Building with Anchor Stones is a fascinating hobby.
But, you might say, the same is
true for building with other systems like Meccano or Lego. That's right, but
Anchor Stones have a fascination that the other building boxes lack: the
material. Real castles, churches and villas are made of stone, and the miniature
castles, churches and villas built with Anchor are also made of stone. They are
real!Anchor Stones were manufactured by Dr. Richter's
Ankersteinbaukastenfabrik in Rudolstadt, Germany, between about 1880 and
1963. A couple of years ago they began manufacturing them again - this time at
the Anker Steinbaukasten GmbH also in Rudolstadt - so Anchor is alive
once more!The stones were made - and are still being made - in the colours of
real building stones: yellow, red, and blue for the roofs.
There are hundreds of different shapes of stones. Richter's factory issued about 400 different stone building boxes, each of them with their own building plans designed in Richter's Kunstanstalt. There are 20 or so different series, some of which have metal parts. There are big-caliber and small-caliber stones.
Maybe, but not if one wants to enlarge one's collection, or if one wants to start to collect. Not every no. 9 box is the same as all other no. 9 boxes, for instance, and if it says in your no. 9 box that the next supplement is box no. 9A and you find a box no. 9A at a fleemarket or an auction, it does not necessarily mean that you will be taking the correct no. 9A box home.
In 1979 a few owners of Anchor Stone Boxes met for the first time to exchange information and to swap, buy and sell Anchor Stones. This meeting marked the beginning of the Club van Ankervrienden (the Club of Anchor Friends).
The Club now has about 260 members, approximately half of them living in Germany and the other half mainly in the Nether-lands, Austria, Switzerland and the United States. In recent years, people from Belgium, France, England, Denmark and even Chile have also joined the club.
Twice a year, a club meeting is held in Hilversum in the Netherlands. Each meeting has a formal part during which the Club's policies are discussed. There are also lectures, but the attraction of these meetings for most Anchor Friends is to renew acquaintanceships and - very important - to trade, to buy and sell, complete and enlarge their collections.
The Club of Anchor Friends is not an elitist club with only big collectors as members. They are there of course, those big collectors, but those with small collections and those who are just starting to collect are also welcomed as members and they feel at home in the club too. Experience shows, though, that these modest collections tend to become less modest in the course of time. This is due to the fact that there are other Anchor Friends who search widely for Anchor Blocks and Boxes not only for themselves but also for their fellow collectors.
There are almost as many kinds of Anchor Friends as there are Anchor blocks. Among them, there are industrial archeologists who know everything about the history of Richter's Anchor factories and who still make new discoveries of building boxes, shapes and building designs. There are those collectors who collect everything that has to do with Anchor or Richter - other products made by the factory varying from cocao tins to puzzles, from medicine bottles to musical instruments, but also old price lists and rare packing plans. There are Anchor Friends who make replicas of rare stones. Some go even further: they design completely new shapes if these are needed for a certain architectural style or for a certain building they want to make. There are also builders who think up new designs and make these available to their fellow Anchor Friends. The Club keeps a large archive of these designs, copies of which are available to every member. The archive contains more than just the members' designs: most building designs by Richter, and a lot of other documentation about Anchor building boxes and their history are kept here. Most parts are available on CD-ROM.
The Club van Ankervrienden also concerns itself with other activities. Four times a year, an issue of the Mededelingenblad (MLB) is issued containing articles about the hobby, written by the members. They are published in the original language: Dutch, German or English. German and English speaking members receive a translation together with their copy of the journal. An important feature is advertisements placed by members, free of charge.
A design contest is held in which the members are challenged to design models for a certain set. At this moment it is the set GK NF 22. So it is ensured that not always the members with the most stones are the winners.
The Club has published its own stone catalogue in which all existing Anchor Stones are pictured, as well as the metal and wooden parts that belong to some of the series. In addition, the contents of all boxes are given.
One of the Club's growing activities is that of organising exhibitions. There were exhibitions of Anchor buildings at the model city Madurodam in The Hague, in the former villa of the manufacturer of Anchor Blocks, Richter, in Rudolstadt, in the Toy Museum in Mechelen (Belgium), in Traunstein, in southern Germany and even in Jena.
If you surf on the Internet
searching for Anchor Stones, there is a good chance that you will end up at the
where, every month, the buildings of a different
Anchor Friend can be admired. You will also find there many links to other
In other words, the Club of Anchor Friends is a club for everyone who is interested in Ancher Boxes. If you want more information, please contact our secretary,
Reijnold van der Poel
NL 8502 BT JOURE