Monday, February 13, 2017

The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics Trading Cards Are More Than Enough To Please Most James Bond Card Collectors!

The Good: Comparatively easy to collect, Awesome bonus cards, Some truly decent autograph cards, Good writing
The Bad: Annoying orientation issues
The Basics: The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards are a pretty wonderful expansion on the concept Rittenhouse Archives developed several sets ago!

Until one of my biggest customers as a trading card dealer set me upon a quest to fulfill his James Bond trading card collection, I had not had anything to do with James Bond cards. Now, I deal in James Bond cards, along with Star Trek, Marvel, and DC Comics-themed trading cards! One of the nice aspects of coming late to the phenomenon of James Bond cards is that, in order to get the requisite product knowledge to satisfy my customers, I learned quite about James Bond cards and I have now a perspective to see what has worked for the franchise and what has, alas, not.

While a handful of James Bond trading card sets had a single Throwback set as a bonus card set in them, starting with the 2014 James Bond Archives cards, Rittenhouse Archives started creating trading card releases that had a primary set (focused on a single James Bond film) and three Throwback sets - essentially four sets in one. That format has been fairly popular, though some of the sets have been less successful than others given the bonus cards and autograph selections in them. But one of the solid conceptual winners was the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards!

The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards were produced in 2016 by Rittenhouse Archives, one of the biggest producers of non-sport trading cards in the industry, as one of two James Bond trading card releases for 2016. Unlike some of the prior sets that have same basic format, the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards are well-written, have some wonderful bonus cards to flesh out the series and some truly wonderful autograph cards.

Basics/Set Composition

Fully assembled, the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card set has 455 cards and is essentially four (or six) sets in one. As well, there is a binder produced by Rittenhouse Archives that does not quite hold the entire set. The set consists of 72 common cards and 383 bonus cards. The chase cards are mostly available in the packs of cards, though seven of them were incentive or promotional cards and could not be found in any of the packs. The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards were released in boxes of twenty-four packs of five cards each.

Common Cards

The common card set for the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards consisted of seventy-two trading cards that look as fresh and new as any current trading card release. The entire common set recaps the plot of The World Is Not Enough (reviewed here!). There are few problems with the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards, but the common set is not at all flawless. Arguably the most problematic aspects of the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card common card set is that the cards are inconsistently oriented. Some of the common cards are oriented with a portrait orientation, though most are oriented with the pictures in landscape format. That makes the set problematic to ty to arrange in any sensible way in a binder. The backs of the cards are universally in portrait orientation.

The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card have the traditional UV-resistant coating which is flawlessly applied and the footage from The World Is Not Enough is bright and clear, which makes for a very compelling trading card set. The common card set has decent images and it is hard to complain about some of the obviously reused footage - Rittenhouse Archives used the image on card 58, for example, on a prior autograph card. The writings on the backs of the cards is well-written and compelling, retelling the story of The World Is Not Enough without the tiresome action sequences or occasionally corny dialogue! Despite that, it is irksome to not have a consistent orientation for the common set's images.

Chase Cards

The 376 chase cards that can be found in packs and boxes of 2016 James Bond 007 Classics essentially create three additional "common" sets and two bonus parallel sets, in addition to a handful of high-end James Bond chase cards that are very cool.

The 2016 James Bond Archives trading card set features three bonus sets that require multiple cases to complete. There are retro sets that retell the stories of The Man With The Golden Gun, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Licence To Kill with 50, 60, and 65 cards in each set, respectively. These sets, like the The World Is Not Enough set are inconsistently oriented and are more problematic to try to put into binder pages in any sensible way. The The Man With The Golden Gun and On Her Majesty's Secret Service throwback sets are made of a more retro cardboard stock to make the cards from the older films seem like they were from the period in which the films were released. The set for On Her Majesty's Secret Service is rendered in black and white . . . even though the film was in color. This follows the trend of some of the other sets and is met with mixed reactions from fans. Despite that, the writing for all three chase sets is pretty decent.

One per box there are gold parallel cards for the The World Is Not Enough and License To Kill sets. Each of those sets were limited to only 125 and 150 of each of the cards and the cards are individually numbered on the backs. The gold parallel cards are a particularly boring parallel card; they are distinguished from the common versions of their cards by a gold foil rendering of the film's name on the front of each card and an individual foil-stamped number on the back, at the bottom of the card. The parallel cards lack any real "wow" factor to them, but they are consistent with prior parallel sets and they do look nice enough.

The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards feature three high-end chase sets, though James Bond cards have not gotten to the level of difficulty in collecting that sets that have sketch cards have! The most common of the three primary chase cards in the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards are Relic cards. James Bond trading card collectors have had a lot of costume cards over the years and the "relic" cards in the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards are exclusively costume cards - from the three newest James Bond films that were out when the set was released. As a result, James Bond trading card collectors get some new, portrait-oriented costume cards from Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, and Skyfall. Each one is individually numbered on the back out of 200 and there are thirteen different cards with costumes from a decent variety of Bond villains, Bond girls, and James Bond as their subjects.

Found only two per case (one in every six boxes of cards) were the 007 Double-Sided (Mirror Cards) and they are a generally neat idea, reminiscent of the "Mirror, Mirror" cards from the Star Trek Season Two trading cards (reviewed here!) that Steve Charendoff (the CEO of Rittenhouse Archives) designed when he still worked for SkyBox in the late 1990s! The front of each card in this bonus set featured James Bond and the back of these beautiful foil cards had the primary villain from the film. There are eight cards from this bonus set in the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards, spread out every third film - M1 Dr. No, M4 Thunderball, M7 Diamonds Are Forever, etc. This set is obviously incomplete and will be expanded upon in future sets! This is a bonus set well worth looking forward to the subsequent sets to complete.

Also two per case are one of ten SPECTRE Metal Gallery Cards. The metal cards are, like similar cards produced for sets like Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 (reviewed here!) are thick metal cards with big images of the characters on the front and an individual number on the back (there are 150 of each card). The SPECTRE Metal Gallery Cards are metal trading card replicas of the promotional images of the ten essential characters from SPECTRE and they look beautiful.

The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards features thirty-three autograph cards, which is another step down from the prior few James Bond sets. Autograph cards in the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card set are split between the familiar format of the 40th Anniversary set – which had very small pictures of the character’s head and were oriented in a landscape format – and the vastly more popular full-bleed style which was portrait oriented with giant images of the characters and a minimal signing space at the bottom. The twelve 40th Anniversary style autographs include big names - Roger Moore and Jeffrey Wright - and actors with minimal influence or interest to collectors. Count Prince Mille, Safira Afzal, and Jimmy Roussounis had incredibly minimal roles, though it is cool Rittenhouse Archives tracked them down to get them to sign!

As for the full-bleed autographs, the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading cards had some prime signers - most notably Daniela Bianchi, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Wright, all of whom were first-time signers for James Bond cards! Popular actors like Pierce Brosnan, Maud Adams (as Octopussy this time!), and Sophie Marceau signed full-bleed autographs and they look great, enhancing the overall value of the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics set. This set features autograph cards from Samantha Bond, David Hedison, and Stanley Morgan yet again, but I found there was little to complain about; truly all one could have asked for that was not present in this set would have been an autograph from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, as that was the only of the four films in the primary chase sets not represented with autograph cards!

Non-Box/Pack Cards

The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card set has seven cards not found in any of the boxes or packs. There are three promotional cards – the usual general release, an exclusive one to Non-Sport Update Magazine, and the binder-exclusive promotional card.

The casetopper for the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card set is a fairly bland The World Is Not Enough poster card, which continues the downward trend of casetopper cards (they used to be cool autograph, sketch or autographed costume cards!). The The World Is Not Enough casetopper card is not individually numbered, foil or even sealed into its toploader! The casetopper is essentially a variant poster from the common card #1, which is a pretty disappointing casetopper.

Then there are the incentive cards and these follow the trend of recent Rittenhouse Archives releases! For purchasing six cases, dealers received a silver series autograph of Judi Dench as M. I think it is pretty much impossible to complain about getting another Judi Dench autograph and these look great! For buying nine cases, dealers were given a Daniel Craig gold series autograph card. The two copies of this card I found had fairly anemic signatures from Craig, though he doesn't have the strongest signature. Despite that, the contrast with the gold ink on the black background looked amazing!

The final card in the 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card set is the Archive Box exclusive Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore full-bleed autograph card. Found only in the archive boxes, which were randomly inserted into cases in addition to being an eighteen-case incentive for dealers, the Honor Blackman autograph looks great and is a wonderful incentive. Given that Blackman is 91, the fact that her signature looks so good is pretty amazing! The Honor Blackman incentive autograph card is likely to be one of the most enduringly valuable cards Rittenhouse Archives ever inserted into an archive box!


The 2016 James Bond 007 Classics trading card set is a wonderful tribute to the James Bond films it explores and a nice way to celebrate the franchise with some of the new autograph and bonus cards! The bonus cards look great and this is one of the newer James Bond trading card sets that has a wonderful mix of autograph signers that will thrill James Bond fans!

This set culls images from the James bond films The World Is Not Enough, Licence To Kill (reviewed here!), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (reviewed here!) and The Man With The Golden Gun (reviewed here!)!

These cards are available in my online store! Please check them out here: 2016 James Bond 007 Classics Trading Card Current Inventory!

For other trading card reviews, please check out my reviews of:
2009 James Bond Archives
2015 James Bond Archives
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 trading cards


For other card reviews, please visit my Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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