, year 1988

The year 1988 marked the 10th anniversary of the LGB Club in Pittsburgh /Pennsylvania. From August 01 to Aug. 04 1988. Al Lentz and Howard Gombert were among those organizing the show. LGB honored the club's loyalty and their ongoing impact on the sales volume for USA by issuing the 

LGB 1988 BTO 1

LGB 1988 BTO 1- Courtesy of
The edition was 500 which did not leave much stock to be sold to interested non-club LGB fans.

But wait - there is more....

LGB also issued 20 (!!) train sets in all black for the same occasion
LGB 1988 BTO 2
LGB 1988 BTO 2 - Courtesy of
This is the only image we could find. Don't expect these to come on the market often. YT is taken a wild guess by assuming this set was made for the "upper ten" of the LGB Club Pittsburgh/PA...

Well, LGB was on a roll concerning the 'tiny-series' edition volume train sets. On they went. After the city of Dortmund and their LGB club got a special edition train set (LGB 20536, see previous blog) , the home-based Nuremberg club didn't want to be left in the outfield... and got the 
LGB 20539-1
LGB 20539 1- Courtesy of Only Trains

Volume was 950 and the set was sold exclusively by Schweiger (LGB dealer) again. This time, Schweiger got another identical train set, too. With an edition volume of 50(!) the same set was made with the loco displaying a gold (colored) steam chest. 
LGB 20539 2
LGB 20539-2 - Courtesy of a now defunct business

 All 1,000 sets were numbered starting 1 through 1,000.

Maybe LGB finally figured  that after all there was actually no "method in this madness" since they stopped manufacturing these tiny volumes. If a business needs to make roughly $80 mill in sales a year just to make ends meet you're wasting your energy on dwarf series like that. So back to business as usual and 
LGB 21401
LGB 21401 - Courtesy of Only Trains

This set could be assembled from stock on shelf at LGB Nuremberg. The engine was the regular # 2020 and the cars were on regular catalog offer as well (# 4010, # 4042). The set was featured in the 1988/89 main catalog and the set came complete with a transformer, tracks and figurines. Price was DM 315.00 or about US$ 150.00 (relating to $ 350.00 today).

With all the LGB club hype going on that year in the USA LGBoA wanted some piece of the pie and got the 
LGB 21988
LGB 21988 - Courtesy of Only Trains
LGBoA got this Circus train set as an USA exclusive with an edition volume of 12,500. But as always, it didn't take long for the set to make its way back to Europe. With 12,500 produced - no wonder. They are still on the market and currently (mid October 2021) for sale  on eBay for roughly US$ 200.00.

++++++++++++++++++ to be continued...

Friday, October 1, 2021

LGB STAINZ - The Train Sets, years 1986/87

The year 1986/87 brought six new Stainz train sets into the LGB world. After the success of selling good quantities of Stainz train sets to manufacturers or big dealers exclusively LGB sought to continue this trend a little longer. 

LGB 20533 loco - Courtesy of

LGB 20533

Another Schweiger set came out in 1986 celebrating 150 years of "German" Railroads with the Schweiger image printed red and white while the train set was colored green and yellow.

LGB 20533 - Courtesy of
Schweiger was the biggest LGB dealer in the Nuremberg region  and for a second time had gotten an exclusive edition with the limited set number of 1,150. To be sold exclusively through Schweiger. That didn't sit well with the toy dealer association of which Schweiger was a member. So LGB had to do the  inevitable and give an exclusive set to VEDES (toy dealer association's name)

LGB 20533-02

Look closely and you can see that were the Schweiger label was LGB glued over it a sign labeled "VEDES" 1988 and a running number verifying the customer got a limited edition with a designated volume number...  Uhh, the workings of jealousy ..

Meanwhile back on the ranch... Marshall Fields, Chicago's flagship store with ties to the really mighty LGB club wanted another exclusive set and got the 

LGB 20534 MF

LGB 20534 MF- Courtesy of Only Trains
It was pretty much the same as two years before but at least LGB printed a current "1986" on the set. The edition volume was 1,000.

Now the race was on, next in line was Schweiger again with the 
LGB 20535
LGB 20535 - Courtesy of Only Trains
This set was again commemorating "150 Years of German Railroad" and was so labeled " 150 Jahre Deutsche Eisenbahnen". Schweiger received 1,400 sets.

In Dortmund,  a city in Germany's coal and mining center, Luetgenau Toys wanted in on the game and got the 
LGB 20536
LGB 20536 - Courtesy of

Luetgenau got 1.500 sets for exclusive use/sale. Luetgenau had to close its doors for good just this summer of 2021 after 84 years in business.

Marshal Fields got into the game one more time with the 
LGB 20537

LGB 20537 - Courtesy of Only Trains
That same year Marshal Fields was sold to the British conglomerate BAT/BATUS and should see its empire being shrunk to little more than the flagship store. 

After all this ruckus about toy dealers and department stores selling LGB sets the Metro-Group (a  West-German wholesaler/retailer similar to Publix, Meyers or Anderson) wanted in on the game. A power player in the West-German grocery/wholesale market it was better known for doing business the rough and half legal way, forcing its will onto suppliers. LGB exclusively issued the 
LGB 91401
LGB 91401 (PRIMUS) - Courtesy of Only Trains
to the PRIMUS Co, a sub-company to Metro. Primus had to close its doors a few years later, riddled in lawsuits. Metro is still active but has lost a good portion of its size and power. The edition volume was never published but can be assumed at 10,000.

+++++++++++++++++ to be continued.................

Thursday, September 16, 2021

LGB STAINZ - The Train Sets, year 1985

Another golden year for LGB and the Stainz train sets would see 6 new versions of train sets added to their line:

LGB 20150

LGB 20150 - Courtesy  of Only Trains
The 150 Years German Railway(s) Anniversary was a special edition that came in a "limited" volume of 12,000. The loco was a Stainz 2020 in red with a black chassis, two passenger cars in red, highly decorated and resembling a Christmas theme while featuring the City of Nuremberg coat of arms. It didn't take long until this set, though not offered in any main catalog, made its way into the USA. It survived and one set  just sold in mid August for US$ 160.00.

LGB 20528

This set was made for The Schweiger Toy company, the biggest toy dealer in Nuremberg and still existing today but with a rather small inventory/offer regarding LGB stock. Back in 1985 they were one of the big players in the LGB game and got their own "150 years German Railway Anniversary" train set in a yellow version. There were two set versions, one with a completely black steam chest, the LGB 20528-1
LGB 20528-1 - Courtesy of
This black version came in an edition of 60 (!!) only.
And the LGB 20528-2 with a golden steam chest - see set in the middle, below:
LGB 20528-2 - Courtesy of

This set had an edition for Schweiger of 1,000 and was sold by Schweiger Toys exclusively.

LGB 20531
This was a train set with an LGB 2010 and 2 container cars. The containers were originally white/grey and were custom-labeled for 16 different companies. The editions ran anywhere between 25 and 100 sets per 'special-edition' company. There were the companies that ordered their special LGB 20531 edition:
Abele. Breuninger, Daufth, Hinsche, Eberhardt, Kurtz, Panne, Reimann, Schinacher, Schnabel, Schumann, Schueler, Sindel, Thommes, Zinthaefner. Below are some examples we found:
LGB 20531 Breuninger - Cortesy of Worthpoint

LGB 20531 ? - Courtesy of

LGB 20531 Kurtz - Courtsey of

LGB 20531 in blue for Schumann Co, advertising a soft drink - Courtesy of
The cars in the upper section do not belong to the LGB 20531 set

The LGB numbers LGB 20531Y and LGB 20531-Z refer to some of those clients' train sets.

LGB 20532

Another client based set was the LGB 20532 made for the Bundesgartenschau Berlin, (Quote:)"which is a biennial federal horticulture show in Germany. It also covers topics like landscaping. Taking place in different cities, the location changes in a two-year cycle." (Quote end. By Wikipedia)
This set is often misnamed as the orient Express set which it is NOT.
LGB 20532 incomplete, Courtesy of
This set was not cataloged and came in an edition of 1,000.

++++++++++++++++++++++ to be continued...

Friday, August 27, 2021

LGB STAINZ Train Sets - LGB 1981-2, LGB 20301 MF, LGB 20501,20520,20522,20526

With a heavy heart we like to let you know that Klaus Baumann, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Old LGB Nuremberg passed away last Friday, August 27, 2021 at the age of 85. He is survived by his wife Barbara of 58 years, his two grown children and their families. His life was dedicated to LGB and his influence on the brand will live on forever.


Aah, the joys of the Golden Years! LGB was at its height and knew that the money was in the "starter sets" with the Stains sets leading the team.

The year 1984 started with the 1981 Anniversary train set seeing a 2nd edition volume. To phrase our own blog:

" In 1984 the set was released AGAIN with an edition of 1,000 and a loco with a red steam chest. This edition was cataloged in the 1984 catalog on page 14. Why? That will remain an LGB mystery. That edition was RARE and was hard to find, even for your Famous Klaus. We tracked it down on Hattons Model Railways in the UK:

LGB 1981 - 2 Courtesy of
As our dearest readers might remember, 1984 was also the year when the first LGB Clubs sprang to life in the USA and their success was phenomenal. That input into their profit situation was aboon for LGB and their thank-you mirrored in the LGB 20301 MF for Marshall Fields. The LGB Club Chicago had quite a lot of links to the major department store. An edition volume of 500 (!!) speaks volume of the ties that bound.
LGB 20301 MF - Courtesy of
The set came with a transformer and 4 figurines. The engine was either an LGB 2010 or 2020 base model. An additional passenger car was also available. It was a USA special and not sold in Germany nor Europe. 

LGB was right at it with another STAINZ set for the VEDES group, the German toy store association. The LGB 20501:
LGB 20501 - Courtesy of Only Trains
The set was sold as a US special as well as in Germany and Europe. Edition is unknown. LGB used the item number 20501 also on another set featuring the LGB 2076.

The next specialty set was made for MC Modellbahn Center - one of the big LGB retail stores/dealers in Western Germany. The store is still in operation today!. Edition volume was 600, the train set celebrated the "Pinzgauer RR", the blue car labeled w/PNZGA SCHENKE, the green car labeled "Zell a.See - Krimml"
LGB 20520 - Courtesy of

The set is still available today and grootspoor currently (August 2021) advertises it for EU 299.00 (approx. US$ 356.00)

The nexStainz set was LGB 20522, another retail-dealer special, this one for the German association of  "Freizeit-Hobby-Spiel" (Leisure Time, Hobby, Play). The set included either a 2010 or a 2020
LGB 20522 - Courtesy of

At the time of writing this set is also available at Grootspoor for EU 299.99 or about US$ 356.00. Edition volume is unknown.

And just in time for Christmas LGB cooperated with another Nuremberg Specialty manufacturer the gingerbread maker "Schmidt Lebkuchen". The LGB 20526  edition was limited to 1,000:
LGB 20526 complete set - Courtesy of Only Trains

Sales were exclusively operated through the Schmidt bakery.

++++++++++++++++++++++ to be continued............

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

LGB STAINZ Train Sets - LGB 20301 BZ, 20513, 20514, 20516

 The early 1980's were the fat years for LGB. The LGB trains were a worldwide success, LGB was everywhere, in retail stores, in at least 20 countries worldwide, LGB Club activity spanning continents. (National) German TV shows featured LGB trains at least once a month. And the Richter brothers started to live the good life.

The STAINZ Train sets built the bedrock of the LGB success story. And 1983 was proof for that. After the 100 anniversary set 1981 sold very well LGB sought to replicate that success and published the "Blue Train", with an edition volume of 20,000:

LGB 20301 BZ engine - Courtesy of

LGB 20301 BZ train set - Courtesy of
The LGB Kompendium describes the Blue Train as follows: (quote)
"Passenger Train "Blue Train" consisting of  steam loco (base model 2020) and 2 passenger cars. Loco chassis, boiler, smoke stack and built-on in black, steam chest in silver color, cab in blue, labeled loco No "2" and "LGB". Connecting rods in silver/red, loco wheels red. Both cars (base model 3007) blue, roof in grey, w/3 small roof vents each. Labeled underneath the roof w/"BLAUE ZUG/ BLUE TRAIN / LE TRAIN BLEU". Decorative lines below windows forming a rectangle. Both cars w/spoked wheels. ..."

According to the Kompendium LGB made an 20301 BZ with a golden steam chest but we did not find any photo images of that. If they exist they were probably made for VIP business partners as a give-away. LGB advertised this train set with a one-leaf flyer in German(y) only:

Advertising the Blue Train - LGB flyer from 1983
 The 'backside" advertised the diesel engine RED Train train set.

A Google search revealed that despite no further advertising the Blue Train found its way to LGBoA faster than greased lightning since all advertised ('re'sale) Blue Trains were/are offered in the USA. The price was probably around US$ 400, justified by LGB(oA) because of the 'limited edition". Though there is serious doubt they ever revealed that 20,000 were made....

But that wasn't enough to fill LGB coffers aside from the regular LGB offer in the main catalog featuring 164(!) pages. LGB also offered these sets:

LGB 20513
LGB 20513 - Courtesy of
This set featuring an LGB 2020 in red, one box car and one passenger car (base model 3007). The series was made for VEDES, a German toy dealer/retailer association (very powerful in those years). Hence the labeling" Freizeit, Hobby, Spiel" (Leisure time, hobby, play- which was supposed to mirror the product diversity of the toy retailer. As if your local FAO Schwarz store needed any introduction...). The limited edition was 1,000. Of which - by pure toy store(y) miracle - most ended up in the USA...

LGB 20514
LGB 20514 - Courtesy of
This set was most probably made for the Austrian toy dealer association and consisted of an LGB 2010 engine, a high gondola car, base model LGB 4021-8 and a flat car (LGB 4003 D) with a white container labeled DHS and "Spiel & Hobby". The edition volume was 800. 

LGB 20516

the set included a LGB 2020-7 with a green cabin on a black body with a red chassis, a green high gondola car (LGB 4021) and a boxcar with labeling for the Brinkmann company.

LGB 20516 Brinkmann car
Edition was also limited to 800. No price is known nor to whom it was sold by Brinkmann or for Brinkmann.
There is no history left on the Brinkmann company and Yours Truly would appreciate any further knowledge from our dear readers.

+++++++++++++++++++to be continued...


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

LGB STAINZ - Train Sets, LGB 20401 and LGB 1981

The very first LGB catalog (1968) featured also the very first "STAINZ" LGB freight train set, the LGB 20401. As with the passenger train set, the German version did not have an item number the first year but the English version did. However the next year's catalog (1969) showed an item number for the freight train set in both catalogs, English and German.

Below are examples of the very first STAINZ freight train set:

LGB 20401 - Courtesy of

LGB 20401 - Courtesy of

LGB 20401 - Courtesy of

LGB 20401 - Courtesy of

The above photos all show versions of the LGB 20401 set. All in all LGB offered 13 (!) versions of this freight train set. The first ever set contained these items:
(1) steam locomotive base model 2040 and 2 freight cars (plus 4 figurines, tracks to form a circle and one power cable). Loco cabin and boiler in black, chassis in red, "Heuler" motor, no pick-up shoes, a small dummy headlight, round roof vent, red loco wheels, cabin labeled "4". One high-sided (freight) gondola (base model 4020) and one boxcar (base model 4030) both in light brown
Thereafter and over the years they differed as follows:

20401-2:  as (1) but operating head and rear lights, cabin # "4" sometimes in silver color
20401-3:  as (2) but Cabin # "4" gold color, high sided gondola in green (base model 4021)
20401-4:  as (3) but motor now a regular Buehler motor, w/pick-up shoes, big operating head and rear lights, square roof vent.
20401-5:  as (4) but yellow boxcar "Chiquita" w/ wraparound platform railing (starting 1973)
20401-6:  as (5) but loco base model 2010 with green cabin
20401-7:  as (6) but loco in dark brown w/ loco # "1",  high sided gondola either green or brown(model 4021) w/labeling
20401-8:  as (7) but both freight cars w/plastic covered steel axles, boxcar w/ open sided platform railing
20401-9:  as (8) but matte red covering box w/cellophane window
20401-10:as (9) but shiny red covering box w/window; edition later came with labeling:"Lehmann Gross-Bahn-The Big Train"
20401-11:as(10) but high sided gondola in  brown and sometimes grey inside
20401-12:as(11) but high sided gondola in  dark brown and sometimes grey inside
20401-13:as(12) but loco 2020 w/green cabin
All sets in boxes w/ windows have transformers.

Pricing started with DM 176.00 which was about US$ 45.00 in 1968/70 or about US$ 339.00 in today's money. Edition wise 10,000 were manufactured at least every year and the Internet, retail and/or eBay market offers them every now and then. They are neither rare nor massively valuable and even more seldom complete.

LGB built/manufactured the LGB 20401 sets until 1987.

There is another LGB set that also carries the number 20401 albeit with the addition RZ, that is LGB 20401 RZ which is a diesel loco set, called the "Red Train Set". It was made from 1983 to 1985 and had an edition volume of 15,000.

Well, after all this set mania and confusion LGB had profited immensely from their well earned success and it was time to celebrate. In 1981 Lehmann Brothers celebrated their 100th anniversary (remember they started out in 1881 in Berlin with a tin toy company) and they manufactured and offered the "100 Year Lehmann 1881-1981" Anniversary Set
LGB 1981 1 - Courtesy

LGB 1981 1 - Courtesy of Only Trains 

Here are some very special facts about this anniversary set:

No 1: It was NEVER offered in any LGB catalog

No 2: It was NEVER mentioned in the 100th Anniversary catalog of 1981

No 3: It NEVER got its own flyer or brochure

No 4: 19,000 sets were manufactured

No 5: It came out on the height of the LGB craze. In Germany as well as in the USA the market was growing immensely.

No 6: It is still available on the market mostly in very good condition. Why? People simply fell for the marketing trick that it would be valuable and kept it on a shelve instead of enjoying it.

No 7: In 1984 the set was released AGAIN with an edition of 1,000 and a loco with a red steam chest. This edition was cataloged in the 1984 catalog on page 14. Why? That will remain an LGB mystery. That edition was RARE and was hard to find, even for your Famous Klaus. We tracked it down on Hattons Model Railways in the UK:

LGB 1981 2 - Courtesy of

+++++++++++++++++ to be continued...

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

LGB STAINZ - Train Sets, LGB 20301

The very first LGB engine set ever, the LGB 20301 came out in 1968 and had no item number. It was that special!

LGB catalog 1968, back page 

Hobby and toy markets had known model trains for about 70 years by now but never in this size, quality, affordability, nor in this precision to the archetype. A new material - LURAN plastic - made it possible. Precision mold design and construction combined with injection molding this new plastic type set the stage for detail rich, temperature and UV light resistant, fade-proof and durable rolling stock that could be operated indoors and outdoors, year-round. A new type of track, made of hard alloy aluminum and VESTOLEN, an even more durable plastic than LURAN but less pliable completed the offer for this completely new type of model railway fun. 

From the start, LGB offered two catalog versions: German and English. The English version displayed item numbers:

And there might be a simple reason: in 1968 only 60% of households had a telephone in Western Germany. The general way of shopping (anything) was to go into a retail store and buy the item. In the USA at the same time about 90% of all households had a phone and distances to the next retail store often demanded a phone call upfront to order items before you went into town to pick them up. Hence, item numbers ensured you'd get the item you wanted.

The LGB 20301 Passenger Train set consisted of the LGB engine # 2020, and 2 passenger cars, the LGB # 3000 and #3010:

LGB 20301-1 from 1968- Courtesy of

In the above set the electrical cord is missing. The first set did neither include a throttle nor a transformer. The price was DM 198.00 which was the equivalent to US$ 50.00 or in today's value about US$ 380.00. 

Following is a description of what the first original #20301 set consisted of:

"20301-1: Passenger train consisting of locomotive (base model # 2020) and 2 passenger cars. Loco chassis in red, cabin in dark brown w/ loco # "2", boiler and funnel smoke stack black, "Heuler" motor, no pick-up shoes, round roof vent, lights not functioning, connecting rods in silver-red, disk wheels in red. One car (base model # 3010) dark green, grey roof w/ roof light, enclosed railing on car platform, labeled"III" under 1st and 4th window (for coach class). One car (base model # 3000) brown, roof in grey w/ 2 vents, enclosed platform railing,  labeled"3" under 1st and 4th window (for coach class). Both cars w/ metal axles and spoke wheels." (Quoted/translated from LGB Kompendium, pg. 1207).

The Kompendium description focused on the rolling stock. However the complete set contained LGB track to form a circle, a regular power cord and 4 figurines.

When you see offers on eBay or other sources claiming to be LGB sets from 1968 make sure to compare them to the above and  following descriptions to understand the completeness and value of the sets offered.

The LGB set 20301 was made from 1968 to 1991. BUT - big but- until 1974 the passenger set had the LGB 2020 loco in brown upfront. That year LGB changed the front loco to an LGB 2020 with a green cab, now already showcasing the the prototype Stainz loco:

LGB catalog 1974/75 pg 8 - featuring the set # 20301-7

By that time LGB had exchanged the passenger cars as well while the catalog cover that year still displayed the original 1968 version of the train set.

All in all, LGB changed or added features to the LGB 20301 train set as follows:

20301-2:  as 20301-1 but loco with front and back lights functioning
20301-3:  as -2 but loco w/gold colored number on cabin and car (3010)green. packaging w/color photo of passenger train on yellow/green background (German version)
20301-4:  as -3 but car (3000) brown
20301-5:  as -4 but w/big lights, square roof vents, some packages w/pick-up shoes
20301-6:  loco with brown cabin and gold colored window frame
changing loco color and cars in 1974 to
20301-7:   loco w/green cabin, 1 car (#3011) upper part cream-white,lower part red, mounted roof lights, labeled"2" under 1st and 4th window, dark roof edges. 1 car (base model # 3012) upper part cream-white, lower part blue, all else see # 3011. Packaging changed to light red w/Cellophane window.
20301-8:  as -7 but both cars w/ chassis labeling in white Type 1
20301-9:  as -8 but loco w/labeling "Letzte HU 26.6.76" in white ("last main check on June 26 1976")
20301-10:as -9 but loco w/labeling "letzte HU 26.6.79 or "Letzte HU 22.6.64. Both cars labeled with car data. Labeled "Nichtraucher" (Nonsmoker) in black on upper left next to 1st window, located next to coach class in black color on white. Chassis labeling Type 1,2 or 3. since 1984 packaging in dark red made from corrugated paper. Sets in packaging w/out window have no transformer.

LGB knew instantly about their success and responded soundly with annual price increases. The sales price for the Passenger Train set 20301 went therefor from DM 198.00 in 1968 to DM 275.00 in 1975. That equals US$ 50.00 (1968) to US$ 75.00 (1975) which was still 20% more than average wages had increased over the same time frame.