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Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Prism Stickers


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Posted (edited)

This aims to be a semi-comprehensive guide AND information sharing hub to ‘70s, 80s, 90s Prism stickers (NOT Prism CARDS!).
Please try to abstain from getting too deep into discussions on Prism cards.

 

Intro
For over a year now, I haven’t really been looking for video games. Prices just got too high and there’s not much reward for the effort. However, I haven’t given up on collecting. I just got into collecting prism stickers.

The beauty of prism stickers is the parallels they share with video games collecting. They are fun to look at and there’s lots of undocumented quirky details to discover. Best of all, they can be found for relatively cheap compared to video games. Unlike cards, which were meant for collecting, prism stickers are stickers that were meant for kids to use. So they got handled and most probably ended up in the trash. These things are really fun to collect. I’d love to find trading partners that want to trade duplicates and help document stuff.

 

 

What are Prism Stickers?
Also known as Prismatic stickers, refractor stickers and Prizm stickers. Below image is a Prism sticker:
IMG_2415.gif.90f7a145f5feb17317417e3376ce3ec0.gif


Prisms are sometimes incorrectly referred to as hologram, holographic, or foil/holofoil. Below image is a hologram.IMG_2418.jpeg.98248ad78d39930ed80836bbd4a7f762.jpeg

 

Forms of Prism stickers
The most iconic Prism stickers from the era are the ones that are same size as standard 2.5” x 3.5” trading cards. They fit into penny sleeves and top loaders. But they are NOT cards!
To me personally, card style prism stickers are the ‘crem de la crem’ of the hobby.

IMG_2416.jpeg.7d35ceda653c1738a7898accc1f16b2f.jpeg

 

Some prism stickers are die cut. Some are also non-standard sizes. Some are on the standard 2.5” x 3.5” card but the stickers are die cut.
IMG_2420.jpeg.332bc60df38d5aa1c6851e28f9c0f315.jpeg

 

Variant Collecting
Much like video game collecting, prism stickers have many types of variants.
There are color variants:
IMG_2421.jpeg.f64bf15490b18ea30d9ccd7262d978f7.jpeg

 

There are prism style variants:
Left is "shattered ice" pattern. Right is wave pattern.
IMG_2422.jpeg.a75b5b4d48f689737cd96490d29143e3.jpeg

Top is sun pattern. Bottom is "shattered ice" pattern.
IMG_2423.jpeg.01f24c69bbc56db5936cd2e29d371302.jpeg

 

There are design variants
IMG_2427.jpeg.899c3cc152fb761bf8618f7ecbec46b4.jpegIMG_2426.jpeg.f8742758648af862eb32bd5f0c0d58c1.jpegIMG_2425.jpeg.8882d9fc219fec23529000c93128bf69.jpegIMG_2424.jpeg.aa40241500120a4e841bf28910556ca0.jpeg

 

There are form factor variants..
These are technically not variants because although they share the same design, they are not made by the same company.IMG_2428.jpeg.dbf97bdc906fa1ccc98cd8abd15437b1.jpeg
Typically Mello Smello made smaller stickers that were sold at retail and they shared designs with the vending machine stickers.

 

 

Who are some of the major players?

Selectra
Selectra was possibly one of the biggest names in the prism sticker game. They coin operated sold sticker vending machines. According to the internet, Selectra went defunct due to a judgement against them from Harley Davidson. In the early days, Selectra made a lot of unlicensed stickers. Harley was apparently one of the brands and their legal battles with Selectra spanned for years until they went defunct in 1998.

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/855/275/1972995/
IMG_2431.jpeg.9cf447b8630dccb4a3216f39374c9f35.jpeg

 

Peninsula Vending, Inc. (PVI)
Peninsula vending appears to also be a sticker vending machine company (hence the name). They also seem to have done stickers in retail packaging:
IMG_2487.jpeg.cb1fbff8d9f92a06c03073e95409b2de.jpegMany of the PVI stickers were standard 2.5” x 3.5” card size, but they had die cut stickers.
The outer section of the sticker is typically peeled away, although you can sometimes find them without the outer part peeled away.
IMG_2489.jpeg.6f937e16a5362ceef087cdda52b4ca1c.jpegIMG_2488.jpeg.94ae40f6f7d7d6f80a6dec78411621ca.jpeg

Mello Smello
This company sold packages of stickers in retail stores. Mostly regular stickers, but they also had foils and some prisms. The Mello Smellos are smaller than the 2.5 x 3.5 card style stickers and are on a paper backing. So they are not as desirable.


Staley Corp
This company may have possibly sold the stickers at retail as they have what appears to be color packaging.

Many Others
There are probably many other companies out there that made prism stickers, but this was the wild west and nobody really put there name on the stickers. Some of them put there name on packaging, but like video game boxes, the packaging hasn’t really survived.

 

 

Pricing
Typically on eBay, you’ll find prism stickers for sale in the $5-7 range when purchased in lots. Many people try to sell individual cards for $10-20, but I don’t think they really sell. Exceptions to this are Michael Jordan and horror movies. For some reason, people really like horror movie prism stickers.

 

 

Here’s some notable sets for 90’s kids
If you get into this hobby, you will soon realize that it is impossible to collect everything. There is simply too much out there. So you might focus on sets for the franchises you like. Here are some notable franchises:

1. Michael Jordan – unfortunately Michael Jordan prism stickers have become saturated and pricing has gotten out of control. Some 1985 rookie Michael Jordans are found to be slabbed and listed in the $30-50k range. This has led to lots of counterfeit Michael Jordans in circulation.
IMG_2429.jpeg.9a84467ff43c2016504d0931bee4e5c2.jpeg

2. 70’s and 80’s Horror movies – these seem to have a cult following. Unfortunately for collectors, this means you can expect to pay $25+ per card.. Good for me, I am personally not a fan of horror.
https://brandedinthe80s.com/15429/peel-here-118-the-exhaustive-selectra-horror-prism-vending-stickers-edition

 

Continued with more notable sets on  later posts…
There are many more series to be discovered. I have named some of the ones familiar to me.

 


 

 

Edited by phart010
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Have you looked into sealdass stickers? To my knowledge some of those use prisms. The last run of cards for the original Yu Gi Oh card game (the one before Konami) were sealdass stickers instead of true cards

Here's an image of a Pokemon one I nabbed off of eBay

 

Sealdass.jpg

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35 minutes ago, Ankos said:

Have you looked into sealdass stickers? To my knowledge some of those use prisms. The last run of cards for the original Yu Gi Oh card game (the one before Konami) were sealdass stickers instead of true cards

Here's an image of a Pokemon one I nabbed off of eBay

 

Sealdass.jpg

This is very cool. Thanks for sharing 🙏 

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Posted (edited)

3. Nintendo – These are mostly Mario stickers, but there’s a few Zelda ones too. There seems to be 2 series:
a. One series was made by Selectra in 1990. They are numbered. I'm still mising four from this set:

 IMG_2432.jpeg.b7e78e53eadda532b5982beb05f9889e.jpeg

b. There’s also another series made by Peninsula Vending Inc (PVI) with dates from 1993-1994.IMG_2434.jpeg.df40fddaef8477a4ffb33000aa12016f.jpeg
Mario prisms stickers seem to be getting more popular and people have began listing them for absurd prices, but with enough patience, you can still find them for $7-10 each.

 

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – There are several series of TMNT out there.
a. Theres a 1988 series, fairly common:
1988series.PNG.7058d2e48ecb558680d2601516e7fbf8.PNG

b. Theres a 1989 series, fairly UN-common (I need these. Let me know if you find them).
TMNTseries1.PNG.effc941007550bc485ca9752670b78dc.PNG


c. 1990 Selectra series (each of these has an alternate design variant… some may even have a third text variant)
TMNTSelectra.PNG.0cfa07b042e3b328bf32ab9338734ff0.PNG


d. 1992 series which seems to pop up in Canada with numbered cards. These are pretty uncommon (I need these. Let me know if you find them).
SeriesCanada.PNG.48967f432b8f29354aef27c237b23e21.PNG


e. 1993 series in which Turtles are dressed in various outfits (I suspect this is Canadian).
IMG_2435.jpeg.d2056da95fcf4ddd9157443e525d333e.jpeg

Edited by phart010
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Posted (edited)

5. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – There are several series of Power Rangers.

These die cut ones do not have any markings:

IMG_2436.jpeg.e97edd325f340594116300722077ae78.jpeg

These give die cut ones are marked as 1994 PVI. The last one probably belongs to the set above as it has no markings. 
IMG_2439.jpeg.6b1400302ae9af781644e96aeb9ccb42.jpeg
 

Theres at least two different art styles among the regular card style ones below. Something interesting is that some of them have a prism version and a variant that is just the same design with foil but without the prism patterns.:

IMG_2438.jpeg.bee446cce674fbb794aad33614de5aae.jpeg

 

Some other ones I’m still working on finding:

PowerRangers1.PNG.6f1dbdbcf19faa815cb39703d555f42c.PNG

 

6. Street Fighter – There seems to be at least 2 series of Street Fighter, one of them by Peninsula Vending (PVI). Street Fighter gets listed for absurd prices, but with patience you can still find them for $7-10

a. These ones look like die cut PVI. I always see them without the edge section peeled away.
StreetFighter2.PNG.c881306b7182d3235e3f0727c9f08e18.PNG

b. These are in the style of Selectra, but I don't know who made them. There must be more since I don't see Ryu or Ken.
StreetFighter1.PNG.04684d58a7d66ceed731821085642058.PNG

c. No clue who made these ones:
StreetFighter3.PNG.e7f2225a5f27c71a88e2673da709ca1a.PNG

Edited by phart010
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Posted (edited)

7. The Lion King – There seems to at least 3 series of Disney’s the Lion King:
one of them is from PVI and includes regular as well as 2.5 x 3.5 die cut designs. From what I’ve seen the Lion King die cuts don’t typically have the outer section peeled away.

image.jpg.0c71510148f007813b1e6f1598756032.jpg

image.jpg.6bdffacd752208d84f97c4c1c6ea4ccd.jpg

image.jpg.3bd333f5d20ac5a11984afbdd3542416.jpg

8. Aladdin – There seems to be at least 4 series of Disney’s Aladdin. I don’t have much information on who made these.

image.jpg.868e8335cef1df8cf30ee55ed02ae94e.jpg
image.jpg.253375f6204c4d59d4f6e4c7235069dd.jpg
image.jpg.f38112ee1acfa108ef735e0a9bcfccdf.jpg

image.jpg.8ecb4341efba9ee61c0b03d9d5676a62.jpg

 

9. Mickey Mouse and friends – Its difficult to say which stickers belong to which series or how many series exist.

image.jpg.48340ea0ac7a299514e75326a1fe549e.jpg

A couple of variants here. The Mickey Mouse parade seems to have a grey, green and purple variant. Mickey and Minney have prism style variants. Minney Mouse at the bottom right has a darker tone of purple than the others

image.jpg.157e14a2bf27c619202289216052fd7b.jpg

Mickey and Minney on the top row and middle row have a prism style variant. The white oversized Donald is old, I’ve heard that it’s from the 70’s and possibly unlicensed

image.jpg.78a21d0423b3b320ad127c1f8e64bc29.jpg

image.jpg.0fb145673f7e71cff78475f376245e52.jpg
image.jpg.1e6e31e65e49610ad9c046267813cd17.jpg

10. Manuel Rivera Disney Series – These are what I consider to be my personal heavies. You know they are Manuel Rivera’s because they say Manuel Rivera at the bottom of the card in Disney font.
IMG_2482.jpeg.fd06d3f704852c0f00ec2ca06e83fc3f.jpeg
They are slightly larger than the standard 2.5 x 3.5 and the card backing goes past the edges of the sticker, so they need special oversized toploaders All the Manuel Riveras are numbered, so I know that I am missing several of them. They are somewhat difficult to come by. A few I found from a Canadian seller and the bulk of them came from Mexico. Even though the art style isn’t as good as the regular Disney ones, something about the Manuel Rivera series just feels special.

9949B, 9951B, 9952B
9955B, 9956B, 9958B
9960B, 9961B, 9963B

image.jpg.e752bb7e7eae2026bd3657672850acbc.jpg
 

9964B, 9966B, 9967B
9968B, 9969B, 9970B
9971B, 9972B, 9974B
image.jpg.89d090a7786173d63a0378670ac3202a.jpg

Edited by phart010
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Posted (edited)

 

11. Batman – There seems to be at least 5 Batman series:
a. There’s one of the oldschool series, Batman is blue.
IMG_2494.jpeg.389f4c45277ce8ad75b70b846a43ec66.jpeg
Don’t know if this one is part of the same series or if it’s just a standalone sticker (it’s harder to find than the rest):
IMG_2496.jpeg.341f4216134952fe8188592ca060d0bf.jpegIMG_2500.jpeg.48ee32087f2a9257c3ef262d5766c4bb.jpeg


b. There is one series from 1992 which I don’t have, in which Batman is always in real badass looking poses. Stickers are numbered and typically go for $10-15 each, which I’m not willing to pay.
IMG_2498.jpeg.0b673743707565258fa960542aaaa1f1.jpeg


c. Batman Returns is also dated 1992. In it Batman is black and again the cards are numbered.
IMG_2495.jpeg.b83794aa25ff261d8b174cf6cfa2a523.jpeg

IMG_2497.jpeg.9fa64b4ec0397537694147290ef8de1f.jpeg

d. There’s Batman the Animated series from 1993 (I suspect this is Canadian).


e. In Batman Forever from 1994, everything looks semi-realistic.
IMG_2493.jpeg.92fe5028088801d415cd58930f837bb7.jpeg

 

12. Marvel and X-Men
I’m not going to attempt to describe the Marvel series. I don’t collect them and it seems to me like an endless rabbit hole. I have read that many of them are unlicensed, made by Selectra. There are resources on them here:
Marvel 1990 Vending Prism Sticker Cards (Impel-style) - Blowout Cards Forums (blowoutforums.com)

 

Edited by phart010
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Posted (edited)

13. Looney Tunes – There seem to be a lot of different series of Looney Tunes. There’s also some spinoffs like Space Jam. I have some die cut cards from 1985 and a series from 1990.

14. Flintstones – There are at least 5 series of the Flintstones.
a. One has slightly narrower numbered cards and is dated 1991, but has no manufacturer named.
image.jpg.099506059fe9600ff8917b96c24eb013.jpg


b. One looks very much in the style of Selectra, but has no markings.
image.jpg.76130950976d86f5c0265f9f2bbef832.jpg

c. One is 1994 Peninsula Vending and includes some 2.5 x 3.5 die cuts.
image.jpg.ec8a29610b092115abd4839fa069816c.jpg


d. One has die cuts, but no other info.
image.jpg.cf10efe9cfcc2829f795daaeefdac46f.jpg


e. One is Mello Smello, so doesn’t really count since they are smaller in size.
image.jpg.03e7d6a8a5bf89894923d73e73b98c14.jpg

15. Popeye the Sailor Man – There’s at least 2 series of Popeye. :
a. One is from 1987. Not much info on this set. Unknown how many there should be in the set.
image.jpg.678417acef1f661b4e47de6390391b34.jpg

b. One is from Peninsula Vending in 1994.
image.jpg.d87efe7c56ea50162223254b5fe396c6.jpg

 

16. Bobby’s World – I am only aware of 1 series of Bobby’s World from Peninsula Vending in 1994
image.jpg.f20102bf4bc868cf348359a44cce42bd.jpg
IMG_2517.jpeg.9663215ea95b71bbb60dee8fa6ef67e1.jpeg

17. The Simpsons – I have much interest in collectingthese, but there seems to be so many of the Simpsons that it is overwhelming.
 

18. Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad – Only seems to be one series of these by Peninsula Vending in 1994.

Edited by phart010
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2 minutes ago, The Count said:

These are great, thank you for sharing @phart010 I recall seeing WCW and WWF stickers back when. Here is a picture from an eBay listing:

Vintage Sticker Lot 90s WRESTLING WCW NWO PRISM Vending Sticker Set LOT OF 12 - Picture 1 of 1

I never did buy any of these though. I always bought the Britney Spears stickers from the vending machines at Taco Bell.

Haha. Keep coming back if you are interested! This thread is a big undertaking. I'll be adding more and more pictures as I have time. Its kind of hard because I can't just take pictures on my phone due to the image size limitations, so I'm having to either take snippets of images on ebay or try to do some photo editing on my phone to reduce file sizes. I just added more Power Rangers and Street Fighter photos today.

 

By the way - if you are interested in wrestling, I've got a few wrestling prism stickers from some lots I bought. I have no interest in collecting wrestling, so they're yours if you want them. 

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1 hour ago, phart010 said:

By the way - if you are interested in wrestling, I've got a few wrestling prism stickers from some lots I bought. I have no interest in collecting wrestling, so they're yours if you want them. 

That'd be great, I'd happily take those wrestling stickers off your hands. I'm sure I have something that would interest you in return.

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Sometimes, after all these years, I think Ive seen or read it all when it comes to video game history and all the little off shoots of vaguely related things. Then something like this comes out of left field. I love reading about something different in this hobby I haven’t seem before.

Thanks for keeping it interesting @phart010

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Posted (edited)

These just came in.
19. “1988 MCDONALD’S CORPORATION”

They don’t quite fit in the standard size top loaders, so I got these large top loaders.
 

The photos don’t do these things justice. Prisms are beautiful 

image.jpg.e2502f303fe19c8eb8f18d202bddaa97.jpg

Edited by phart010
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If anyone is interested, this seller just dumped a crap load of TMNT 1988 series onto eBay for like $3 and change per sticker. I would say this is a good deal, better than what I paid for mines anyway. He mentioned there are two staple holes at the top of the card, which is typical for this series

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?sid=legionpang&_pgn=1&isRefine=true&_trksid=p4429486.m3561.l49496

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Posted (edited)

20. Voltron
 No info on these. They’re hard to find.
IMG_2461.jpeg.ec1a0329f418eeb910302197e88d0297.jpeg


while were on the topic of robots, here’s some bootleg Transformers ones I found. These are oversized. They are numbered
IMG_2506.jpeg.6757e071a472c2a5401c5ca9422bec52.jpeg

Also here’s something called Prisma Protectors, which I know nothing about. 
IMG_2304.jpeg.1872bb2f2f5d5c4ffcd9eade9de25a69.jpeg


Finally, here’s some other weird robot stuff
IMG_2350.jpeg.b9b5e7d75feb2cacd9311d44eddb3573.jpeg

Edited by phart010
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I just ordered this Street Fighter lot on eBay. $87 shipped. At 18 stickers, that’s $4.83 each.

People routinely list these Street Fighter ones for absurd prices. I only wanted 2 of Ryu and 2 of Ken. If interested, I’ll be letting them go for $5 each. 

IMG_2507.jpeg.a784fe7fcae48c9f9ac6fae99b2f2032.jpegIMG_2508.jpeg.acb39708e0c34cd538661f85eb679f88.jpegIMG_2509.jpeg.72f41f6303df90181f3e0f8ce0b538d2.jpeg

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Graphics Team · Posted

Not gonna lie - I always avoided prism sticker machines in favor of the plastic capsule toy machines that were usually next to 'em. But now I realize these things are pretty cool haha. Who knew there were prism stickers for robots and Mario and McDonalds characters and stuff? Love the project and the documentation, @phart010!

[T-Pac]

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, T-Pac said:

Not gonna lie - I always avoided prism sticker machines in favor of the plastic capsule toy machines that were usually next to 'em. But now I realize these things are pretty cool haha. Who knew there were prism stickers for robots and Mario and McDonalds characters and stuff? Love the project and the documentation, @phart010!

[T-Pac]

Thanks! Its hard to fully appreciate them without holding one in your hand and seeing the light refraction effect. My goal is to get all of the sets that have an NES or SNES game associated with them.

Never thought I’d get into something like this but it’s not really much weirder than collecting old cardboard boxes or little booklets, and they certainly take up a lot less space.

Edited by phart010
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2 hours ago, Casper said:

I would like to buy duplicates of the prism stickers or trade. I have a bunch of cool/rare prism vending stickers.  Thanks…

Please feel free to share photos of your prism stickers here. I’m sure everyone reading this thread would love to see what you have

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I seriously need to stop popping into this thread when it bubbles up...

This is one of those things where for my entire life, I never paid much attention to these. I remember them but I would always get candy or a toy from those little vending machines and stickers were always off my radar, mostly because I didn't know what to do with them, and I didn't have a consistent place to put them.

But, now, seeing imaged and binders of these things, it hits the nostalgia vibe hard.  I mean, I didn't have them, but I remember seeing so many of these stuck on friends binders, mirrors at their homes or even stuck inside a textbook if some other kids was feeling a bit rebellious.

I want them all now!

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These just came in the mail. I’ve seen all of them on occasion except the Mickey and Peter Pan ones. I think those are probably less common. Someone was selling the whole set for a pretty good deal.

IMG_2563.jpeg.b42d0e3e11e9a5a69a14692c2f7e0cd4.jpeg

I suspect these are not licensed by Disney. They don’t say Disney on them as all the other Disney ones do.

They may actually be made by Selectra without a license. I say this because Selectra did unlicensed Marvel stuff and those had a similar yellow banner on each card with the names of each character

IMG_2564.jpeg.98b058fcbfe9f62a4518c82d07a40a01.jpeg

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