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  1. #1

    Why bother with trading cards?

    Back in the day when I was a youngster, there wasn't anything like a VCR or DVD player to be had at home. I remember seeing Star Wars in 1977 and then gobbling up anything at all that had any pictures from the movie. The novelization, which I still have, split down the middle because I looked at those pictures so much. Any image from a magazine was like gold.

    I got a few trading cards from ANH, mostly the red ones with a few here and there of other colors. I used this funky one, I think I got it from Cheerios, as a reference as I made a Millenium Falcon out of cardboard. I followed with some X-Wings. This of course was before any of the real toys were even out, at least as far as I knew.

    My trading card days picked up greatly with ESB when I was in fifth grade. VCRs were just becoming a home item, but only for the better off. A VHS copy of Star Wars cost $80 bucks.

    I think I started with the cards because it was a way to "see" the movie again when it wasn't possible to go back to the theater. This was at a time when "Network Premieres" of major motion-pictures was a big deal. You saw Star Wars at the theater and then again a few years later when CBS got the rights to air it at 8pm.


    So here I am with a set of ROTS Widevision cards sent gracefully by Caesar. I was happily flipping through them when the question of "why" now popped into my head? I can just go watch the movie itself ($20 DVD) on the DVD player ($150) in the living room. Why bother with the cards anymore?

    The first answer to hit me in particular with the ROTS cards is that I can "see" the movie again without all that atrocious dialogue. I am able to enjoy the stellar production design at my own pace and appreciate the "idea" that is Star Wars despite any specific problems I might have with some recent details in the story.

    Above all though, there is still something "fun" about flipping through a set of movie cards. I don't know if it's the nostalgia or what, but it exists all the same.

  2. #2
    It's a fair question and a good point about the movies being so readily available so why bother with cards of images right out of the movie?

    Of course people have different answers of why they bother but from what I've seen, the market doesn't even focus on these cards anymore...it's all about buying by the box and going for those hot pulls, the autographs and sketches being the biggest hitters. There are several tiers of chase cards which on one hand gets more people to buy them while it turns off others from the hobby since they can't complete a whole set of chase cards without shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars to do one. Look at what those fools at Topps did by releasing only a handful of the Luke and Leia C cards from the Evolution Update set.

    So yeah, back to the base cards that stillakid was talking about - for many people they are just an afterthought and since they are the most common cards in the set I see them being dumped at a low price by dealers/collectors who have so many multiples on account of their buying by the box or even case. Or cases, as I've seen from people on other forums.

    It's a shame really, because there's a guy who puts time and effort into selecting what shots to use and what background info to write on the back of the card...but so many people ignore it and go right for the chase cards and focus on that. It's similar to what's going on in sports cards, which is even worse I think, but I have stood in a card shop before and watched with my own eyes this guy come in and buy some expensive packs of sports cards only to GIVE the shop owner the common cards as he opened his pack. He was just going for the chase cards and didn't even want anything else.

    Myself, I used to buy by the box(es) and I've even done case orders a few times...but those days are over, I got turned off to it because it was getting too expensive. With Evolution Update, I recently eBayed a base set, the A and B chase cards, and the SDCC promo to go with my NSU promo that I got for free. That's it, I have the base set and SOME of the chase cards and I'm complete in my mind. No money spent chasing the autographs and certainly no money spent going for the outrageously short packed Luke and Leia C cards.

    Evolution is cool because it's not right out of the movie, they are more character driven so there's a uniqueness to them. I love the A and B cards which span different movies, there's just something cool to me about having Ewan McG and Alec G on the same card.

    The movie scene cards are still fun for me because I'm curious to see which shots they use and don't use. Much of it is nostalgia for me, I loved collecting the cards as a kid so that's still with me. Much more than the toys, THAT'S for sure.

  3. #3
    It's a draw to the way things used to be. Do you really think all those people who moaned and groaned (me included) about there not going to be a VHS release of ROTS were jumping at the chance to watch it on the ol' VCR? It completed their set, that's all.

    For a while, I had just about every SW card set made... all 5 of the ANH Topps, 3 ESB, and 2 ROJ series... SW Galaxy I, II, & III... SW Vehicles... Special Editions Widevisions... etc. etc. Stillakid, most of your points are valid, except that the "dialogue" on the card fronts and backs was kinda lame, like "Pardon me sir, but oh!" But I liked those, actually. I knew about the movies from the trivia, and I could find characters and scenes by staring at the card photos, which were awesome still shots that the eye would miss without a pause button or slo-mo.

    I still like the "collecting" aspect, even though it's more expensive than it was before, to complete it. At $.50 or even a buck a pack (and getting, what, 10 cards? now it's 6), you could splurge on several.

    So, why bother? Well, then Topps would fold. They'll keep on makin' 'em as long as we keep on' buyin' 'em. And I plan to get some of 'em.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  4. #4
    You brought up a great point, that being the cost. As a kid, I remember going to the local drug store and picking up a three pack of ESB cards for a buck. What did we get for that? Something like 10 cards a pack and a sticker each? Something like that?

    What has it come to? It's been a while since I picked up a pack of cards, but it isnt' 10 per pack and it costs at least a couple bucks. Bullsh**. What kid can really afford that?

    That's why if I want the cards at all, I look for full sets that someone else took the time and energy to put together. I just can't afford to buy a gazillion packs like I did when I was a kid. I mean, I suppose I could if it was a priority, but I've got some other things to pay for and I just can't justify paying over 2 bucks for 10 cards or so times (how many packs to make a set?)

  5. #5
    The Heritage cards really hooked me. I still have all of my old cards from when I was a kid (they're pretty much the only thing I have left from when I was a kid), so there was a huge nostalgia thing going on with the Heritage cards for me.

    I've enjoyed casually collecting the ROTS and now the new Evolution cards for pretty much the same reason, nostalgia, but that is great point about the price. Wackypacks go for 99 cents a pack, and I think that's pretty fair (50 cents would be better) for a pack of cards today. Just the same, the Evolution stuff seems to be selling at all of the retail (Target, etc.) spots that I hit, so I suppose there is enough demand to support a $2 price for a pack of cards.
    plasticfetish.net

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by stillakid View Post
    You brought up a great point, that being the cost.

    What kid can really afford that?

    That's why if I want the cards at all, I look for full sets that someone else took the time and energy to put together. I just can't afford to buy a gazillion packs like I did when I was a kid. I mean, I suppose I could if it was a priority, but I've got some other things to pay for and I just can't justify paying over 2 bucks for 10 cards or so times (how many packs to make a set?)
    I usually buy a few packs (maybe 5-10) when there's a set that looks cool, then do what you said, find a completed set. That way, I still catch the collecting bug, and get what I want in the end (plus, there's a couple of duplicates for trading, if possible).
    "That's what Sheev said."

  7. #7
    http://www.skaught.com/501st/proofs/0523tk.jpg

    Because, trading cards are cool!!!!!!
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