The very first mail away offered on a card back was the Star Wars Action Collector’s Stand. This provided a way for you to display the first 12 figures that were released in 1978. It was offered for 2 proofs of purchase and $2.00 or it was free with 12 proofs of purchase. The offer expired on May 1st 1979. Here is a picture of how it appeared on the back of the card.
It was also offered on a flyer that was included in the early bird figure set that was available before the figures were on store shelves.
The stand itself is pretty basic. It consists of a plastic base with pegs for the holes in the figures feet. There are levers at the bases that can be turned to make the figures move back and forth. The backdrop is just made of cardboard, so they are easily damaged after 30 years. I feel that mine is in pretty good shape. The only flaw I really see is a slight crease on the cardboard, but it isn’t really noticeable unless you look closely. Here are some pictures of my display stand mailer box and the stand populated with the first 12 figures. I still need to find the instruction flyer to complete mine, so hopefully one will turn up over time for sale.
A lot of people must have sent off for this stand. They can be picked up pretty easily on ebay with just the stand. They are a little harder to find with the mailer box, but obviously they do turn up since I managed to get one a few months ago. They were also available at least on a limited release in stores. There is the Star Wars version with a picture box which also included name tags for some of the figures released the year later such as Greedo shown on the box. The picture box is much harder to come by and it was believed to have only been available at some department stores.
Finally, there is the Empire Strikes Back version. This is the rarest one of them all. I believe there have been less than 10 found so far on the collector market. It looks like this version was meant to help sell figures as it actually included 6 figures sealed in bags from the then new movie. One recently sold for almost $2000 on ebay.
I know at one time my brother had one of these display stands. I found this old pic from a family album that shows his toys at the time and you can see the cardboard backdrop on the right side with his figures.