Unusual Vintage find: Looking for additional info


Jul 30, 2000
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A while back I picked up 3 Star Wars cardbacks from a collector owing to their peculiar bubble moldings. Sorry for the crappy pictures but I just threw these together quickly, I’ll do better ones in the future. Hopefully you can see that the bubbles that were attached appear to be from an oversized bubble that was mounted upside down. You can’t really see but the corners of the bubbles are not always evenly rounded off and even appear to have been cut by hand due to their lack of uniformity.

At this time of the line the tallest figure was Darth Vader and his bubble is still a good 3 to 4 cm too short to come close to this one. Additionally the early bubbles had the molded foot stand that came all the way to the edge of the bubble so they could stand the cards upright. I can only conclude that either this was a locally produced bubble designed to fill a short fall in production for a short period, or that it was from a different toy line altogether from around the same period. Any suggestions on other toy lines that this might have come from?

I picked up three cardbacks like this and missed out on a few more to another collector. All appeared to have exactly the same sized bubble on them which is obviously different from the figure-specific bubbles used on all but the tri-logo line. Adding to the curiosity factor is that all three of the cards are undersize compared to all other Star Wars cards that I have. I’m used to some variances in card dimensions but none quite so pronounced as this. All three cards are also 21 backs and identical on this side. One of the cards has a price sticker so it’s safe to assume they were mainstream retail items, albeit ones that I’ve never come across previously.

So, does anyone have any theories or information about such card and bubble combinations? Have you seen anything like this before or even have one in your own collection? I don't recall seeing anything like these previously and certainly haven't seen one that is still carded. Here’s the pics of the Obi Wan card plus a regular card for comparison.




Hi Dax,

Kosta sold a MOC Death Star Droid and MOC Greedo about a year ago, both with upside down bubbles on offerless 21 backs...
I don't recall any other details, but I'm pretty sure Troy from Tennessee (TroyJ_Packrat here on RS) won the Greedo.
Hey Dan, I think it's actually the size of the bubble and card that has Dax (and others
) perplexed.
BTW, see you on the 15th!!
There has to be an upside down Australia joke in here somewhere...

It's just an upside down bubble isn't it ? As for the card size, end of run stock perhaps ? Who knows.

Re: Unusual Vintage find: Looking for additional i

Does the taller Ben card say "Made in Taiwan"?

Re: Unusual Vintage find: Looking for additional i

Both the Ben cards are Made in Hong Kong and I've compared them against all my Star Wars logo cardbacks including some of the over-height Taiwan cards. The Taiwan cards are generally 1 -2 mm taller than other cards making them just slightly too tall to fit in a Star Case. These undersize cards are almost 1cm shorter than a 'standard' size cardback and as you can see from the image, all the artwork has been reduced comparatively so we're not just seeing a standard print on a small cardback run, we're actually seeing a reduction in the graphics as well.

The bubble does not correspond with any Star Wars figure bubble at all. It is much taller than any bubble of the time and what is generally referred to as the foot of the bubble does not extend all the way to the edge of the bubble. If it was mounted right way up the card still wouldn't stand vertically.

The bubbles have the usual waffle pattern in the glue indicating they are factory sealed but the way the corners are trimmed almost looks hand finished. Some of the corners are round like you would expect of a regular bubble but others almost finish in a point. You may be able to see this on the close up of the Ben bubble at the top left corner.

Thanks for the lead Dan, I'll try and contact Troy to see if his item is anything like these.
Re: Unusual Vintage find: Looking for additional i

My guess is bumbled reseal with a MOTU bubble. Did you just say that the regular 12 back vader is taller then the 12 back chewy? I always thought the opposite.
Re: Unusual Vintage find: Looking for additional i

Nope, definitely not a reseal on these as there are multiple cardbacks all identical. Also the bubble is nothing like an MOTU one which are large and not rectangular so that doesn't correlate. It might be a bubble from another Kenner line perhaps around the same time or I'm more inclined to suspect that it was locally produced given the finish of the item.

Oops! Could be wrong about the height of those two figures but still this bubble is significantly taller than either Vader or Chewie. It effectively covers part of the name plate which is not standard for any figure.
Re: Unusual Vintage find: Looking for additional i

I think these cards are cool Dax, great find. As I mentioned to you previously I reckon they might be a Toltoys New Zealand produced item.

Looking at your pics tonight another thought just struck me, the card art doesn't look as sharp as the regular Kenner ones, which gives me a sneaking suspicion that they might have been produced directly from printed Kenner cardbacks rather than the original printing art. That might help explain the dimension differences too, perhaps whatever process they used to copy the art resulted in some shrinkage. Yes yes ha ha shrinkage :) but seriously it may have.

I think you're on the right track regarding the blisters too, they were probably sourced locally and may have been a stock item that was a 'pretty close' fit.

Alternativetly, they may actually be an elaborate bootleg. New Zealand company Lincoln Toys was a notoriuos usurper of other manufacturer's toys, everyone from Matchbox to MEGO, so I wouldn't totally discount the possibility of someone in NZ pumping out some figs. The fact that they are 21 backs means that the SW craze (and sales) was in full swing too, very tempting to some unscrupulous factory somewhere circa 1979...

Good bit of mystery eh? Feels just like an episode of the Hardy Boys :)