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Mattel #8874 Small Boxed Astronauts

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This small window-boxed version of the 4 Mattel Men in Space appeared at the various Space Centers, particulary in Houston and Florida (Huntsville, Canaveral, etc). No Catalog entry or tear sheet has been found with order details, so the assumption is that Mattel had some type of deal with the Space Center procurement for these figures.
As you can see in the pics, these are the later, black-strapped, simplified versions of our intrepid astronauts. The box is barely larger than the figures themselves, with a two color insert - covered in screen-printed stars. The celo used for the box is the thin type, atypical of the much tougher shrink-wrap usually used during this period. I'd date these around 1969-1970.

The box has the word "Astronaut" printed in white letters across the top, "BENDABLE SPACEMAN with Detachable Helmet" at the bottom, and "contains parts made in Hong Kong" may be added on the bottom or back as a sticker or stamp . 08874 is printed on the bottom. Some have a sticker identifying the toy as a commemorative to the particular Space Center ("NASA Commerative Astronaut" around the edge and the Space Center name in the middle). (images above provided by Steve Salmon.

The Card is full-color, process-printed and is 6" x 2 1/4" x 1 1/4" Copyright is 1969.

Cardboard Insert:
See link above

Mattel Catalog Specifications:
This item does not appear in any Mattel Dealer Catalog. It probably appeared on a Mattel order sheet and/or tear-sheet for the Space Center procurement department.

The box will sometimes have "contains parts made in Hong Kong" stamped on the back or bottom, or will have a sticker. The window will sometimes have a "Space Center Commemorative" round gold seal on the front window.

John's Notes:
These are pretty tough to find. In all my years of collecting, I've only come across 2: One I found at the FX Toy Expo in Orlando. The second I bought in an eBay auction from a dealer in Great Brittain.

Figures may also be found in:

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