7/24/17

ESB Collector's Kit: The Empire Card Set (Dixie & Lipton, 1980)

If you saw our post on the Rebel Alliance Set, you know the backstory, but if you came in late:

In 1980, as a promotion for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, two "Collector's Kits" were offered from both Dixie (American Can Company) and Lipton (Thomas J. Lipton, Inc.) together, available through a Sunday comics newspaper ad (above).

The kits included a poster and a 4-card set, and you had to specify whether you wanted the "Rebel Alliance Set" or "Empire Set." The 5x7" cards were referred to as "Action Photos" in the text, and are printed on glossy cardstock, like thin posterboard.

It's interesting to see printed material saying "Empire Set" instead of the, later, more correct Imperial Set.  I was just re-reading the SW Newspaper Comic Strips last night (from the new, definitive edition that recently came out--highly recommended!), and I kept seeing it there, too. "It's those Empire ships!"

While I thought the Rebel set was pretty much a dud, this other set is much more successful as "Action Photos." You get two cards with Boba Fett, and one with the complete bounty hunter line-up, which would have made "1980 me" giddy.  Not only that, but Vader is in all four cards, and his duel with Luke is included.  A much better way to sell a movie than the dull first set.
It should be noted that these two Collector's Kit sets have nothing to do with the Dixie Cup ESB "Story Card" strips.  Those cards were distributed in boxes of Dixie cups, and came a year later. 

Even though this was my final vintage (and promotional) SW card set, there was a note of disaster in my purchase!  Both Collector Kits included posters, which my seller rolled inside a tube and placed in a bubble-mailer envelope with the cards.  When the package arrived, the end was completely opened, and stapled back together, leaving a large hole to one side, which the tube had fallen out of, at some point in its journey.  I was lucky to receive the cards unscathed and complete (which is primarily what I was after), but it's too bad that the posters did not make it to me successfully.  I can only assume that a random postal worker's child is enjoying them now, somewhere.

Auction photos of the Luke and Vader posters...all that remains!

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