Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vastly Overpriced, Twilight Cards Miraculously Retain Their Value!

The Good: Collectible value, Decent collation, Good bonus cards
The Bad: Boxes are vastly overpriced for their contents.
The Basics: An overvalued but awesome set, the Inkworks Twilight cards are a great box of cards, for those who can get them!

It might surprise some of my regular readers to see me enthusiastically recommending the Twilight trading cards from Inkworks. I might not be a huge fan of much of the merchandising surrounding the Twilight films, but Inkworks seemed to get it right with the Twilight cards. In fact, they seemed to get it right so well that I was absolutely astounded to learn that Inkworks is no longer in business. With a license like Twilight, one would think that the company could pull itself out of any financial problems. Perhaps the problem for Inkworks was that it didn't have enough products like Twilight and that it drastically underestimated the value of this license.

Rather annoyingly for fans of the Twilight Saga, even the Inkworks Twilight cards are not all they could be. Then the first promotional card for the set was released, it promised autograph cards in addition to the costume cards, but they did not materialize with the product. Instead, the boxes have continued to soar in price (they were originally released at $55/box) based on a consumer base that has little knowledge of card collecting. They have made a mediocre product exceptionally valuable and for those who are hunting the components of the sets, the boxes are a very pricey way to go about trying to collect it. Even so, boxes of the Twilight cards have retained their value for years better than any movie-based card set I have ever seen.

Basics/Set Composition

In the weeks before the release of the 2008 film Twilight, Inkworks released a trading card set based upon the new film. It was a surprise sellout and most dealers sold out of what boxes they were able to get in with an alarming speed. Indeed, there had not truly been a card set geared toward young women that had been as successful as the Twilight cards. However, the lack of Twilight merchandise encouraged the otherwise uninterested demographic to buy into the collectibles and boxes almost instantly became impossible to find with common set value skyrocketing and most dealers kicking themselves for not raising their prices to ridiculous levels ahead of time. The Twilight card set was produced in standard trading card size as opposed to the elongated "widescreen" movie card size used in the industry for many major film licenses.

The Twilight card set is focused primarily on the characters and plot of the movie and the common cards were packed with character images, making it ideal for fans of the film who know how the movie ends. Like almost all of Inkworks' products, the cards come with a UV protective coating to protect the trading cards from fading over time and to give them a nice sheen. This does appear to work as I've not had any cards from Inkworks fade. Rather annoyingly, cards do not follow a universal format, so the character cards that make up the first common cards are oriented in "portrait" format while most of the rest of the cards have a landscape orientation.

The Twilight trading card set properly consists of 109 cards. Boxes contain only twenty-four packs of eight cards each. Inkworks only guaranteed one costume card per box. As a result, most boxes are severely overvalued as the best card that may be found in a box still sells for less than $300!

Common Cards

The Twilight common set is a 72 card set focusing entirely on the Twilight movie. The set is comprised of a title card with the Bella and Edward, seventeen significant characters and the rest of the cards being plot cards detailing some of the film's plot. There is a final card (72) which is the checklist for the set.

The character cards are a dream collection for fans looking to get something different autographed at the Twilight conventions that have been popping up around the country since the movie was first released. The seventeen cards feature great promotional images of every major character from Twilight, from the obvious Bella Swan and Edward Cullen through Charlie Swan, the less obvious James and the villainous Victoria (the original one!). In fact, the only characters neglected in this set are Bella's classmates (ironically, Mr. Molina gets a card, but Bella's token high school friends do not).

The plot cards tell the story of Twilight and this is the meat of the set. The cards feature the same image on the front and on the back and each card has a misty white and black border which acts as a dreamy keyhole into the scene the card is discussing. The backs feature writing which are surprisingly thorough for the plot of the film version of Twilight. Unlike some movie card sets, the Twilight cards seem comfortable with including cards from the climax and coda of the film, so fans are likely to be very pleased by how thorough the card set actually is.

Chase Cards

The 109 card set features thirty-seven chase cards, of which all but seven are available in the packs. The bonus cards that can be found in the boxes include: Always cards, Different cards, In Pursuit cards and twelve costume ("Pieceworks") cards. The bonus cards range from the decent to the near-impossible to find. Having opened only two full boxes, all I know is that the obvious grail card in the set is as hard to find as one might predict and I did not pull it in my boxes! Rather annoyingly, Inkworks did not define the costume card rarities, so some of them may be significantly harder to find than others.

The first level of chase card, found one in every eleven packs are the Always Cards. These foil cards fit together to form a nine-card mural of Bella and Edward together from the movie poster to Twilight. The foil effect adds an additional layer of collectibility and the full mural looks good and will likely make the target audience swoon. Were Kristen Stewart and/or Robert Pattinson ever to do conventions, these would probably be one of the hottest sellers of the set.

That set is followed by the six "Different" cards, which are featured one in every seventeen packs. This annoyingly difficult set focuses on the isolation of the characters, like Bella, Edward, and the Cullens. These are bonus cards which seem more special based on their rarity, though they are foil-enhanced. The writing on the back further explores the characters and they are not bad.

That set is followed by the "In Pursuit" cards. The "In Pursuit" set focuses on the villain James and is a decent foil set. At one in every 23 packs, the "In Pursuit" cards are more rare than they are spectacular, but fans of Cam Gigandet ought to be thrilled by them!

The costume cards redeem the set for the most part. There are twelve Pieceworks costume cards and I have not heard of there being any variants within the twelve. For those unfamiliar with the idea of a Pieceworks card, I'll have thorough reviews of several of the costume cards because so many of them are still available in the secondary market and will update this review accordingly! The basic idea behind the Pieceworks card is that the card company gets a set-worn costume, chops it up and embeds it in a double-thick card with a window so fans can see and feel it! It is a cool idea and this might well be the closest that most fans will ever get to a piece of clothes worn by Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson. Unfortunately for fans, there is only one Pieceworks card from either of the big two (and only one from Taylor Lautner as Jacob as well).

Non-Box/Pack Cards

Inkworks does its fans a real service by not having a ton of cards to chase outside the individual boxes. The other seven cards not found in the packs or boxes are still fairly simple to find. There was the standard general release promotional card which was given out freely, as well as the one that was given out through the Inkworks website. These are pretty standard promotional cards and they were printed before Inkworks knew they were not releasing autographs in the set.

Fans who went to the Philadelphia Non-Sport show had the ability to get P-PS and there was Memorabilia trade show promo P-MS. Like the exclusive UK distribution promotional card, these are difficult to find, but are basic promotional cards. In other words, they look like common cards and have value only for their rarity.

The other two cards were the casetopper and the Hot Topic exclusive "Who Is Bella?" card. The HT-1 "Who Is Bella?" card was released only in boxes from Hot Topic stores. The value of these seems to have increased because many fans did not realize their value and simple tossed them when they found them in the boxes! As a result, this has become one of the more coveted cards from the set (in addition to a lesson that those not into card collecting ought to ask before doing anything with their new products!).

Finally, there is the casetopper. The casetopper is a very limited card of Edward Cullen called "Protector." It is another card that is more valuable for its rarity than anything else, though the text on the card is foil enhanced.


Inkworks has a hit with their Twilight cards and it is astonishing how valuable they truly are. So long as the Twilight bubble does not pop, these will remain one of the most valuable Twilight collectibles on the market and they are a great investment if anyone can find anyone who will sell them cheap to them. As it stands, they are drastically overvalued by the box, but that does not seem to be stopping fans from continuing to drive up the prices on the boxes. That only helps card collectors!

This set culls images exclusively from the 2008 film Twilight, click here for my review!

For other Twilight merchandise, please check out my reviews of:
New Moon (DVD)
The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner (novella)
Edward And Bella 2010 Hallmark ornament


For other trading card sets, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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