3/31/16

Scalpers Can SUCK IT (part three)

[ENGAGE RANT]

I haven't reported on this in a while, because of general disgust.  BUT.  This is becoming an almost weekly event in my life.  I have photographed two recent instances, but trust me, there have been more.

As I have pointed out in two previous articles, Walgreen's and Target are being ripped off quite a bit in my area, and losing all kinds of money (by the way, Walgreen's is the largest retail recipient of shoplifting losses in the nation, did you know that?).  And, what's more, if you've read my previous articles, then you know they completely deserve it.

Which doesn't make any of this right:  just because stupid people exist, doesn't mean that theft is okay (despite what politicians do).  I call them "scalpers" because it strikes a chord, but that isn't accurate.  Scalpers are people who (pretty much) legally buy items and resell them.  It's bad form, but it's capitalism.  Thieves are people who, well, steal things.  Because they want them "more" than you, and think that they "deserve" them more than you, or your children, who (pretty much) plan on buying the items with hard-earned money, or allowance.

Ranting aside, here are the two examples I have run across in the last few days.  Far be it from me to waste my energy showing them to the store manager.  I've tried it, nobly, and failed, ignobly, so somebody else can take over on that failed crusade.


 On the left, what I believe to be the new "Venom" figure, which has been replaced, crudely, with some sort of X-Men figure that is so lame, I have no idea who or what it is.  On the right, a Carnage head that's been stolen from another new Spider-Man (which almost seems tame to me, lately, in the wake of some of the bolder things I've seen):
Again, the figure is correct (although lame: Blizzard), but the two pieces of the Hulk-Buster Build-A-Figure have been lifted, and replaced with...a Happy Meal toy keychain thing and an action figure stand....I mean, not even trying.  And, keep in mind, Zippy the wonder-retail-employee let this pass, and gave the guy his refund!   

You could say that this is what happens when action figures become $22, but that doesn't help anything, and losses definitely won't lower manufacturer prices.  Lego used to have a similar problem, (in-store theft) which is why minifigures are scattered in various bags today, and harder to quickly find.  So what is the outcome here? That retailers stop allowing toy returns? Which of course, punishes the rest of us!

[TERMINATE RANT]

We now return you to your normal Internet day...

3/30/16

Vintage Star Wars Cards: Random Foreign & Bootleg Cards!

In the early days of Star Wars collecting, you were lucky if you had a book, or a friend with knowledge, to help you to know what was out there.  These days, of course, we have the Internets, so we are much better off.  In my Star Wars card collecting, I picked up some interesting oddities along the way:

Here is card #64A from the UK Topps Star Wars set.  I have read that the first (Blue) series was identical to their American counterparts, but for the second series, the photos were scrambled, and the numbering was always followed by an "A."  As far as I know, the backs were unchanged.  For example, this card features the photo and slogan from American card #78.
The Topps cards were also issued in Mexico, but apparently the actual release was done by another company.  Here are the front and backs of card #13:
And here are both sides of card #45, with the lightsabers still uncolored, just as in the American cards:
The back includes something else you don't see anymore:  the stain where the piece of gum used to be!
In Japan, the cards were better, because of course they were.  Yamakatsu (who also issued more than one set of wonderful, small Godzilla cards) issued a set that was almost postcard-sized (no doubt because of the Japanese fondness for bromide cards) and glossy.  It was a smaller set, with only 33 in the entire series.  Strangely, they don't appear to be numbered; at least I can't find any clue on this one that I have.  The back gives the collector a couple of spaceship diagrams, too:
I don't know much about this card, other than what's on the back.  It's more of a slip of glossy paper than a trading card, and it's about 50% of the size of a standard trading card.
It's #76, and came from Costa Rica, as you can see.  I was lucky enough to get the wrapper that it came in:
And as you can see, definitely made in Costa Rica.  No idea how many came in a pack, or how many there were in the whole set.
The Greek bootleg set is a very famous, and very notorious, set among collectors.  It apparently showed up in 1980, and it's supposed to be a very large set, and a very difficult one to assemble, if that's even possible, due to limited availability, and being a bootleg and all that.  If I remember right, there are even cards in the set that have nothing to do with Star Wars (once again, bootleg). Here is the front of card #136, and here is the back:
As you can see, it's extremely un-fancy, but what did you expect?  I was also lucky enough to get the wrapper, which is even cruder:
I'd love to see more of these, but I've honestly never run into any more in all my years of collecting.
In Canada, the Return of the Jedi Topps cards were issued by Opee-Chee, and otherwise identical to their American counterparts (except for being bilingual).  Here is the front of card #24, and below is the back:
These days, we are used to seeing extra languages on our products, but back then, you never saw that in the US.
The above card is #250 from a series of small cards that were issued in Sweden.  That's all I know.  Apparently the set was big enough to include some unique pictures and artwork.  The cards also had plain backs with no printing.

Similarly, in the Netherlands, a small-sized card set was made for Return of the Jedi.  The Darth Vader card is #2, and the Boba Fett one is #61.  They also had plain backs.

3/28/16

"Godzilla's Rampage" Viewmaster Reels Sealed (GAF, 1978)

Remember what View-Master reels looked like, in the package? Interestingly, the sealed envelope of reels is just stapled to a header card, which is completely blank on the back.  If it wasn't for the large-font GODZILLA at the top, it would be completely generic.

Another interesting thing to me was the TOY CITY price tag! Anybody remember Toy City? We had one in my area, because back then there were no TRU's in the state. 

3/25/16

"Stick'R Trading Card" Kellogg's Set (PEELED version, 1984)

I searched around, and I don't know of another site that can show you an entire set of the peeled Kellogg's cards.  Luckily, I did some extensive Ebay digging, and I've found images of all ten!

They aren't exactly high-resolution, but for now, it will have to do:





 









Another mystery solved!



3/24/16

"Stick'R Trading Card" Kellogg's Set (Bates Printing Specialties, 1984)


We all remember "C-3PO's" cereal.  For those of you that don't, it was as bad as you've heard.  But it didn't matter; it was cereal based on Star Wars, so we were all there. I still have an empty box--mine is an earlier one with a mask on the back.  Later though, a special trading card series was made as a premium.  These were unique for two reasons.  First, you got two cards in a pack, which better increased your odds of completing your set.  Second, they were actually two sets in one, because the top image was a sticker that you could peel off (if you were so inclined), leaving a completely different image underneath that was the actual trading card.
Back of "C-3PO's" Cereal Box with Card Offer
 
I'd like to show you what's underneath, but my set is "unpeeled."  I recently went back to see if I could find a second set, or even a peeled one, and apparently this set has gotten quite expensive, if Ebay prices are to be believed!  Therefore, we are going to feature the unpeeled fronts, as well as the card backs:
Once again, this tired old photo from the first film is used.  I'm surprised they couldn't find a more recent one.
On the other hand, I'm not exactly sure where this photo is from.  Is that maybe the Sandcrawler behind C-3PO?




Hey! He has a name, you know...they actually mention it on the back:





From what I have seen here and there, the second image (underneath the sticker, which is blue-bordered) is different from the sticker, and I'm assuming that it still pertains to the featured character, because of the text on each card back. 
EDIT:  I did some digging in Completed E-bay auctions, and I've managed to put together a set of the ten images! They aren't as optimal as my own scans, but at least for the sake of reference...and education...we now know.  Watch for next post!