In 1998 ERTL made a series of collector cards for the Thomas the Tank Engine range. The collector cards were printed on thin cardboard but the bright colourful illustrations provided by Owen Bell more than made up for the rather low quality cards. Today we are going to be having a look at the short lived range of cards made available.
There were 60 cards in Series 1, numbered 1 to 60 with three "shiny" cards released. The cards came in random packs of eight and perhaps you could have swapped them with your friends at school at the time. Each card had a illustration of the locomotive, rolling stock, vehicle or person on the front and a brief description on the back written from Sir Topham Hatt's perspective. The cards are slightly longer than standard trading cards and are landscape on the front and portrait on the back.
Although the packets said "Series 1" there wasn't actually a series 2 released, so they only appear to have been made in 1998 and probably 1999. Despite the collector cards being discontinued in their trading card format they were still used on the back of the packaging for each item purchased until the end of production.
— ThomasCollectables (@TTCollectables) May 30, 2018
The ERTL Collector cards were a short lived dabble into the trading card market for Thomas the Tank Engine. To me they come across as essentially collectable advertising for the range, obviously they are very interesting to see now given how much time has passed since the were released.
In the video below you can see the front and back of the collector cards, but you may want to pause the video to read the descriptions on the back.
As always if you have any questions of comments please feel free to get in touch!