Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Even With Being Insanely Easy To Collect, The First Star Trek Deep Space Nine Card Set Is Good.

The Good: Interesting and uncommon images, Good for what it is
The Bad: Vastly overproduced, Images are small on cards.
The Basics: A fun but essentially worthless set, the Star Trek Deep Space Nine Premiere set will probably never be a collector or investor's dream.

Whenever trading card companies try to mix up the established order of things, they run the risk of a backlash. Card collectors, it seems, are rather fickle folks who tend to like their collecting a very specific way. Most collectors like opening boxes of trading cards and tearing into the packs to find the random cards needed to assemble a set. Some simply purchase complete sets from dealers, which works as well. But when a company like Fleer/SkyBox, which had the Star Trek trading card license through much of the 1990s, attempted to shake things up by releasing products that were entirely self-contained, they often flopped.

Perhaps one of the best examples of that is the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Premiere Edition card set. Released only in complete boxes with all fifty-three cards, this set was one of very few that SkyBox overproduced and tried to release as a product that sucked the fun out of collecting. It's funny, though, because despite being nearly worthless (there were 150,000 of these boxed sets produced) these cards are pretty nice!

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Series Premiere Edition card set was the first Star Trek: Deep Space Nine release from Fleer/SkyBox and it was a factory-produced set. Produced after the pilot episode was done filming, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Series Premiere Edition set sought to introduce trading card collectors to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine while the first season was still airing! Capitalizing on the success of the television series, this was a mass produced set that ultimately was a fifty-three card set when properly assembled and because of its simplicity, it remains terribly unpopular with trading card collectors, though general fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are probably more likely to treat it fairly.

All of the cards are oriented in a landscape orientation, making this set one of the nicest and most consistent when in a binder. The 53 card set is made up of 48 common cards and 5 bonus cards, all of which are in each little box. Boxes of the "Series Premiere Edition" featured all fifty-three cards; it was standardized and factory sealed, so there is nothing to gain by hunting down more than one of these.

Common Cards

The "Series Premiere Edition" set remains one of the poorest sellers and the common set might look primitive by today's standard. Printed on a thin cardstock without a UV protectant coating, the "Series Premiere Edition" is a true tribute to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's pilot episode "Emissary."

Starting with the opening images of space station Deep Space Nine, this set retells the story of "Emissary" in trading card form. In addition to all of the cards being oriented the same way, the images are framed with a black background and an image of the wormhole defining the left border that minimizes the primary image. As a result, each image used in this set looks like it is being viewed either through a viewscreen or the wormhole itself!

The back of each card is a well-written description of the subject of the card and some of the information is very technical and well-researched. In fact, some trading card releases phone in the writing, figuring that most collectors are just collecting the cards for the images, but this set was released when people seemed to genuinely care about the quality of the images and the writing on the backs. The "Series Premiere Edition" common set simply retells the entire story - almost frame by frame of "Emissary!" Because the set comes all together, it seems somewhat silly that card 48 is a checklist, but it confirms the contents of the box, I suppose.

The consistency of the image quality - the ship cards look just as good as the personnel cards! - is decent. There is a good mix of cards featuring the personnel as well as the ships and special effect shots from the pilot episode.

The only real drawback within the common set is that it is so common and the images are a bit small.

Chase Cards

There are five bonus cards in the "Series Premiere Edition" set and I use the term "bonus"' and "card" quite loosely here! After all, one of the cards is an advertisement for the forthcoming (at that time) Inaugural Edition set, another is a Certificate of Limited Edition, telling the collector what number their set is out of 150,000 (mine, for example, is 46,682!) and another is an even thinner piece of paper which is essentially a survey card.

Outside those three terrible bonuses, there are two Spectra cards. The Spectra cards were unique etched foil cards that were full bleed (no black/wormhole border!). One features the Enterprise docked at Deep Space Nine and the other features a Runabout traveling through the wormhole! These are nice foil cards and they certainly make the card collectors feel like they haven't wasted money on the set (assuming they paid in the $10.00 range for the boxed set).

Non-Box/Pack Cards

There were no promotional cards or non-box cards associated with this set.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Series Premiere Edition cards are relatively inexpensive and very easy to collect given that they are all in one box. However, given that most trading card releases these days have much more limited runs, these sets are virtually entirely devalued. They originally sold in the twenty dollar range, but now they can be found in the ten dollar range rather easily.

Despite the changes in card technology (better image capture, UV coatings), the "Series Premiere Edition" cards are interesting enough and fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine might yet enjoy them. This set is a great one to get younger people interested in card collecting due to the ease of assembly. And while it may not be the strongest investment set of all time, it is not because of the quality of the actual cards (which are fairly nice)!

his set culls images from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Emissary," reviewed here!

For reviews of other Star Trek trading cards, please check out my reviews of:
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Three
Star Trek In Motion
Star Trek (2009 movie) cards


For other card reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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