COPIES & CLONES
IMPERIAL - Apollo Moon Exploring series
Imperial Toy Corporation of Los Angeles marketed the series of space toys produced by LP of Hong Kong under the Apollo Moon Exploring name from 1970. Clearly taking their cues from Golden Astronauts packaging, the 12 cards in the series came in five different colours, and had a price printed on the top-right corner with cut-off line as well as a printed border under the blister that clearly emulated the card frame found on earlier GA cards.
Since the toys were produced by LP, you will find those in their section (linked at left). The 12 cards are listed here and merit separate inclusion in the main menu simply because of their importance on the US market, where they provided serious competition to Golden Astronauts. Being priced at 39¢ instead of 49¢ for a GA card having fewer toys on it, they appeared as an attractive alternative and many boys will have owned and played with a mixture of the two ranges. Even today, unopened ApEx cards still turn up almost as frequently as do GA or Spacex cards, giving some indication of the quantities that must have been produced.
Between them, there was some duplication of toys on the 12 cards. They all had the same background illustration of a moon in space, and, despite the different colours of their borders, didn't have a clear segmentation of vehicle types as did the Golden Astronaut range. Border colours were green, pale-ish blue, orange, yellow and pink, though I have an example in so dark a shade of pink as to be almost red. Card numbers are all nr 304 followed by letters A to L, but I have seen cards with the same letter having the contents of another card so the accuracy of the numbering should be taken with a grain of salt.
As a note, Imperial are still in business, or were a number of years ago when I spoke to one of their PR people for more information about their earliest releases. I sadly never heard back, so will have to try again...