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An introduction to the Prehistoric Life Collectibles Digest along with some statistics regarding what information is available

The Extinct Life Pictorial Encyclopedia

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1961 Nu-Card Sales Dinosaur Series Trading Cards
Regular Card
Source: The Dinosaur Fan Collection
Regular Card & 'S' Back Variation
Source: The Dinosaur Fan Collection
Two Uncut Card Sheets
Source: Auction Website
Wrapper (Back) with Album Offer
Source: The Dinosaur Fan Collection
Retail Box
Source: Auction Website
Retail Box w. Unopened Packages
Source: Auction Website
Two Uncut Card Sheets
Source: Auction Website
Two Cello Card Packs
Source: Auction Website
Card #65 w. 'S' Back Variation
Source: Auction Website
Two Cello Card Packs
Source: Auction Website
Wax Card Pack
Source: Auction Website
Card #3 w. 'S' Back Variation
Source: Auction Website

Set ID:31
Issuer:Nu-Card Sales
Country:United States
Product Category:Cards
Product Function:Collector Issues
Topic:Extinct Life
Size (Inches):87 @ 3-1/2" x 2-1/2"
Qty. Album Pages:N/A
Qty. Master Set *:87
Qty. Base Items **:80
Qty. Filler Items ***:0
Qty. Variations ****:7
Qty. Item In Scope #:87
Qty. Item Out Scope ##:0
Qty. Item TBD Scope ###:0
      * Master Set (i.e., all items including fillers & variations)
    ** Basic Advertised Set
  *** Filler Items (e.g., checklists, title cards, ad. cards)
**** Variations (e.g., different numbering, text, design)
    # Items directly related to extinct life
  ## Items that are not directly related to extinct life
### Items I have not seen so I do not know if they are relevant
One of the, if not THE, classic US-produced prehistoric animal-related sets. The fronts of the cards are an odd combination of black & white vignettes with aquamarine-like highlights and borders. Another unique feature of this set is its attention to prehistoric non-reptilian animals. A quick survey of the set reveals that the subjects of the 80 cards are pretty much split 50/50 with approximately 40 cards featuring reptiles (e.g., dinosaurs, pterosaurs, plesiosauria, pterosauria) and approximately 40 cards featuring non-reptiles (e.g., mammals, fish, amphibians, therapsida).

The backs of the cards, which are plain and uninformative, are the subject of a couple of on-going controversies associated with the strange symbols & single letters that are printed on them. Under the Apatosaurus image on the back of each card is a seemingly meaningless symbol. There currently is no definitive explanation for these symbols however the leading theory suggests that these may have been identification codes for each print sheet (e.g., sheet "X", sheet "||", and sheet "O").

The letters next to the "See wrapper for free album" box printed on some of the cards are slightly less of a mystery. The wrappers of this set (see image above) contain an offer for a "free" album to anyone who (a) sends in eight cards with the letters on the back that spell the name of this set (i.e., D I N O S A U R) or (b) sends in one wrapper and $1.00. The catch was that Nu-Card short-printed cards with the letter "S" making it extremely difficult to obtain an album which incidentally may or may not account for the associated scarcity of the album itself.

To date, I am aware of the actual or rumored existence of the following cards which supposedly have the "S" back as listed below.

  • #2 (Prehistoric Man) - rumored to have been sold in a public auction in October 2000
  • #3 (Wooly Mammoth) - e-Bay auction #330651768557 (December 2011) - See image above
  • #6 (Dimetrodon) - a photocopy of this card is contained in The Wrapper (Issue #230, Page 13)
  • #9 (Hoplophoneus) - in my personal collection (see image above)
  • #12 (Allosaurus) - a photocopy of this card is contained in The Wrapper (Issue #80, Page 7)
  • #16 (Gorgosaurus & Scolosaurus) - according to an article written by Jeff & Bob Marks contained in The Wrapper (Issue #230, Page 12)
  • #65 (Agathaumas Monoclonium) - in my personal collection (see image above)
In the checklist, cards with the letter "A" designation do NOT have the "S" and cards with the letter "B" designation do have the "S".
Base Set Checklist
Click Imageto Zoom DB IDNumberNotesQtyCaption/DescriptionSubjectFantasy LifeIn ScopeDF Collection
15651 1Phobosuchus crocodilla & Chamosuarus saurischia ceratopsiaChasmosaurus
15662A1Prehistoric ManHomo
15673A1Wooly MammothMammuthus
15684 1DryptosauriDryptosaurus
15695 1BrontosaurusBrontosaurus
15717 1TyrannosaurusTyrannosaurus
15728 1PhororhacosPhororhacos
15739A1Hoplophoneus & MesohippusHoplophoneus
157410 1LycaenopsLycaenops
157511 1SmilodonSmilodon
157713 1Pteranodon & TylosaurusPteranodon
157814 1Peteranodons Elasmosaurus & TylosaurusElasmosaurus
157915 1PterodactylusPterodactylus
158016A1Gorgosuarus & ScolosaurusGorgosaurus
158117 1Giant ElkMegaloceros
158218 1Nothrotherium & SmilodonNothrotherium
158319 1MesosaurusMesosaurus
158420 1Neanderthan Man & Cave BearHomo
158521 1IndricotheriumIndricotherium
158622 1Duck-Billed Trachodon & TyrannosaurusTrachodon
158723 1MachairodusDinohippus
158824 1ArsinoitheriumArsinoitherium
158925 1Monster FishesDinichthys
159026 1BrontotheriumBrontotherium
159127 1IguanodonIguanodon
159228 1RhamphorhynchusRhamphorhynchus
159329 1StyracosaurusStyracosaurus
159430 1TriceratopsTriceratops
159531 1Smilodon - Prehistoric ElephantMammut
159632 1DeinotheriumDeinotherium
159733 1CorythosaurusCorythosaurus
159834 1BrachiosaurusBrachiosaurus
159935 1Ceratosaurus & StegosauriCeratosaurus
160036 1PlesiosauridPlesiosaurus
160137 1Ornitholestes & ArchaeopteryxArchaeopteryx
160238 1Dire Wolf - ArsinoitheriumArsinoitherium
160339 1Saber-Toothed TigersSmilodon
160440 1Emperor MammothMammuthus
160541 1MammothsMammuthus
160642 1Sabre-Toothed CatSmilodon
160743 1Wooly MammothMammuthus
160844 1DinosaurTyrannosaurus
160945 1DimorphodonDimorphodon
161046 1MonocloniusMonoclonius
161147 1ProtoceratopsProtoceratops
161248 1Smaller DinosaursCynognathus
161349 1PachycephalosaurusPachycephalosaurus
161450 1CorypihodonCoryphodon
161551 1StegosaurusStegosaurus
161652 1Saber-Toothed TigersDinohippus
161753 1MochopsMoschops
161854 1DiplodocusDiplodocus
161955 1Hesperonis RegalisHesperornis
162056 1Giant TylosaurusTylosaurus
162157 1Early ReptilesLystrosaurus
162258 1MischelkolkNothosaurus
162359 1Saber-Toothed Tiger & Giant SlothEremotherium
162460 1TyrannosaurusTyrannosaurus
162561 1Ground Sloth & Sabre-Tooth TigerEremotherium
162662 1Stegosaurus & CeratosaurusCeratosaurus
162763 1Giant BisonBison
162864 1Hyaenodons & ArsinotheriumArsinoitherium
162965A1Agathaumas MonocloniumAgathaumas
163066 1ProtoceratopsProtoceratops
163167 1TrachodonTrachodon
163268 1TriceratopsTriceratops
163369 1DiatrymaDiatryma
163470 1PlesiosaurusPlesiosaurus
163571 1MystriosuchusMystriosuchus
163672 1StruthiomimusStruthiomimus
163773 1BaluchitheriumBaluchitherium
163874 1Giant Sloth & Short Faced BearEremotherium
163975 1DinornisDinornis
164076 1Prehistoric ManUrsus
164177 1Giant BeaversCastoroides
164278 1PhytosaurPhytosaurus
164379 1EntelodonEntelodon
164480 1What is it?Eryops
Variations Checklist
Click Imageto Zoom DB IDNumberNotesQtyCaption/DescriptionSubjectFantasy LifeIn ScopeDF Collection
287782B1Prehistoric ManHomo
759683B1Wooly MammothMammuthus
346989B1Hoplophoneus & MesohippusHoplophoneus
5750616B1Gorgosuarus & ScolosaurusGorgosaurus
7025365B1Agathaumas MonocloniusAgathaumas

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