To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Disneyland, Disney created a series of 41 collector cards, one for each year the park has been open. The card for each year represents some event that occurred or attraction that opened in that year. These cards were handed out to visitors to the park starting with the 1955 card on January 21, 1995 and ending March 2, 1995 with the 1995 card. The first 5000 people to buy or renew their annual passports in 1995 received complete sets (except for the 1995 card which you had to go to the park to get).
This turned out to be a promotional coup, drawing an inordinate amount of people to Disneyland in what are usually slow days at Disneyland (winter weekdays). The first week produced only a trickle of people, partly due to a deluge of rain. After that, collectors (and vendors of collectibles) slowly caught on to the rage and flooded the gates of the Magic Kingdom. Card sharks would weasel crowds of Japanese tourists out of their card vouchers, rummage through trash cans, or try to buy cards in the parking lot for $1. The result of this was that the early cards are fairly rare and in high demand, while the later cards are abundant, so everyone has them.
Some dedicated Disneyphiles made a pilgrimage to the park each of the 40 days and obtained their 1 card and were happy with that. Others (like myself) missed only a few days (4 in my case), so they got a couple of duplicates of later dates to trade for the missing dates. At first this was a chance event; a couple of people setting up a rendezvous at the Partners statue to swap a `61 for a `69, or at the Piano at the corner of Main Street to swap a `55 for a `60 (two actual trades that I made). Noone really talked about the value of the cards at that time; it was just what you needed to complete your collection.
Towards the end of February, this became a bit more greedy and frenzied. Dealers would come with a notebook full of cards and a list showing what they had and what they would trade. Some of these people had 10 or 11 COMPLETE sets of cards already and were looking to get more. What's more, they were having trouble getting the early cards, so if you could get one of these dealers to trade you for a `55 or a `57 you had to give up several cards (I saw trades for 7 and 10). At this point Disney security stepped in and started dispersing people at the typical places where they would hang out to trade (Entrance to Frontierland was one of the most popular).
At the start of March, there were only a few days of cards left, and a lot of people still had one or two gaps to fill in their sets. It became somewhat humorous, as more people were in Disneyland to trade cards (and perhaps to ride the new Indiana Jones Adventure ride when it was open) than to ride the rides. On Wednesday the 1st, I met my sister there for lunch. As we were walking up to the restaurant to have lunch, she jokingly started calling out "Fifty-Eight! I need a Nineteen Fifty-Eight!" We were both startled and amused when the woman in front of us in line turned around and asked her, "Well, what have you got to trade for it?" They both pulled out lists of Haves and Wants and started comparing notes.
My other sister turned out to be the champion trader of the family. On the morning of the 2nd (the day the `95 card was distributed), she had 7 of the 40 cards and 7 doubles to trade with. She brought her daughter and a friend along, so that gave her an extra `95 card as well. Through a series of Wall-Street-would-be-jealous trades, she ended the evening with all but 6 of the 41 cards, and 6 cards left to trade.
I got the pleasure of setting up her best trade for her. It was about 5:45 and there were several hundred (literally) people milling around at the end of Main Street wheeling and dealing cards. Most people had late cards (let's say 1967 and later) and wanted early cards (let's say 1960 and before). Judy was letting me try to set up some deals, but she was holding on to her one trump card (a 1955) so no one would try to grab it and run. Nobody seemed to want the cards I had to trade, and not many people had the card Judy most wanted (a 1961). Finally, I found one dealer with a notebook full of cards which included a `61. I asked him if he would consider trading a 1955 for a 1961 and several other cards from Judy's missing list. Suddenly 5 different dealers leaped out of the crowd and volunteered to trade a `61 and several other cards for her `55. It was like throwing a piece of raw meat into a tank full of sharks. It came down to a bidding war, and Judy ended up getting 7 cards (including 6 cards between 1960 and 1969) for her `55.
Anyway, as it turned out, I was able to complete my collection, so I've scanned the cards and present them here for your entertainment. In case anyone from Disney Corp. is looking at these pages with a litigious eye, I should point out that this page is only for fun (not profit) and that I claim copyright only to my scans of these images, not to the images of the cards themselves.
|1996 - Main Street Electrical Parade Farewell Season||1998 - New Tommorowland|
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