To understand the true meaning of dark ages (the time between abandoning and rediscovering intelligent culture, or in this case LEGO), I had to look no further than inside the cardboard boxes housing my childhood LEGO collection. Once the pride and joy of my youth, over twenty years ago I lost interest and haphazardly dismantled the collection and threw the remains inside a few random containers. A well-kept retail box for the 6073 Knight’s Castle now scratched and crushed under aging LEGO and other token memorabilia. Carefully built sets from Town to Castle to Space to Technic, mostly just broken up and mixed together like a cocktail gone wrong. The sight pains me.

It could be worse, though. I believe not much has been lost over the years, while others have at some point ditched their entire collections. Whatever wear and tear there is to the pieces, was there already when packing up – after up to a decade in the sun and in play. The boxes have been sitting in storage unscathed. Dust is mostly from the 1980s, because the boxes were taped shut. LEGO endures and ages well, with the exception of some battery pieces opting out. In these boxes, somewhere under all my broken sets, there are actually 1960s LEGO from my father, those quaint little doors and windows that won’t open and original LEGO cars that had more in common with Matchbox than bricks. There is LEGO history and family history here, ready for action again.

One interesting set I had forgotten about, was the 6054 Forestmen’s Hideout, almost intact with the Robin Hood look-alike minifigures. It was packed alongside the ginormous 8680 Arctic Rescue Base vehicle and large chunks of the 375 Castle. There were also several Town pieces, like parts of the 6392 Airport (I’m looking at your green baseplate) and some houses. There is a 6382 Fire Station and much more in other boxes. As a bonus for my 6080 King’s Castle project, pieces of the 6073 Knight’s Castle and/or 6061 Siege Tower wall were also readily on the top of one box. Even better, a bunch of Castle minifigures and horses were collected inside a small box – maybe my younger self had a premonition that I would need them again…

According to markings on the boxes, my dark ages begun in the year 1990. Although judging by the sets, my latest ones were released around 1988. The oldest design – aside from the 1960s LEGO – is probably the yellow castle from 1978. It was a great LEGO decade. Here’s to many happy returns! (Note: You can click the images for larger versions.)