What are Dealer Catalogs?

Given to store managers a vendor catalog, also called a dealer catalog, or salesman catalog included manufacturing numbers so store managers could order items to then sell in their stores. Prices usually are not listed because they would vary based on time of year and cost of transporting to stores. The photographs in this catalog are similar to production, press or prototype information so the actual toys sold in store might be slightly different have different colors, etc. This is especially true for the cheaper items and playsets. Special editions and store exclusives may not be listed in the dealer catalogs. In the early 1990’s the variety and amount of toys offered became so large, that Mattel began producing several catalogs a year, first Girls and Boys toys, then adding Preschool, Infants, Games/Puzzles and by subject i.e. a particular movie, or category such as Plush Toys. In the mid-1990’s large companies, like Mattel, began moving to digital versions of the catalogs. First as a CD (compact disc) of images viewed through a small stand alone application packaged with the a full year printed catalog. In the early 2000’s began distributing Adobe Acrobat (pdf) formatted versions on the CDs and then only the CDs themselves. This made creating two catalogs a year more practical. Mattel also began calling their catalogs Sell Sheets for a couple of years. In the 2010’s Mattel switched back to calling their catalogs … catalogs! They continued with the seasonal versions, each year, Spring/Summer, and Fall/Winter. In the late 2010’s Mattel started distributing their catalogs through the internet, requiring Vendors to place large orders to qualify for access. This makes getting a copy of the pdf of USA Mattel catalogs nearly impossible for small time collectors like me. Instead I began collecting catalogs from toy distributors like JC Sales and Wonder in Canada, and purchasing copies from Europe. I also create my own catalogs using images and descriptions from websites, I mark all these as “Fan Made” versions.