Hands up if you hand a View-Master?
......The Special Subjects reels were the traditional 70's View-Master fare viewed through the space age hand-held red viewer and came with three reels (each featuring fourteen pics) could pop into any View-Master and get KISS in glorious 3-D a good 20 years before the PYSCHO CIRCUS tour! The shots featured live and studio shots from the DYNASTY sessions. An extremely rare version came in the fold-out packaging top left.
......The Show Beam featured 30 pictures (not photos like the other View-Master products but drawings of the band as per the box cover) which would slot into a torch light device. Allowed KISS images to be projected onto a wall, ceiling or even, as the packaging suggests, a child's stomach!
......The Double-Vue was, apparently, "Twice The Fun!" Featured two short films. The film clip for "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and concert highlights from 1978.
......I think these make the list because of the sheer retro factor of the View-Masters. Every kid had one and came in many, many different subjects (I believe I had a Masters Of The Universe one as late as the mid-80s and they still continue....)
How much for some fizzy brown stuff that will rot your teeth?
......Released in France this limited edition Coca-Cola bottle had Gene's face on one side and a lighting bolt version of Coke's red ribbon device this fetches up to $400 on eBay currently, although that being said, not many KISS fans will try it - straight to the KISS room, as they say.
......A very rare promotional box was apparently only made for VIPs so not many exist.
Real dedication if you own one of these pinball machines because of the shear space it takes up. Cool graphic and lights. Best found with the proper KISS logo than the non-SS version. Released by Bally and promoted in ads by KISS.
......Why does this only make #23? Well, although this is probably the coolest of KISS collectibles, the pride-and-joy of most rooms, it's not really THAT rare. There are plenty of fans with these and as you'll soon see there are much rarer pieces...
This is the bit where your significant other either supports you or divorces you. Congratulations you just spent over $2000 on a plastic toy van with some badly fitting stickers!
......Three versions of the toy’s packaging exist. One with flap (pictured) One with no flap and a Canadian variant with French/English writing. The van had three functions: Forward, reverse turning and backwards! Wow...
Both red and yellow versions exist of these mini-torches to be used to wave at concerts. Presumably aimed at the younger fan who would not, hopefully, have access to a cigarette lighter! HArd to find and cheaply made as most of the copies have the paint scratching off.
Released by Tiger, the top of this portable phonograph featured an ALIVE II era shot and inside were the band shots from the cover. Could only play 7" singles but is a highly sought-after KISS collectible. Originally sold for $16! Extremely collectible with original box. Much bootlegged using the General Electric base model which came with no labels and a different logo. Not sure how the music sounded on one of these
Very rare in their original sealed packaging. Chances of finding these still sealed? Close to none. A Marvel version was also released but these are rumoured to be bootlegs. I'd actually love to see these laced up on a pair of shoes. Maybe to a job interview where you slowly put your feet up on the Managing Director's desk and nod towards the laces...
A very cool hard-to-find release was the KISS bedspread that allowed you to KISS-up your room as a kid. Also available was the Pillow Sham,. Valance set and 2 sized curtains. So you could totally KISSify your bedroom. Try this as an adult and you'll see why they didn't bother with double bed sheets (ie; the equivalent of sleeping in a racing car bed as an adult).
......The draperies came in two sizes. 48 x63" and 46x36" Very rare and very collectible.
......The pillow sham was sold separately to the bed sheets. Some bootlegs exist made from the material from the bedspread.
......The valance rarely comes up at all, grab this one if you can find it.
These Australian-only masks were sold in discount stores or released in the KISS Show bags. Much rarer than their US counterparts. The designs were different from the 1978 masks as they seem to have been made from the first LP cover: Complete with over-elaborate Catman and no eyebrows on the Spaceman. Gene, oddly, also has fangs!!!
These storage boxes sold at JC Penny stores held your KISS records and tapes. The record case had Gene on the front and a different member on each side (from the SOLO LPOs) and the cassette case featured the DYNATY art.
......Both looked a bit cheap, in reality some stickers on black-painted wood. They almost looked home-made but I think it's that which adds to their collectibility!
These rarely-seen key chains could be ordered directly from the DYNASTY insert sheet or picked up from Dollar stores in the US. About 25 variations were made and featured the band in mostly 1977-78 outfits. Currently, each keychain sells for hundreds of dollars to the mad people who are attempting a full set (Sometimes the same artwork in different coloured plastic). Better get your cheque book...
In 1980, things were looking shaky for KISS in the US. The band just weren't as popular as two years previous, they had delivered an album far poppier than their previous years and sales were not good. Er, except in Australia, where it was one of the biggest albums of the year. Go figure.
......In attempts to boost sales of UNMASKED they tried all kind of tricks in-store like the cardboard two-piece cube which featured all the previously released LP covers on the sides (except for the SOLO LPs)
......The Aussies were not forgotten and had a few rarities of their own, such as the "Now Available" cardboard 17” circle and the plastic 24” circle used to house an LP cover that would slip in square space in middle. Getting the album sales, however, was definitely not as "easy as it seems"...
Of course there are many contenders for the rarest KISS pins, but the two I have chosen are the "Lips" pin, perhaps the earliest piece of KISS merchandise around and back when the name "KISS" was being taken rather literally...and very close to the Stones logo too.
......This promo button was given out a 1974 gigs. This pin has been bootlegged a bit so make sure you check against this photo to make sure you've found a real one.
......The second was the full set of stick pins, Now it's hard enough to find the whole set of necklaces with the same design, but even singular stick pins rarely turn up on eBay an almost never in KISS fans collections. these were available from the Phantom of the Park magazine.
In 1978, KISS struck up a deal with IMAGE clothing to design (by KISS costume designer Maria Contessa) a plethora of clothing for, mostly kids, but also adults. Cheap at the time a lot of this stuff goes for big bucks due to the clothing being either unsold or over worn.
......Stand-outs were the kids pyjamas in three different colours, three variants of the signatures shirts and a range of vests and jackets featuring the MArvel comics artwork on the back and usually a red KISS logo sown onto the front.
......To get your Night Fever on, they also released a pair of "disco" shirt and jeans, The jeans were simply bell bottoms with a KISS logo on the bum and the silky disco shirt was as unique as they come. both very hard to find.
Rare Australian items
Like the ABBA craze of 1977, KISS took over the latest "fad to stop a nation" and ruled supreme. KISS were everywhere, on TV, articles in every publication (including TV Week and Women's Weekly!) and the band even stopped traffic in Sydney's main street when they triumphantly appeared on top of the Town Hall.
......Merchandisers jumped on board like crazy and there were a whole range of Aussie-only gear released made rare because of Eric Carr's appearance. Some will appear later in this list, But special mention goes to the easily-damaged, but ultra rare 3D wall plaques made out of plastic and featuring Eric's solo print (with shoulders too!), The Poster Pack sold in newsagencies featuring stickers, candy etc and some very rare KISS mirrors.
......It was all flash-in-the-pan, a year later only the real die-hards cared about the group as the advent of the 80s brought Adam Ant, Duran Duran etc to excite the Australian public.
......But it as fun while it lasted.
Ever looked down at your bland y-fronts and thought "You know what would be better down there? Paul's face!" Well 1980 was your year.
......Extremely rare 1980 Aussie KISS undies in blue and brown. They have been known to have black, red and blue edging variants (but i've yet to see these versions). Much better to find UNUSED pairs!!
......Hard to find, presumably because underwear is usually throwout rather than resold or sent to charity shops (where they throw it away anyway)
1982 and KISS's popularity was at an all time low. The band's make-up and gimmicky effects were seen to be a product of the 70s and best left there. Not to mention their fan base abandoning them after their two poppier albums followed by a downright strange, universally-panned concept album.
......The band that had marketed itself to kiddies now had nowhere to go but down. The CREATURES OF THE NIGHT album and tour were both flops and needed some extra love to help shift what units they could. Shame, as the album itself is looked upon as being one of the strongest non-original albums the band recorded.
......Rare promo items included a promo match book, notepaper and pen cube, a clipboard as well as some in-store promo items usually from Europe.Very collectable both due to their rarity and fans ever-growing love of the album and period.
This "Scream machine" with the words HAVE A PEPSI DAY, whatever that means, was a cup that had a bottom that could be punched out to create a loudspeaker type effect, presumably popular at sporting matches.
......Very rare collectors items with some colours fetched over $500 each. yes for a single plastic cup!
......Came in Yellow, White, Orange, Green and Blue.
In 1980 a number of black bags were released complete with big-assed KISS logo Downunder and have become some of the most collectible KISS items around.
......The backpack/school bag came clip attached rather than buttoned. Graphically not as cool as the more available1978 red US back pack but much rarer and harder to find.
......Even rarer were the extremely rare variants at the top of the pic and they may have only been on sale in New Zealand. The black area was leather like the others but the yellow/brown part was nylon.
......And finally three different-sized leather sports bags were released with the same design. All very hard to find today.
Children, a previously untapped market, were ripe for the picking in Australia circa 1980.
......These Ice Creams by Peters were sold in a box or separately. Each box had a mini-biography of each member, including Eric who had just replaced Peter Criss. And the wrappers themselves were black and featured a red logo and members faces. Beware of bootlegs created from the advertisement inside the UNMASKED tourbook. The ice blocks themselves? Lemonade, Raspberry and Grape flavour in case you were wondering.
......Although the cereal wasn't specially designed for KISS, Nabisco jumped on the bandwagon by theming their boxes after the band, Featured KISS put-ons (stickers) which could be placed over the members bodies on an airbrushed headless photo on the back. The stickers featured heads from the UNMASKED and SOLO LPS artwork
Rare as hens teeth, all three press kits featured B&W pics and bios. But as KISS were nobodies and due to the sheer amount of stuff journalists get, most of these kits would have made a very short journey from envelope to desk to bin in a short amount of time. Unbelievably rare!
In 1977, Carnival toys brought out a whole range of bands toys (BeeGees, Fleetwood Mac etc) and KISS were not to be left out!
......The KISS guitar came in 2 versions (The white neck which came in flat and boxed packaging and black neck in flat packaging). Not sure if these things could actually bash out a melody but they do possess a retro charm all of their own.
......This super-rare microphone and toy amp - which allowed you to speak through the radio - were released at the height of KISSmania. Although watch out for bootlegs as the KISS logo is easy to stick on to the blank base-model amp.
......Also came in the so-rare-I've-never-seen-a-real-one (even the little pic is supposedly a bootleg) "Concert Set" set with the KISS guitar.
This microphone could transmit through an AM radio. May have been a prototype only, as there only seems to be a few in existence.
......Says collector, Ken Shulek: “I’m sure it's authentic, the Aucoin trademark is moulded onto the microphone. I just can't believe that I never saw it when I was a kid, I would have begged for that one! Actually my mom bought it for me as a Christmas gift back in 1989/90 and she actually got me a 9 volt battery to go with it! She paid $150 for the microphone at a place that used to be in Hollywood, called the Rock Store, where the owner bought tons of rock and roll memorabilia in the 70's and 80’s”.
......JH Palace adds "Only two microphones were made. The AHI toy microphone and the Carnival toy microphone. The later being used as well in the In Concert Set. The rest that you see out there claiming they are real, like those Remco ones, are fake."
According to KISS collector, Shawn Fox: " The story behind the original Return Of KISS tour book is that it was printed first and was to be the Official DYNASTY tour book. After a few hundred or so were pressed someone, whether Bill Aucoin or Kiss etc, decided to change the cover to the more common one we all know.
......That tour book (the one with the DYNASTY cover) was sold at the first couple shows of the DYNASTY tour and sold out faster than expected. So these original books were sent down to the Savannah show as temporary replacements until the next batch of regular DYNASTY tour books were shipped in.
......The RETURN OF KISS book was only available at the Savannah show and possible the Columbia,SC show as well.There is a photo that exists of the merch. stand from Savannah that shows the book for sale. Any other stories you hear about the book are false as the book was never reprinted and was never available anywhere else. "
What tour book were sold of this variation may have been thrown out, as the audiences became the more fickle children's market. How many of the few that were sold got thrown into bins between 1981-85?
So rare, that except for shots for the radio-station promo poster shoot, I've never actually seen a photo of the 1978 Honda Hawk, named "The Kissmobile"
......Apparently the posters were printed but the bikes never went into production. (Rumours persist that Gene gave one THE one from the photo shoot to Cher while they were dating but she has denied it).
......Ironically, it's the KISS collectible that may not even exist that wins. The mystery of what happened to the one in the photo may never be answered, as many of the Aucoin Management players are sadly deceased...