Comptoir general de la bimbeloterie

Paris: Self-published, 1961-1962. Original French toy and home goods sales catalogue and supplements for the "Comptoir general de la bimbeloterie" company in Paris, 1961-1962. Illustrated with black-and-white vignette photographs of items for sale, each represented with a serial number, accompanied by a corresponding descriptive price catalogue. Thousands of toys, puzzles, board games, sports equipment, and miniatures are featured, including Pierres Magiques miniatures, foosball, sewing kits, toy guns, figurines, musical instruments, watches and jewelry, dolls, holiday decorations, rocking horses, and tricycles. Also included are two descriptive price supplements for sales catalogues from early 1961, January and May, each with laid-in leaves of similar photographic vignettes. The monthly catalogues are presumably what the company issued on a regular basis, and the deluxe 1961-1962 catalogue acted as a yearbook, issued only periodically during high-demand seasons.

The Comptoir general de la bimbeloterie ("supplier of trinkets"), managed by the mysterious J. du Serre, sold toys and goods since the early 1900s, and would continue until around 1975. Various catalogues featured color illustrations and included prices and descriptions directly on the page, as seen in examples from the 1940s and 1950s, or highlight certain items on price sheets bound-in, as seen in this example. This catalogue represents the company at what was a considerably successful point, judging by the lush color photographs on the wrapper showcasing their sales floors and massive inventory. The supplemental catalogues are simple, pulpy black-and-white, text only, with a map of the neighborhood surrounding the "C.G.B." on the rear wrapper. In light of recent toy distributors closing many locations, this catalogue breathes nostalgia and familiarity, from a period of France's new establishment after WWII. The only institutional holdings (2) are at France's Bibliotheque Nationale, and an exhibition catalogue from the "Exposition franco-britannique de Londres, 1908... Classe 100 [bimbeloterie]," crediting du Serre, is held at the Bibliotheque and at California State University, Fresno.

Sales catalogue 8.75 x 11.75 inches in color wrapper, 52 pages, supplemental price catalogue slightly smaller, 78 pages, and additional catalogues 10 pages (January) and 31 pages (May), all saddle-stapled. Very Good plus overall, with slight curling, and color catalogue with a few closed tears.

[Book #144109]