Saturday, November 12, 2011

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Breaks The Autograph Barrier With "Profiles!"

The Good: Decent chase cards, Relatively easy to assemble, Some decent images
The Bad: Common set is an absolute mess.
The Basics: A very cool set of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine trading cards, these boxes are getting harder and harder to find . . . with good reason!

Those who follow my many reviews (thank you for that) know that I am a huge fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. While I have a love of the Star Trek franchise, my passion is for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. As an avid collector of Star Trek trading cards, I was always excited whenever a new set of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine cards would be released. After all, here were two of my favorite things being combined: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and trading cards!

For the years that Fleer/SkyBox held the license, there were remarkably few sets of trading cards capitalizing on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In fact, for years, there was the virtually worthless premiere boxed set and then the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Inaugural Edition" trading cards (reviewed here!). But after quite a hiatus, there came Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Profiles. The Profiles set smartly capitalized on the greatest aspect of the series: the characters and the ways they developed over the first few years!

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Profiles card set was the third Star Trek: Deep Space Nine release from Fleer/SkyBox. Produced during the fifth season, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Profiles charted the character development of the nine essential crew members of Space Station Deep Space Nine. Focusing on the relationships between the different characters, this remains a fan favorite, especially for fans looking to get trading cards autographed by celebrities at conventions. This set was produced in fairly limited quantities and was a 112 card set when properly assembled. It remains one of the most popular Star Trek: Deep Space Nine trading card sets, in large part due to its image quality, the quality of the bonus cards and the fact that there are so few Star Trek: Deep Space Nine trading card sets out there!

The 112 card set is made up of 82 common cards and 30 bonus cards- all of which were found in the boxes of cards. Boxes of the "Profiles" featured 36 packs of eight cards each. As well, SkyBox did release half-boxes for retail outlets.

Common Cards

The "Profiles" set remains one of the best sellers in Star Trek trading cards because of the chase card set, not the commons. With 82 cards, the common set had the potential to be great, but is an utter mess when put in binder pages. While the first of every nine cards featured is of the character in portrait orientation, the subsequent eight cards randomly divide between portrait and landscape orientation without any rhyme, reason or consistency page to page. Printed on a thin cardstock with a UV resistant coating, the "Profiles" is a decent tribute to the characters of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Starting with the Sisko, the 82 card set offers fans and card collectors a wonderful array of images of the characters from the show. There are nine cards each of Sisko, Worf, Kira, Dax, Odo, Bashir, O'Brien, Quark and Jake, with a final card which is the checklist. The set is consistent only in that every nine cards within the set starts with a StarFleet Personnel File of the character, followed by Spy Update card (written as if it were an Obsidian Order file on the character), four Personal Log cards (cards written about episodes from the character's perspective highlighting their character growth from the episode), and concluding with three reflections from other characters on the character (like Gowron, Dax and Kor's memories of Worf from episodes that featured those characters in proximity to Worf). For Deep Space Nine purists, there is some sense of insult and injury in this set as Worf (who had only been on for a season and a half when the set was released) appears in the "Profiles" set before Kira, who is the first officer.

The back of each card is a well-written description of the character on the card and some of the information is specific, insightful 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 consistency of the image quality, if not the orientations, is generally decent. The cards do not have the typical images used over and over again and there is only limited use of publicity shots in this series, so the whole set has a more candid feel to it. This makes it something nice and truly different to get signed by the stars at conventions.

The only real drawback within the common set comes in the fact that there is no consistency card to card after the first for each character in the orientation. That makes it difficult to pick good ones for getting autographed, especially of the supplemental characters who happen to appear on many of the cards alongside their principle character.

Chase Cards

There are thirty bonus cards in the "Profiles" set, all of which are available right in the boxes of cards! The first level of chase card is the least sophisticated: the Quark's Bar cards. Approximately nine per box, (one in every three packs), the Quark's Bar cards were simple cards featuring portraits of various aliens prominently featured in Quark's Bar. This set is great for autograph hunters, as popular recurring characters like Rom, Nog, Leeta and Brunt appear on these cards with pictures that are clear, large and ideal for getting signed. All that truly makes these cards chase cares (outside their numbering system and rarity) is the large foil stamp on the front that indicates that these are Quark's Bar cards. The backs have a Rule Of Acquisition as well as information on the character pictured on the front and these nine cards make for an interesting chase set.

The second level of insert cards, found one in ever six packs, was a set focusing entirely on the Star Trek/Star Trek: Deep Space Nine crossover episode "Trials And Tribble-ations." Oriented entirely in landscape orientation, this set features images from the Emmy Award nominated episode that melded cast from the two shows into a new episode. As a result, there are wonderful cards featuring Sisko and Captain Kirk facing off with one another! The backs are written from Major Kira's perspective and follow through the plot of the episode.

Three per box (one in every twelve packs) are the Latinum Profiles bonus cards and these are highly coveted by card collectors for their rarity and effect. Each card is a golden foil card of one of the primary characters from Deep Space Nine. With backs written highlighting possibly the best episode involving the character, these cards are wonderful for their image quality. However, these cards were also subject to serious manufacturing defects. Many people opening boxes of Deep Space Nine Profiles cards these days (when they can be found!) have discovered that the Latinum Profiles either stick to adjacent cards, tearing off some of the foil when separating or have surfaces that are pitted or scratched even right out of the pack. Considering that these are the practical high end cards in this set and represent the last "safe" bet in buying unopened boxes, this is particularly problematic.

On top of the Latinum Profiles, though, there are autograph cards. In 1997, autograph cards were still a relatively new phenomenon in non-sports cards and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Profiles set only had three autograph cards. Seeded one in every five to six boxes, collectors could pull a Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) or Armin Shimerman (Quark) autograph card. Fleer SkyBox embossed each of these autograph cards with its unique seal, making it easy to tell if one has an authentic autograph card from the set. Like most autograph cards, these are portrait orientation and the images on these are decent sized. They are, however, all publicity shots used, but that is pretty standard for autograph cards.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

There are no cares for the Deep Space Nine Profiles set that are not available in the boxes. There was no promotional card and SkyBox never produced a binder for this set.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Profiles cards are comparatively expensive, given the potential damage to Latinum Profiles and the difficulty in pulling even a single autograph card. Despite the popularity of this product, it was not over produced and the common set prices have held to $6 - $10 each, and the box prices have steadied at around $50.00 a box and they remain one of the rarer SkyBox Star Trek products.

Despite the changes in card technology (better image capture, UV coatings), the "Profiles" cards still look great today and fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine continue to find it to be a set worthy of their attention and collecting. And while it may not be the strongest investment set of all time, it does seem like people are always looking for these cards.

This set culls images from the first five seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, reviewed here!

This is a set of cards I sell in my store! Be sure to check out my current inventory by clicking here!

For other card reviews, be sure to check out my takes on:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Series Premiere set
Diamond Select Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan Costume Card
The Complete Star Trek: The Animated Series card set


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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