A few notes on Star Wars “cardbacks” and COOL 80’s ephemera…

I’ve mentioned it before, but my folks saved everything!  Everything that would one day be worth absolutely nothing mind you.  They saved old teddy bears, newspaper clippings, toys (thank goodness for this one really), programs, ticket stubs, clothes, belts, ties, participation awards…  If it had to do with me, they saved it.  Recently, with their move to the current “hot house” that is called Florida, the 40 year old version of me inherited all of this stuff.  The sort has been quite liberating.

  • Keep for another 40 years PILE
  • Trash PILE
  • Attempt to sell PILE
  • Find Goodwill willing to take it PILE

So, with this in mind, how far does the serious bookseller ME push the boundaries of collectible ephemera that I deal in?  I suppose that it is simply an extension of the purchasing that I have been doing over the last few years.  As with many dealers, I felt swamped up with the dueling forces of too much competition and lack of interest.  Solution – make a change.  If you know me, you know that my current stock is the solution put into play.  From the original Star Wars action figure “cardbacks” to unused 1989 Batman one-subject school notebooks sold by the ton at Wal-Marts around the country in an effort to capitalize on the Michael Keaton Batman film (the greatest outing in the genre if you ask me).  While they were sold by the ton in 1989, I happen to know that unused, mint condition notebooks are rather scarce nowadays.  NOW THIS IS MY KIND OF BOOKSELLING!

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1983 Atari 2600 Brochure for the new video games from the Parker Brothers line-up

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Early 1979 Atari Video Computer System Catalog

(This brochure is pre “2600” designation as that did not happen until 1982 with the release of the Atari 5200)

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Official Batman FILM merchandise from the release of the Tim Burton / Michael Keaton classic in 1989

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An original 1977 Luke Skywalker “12 Back” cardback (backer). 

When it comes to Star Wars, it is all fair game.  It is only a matter of time before the rest of the paper loving world catches on to the “cardback” fever in my opinion.  This particular card features the original “12” figures and has the instructions on how to operate the telescoping wand that would be discontinued soon after. The cardbacks for Star Wars in particular changed much and often.  With each new film there was a change.  With the addition of more figures, there would be a change.  Mail-Away and Free offers were popular.  There are literally dozens and dozens of different cardbacks and each and every one brings back a memory for those of us who live with this stuff in the stores and in our homes in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Mike Cotter

The Transforming World of Collectible

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