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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

Delacoste and French Production.

Page 1: Introduction.

In the golden age of Subbuteo in the 1970s and early 1980s, Subbuteo's international markets were handled by a series of exclusive distributors, unique to each individual country. These companies were often an established game producing company in that country. Italy had Edilio Parodi, Germany had Schnipp & Schuss (and later Jumbo), the USA has Jokari, and France had Delacoste. These companies would pick and choose the relevant items from the full Subbuteo range to sell in their own markets. So the French distributors sold the football and rugby games but not the cricket, and had a team range that featured mostly French league sides with a few national sides and other famous clubs also available. 

Delacoste had their own numbering system but luckily they also produced their own catalogues, which can enable us to work out what items and teams they sold. The purpose of the next few pages is to illustrate and explain this range. 

March 2005: As usual with Subbuteo, the more information you get, the more confusing it all gets. When I first started this article on French production, I had access to three catalogues, and it all made some kind of sense. Alas, now I have information from another three catalogues, the whole thing gets more sticky. For a start we have a whole new era to contend with....

France's Blue Period.

This was probably the earliest period for Subbuteo in France, given that Subbuteo exported very little before 1970. This catalogue dates from the early 1970s, and as you can see from the above illustration, it was monochrome with just a touch of a nice pastel blue. For those of you familiar with these pages, it is interesting to note that...

The teams were not illustrated, but did receive descriptions in the usual Subbuteo way. Like the Delacoste catalogues, the teams are listed numerically. The teams are almost in alphabetical order but there are exceptions. This suggests that there may be at least one more catalogue before this one. 

The numbering system consisted of a four figure number, and the first two figures were always 57. It is worth noting that there were very few accessories advertised (just the fence, goalkeepers, footballs (x2), pitch, scoreboard, and floodlights). The numbers for the box sets were 5701-04, accessories 5720-26, and teams 5748-73. The alphabetical range of teams started at 5750, but two final French teams (Sedan, Valenciennes) had been introduced at 5748 and 5749. 

The Delacoste catalogues. 

These pages are produced using three A4 Delacoste catalogues from the late 1970s, which have the advantage of being fully illustrated. Thanks to Eddie Lang and Chris Allen, who have both provided details from these catalogues. 

March 2005: In this section originally, I suggested that another catalogue existed between the second and third ones illustrated. I now have details of the teams from this catalogue, so feel able to call my final catalogue "D". Obviously if some other catalogues appear, it will mess up my system yet further. 

None of the French catalogues are dated, but the dates can be guessed from the contents. 

Catalogue "A" Catalogue "B" Catalogue "D"

I've called these catalogues A, B, C and D so that I can indicate which catalogues each reference number set appears in. If anyone owns any different French catalogues, then please let me know. 

The gentleman playing Subbuteo on the front of catalogues A and B is Raymond Kopa, "Champion International de Football". What is quite amusing is that Delacoste also placed Mr. Kopa's head on the kicking footballer logo.  

Delacoste Numbering Explained. 

   

Delacoste used the English boxes for all their products, but put their own stickers on each box. The numbers used a six figure code and look complicated. In fact, only three of these numbers ever change, and one of these only changes when they started running out of numbers! The format is either 656.xx2 or 657.xx2. The xx is just a two figure number, which starts at 01, and runs into the 90s before 657.xx2 is used. The original range has box sets using 656.1x2; accessories at 656.2x2 and 656.3x2; teams at 656.4x2 to 656.7x2; and rugby in the range 656.8x2. Later catalogues filled in the gaps, sometimes working backwards towards the existing items.

The 1981 Catalogue.

The only page I have of this catalogue is the one featuring the French teams. As you can see, the styling matches the English catalogue of 1981. However, the player pictures are actually a mix of zombie and lightweight illustrations. The numbering has changed again for this one, with a "C" number for each team. On this page of French sides, the numbers start at C1005 for Angers, and finish at C1079 for Valenciennes. Obviously there are gaps, and logic would suggest that these were filled in with non-French sides in the range. This would mean that the whole French team range had been put in alphabetical order before being renumbered. 

The "C" numbers for teams also suggests that the French may have adopted the English "Cxxx" number range for the accessories.

If all this explanation has not put you off, you can now have a look at the French box sets and accessories, or the French league sides, or other teams sold in France.


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