Fantomen ‘Samlarbilder Bytesbilder’ is a set of trading cards released by Bulls Press in Sweden between 1974 and 1978.
Bulls Press was founded by Cornelius Bull, nephew Einar Wyller and Bjarne Steinsvik in Norway in 1929. A year later the company moved to Stockholm, Sweden.
In 1931, Bulls Press changed its name to ‘Bulls Presstjänst AB’. Originally a small staffed company, Bulls slowly became a very successful publisher of comic books and associated merchandise. For decades, Bulls have held successful licensee rights with King Features Syndicate among other well know comic book syndicates.
The 1970’s and 1980’s trading card boom attributed to the success of the Scandinavian series of cards more commonly referred to as ‘Samlarbilder Bytesbilder’, which translates to ‘collector pictures/swap images’.
Bytesbilder cards are stylized in the older ‘cigarette card’ format seen in the same era, with each card measuring 2.75” x 1.75”.
Other than the Scandinavian ‘Filmsair’ card sets from the early 1970’s, which pertained to movie actors and TV stars, there were 8 other trading card categories produced, with a total of 19 individual series. This diverse series was produced during the mid-1970’s, to the early 1980’s. Such categories included Rock Stars and Bands, Disney, Animals, Muppets, Star Wars, Cowboys, Smurfs and Comic Book Characters & TV Series.
Each package contained an assortment of 7, 8 or 10 miscellaneous cards and were sold in news-agencies and newsstands. The cards came in 3 styles of packaging as can be seen below:
- Samlarbilder Bytesbilder
- Tecknade Bilder
- Kanda Idoler or Dina Idoler
As there are no manufacture dates on these cards, there is some uncertainty of the exact dates when each of these series were produced. Avid Swedish collectors state that the Fantomen cards were produced between 1974 and 1978.
Unlike other traditional trading card series the Samlarbilder Bytesbilder cards do not tend to run in a consecutive numerical order, from one series to the next, outside each specific individual series, but instead they are quite random in nature.
There are a total of 37 Fantomen cards produced (31 numbered and 6 unnumbered):
- Randomly Numbered Cards x 31
- Unnumbered Supplementary Cards x 6
The Fantomen cards appeared randomly within the 3 series titled ‘Comic Book Characters & TV‘.
Series 1: (156 Cards – #1 thru #156)
Fantomen Cards – 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 143
Series 2: (154 Cards – #1 thru #154)
Fantomen Cards – 10, 17, 18, 25, 26
Series 3: (79 Cards – #202 thru #278)
Fantomen Cards – 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247
A Samlarbilder Bytesbilder cards checklist can be seen below, detailing not only the Fantomen cards, but the various other cards produced by Bulls Press.
Thank you Christopher Smith for assisting with images and information.