The Cardback Quandry

Every figure has one, most of the time they are specific to the toy and can certainly be a hot-button design issue, but what do you do with them?

It all started with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for me. Playmates took the "ID Card" premise from GI Joe and included one on each release. Somewhere on the pseudo Index Card graphic it said "cut out and save" so being the impressionable youth that I was, I did just that. In fact I remember being fairly heartbroken when I realized I had left my "Skateboarder Michelangelo" card at a Souplantion after dinner one night. Eventually it occurred to me that were I to keep the entire cardback not only would I maintain the Info Cards but I'd also get the pictures of other figures, this toy's accessories and the rest of the cool art all over the card - and thus, the game was forever changed.

Flash forward two decades and I have a (parents') attic full of cardbacks and still save every single one. A lot about collecting is tied into compulsive behavior, at least for, and thus it became of major importance to me to preserve the cards. In fact I open toys by slicing around the base of the bubble, over the seam glued to the card, in order to have little-to-no image tearing. I then toss all of the cards and boxes into a box to pretty much never look at again. I know this is kind of silly but part of me imagines one day I'll do something with them (like wallpaper a room or Man-Cave). Yet, to date I just have boxes of cardboard.

The dilemma comes into play as I prepare to move to Chicago to Los Angeles. When I moved out here I sucked it up and chucked most of the cardback boxes into the recycle, but once here the old habit picked back up. Having to pack up once more I am yet again directly confronted with a monetary cost to preserving this part of the collection and as such find myself wondering - do I want to?

Thus, dear readers, I turn to you! What do YOU do with your figures' cardbacks, boxes, packaging and so on? Save it all or just some it? Rip and toss it? Save a sample or buy a second figure to keep carded?

And what about all those little paper inserts from Hasbro and DST?

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7 Responses to The Cardback Quandry

  1. MontyPla says:

    I recycle all the cardbacks, and most boxes toys come in, except the more expensive stuff and Revoltechs (I just like the Revoltech boxes, I guess). I do, however, somewhat compulsively keep all the boxes and even leftover plastic runners from Gundam models.

  2. googum says:

    I had a bunch from 98-02 or so, that I almost wish I still had since it was from such a hodgepodge of lines. But, like Monty, I only save maybe the boxes for the spendy stuff.

  3. GL3600 says:

    Wow. I felt the same way....had some of my old GI joe and TMNT file cards cut out. I kept the cardbacks when I collected the old Star Wars POTF, but when I saw the pile of cardbacks just sitting there, I saw the uselessness of it. Now I happily toss any packaging, and I'm super happy with the storage space savings.

  4. ferris says:

    Most of it goes straight into the recycling bin... BUT if I have something expensive or breakable (mostly vinyl and Japanese stuff) then I'll keep any reusable boxes to protect it when I move. So I have one closet full of boxes.

    And I used to cut out and keep the 25th Joe bios until they changed the look for the 30th ones (still have a little photo album full of all the '80s bios from when I was a kid too, even though the toys are long gone). And I keep the Star Wars Vintage Collection cards for similarly silly nostalgic reasons. And I keep one of each of those DST posters, whichever is the least bent/creased.

  5. Shocka says:

    I keep all of the cards - and clamshell inserts - in display books. I have hundreds and hundreds of them!

  6. I only save G.I. Joe file cards and boxes for statues. Of course I have about 200 figures I've just never opened, so I guess I'm "saving" those card backs too!
    Have you tried just packing them into a comic box? I bet nearly all of your cardbacks would fit inside of those.

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