In this post, I’m looking specifically at the two different formats of boxes TSR used in the late 70s and early 80s.

[This is a re-do of an earlier post I made in 2014. It was on my old blog and Google+, which are gone.]

In the Holmes D&D Basic Set (1977-80; Eric Holmes, editor; David C. Sutherland, cover art), TSR used a box blank with the graphics as a glued-on sheet, both top and bottom.

Dungeons & Dragons Expert set prinitngs comparison

Holmes 5th prt set comp detail

When TSR transitioned to the 1981 Basic and Expert (B/X) Sets (Tom Moldvay / Dave Cook, editors, respectively; both have Erol Otus cover art), this glued sheet box format was retained for a brief time, before being replaced with a box with the graphics printed directly on the paperboard.

D&D Expert Set 1st comp b

Both formats of Expert Set, side-by-side.

D&D Expert Set 1st comp a

D&D Expert Set 1st comp c

Below is the inside corner of Basic Set, later-format box.

D&D Moldvay Basic set inside corner

More TSR box format switch examples:  Boot Hill early print box set

Top Secret: 1st and 2nd editions – The evolution of the black box

See Also:

Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set – A shrinkwrap discussion

MINIATURE COLLECTOR’S BOX – Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) Expert Set

B/X D&D Basic Rules book: 1st print vs subsequent prints

Holmes Dungeons & Dragons, ready for the road