The following list details the major series of Anchor sets. Because Anchor sets are all German in origin, even though the sets may have been made in the USA, the German identifications (code words) are used world-wide.
The building stones themselves were made in two basic sizes (KK, for
Klein Kaliber, based on a 20 mm length and GK, for Groß Kaliber,
based on a 25 mm length) and three colors -- cement yellow, brick red and
slate blue. Although the major grouping of sets is the AF (Alte
Folge or Old Series -- 1884 - 1898) and the NF (Neue Folge or New
Series -- 1894 - 1963), there are many different series of sets, and a large
number of sets are quite rare and, in some cases, not even one surviving
sample is known. A new term was invented at the October, 1996, CVA
meeting -- Erste Folge (EF, meaning first series) for the sets before
the AF era (1880 -- 1886). Note the overlaps in the various series.
These overlaps are real, and one can expect to find sets of an older
era made after the beginning of the newer era. Also a few sets were
deliberately mislabeled. If an advertisement specified a set from the
older era, Richter had no qualms about supplying a newer set with an older,
as ordered, label.
|KK-AF||Small Caliber, Old Series. Basic, supplement and conversion (to NF) sets. From 1884 through 1898. Conversion sets to the NF were also sold.|
|KK-NF||Small Caliber, New Series. Basic and supplement sets. From 1894 through 1906, when it became a special order series. Never offered for sale in the USA. Note: the last set in the series, #19A, includes nickel plated iron roof parts, but no bridge parts. A few smaller sets contained , as a special promotion, some bridge parts for a short period of time.|
|KK-Br||Small Caliber, supplement Bridge sets. From 1901 through 1906, when it also became a special order series. These basic sets are supplement sets to KK-NF sets; and the supplement sets within this series are supplements to this series. Thus a bridge supplement set assumes you have already purchased the appropriate all-stone supplement set in the KK-NF series. Not sold in the USA.|
It seems that from the start Richter was very confident that the GK sets would be more popular, as a greater variety of GK stones, and larger sets, were available at the introduction of the GK sets in 1884. New stone shapes were added rapidly, so that by 1885 there were 101 different stone shapes -- 80 GK and 21 KK. Well over 1,000 different GK stone shapes were produced by Richter & Co.
|GK-AF||Large Caliber, Old Series. Basic, supplement and conversion (to NF) sets. From 1884 through 1898.|
|GK-NF||Large Caliber, New Series. Basic and supplement sets. From 1894 through about 1923, and continued on request through 1963. The GK-NF series was carried as far as GK-NF # 34, Lyck, a set of 3,848 stones, weighing 180 lbs.|
|GK-Br||Large Caliber, supplement Bridge sets, with nickel plated iron parts. Two different series (1901 - 1905; 1906 - 1909). These basic sets are supplement sets to GK-NF sets; and the supplement sets within this series are supplements to this series. Thus a bridge supplement set assumes you have already purchased the appropriate all-stone supplement set in the GK-NF series. These sets were called "Anchor Bridges" in the USA.|
|Im.||Im. stands for Imperator. Large Caliber, with nickel plated iron bridge and roof parts. Two different series: first series -- 1904 - 1905 -- even numbers; second series -- 1906 - 1907 -- odd numbers. Basic, supplement and conversion (to and from GK-NF) sets. The first series was not sold in the USA (see A-B below); second series was called "Anchor Blocks" in the USA.|
|A-B||Note: This analysis is being revised, based on new information. Watch this space, and the "Im." space above. Large Caliber, with nickel plated iron bridge parts. Basic and supplement sets. This series was called "Anchor Blocks" and was sold only in the USA (1904 - 1905), in lieu of the first series of Imperator sets. Note that this special series and the second series Im. sets both were called Anchor Blocks and both had odd numbers. Confusion is possible.|
|GK (VE)||Large Caliber, with nickel plated iron bridge and roof parts. Basic and supplement sets. The company used the abbreviation GK, but due to probable confusion, Anchor collectors use VE, for nickel plated iron (in German). These sets replaced the second series of Imperator sets in 1907 and were replaced by the DS series in 1910. Basic, supplement and conversion (to and from GK-NF and to DS) sets. Above set # 15, orders for second series Imperator sets were filled with sets from this series. Also called "Anchor Blocks" in the USA, so even more confusion is possible.|
|DS||DS stands for Dach Stein, roof stones. Large Caliber, with colored lacquered bridge and roof iron parts. The roof parts were covered by tile-shaped blue-gray or red roof stones. Basic, supplement and conversion (to and from GK-NF; from VE) sets. From 1910 through 1963.|
|NS||NS stands for Neue Serie, new series. Large Caliber, with no metal parts. Basic and supplement sets. Replaced the GK-NF sets in 1923. Not very popular and never offered in the USA, so the series was only carried out through set NS # 10, though clearly higher sets were planned. The main difference was in the arches. Within one year replacement sets of the old style arches were being offered; the original GK-NF sets never stopped being available on special order.|
|Neue Reihe||Neue Reihe (NR) also means new series. #s 102 to 116, with the possibility of 116A or 118. Basic sets only. Modern industrial building plans. 1924 - 1963. Many special stones, which are GK in size.|
|Modern House||The Modern House series is also known as the American Bungalow Series. #s 206, 208 and 210. Supplement sets to GK-NF. Building plans are American suburban architecture. 1913 (in USA, 1919 elsewhere) - 1963.|
|Landhaus||Landhaus means (German) country house. Basic and supplements GK-NF sets. #s 301, 301A, 303 and 303A (305). German suburban building plans. 1913 - 1963. Buildings have wooden roofs and accessories. These sets were never sold in the USA.|
|Fortress||During W.W.I the German name was Festung; after the war the name was changed to Burgen. Early sets had gray stones and contained metal cannon. Sets were made in New York as well as Europe. Basic and supplement GK-NF sets. #s 402 - 410. The last two large supplement sets #s 410A and 412A), were produced after W.W.I and contain late medieval fortified church designs, typical of the Danube east of Vienna. Post W.W.I sets were offered in a variety of color combinations -- yellow and red (most common); yellow and blue; all yellow; all gray. Single colored sets came with paint to produce red roofs. 1916 - 1963.|
The Company (F. Ad. Richter & Cie.) made many other products, such as medicines, textbooks, chocolates, cookies (today, part of Schöller in Nuremberg) as well as gramophones and records (today, Deutsche Grammophon). When Richter died in 1910 he one of the ten richest men in Germany, but his heirs had lost the company and all of the money within ten years. Though without a high school education, he created and ran a multi-city, multi-division, multi-national corporation. The basis of his success was marketing genius.
If you are interested in buying one of the sets of the renewed production, you will find the first set, GK-NF # 6, in the Land's End December Holiday Catalog, page 6, or check the text under Rudolstadt, just above the picture.
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