An Introduction to Star Wars Card Back Variations
by Dan Flarida
When it comes to collecting Star Wars memorabilia, it seems that almost everyone has a particular area of the hobby they like best. I have always been fascinated with the many different cardbacks Kenner produced for their vintage line of action figures. Each time they added new figures or developed a new mail-away promotion, Kenner re-designed their packaging in order to ensure that the products on store shelves would reflect the direction in which they were taking the line. Often, in order to advertise their most current products, they would place stickers on the existing cards until the updated versions could be printed. All of these changes, combined with a constant output of product, made for some very interesting variations--and collecting all of them presents quite a challenge. As you'll realize when you look through this section, simply trying to account for all the different sticker combinations that showed up on these cards is enough to make your head spin.
Collecting loose cardbacks is not an easy task. From the outset, you'll need to realize that you will most likely never "finish" your collection. There are a vast amount of variations amongst these cards, and new ones seem to surface every day. The best way to go about finding cardbacks is to diligently search local flea markets and toy shows. Most dealers don't want to use their limited table space to show this type of thing, so you'll have to get used to asking for them at every table. I would recommend not paying any more than a couple of dollars each, since they're the type of thing that often comes cheaply. There are a few tough ones to locate, however, and a few examples almost never turn up. Some of the harder to find backs are the SW32, and the SW20 series with the Boba Fett offer variations.
Collecting the cardback variations can be a very satisfying and enjoyable compliment to your Star Wars collecting activity. I hope this list of the variations I've put together will help you get started with the hunt! I am always looking for any U.S. card back variations that aren't shown on this list. If you have one, please contact me at email@example.com and help make this gallery as comprehensive as possible.