Argos Catalogues

Argos is a UK company that was formed in 1973. It is unique in the UK due to its ‘order and wait’ in-store shopping format, but for many UK residents it was its 6 monthly catalogue that really got us excited. In the run up to Christmas I would get the latest Argos catalogue and literally pour over it for hours and days just working out what toys and games I would like to get that year.

Looking back, these magazines are an amazing snapshot back to a bygone era which show not only what was out there but what were the hot properties of the day. You can often see which ones were hot by how much ‘real estate’ each property got in the catalogue that year. What’s also incredible to see is how many properties lasted for so long with literally the same photographs being used of a product for nearly a decade.

It’s like stepping into a time machine.
It really is a window into the past.
My favourite sections were the digital watches, action figures and electronic games but there is so much good stuff in them. Some of the photos that have real life models in them are pretty ‘interesting’ in terms of haircuts and fashion too of course! And it’s great to see what the level of technology was in each year from the pages that have the media formats such as blank VHS tapes or floppy disks etc. It’s like stepping into a time machine. It really is a window into the past.

I also like looking at how the selection of a particular property changes over the years. I’m still looking for PDFs or physical copies of three catalogues from the 80s and once I have some of them I can start looking at properties such as Masters of the Universe and seeing how the selection changed each year and which properties came in to get more page real estate in the catalogue.

I do often wonder what happened to the products that were used for the photo shoots. Who got to take them home after the shoot was over? For example I wonder if this kid in the photo on the right got to keep the Bigfoot toy. I’m thinking he probably didn’t and that’s why he doesn’t look particularly happy.

Some of the dioramas were pretty cool too for things like Masters of the Universe or M.A.S.K. where they would lay out all the toys into a kind of battle scene. I’d love to watch a ‘Making Of’ documentary of the photo shoots of these Argos catalogues.

Argos car games
Issue Year Season PDF Physical Copy
01 1973 1973/1974 View on Issuu

View cover
02 1974 1974 View on Issuu
03 1974 1974/1975 View on Issuu
04 1975 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
05 1976 Spring/Summer View on Issuu
06 1976 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
07 1977 Spring/Summer View on Issuu
08 1977 Autumn View on Issuu
09 1978 Spring View on Issuu
10 1978 Autumn View on Issuu View cover
11 1979 Spring/Summer View on Issuu
12 1979 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
13 1980 Spring/Summer View on Issuu
14 1980 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
15 1981 Spring/Summer View on Issuu
16 1981 Autumn/Winter
17 1982 Spring View on Issuu View cover
18 1982 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
19 1983 Spring/Summer
20 1983 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
21 1984 Spring View on Issuu View cover
22 1984 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
23 1985 Spring/Summer View on Issuu View cover
24 1985 Autumn View on Issuu View cover
25 1986 Spring/Summer View on Issuu View cover
26 1986 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu View cover
27 1987 Spring/Summer View cover
28 1987 Autumn/Winter View cover
29 1988 Spring/Summer View on Issuu View cover
30 1988 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
31 1989 Spring/Summer View on Issuu
32 1989 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu View cover
33 1990 Spring/Summer View on Issuu View cover
34 1990 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu View cover
35 1991 Spring/Summer View on Issuu
36 1991 Autumn/Winter View on Issuu View cover
37 1992 Spring/Summer
38 1992 Autumn/Winter
39 1993 Spring/Summer
40 1993 Autumn/Winter View cover
41 1994 Spring/Summer
42 1994 Autumn/Winter
43 1995 Spring/Summer
44 1995 Autumn/Winter
Year Special Edition PDF Physical Copy
1987 Superstore Spring/Summer View on Issuu
1987 Superstore Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
1992 Superstore Spring/Summer View on Issuu
1993 Christmas View on Issuu
1993 Superstore Spring/Summer View on Issuu
1993 Superstore Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
1994 Superstore Spring/Summer View on Issuu
1994 Superstore Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
1995 Superstore Spring/Summer View on Issuu
1995 Superstore Autumn/Winter View on Issuu
1999 Superstore Spring/Summer View on Issuu
Below I have chosen some of the best pages throughout out the years to showcase here, but stay tuned for some regular blog posts with more stuff from the pages of the Argos catalogue!

1981
Some cool celebrities on the left hand page here. Lou Ferrigno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emlyn Hughes (big footballer in the UK) and some dude who looks like a weak Hoff. On the right hand page we have some incredible ‘retro sports bag’ that you can buy today. But these ones were the real deal back then!
Argos 1981 Sports

1982
Check out these cutting edge electronic games for the time. Mini Munchman and Astro Wars are ones that I particular remember. They might not seem like much now but they were seriously cool back then.
Argos 1982 Grandstand Games

1985
Two huge brands of the 80s. Masters of the Universe and Star Wars. And check out those car games at the bottom right. Knight Rider and Dukes of Hazzard. I never had either of them but they appeared in almost every Argos catalogue of the 80s and I just loved the box art. Hope to get my hands on one of them one day.
Argos 1985 He-Man and ROTJ

1985
And one of the other biggest toy line of the 80s, Transformers. Some classic G1 figures here. I love the 80s skyline in the background too. And check out the Zoids at the bottom left! I used to love Zoids and I don’t think they get much attention these days. They were incredible feats of construction in motion. Very hard to get hold of these days too.
Argos 1985 Transformers

1986
Some classic handheld games on the left hand page here. You don’t get much better than Nintendo Game & Watches and Tomytronic 3D games. Major Morgan and Grandstand Star Force are Argos ever-present toys too. And I can still hear the noises for Computer Battleship! And then on the right hand page you have the awesome M.A.S.K. Some incredibly cool vehicles and masks in that range.
Argos 1986 Game & Watch and M.A.S.K.

1986
Dude with a quiff in a denim sleeveless jacket rocking some foam headphones. You don’t get more 80s than that. I bet he’s listening to Huey Lewis. Personal stereos and ghetto blasters are iconic gadgets of the 80s and quite rightly so. Just look at how cool they are.
Argos 1986 Walkman and Ghetto Blasters

1986
One of my personal favourite sections of the catalogues. I loved digital watches, particularly the ones with games or special features on them. I had no.5 here, the one with the analogue/digital face and I also remember the day vividly when I got no.8 the Casio Databank. Two of my friends also got it and we spent hours programming it with all of our phone numbers and writing ‘Boobies’ upside down (because that’s what you do with calculators).
Argos 1986 Watches