COPIES & CLONES
Miniature Apollo Exploration set
This boxed set is often assumed to be part of the Apollo Moon Exploring series as sold by Imperial Toys of Los Angeles (linked at left), but I'm not convinced. The Imperial cards all clearly state who marketed them; there's no such mention on this box. No Imperial card has ever turned up in Europe before collectors bought them from US sellers, whereas this boxed set was definitely available in Britain and possibly on the Continent as well.
In the US, this set was a Montgomery Ward exclusive, available for $4.77 through their mail order catalogue (see below). In fact it replaced Ward's Golden Astronaut set (which only appeared in the 1969 catalogue) and is offered in the 1970 and 1971 catalogues.
Virtually all the toys in the set were produced by LP (the set contains an example of most of the small space toys LP produced, except it contains only one Explorer Car). The large rocket and the plastic playmat were sourced from other manufacturers.
The small toys came packed in little plastic baggies (see below), some containing a single toy and some containing more. John Eaton owns a set with baggies still sealed, which allows us to include an accurate inventory with the list of LP-produced toys linked below.
Bagged toys by LP in set
1970-71 Montgomery Ward catalogues
Above and below are the entries for this set from two Montgomery Ward catalogues for 1970 and 1971 respectively, showing different pictures and text. The 1971 picture also shows the large Apollo rocket in white, which may have been altered in the picture since all examples of the actual toy we know are either yellow or orange.
$4.77 in 1970 would be worth around $17.70 in today's money. And excellent value compared to 12 cards by Imperial at 35¢ each for a total of $4.22, which would mean having far fewer figures, nor the large rocket or playmat. (today's value obtained by calculator at measuringworth.com - opens in new window)
1970 and 1971