Domonkos Balla

On the 11th June 2012 a relatively unknown collector called “Doma” registered and made his first post on the forum. Doma was looking for a General Madine Trilogo cardback after a DECADE long search!

Well,..three years later and he’s got an update for us all! welcomes Domonkos Balla to the interview chair. Hi Doma! Welcome to! I’ve had the pleasure of chatting to you for a little while now about collecting and I am really glad you accepted the invitation to come on and chat to me about your own collection! Please introduce yourself a little bit more to the readers! 

Doma- Hi Joe! Thanks for the invitation and congratulations on this brilliant site! I have been collecting (or should I say recollecting) vintage Star Wars for more than 15 years now and even so, still taught me loads of interesting things that I didn’t know about! I’m from Europe, from Hungary to be precise and like most of the guys on your forum, my vintage collecting instinct is rooted in my childhood. I absolutely love cardback collecting and even back then, as a kid I was collecting and trading cardbacks. I remember once I traded 30 backing cards (including a Trilogo Fett and a couple Harbert ones) for a loose Rancor Keeper! I know, bad deal huh? Well, back then nobody really cared much about the cards, it was all about the figures but personally I always loved the pictures on them. I don’t want to make you regret childhood trades but wow, what were you thinking? Ha! OK, so as I mentioned above, you registered on the forum originally hoping to find a Madine cardback for your amazing cardback collection and that’s definitely something we will come back to later on, but to start with, can you tell us why you have an interest in Trilogo toys?

Doma- Sure, I think it’s mainly because here in Hungary you could only really find Trilogos when I was a kid. There were also Kenner ROTJ, some ESB and even SW cards sold in Hungary too but not very many. Most of us here in Hungary didn’t even know until the late 90’s that POTF cards existed at all! So about 80% of the figres I had until that point were Trilogos which is why it’s the line closest to my heart. Most of the Hungarian collectors I’ve made contact with have a huge love of all things Trilogo and it’s great to hear so many of you guys confirming that Trilogos actually reached Hungary back in the day. So, as well as cardbacks you also collect carded and boxed Trilogo stuff too right? Which ones do you have?

Doma-  That’s right I do. As far as boxed stuff goes, I’ve got the B-wing, Endor Forest Ranger, Rancor and also an Ewok Combat POTF Playpack. How many carded Trilogo figures do you have and how long has it taken you to get this far?

Doma- Currently I have 64 MOC Trilogo figures and I also have a large collection of Kenner figures as well. In total I’ve got 192 MOC vintage figures and about 95% of all the playsets and vehicles, all boxed (but mostly Kenner). Here are my Trilogos: Wow! Amazing collection Doma! I love the colour co-ordination going on there haha!

As the readers will have realised by now, you have a rather large collection of Kenner and other Vintage cardbacks. It’s obvious to me from chatting to you that you really enjoy cardback collecting but how did it all start and what do you like most about “backers”?

Doma- It is hard to tell how it all started. Maybe because the first SW item I ever owned was a ROTJ 65back Vader cardback. I did not have a single figure back then and my sister received the Vader card from someone at school and gave it to me. I was amazed when I turned it over and saw how many figures there were to collect and of course I loved the awesome large photo of Vader on the front! I guess that was the starting point for my love of cardbacks! As well as collecting cards and toys I noticed in the cardback collecting group on Facebook that you were also collecting pictures of all of the original photos that would go on to be used as the card art for the Kenner figures. It was a great project and some of the original and unedited images were fantastic to see. Do you think your love of cardbacks also has something to do with your interest in the artwork Kenner used?

Doma- Absolutely, I really love the images on the cards and actually any Star Wars pics in general. When I noticed that some of the cardback images are only ‘cut-outs’ of larger images it seemed like good fun to find the originals of those images. I have to say it is not an easy task at all and there are still a few I need to track down! It really was great to see the original unaltered images, these were a couple of my favourite ones:

Moving back to Trilogos again, a little while ago you told me about a rather unique opportunity you once had to purchase a large carded Trilogo collection, could you retell the story for us?

Doma-Sure! Back in 2003-04 I was on vacation in Paris and just like everywhere else, I was looking for vintage Star Wars toys there as well. One day I walked into a toy shop which only had old antique toys (no Star Wars at all) but  I decided to ask the owner whether he knew any other shops in the area that sold vintage Star Wars. He recommended one or two places, but also mentioned that his friend had a huge complete collection to sell! I told him that I was extremely interested and gave him my contact details which he promised to give to his friend. A few weeks later once I was back home in Hungary I received an email from the guy and he sent me the pics of the collection, it was incredible and we were negotiating on the price for a while (he wanted 13.000 EUR for the whole collection and finally we agreed on 11.000 EUR which included all the vehicles and 12inch figures too). In the end I decided not to go through with the deal (I know, I know) but I did save the pictures of that fantastic collection which I’m sure your readers will enjoy seeing..

(You can use the direction arrows to move left or right after clicking on any of the thumbnail images below) A collection like that is almost too amazing for words..stunning! So many French Trilogos, I’m so glad you saved those pictures! Thanks for sharing them with us! I have to you regret not buying them?

Doma- Well looking at the prices today, of course I regret not buying them..but back then it didn’t seem like such an amazing deal. It was an “ok” deal at most! It was hard to tell the exact condition of the figures too plus I would have had to make another trip to Paris again etc. etc. Around that time Trilogos and in particular French ROTJ figures were not that expensive at all. Of course the Trilogo Madine was very rare even back then and certainly the highlight of the collection but I just couldn’t make it work at the time. Such a shame! I’m sorry it didn’t work out back then. Lets get back to talking about your own collection again because it’s certainly as amazing nowadays as that one was back then. At the start of this interview I mentioned that you had an update on your cardback quest for us, is it true? Have you finally found him?

Doma- Yes, finally I have him! The holy grail..the Trilogo General Madine card! The last one that was still missing from my basic 286 cardback run. Great news! How did it feel when he finally arrived? Was he worth the 10+ year wait?

Doma- Oh yes, it was definitely worth the wait. When I saw the box he came in, at the feet of my door it was a very funny and relaxing feeling at the same time. After more than a decade looking for him.. 🙂

There were times I almost gave up on finding it but it is here and the circle is now complete! (Thanks to someone you might know..who was kind enough to give me the tip on the listing 😉 ) Haha, no problem. I thought it was time you finished that run off and I’m really glad you won it! So lets see the complete set!

Doma- It would be my pleasure! Here they are:

Doma- Just kidding 😉 I can do better than that! Here is the full collection..

Doma- Here is a shot of some of the harder to find Trilogos and the Hybrids, which can be really tough to track down in any condition, let alone neat examples. Congratulations Doma! Is your Kenner cardback collection also complete?

Doma- Yes, I can finally say that all the basic runs are complete! I have a total of 286 cards! (21SW, 52ESB, 86ROTJ, 37POTF and 90Trilogo backs!) I’ll have to take some new pictures of the entire lot someday but as you can imagine it’s hard to fit them all in a single picture. This is an old picture of my cardback collection to give you an idea of the amount of cards I had at the time but remember this isn’t complete haha! Fantastic! I remember that picture, it certainly turned some heads at the time! I know a few cardback collectors that are going to be picking their jaws off of the floor after this interview!

So, what’s next for you? Are you going to continue collecting anything else Trilogo related at all?

Doma- Yes, I’ll still keep collecting the carded Trilogo figures although I’m sure I’ll never have all 90! 🙂 Well, unless I win the lottery one day that is! Never say never! Having been a collector for so long, how exactly have you seen collecting evolve over the years? Do you feel that the interest in Trilogo stuff in particular has grown?

Doma- The interest has definitely grown, not just towards Trilogos but vintage Star Wars in general. However I think Trilogos are unique because it’s the most complete run you can make of the basic 96 vintage figures. With Trilogos, you can have 90 of the 96 figures on the same card and if you are really lucky you can own at least 4 more on miscards. I am lucky enough to own a solid dome R2 on a Trilogo pop-up R2 card. I’ve seen the other three for sale over the years too, D.S. Commander on At-St miscard (which is relatively common on ), I’ve also seen the first C-3PO on both the removable limbs C-3PO and Death Star Droid cards and believe it or not, I also once I saw a Power Droid on an R5-D4 card! PD/R5? Really? Would love to see that if it exists! I remember seeing a PD on an Ugnaught card but that was sadly resealed.

What’s your take on the current market prices for Vintage?


Doma- Well, what can i say… the prices have skyrocketed indeed, partly because of the new movie, but I also think because we have a new setup. Ebay, Paypal & Post fees (especially international) are all really high nowadays and it’s cheaper for people to list their stuff for free on SW related Facebook pages. I think the market has started to shift from Ebay to Facebook as there seems to be fewer and fewer interesting auctions appearing on eBay, resulting in higher prices there. While you can get stuff cheaper on FB you do not have a fixed amount of time to bid like on eBay and practically have to be online all the time as it’s first come first served. These things combined seem to be boosting the prices quite a bit.

What do you think drives collecting nowadays, especially for those getting involved in the last few years? Do newer collectors still exhibit a true passion for collecting like in the “good old days” or is something else?

Doma- I still think it is mostly passion yes, only now the star wars generation has all grown up and they have the potential to buy the toys they used to love back when they were kids. It is just natural that with the growth in demand the prices have grown too. Thanks for your time Doma, before we go do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into Trilogos or indeed cardbacks?

Doma- Well, you really have to be persistent! 🙂

Sometimes cardbacks can be tougher to find then carded figures and it can be really pricey too. I think the first 50-60 Trilogo cards can be found relatively easily (though not always cheap). Then with the next 10, things gets a little tougher..then the 10 after that you start to think “My God what am I doing?!”And when you get to the final 10 (about 10 years later 🙂 ) “Have I gone completely crazy?!”..but it’s a lot of fun and people shouldn’t be discouraged from attempting it. After seeing your cardback collection I think it’s safe to call you crazy at this point Doma.

Thanks man! Been a pleasure 🙂


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