Today, we step back in time to a galaxy far...er, I mean we step back to 1973 (I have seen these listed as 1973 and also 1981, so...). Donruss released a set of tattoos in wax packs. One of the unique features of the set: it came in three different colored wrappers. We have the yellow variety above, and here are the red and blue ones:
Honestly, it makes way more sense that these would be circa 1980-something because the guy in the mask bears an uncanny resemblance to several other masked space characters of the time. The wrappers themselves are true wax packs of the day. And, yes, there was gum inside. I did not scan the gum. Sorry, folks.
Inside each pack, an instruction sheet told you how to put the tattoos on yourself (well, I suppose you could put them on anyone, but usually this was a personal activity).
As you can see, these were made in Spain. Also, we were warned: DO NOT APPLY TO FACE! Pretty sure that meant tons of little boys were wetting the thing and then running up to their sisters and slapping them in the face with these... I digress.
The tattoos themselves were attached to a brown paper protective sheet:
When you peeled the protection away, it revealed the set of tattoos your pack contained. Now, the actual tattoos were attached to a thin white (or off-white) backing. This had the "cut lines" to separate the three sections for application. It also says, "Collect all 40 sets." I could not find a checklist nor a photo of all 40 sets.
The stains you see (and will continue to see in the images below), are where the gum adhered to the backing of the tattoos. This is most unfortunate as it means that where there is a stain, the tattoo had pretty much stuck to the actual backing. More on that in a moment.
Once you peel the brown sheet off, you can see the tattoos. Again, where you see stains, that is where the gum bled through the backing onto the tattoo:
In an effort to show what these might look like when applied, I flipped them and did some very crude photo editing. What I didn't realize until a little later was that these are actually MUCH more vibrant when applied than I could have imagined. But, these are the same images above, just flipped and retouched:
I decided I wanted to see what these looked like when actually applied. This was an exercise in futility. Where the gum had seeped through the backing, the tattoo was attached to the paper and would not release. I also forgot just how much patience one needed and how long it takes for the actual tattoo to separate. I eventually decided to try attaching the tattoo to a clear plastic holder in hopes I could manipulate the backing and the surface to get a nice, clean exhibit. Nope. So, this is what we're left with:
As you can see, this thing is bright and very detailed! I am amazed that after all these years, these could still look pretty good - so long as you aren't fighting gum stains.