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.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.
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.
|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|
|17||1982||Spring||View on Issuu||View cover|
|18||1982||Autumn/Winter||View on Issuu|
|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|
|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|
|Year||Special Edition||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|
Orange means I have a PDF copy of the catalogue and blue means that I own a physical copy of that particular catalogue.
You can also see under the main list that I also have a few PDFs of some special edition Argos catalogues. The Christmas one is great for even more yuletide nostalgia and I think the Superstore ones were just slightly bigger with a few more versions of certain products (although sadly I don’t think they had any more toys in those ones).
I’ve uploaded all the PDFs that I have to the Issuu platform. Some were scanned in differently and so appear as double pages but most of them read as a normal catalogue. I do have some physical copies that I don’t yet have as PDF and so I hope to be able to scan those ones in myself at some point.
I’d love to be able to get every single issue up until 1995 in either PDF form or hard copy. My mission is to fill the columns with orange and blue! The hard copies are getting harder to find and some early 80s ones can go for over £50 on eBay! They’re really becoming collectors items. Luckily I found a guy on eBay who used to work for Argos and he sold me some other of his Argos catalogues privately, so that’s where I got several of my hard copies from. The PDFs are from various sources.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).