Guinness Record Book Collecting

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2007-2014

Miscellaneous Items

As well as the Guinness Book of Records and associated publications, collectors are often interested in related paraphernalia. We have (or know of) many such items, so we'll exhibit a few on this page if there is no natural place for them elsewhere on our site.

Christmas Cards

As far as we know, Guinness Superlatives sent Christmas cards to contributors, collectors and others every year. We have a few of these, the best of which are the following:

1975: "Guinness Superlatives Limited wishes you the Happiest Merriest Whitest Brightest Greatest Christmas"

Our card is signed by David Hoy and Norris (McWhirter).

1979: "The 12 Days of Christmas (And where to read about them)"

Our card is signed by Betrice (Frei), Alex Reid, Peter Matthews and Norris (McWhirter).

The front of the card has the classic 12 Days of Christmas, and the books mentioned are: "Guinness Guide to Steeplechasing", "Winners and Champions", "Music Facts & Feats", "British Hit Singles", "Guinness Book of Records", "Guide to Waterways", "French Country Cooking", "Book of Antiques", "Animal Facts & Feats" and "Guide to Field Sports".

Directors Special Editions

Thanks to Iain McWhirter, we have discovered that Guinness Superlatives produced some special editions for Norris and Ross McWhirter between 1972 and 1975. The images below show the 4 editions that were produced. We believe that other directors of Guinness Superlatives may have received copies, but these are undoubtedly very rare copies indeed.

Guinness World of Records

In June 1984, the Guinness World of Records exhibition opened at the Trocadero in Piccadilly, London. The exhibition was one of a number of similar shows around the world and, as well as featuring world records, included a section dedicated to British achievements. When it opened, entry was 2.50 for adults and 1.50 for children though additional revenue was, of course, brought in by selling promotional items and books in the exhibition shop.

As well as a number of souvenir brochures from the exhibition (1984, 1987, 1989 and 1993) we have some related items:

Prior to its opening in 1984, pre-opening leaflets (right) were distributed to advertise the exhibition. They used the slogan, "You've read the book - now visit the show!" and listed the various sections which visitors would see:

The Human World, The Animal World, Our Planet Earth, Structures and Machines, Sports World, World of Entertainment and British Innovation and Achievement.

A preview tour and buffet lunch for invited guests took place on Tuesday 12th June, 1984. At this launch party, guests were given a Guinness Medal (below) which says, "To Mark the Opening of Guinness World of Records, Trocadero, Piccadilly, London,1984". The other medal (below, right) is the standard medal available after the opening.

A window sticker ("I have entered the ... Guinness World of Records") was also presented:

We also have a money-off voucher (below), which was given out with the original press releases in 1984, and a London Underground Journey planner from mid-1989  [689/41423/1000M(7403A)] (right) advertising the exhibition.

Such exhibitions offered visitors the opportunity to buy badges, patches, spoons, bookmarks, glasses, paperweights and other souvenirs; we'll feature a selection of these as we come across them:

 

Guinness Bank of Knowledge

In the late 1970s (possibly 1978), Guinness Superlatives started a reference service in conjunction with James Service Limited. Entitled "The Guinness Bank of Knowledge", the service offered a telephone information line for journalists from "newspapers, magazines, radio and television". A call to the service would put the journalist in touch with an expert who would draw on his knowledge (and information from the Guinness Book of Records and the Guinness Book of Answers) to answer questions in 34 subject areas. It appeared that many of the experts were, in fact, the authors of the Guinness Facts & Feats series of books.

 

Other Media

Whilst Guinness Records are mostly associated with the series of records books, over the years a number of records-related products have been produced in other media. Of course, there have been many TV shows (and the famous World Records exhibitions), but there are a number of consumer products worth collecting if you come across them.

Video: Several video cassettes showcased some Guinness records, such as: "The Guinness Video of Records" (left) from Virgin Vision in 1988/1989 (VVD 429); "David Frost presents The Best of The Guinness Book of Records Volume 1" (right) from Guinness Books and the Daily Mail in 1986; and "Guinness Book of World Records" (far right) from VidAmerica, Inc. in 1985 (VidAmerica #7066). Other videos contained footage from shows such as the UK's BBC Record Breakers series with Roy Castle (BBCV 5487, 1994).


CD-ROM: A number of CD-ROMs entitled "The Guinness Disc of Records" were produced for a variety of platforms from around 1990 onwards. The copy pictured left is the 1991 DOS Edition for PCs. It was published by UniDisc, Inc. and distributed by Britannica Software, Inc. The copy on the right is the second edition produced for the Commodore Amiga in 1993.
 

CDTV: Another variant of the CD-ROM editions was the Guinness CDTV Book of Records, produced by Commodore in the 1990s. The copy pictured left is the first edition from 1991.
 

CD-ROM: In the 1990s, Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc. produced the Guinness Multimedia Disc of Records. The "big box" edition (1994, left) came with a special Grolier copy of the Bantam 1994 Guinness Book of Records. The 1993 and 1996 editions are pictured on the right.

DVD: In 2004, a 2-disc interactive DVD game was produced by Zoo Digital Publishing to celebrate the "50th Anniversary" of the book.

VideoNow PVD: From 2005, a Hasbro (Tiger Electronics) personal video disc.

Nintendo - Guinness World Records the Videogame: In 2008, a collection of 36 mini-games for the Nintendo Wii (left) and the Nintendo DS (right) was produced by TT Games Publishing Ltd and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

View-Master 3D: With the assistance of Sterling Publishing, GAF Corporation produced a three-reel View-Master "Guinness Book of Records" set in 1978 (Packet J24, left). The pack contained a small 16-page booklet with photographs, additional information and a brief quiz.

Cassette Tapes: In 1979, Ivan Berg Associates (Audio Publishing) Limited produced two Mindbender Quiz audio cassettes (GC1), based on the 1980 edition of the Guinness Book of Records. The cassettes came in a 171x122mm box with a small instruction sheet. Each game was introduced and explained by Norris McWhirter.

8-track Cartridge: An audio tape (for the 2-XL robot) produced for Mego Corp., New York, N.Y. 10010 ( Sterling Publishing Co., 1978).

What was the longest frankfurter ever made? Who was the shortest woman who ever lived? What is the world's hopscotch record? Hundreds of challenging questions from the "Guinness Book of World Records" for hours of fun.

Film: At least 3 reels of Super 8mm film ("Guinness Book Of World Records") were produced in the 1970s. The films included "unique motion pictures of World record human achievements in sports, nature, science!"

(photo: Bruce Read)

 

Beer Mats

Collectors of beer mats (tegestologists) have a wide range of Guinness beer mats to collect. In the early 1960s, Guinness produced some beer mats celebrating "5 Million Guinness daily" and "Guinness - Him Strong", which had records from the Guinness Book of Records on the reverse.

A series of 10 beer mats advertising the 1982 German edition had world record questions on the reverse and the number of the page in the book where the answer could be found.

Stamps and First Day Covers

A number of stamps - and first day covers - related to the Guinness Book of Records (and to records themselves) have been produced over the years. We have a selection of these and there are others available, so this is an interesting part of collecting record-related items:

1974 - First Day Cover depicting the record for "the shortest scheduled flight" from the 21st Edition.
Flown in BN 2A Islander G-AWNR
From Westray to Papa Westwray (sic)
Loganair flight No. LC 501
Flight time: 69 seconds
Pilot: Capt. Andy Alsop 
1990 - First Day Cover from Russia depicting the 1988 Guinness Book of Records (the first year that the book was published in Russia).
1996 - First Day Cover from Switzerland dated June 27th 1996, celebrating a record set on 22nd June for the "largest living stamp".
1996 - A different First Day Cover from Switzerland dated June 27th 1996, with additional record information.
1996 - A postcard from Switzerland dated June 22nd 1996, again stamped on 27th June.
1996 - An oversize First Day Cover from Switzerland dated June 27th 1996, with a block of four stamps celebrating the record set that day for the "largest living stamp".
1996 - Special card from Switzerland commemorating the same event as the first day covers above.
1997 - First Day Cover from New Zealand dated 12th October 1997, celebrating the "World's Most Southern Winery".
2001 - Miniature sheet with a Gibraltar stamp celebrating the Queen's 75th birthday (issued 12th November 2001)
2002 - "Reptiles" miniature sheet from the British Virgin Islands (issued June 17th 2002).
2002 - Miniature sheet from the British Virgin Islands - "Smallest Lizard".
2002 - "Mammals" miniature sheet from South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
2002 - Miniature sheet from South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - "Largest live Pinniped".
2002 - "Planet Earth" miniature sheet from Tristan da Cunha (Longest reef, biggest island, biggest desert, longest rivers, highest mountain and most remote inhabited island).
2002 - Miniature sheet from Tristan da Cunha - the "World's most remote inhabited island".
2007 - First Day Cover from New Zealand dated 10th October 2007, again celebrating the "World's Most Southern Winery".
2007 - Two sheets of stamps from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commemorating the 2007 Guinness Record for the mass games (Arirang) at the May Day Stadium.

The stamps are believed to represent:

Prelude (Arirang), Chapter 1 (Arirang Nation), Chapter 2 (Songun Arirang), Chapter 3 (Arirang of Happiness), Chapter 4 (Arirang of National Reunification) and Finale (Arirang of Prosperous and Powerful Nation).

2008 - Sheet produced for the "fastest printing of a postage stamp" on 29th June, 2008 by the Austrian postal service (UEFA Euro 2008 Championship).

Other Items

Throughout its history, Guinness has been extremely good at marketing its products, both for itself or in association with others. Guinness Superlatives, and latterly Guinness World Records, have also been very active in this area. We have accumulated a few items produced for promotional purposes, and some of these will be documented here.

Le Livre des Records Playing Cards - produced by Lacroix Associates (Quebec) to advertise Gros Gin Geneva "As de Pique" ("Ace of Spades"). Each card has a recipe for a Gin-based cocktail and a record from the Denol Livre des Records. Date unknown, but the records appear to be from the 1975 edition.

Guinness Book of World Records 1957 - 1997 - enamel badge of unknown origin. The badge shows the cover of the 36th US Edition from 1996.

Guinness World Records Globe - number of globes were produced by Guinness World Records for different markets. We know of globes for the USA, UK and elsewhere. Ours is a 12" globe, produced for the UK by Tecnodidattica Ligure S.p.A. in Italy (date unknown).

Mouse Mat - Guinness World Records Mouse Mat

The World's Largest Hand.

Brauerei Reichold - Limited edition model Scania truck (No. 8 by Grell Werbemittel, Bielefeld) with Guinness World Records 2001 logo.
Brauerei Stadter - Limited edition model truck by Grell Werbemittel, Bielefeld, with Guinness World Records 2001 logo.
Brauerei Stadter - Limited edition Scania model truck by Grell Werbemittel, Bielefeld, with Guinness World Records 2001 logo.
Brauerei Reichold - Model Magirus Sirius truck (No. 46 by Grell Werbemittel, Bielefeld) with Guinness World Records 2004 logo.
Brauerei Reichold - Model Faun L8 truck (No. 49 by Grell Werbemittel, Bielefeld) with Guinness World Records 2004 book.
Guinness World Records Yo-Yo - believed to be from 2006.

Bedlam Cube - Guinness World Records Day, 9th November 2006.

Danny Bamping assembled the 13-piece Bedlam Cube puzzle in 11.03 seconds.

Guinness World Records Yo-Yo - from late 2009 or early 2010.

Guinness World Records Birthday Card - produced by Marks and Spencer plc in 2010.

Guinness World Records Unleashed Promotional DVD -produced by truTV in 2013.

Guinness World Records 2014 - a series of spin-off quizzes produced by Hachette Livre (Paris) in 2013, including:

50 records battre (ISBN: 978-2012314566, 5.90)

La bote quiz (ISBN: 978-2012314610, 10.95)

Similar quiz products were produced in 2011 and 2012.

School Prizes

The Guinness Book of Records was rightly regarded as a serious reference book in its earlier years. As a result, many schools in the 1950s, 60s and 70s chose the book as one of the awards in the end of year prize-giving. We know of several people who received the book as a prize during their school years.

Some schools embossed their copies with the school badge and motto, and a small number of these have appeared on auction sites and in second-hand bookshops. One such copy is a 1958 edition with a school badge embossed in gold on the front cover. The badge (pictured right) shows a heron, with the motto "Abeunt Studia in Mores" underneath. Some research shows that this is likely to have come from Wanstead High School in London.

In addition to the above copy, we know of a 1968 edition (left) from Deacon's School in Peterborough (now the Thomas Deacon Academy). Inside, a certificate shows that the book was awarded by the headmaster to K Clarke (form 5) on the school's speech day in 1969.

In 2010, Jackie and Neil McLeod found an early 1956 copy from Newcastle High School (logo pictured right), which has the motto, "Schola novi castelli nunquam non nova". This would appear to be from Newcastle-under-Lyme School.

If you know of any other school editions, please let us know.

Company Gifts and Promotions

In a similar vein to the School Prize editions, some companies sent copies of the Guinness Book of Records with company-related inserts to their customers. One example is from James Fairley Steels, who added the following sticker to the acknowledgements page of the 1979 (25th) edition:

Another such company release was a copy of the 1975 (22nd) edition with a banner promoting Lever Brothers toilet soaps, including Shield Deodorant Soap (pictured right).