Got in a 1980 D&D Expert Set (“Moldvay” or “B/X” series)… in factory shrinkwrap!

I don’t know how long it’ll be there, but here’s the link.

So the question I always ask myself: “Is it really the original TSR shrink?” More than a few times I’ve seen sellers (particularly on eBay) claim shrink is original, when it clearly is not. Anybody can use shrink film and a heat gun. I have them in my office.

The vast majority of these cases of impostor shrinkwrap are no doubt just the seller making an honest mistake, not trying to scam buyers. They may have picked it up second-hand and sincerely believe the set has never been opened.

So what am I looking for, when determining original versus a re-shrink?

Wear on the box that would be unlikely or impossible to have occurred with shrink still on it. If you see that, it’s probably been re-wrapped. Marks & stickers under the wrap are a giveaway.

Stickers on the outside of the wrap, on the other hand, from classic toy sellers (Kmart, Kay-Bee, Toys R Us, etc) are a sign you have the real deal. This particular set has an old Target sticker for $6.99 (wouldn’t that be nice?).

D&D Expert Set 1st SW Target sticker

TSR shrinkwrap from the 80s has a couple of distinct characteristics:

A shrink seam on the back of module or box set. Must have been part of the process back then. TSR switched to a more modern(?) seamless style in the 90s. I dunno why the difference, but modern shrink rolls have no need of that back seam. I’m not a shrink film expert, so maybe somebody could comment if they have that info.

It’s hard to see in the following photo, but it’s there.

D&D Expert Set 1st SW seam

In addition, TSR shrink would have repeated vent holes running in a line. The vent holes are to prevent the shrink from ballooning up when the heat gun is applied, due to the trapped air. When I’m re-shrinking a set for storage – very rare these days; I have a great selection of clear PVC bags that are much handier – I have found one vent hole is plenty sufficient to release the air. TSR, for whatever reason, would have a whole row of them.

D&D Expert Set 1st SW vent holes arrows


I hope this was interesting. Was intending just to show a couple of pics, but turned into a shrink discussion.

D&D Expert Set 1st SW bottom