"To the victor belongs the spoils of the enemy," so the saying goes, and war is no exception to the rule.
Now that the Middle East crisis is apparently over, interest in gulf-war paraphernalia is peaking - especially as far as war-related trading cards are concerned - and two Utah men are reaping the rewards.Originally, the 110-count "Operation Desert Shield" Trading Card Set, created by Park City residents Thom Dillon and Tom Larsheid, sold slowly but steadily. However, after allied forces called a cease-fire and troops began coming home, it seems as if Americans can't get enough of their president or their military leaders.
"Since we're not responsible for selling or distributing the cards, we don't have exact figures on how they're selling, but the manufacturer (Pacific Trading Cards Inc. in Lynnwood, Wash.) tells us they're doing well now."
Both Dillon and Larsheid pitched the idea to Pacific, the company responsible for the "Mayberry, RFD" card set. Company officials went for the idea in a big way.
"We talked with Mike (Cramer, Pacific's president) about doing the set, and he loved the idea. They're manufacturing the cards and distributing them."
Once the duo got the go-ahead from Pacific, Larsheid flew to the Pentagon to research the project. He returned from that three-day excursion with approximately 500 color slides of non-classified shots of the U.S. individuals and equipment involved.
They then sent the slides to Cramer, who selected 132 shots for the set. Twenty-two cards in the full set are two-sided, while the others contain informational copy written by Dillon.
Larsheid, a collector of military items, conceived the card idea to both serve collectors like himself, and also to children who might gain some useful knowledge from the cards' descriptions and photos of the who, what and why of the military's action, Dillon said.
"Most adults gained their knowledge of the events in the Middle East from newspapers and other media. We thought we'd just provide the information to kids in a package they would actually read and relate to - like the sports cards that so many of them collect."
The sets, which range from $11 to $15, are available from some area card-dealing stores, as well as some convenience stores. The cards are available in 12-card wax packs (ranging from $.50 to $.75 per pack, depending on the store), much like more familiar trading cards. Those two formats make the cards easily available to both the collectors and curious individuals, Dillon said.
Because all the parties wanted to be able to manufacture the cards while the war was in progress, no shots from the actual conflicts - except for some troop movements - were available. However, should interest and sales merit it, a second set - including shots from the war and information on other allied countries' war efforts - could be in the works.