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Phantom Penny Cards

There have been some beautiful Phantom collector cards through the years.

The more recent ones featured modern conventions like colour foil and lenticular imaging. The lenticular card is throwback to what used to be called ‘flicker’ images like shown on the Captain Action Phantom ring. Ten years ago, Inkworks put out a very nice example of a lenticular Phantom card. When held one way, the throne was empty, when moved slightly an image of Billy Zane sitting on the skull throne appeared.

However, the rarest cards were also the first Phantom card known to have been produced. These were called ‘penny cards’ and they featured black and white illustrations by Ray Moore used for the first Big Little Book.

They were made to be dispensed from a machine, and on the back of each card was the name of the gas station that sold them. (There were a few with a blank back where the business name was to be added.)

The printer and company that produced them are long gone and information is scant, but the only known examples of these cards are mint/near mint condition and have never been in circulation.

There also were posters advertising the cards. The posters said “Educational, Entertaining” and “Buy The Whole Series.” Glued on the poster were actual cards from the series. I’m told that Hakes guide lists these posters at $1,000, but I’ve never seen any penny cards or posters listed for sale or auction anywhere. They are so rare that the handful of collectors who own them seem to have no interest in parting with them.

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