Previously… Star Wars Cards
The Empire Strikes Back Cards

And so we come to Return of the Jedi cards…

I don’t know why, but I have fewer ROTJ cards than Empire. There were still a few mail-away figures to get – most notably Anakin and The Emperor – but for whatever reason, I didn’t hold on to the ROTJ cards. Maybe I finally realized they weren’t as cool to keep as I thought they were when I was younger.

I can’t remember if I mailed-away for Nien Numb or if I bought him off the rack. For some reason it feels like I did the mail-away thing…

I love the Biker Scout design; that mask is so iconic. Unfortunately, the Biker Scout that came on this card would eventually lose his head. I probably stepped on him or something. However it happened, my Dad helped me Super Glue it back on. Over time, though, even that eventually wore out, so for the next 30 years I had this decapitated Biker Scout body in my Darth Vader carrying case, with his head rolling around inside the “Accessory Storage Chamber” with Yoda.

I have since replaced my Biker Scout with one from eBay. He’s one of only about 2 or 3 figures in my collection that were not mine from childhood.

If you look closely at General Madine’s card back, between the Gamorreon Guard and Admiral Ackbar, there are two black blobs with white splotches. Those blobs hid two upcoming Ewok figures – Logray and Chief Chirpa. There was a rumor going around my school that if you used a #2 pencil eraser on the blobs that you could see the figures underneath. I think I tried this trick on almost every ROTJ card back that had the blobs and I never got it to work…

The Y-Wing was another toy I never got, but wanted so, so badly. I still think it’s a cool toy to this day. I also really wanted the shiny C-3PO case, but my parents never got it for me, either. I bought the non-shiny 1996 re-release off Facebook Marketplace just in the last few years, but I’d still rather have the shiny one from 1983! They’re readily available on eBay, but that chrome finish didn’t stay very neat for very long, so they’re pretty banged up today. Still, I’d love to add one to my collection.

While I did send away for Anakin, I don’t think I ever actually played with him. He probably stayed in the same slot in my Darth Vader case for decades until I finally put all my figures on display a few years ago. I find it interesting that the Anakin offer is literally just a sticker that, in this case, was haphazardly placed over the bottom third of the card. I guess that saved on printing costs.

Oh, Rancor, how I always wanted you! My friend Kevin had the Rancor and I can remember many times we’d get it out and have it fight Luke, but also Han, Chewie, and anyone else we could get his hands on. I’d still love to add one to my collection.

The Ewok playsets shown here never did much for me until I got the Ewok Village one year for Christmas. Unfortunately, I never got any of the peripheral Ewok sets…

Here’s an even more poorly-placed Anakin sticker on this card!

I wound up getting Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo band at some point. Like a lot of the ROTJ figures, I didn’t play with them a lot, so they mostly stayed in the box until our basement flooded. In the picture below, you can see the water-damaged Max Rebo box, along with the boxes for my Speeder Bike and Death Star Micro Collection set. Thankfully all of the toys survived, but the boxes were a total loss.

Unfortunately, I lost two more ROTJ cards in our basement flood. Pictured here are Princess Leia on Endor and the Ewok, Wicket W. Warrick. Mom squirreled away Star Wars figures throughout the year and would give them to me as a reward for doing well on a test in school, if I was especially helpful around the house, or any other thing she felt I deserved a small reward for. She wound up getting duplicates of these figures and kept them hidden in her closet for years. She finally gave them to me when I was in my early 20s and they stayed in a storage bin for another 15 years after that since I had no where to display them. As you can see, they were in pretty good shape even after the flood. Sadly, the bubbles came off immediately after I picked these up – there was no salvaging them – so their value as carded figures was gone. The figures remained in good shape, so I kept them, but threw the cards away. I try not to look at what these carded figures are going for on eBay nowadays…

I have a complicated relationship with these card backs. I know there’s a collector’s market out there for used Star Wars action figure cards, but I really don’t understand the appeal. Are they fun to look at? Sure, but 99% of them are in terrible condition because us kids were so excited to tear into our new toys; we weren’t trying to preserve these pieces of cardboard for future display or anything.

If they were in good shape – if I had used an X-Acto knife to carefully loosen the bubble to keep the print intact – then I could see wanting to keep them and even paying for them. But my cards are bent, the photos are often scraped off, and the proofs of purchase are cut out of so many of them that they aren’t even whole pieces anymore. And yet, I know I could probably get at least $3-4 for some of these, more for some that are in better condition.

That being said, I also held onto them all these years and really have no plan to get rid of them, so there must be some value to them. Like I said, it’s complicated. But then, I sometimes think there’s a collectors’ mentality of, “If I’ve held onto it for this long, why not keep holding onto it just because I’ve held onto it?” So, for the time being anyway, I’m going to keep holding onto these Star Wars action figure cards. *Sigh*

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