In the late 90’s an amazing collection of General Mills samples were discovered almost accidentally by a man called Kevin Spencer.
At the time of the discovery, Kevin owned a publication company which ran a magazine called “Collectables”. Due to the magazines contacts and client base, the previous owner of these samples (a former General Mills Employee) got in contact with the magazine to see if they could find a buyer for the items they had.
The collection consisted of many different Star Wars toys, most were Palitoy produced carded figures but there were also some die cast ships, large sized vehicles and even one or two imported Kenner figures.
In total, there were over 70 carded figures and most of them had some kind of sample sticker or note attached to them.
Kevin agreed to try to find a buyer for the collection but after one failed attempt (the buyer he found actually returned the figures) Kevin decided he would just keep them himself. That way, not only would he have a great start to a Trilogo collection (he had always had an interest in Trilogo figures) but it would mean that he didn’t have to explain to the owner that the buyer he had found had backed out.
Ironically, the buyer that Kevin found through his publication actually returned the figures because of the stickers! Apparently, when they arrived, the buyer was so annoyed that the sample stickers were covering some of the photo art on the figures packaging that they asked for a refund and sent the figures back! Totally unaware of the significance of those”annoying” little stickers.
The collection of samples sat in storage for the next few years and it wasn’t until 2006 that this find was actually made public.
Kevin posted some images of them over on Rebelscum.com simply to ask if the community thought the stickers were of any interest. He also wanted to know if collectors thought the stickers increased or decreased the value of the figures. I’m sure you can guess the answer he received.
European “sample” pieces were at that time almost unheard of and nothing significant had ever really surfaced. Kevin’s figures were a real treat to see and they offered a rare behind the scenes look at the European market under the control of General Mills.
Below is a gallery of some of the Trilogo sample figures.
Most of the toys are labelled as “General Mills Central Office Samples” and on some cards there is reference to the Engineering Department.
You can also see the text: “Strategic group: Star Wars” written in pen on the Lobot card.
Some of the figures have a return to address sticker attached. This may indicate that they were sent out to distributors as samples of General Mills/Palitoy products or perhaps even internally, to various departments and buildings within the company.
Not all of the figures in the collection had stickers attached but the incredible condition that the unmarked ones are in would indicate that they were also pulled from the production line and archived as product samples for future reference.
Here are some more images of Trilogos from Kevin’s collection, they really are the definition of the term “factory fresh”.
Huge thanks to Kevin for allowing his story to be told on Trilogo.info!