Friday, December 23, 2011

One Of The Best, Classic "Legends Of Star Trek" Sets: "The Legends Of Dr. McCoy!"

The Good: Some truly wonderful images! Limited quality, Cardstock
The Bad: Cost/Value, Lack of image diversity, Does not capture full history
The Basics: With only nine cards, the "Legends Of Dr. McCoy" is bound to satisfy casual fans of McCoy and DeForest Kelley and card collectors alike!

When the "Legends Of Star Trek" set began, I was quite excited. Because it was originally intended to be the very best of all of the franchise, the initial list of characters presented was going to leap around the various series' and make a very true and complete view of the Star Trek franchise. I was also excited because from the initial list, I would be able to get everyone who was going to be in the set to autograph a card of their character. Unfortunately, with its third release, Rittenhouse Archives abandoned the original premise and with the "Legends Of Dr. McCoy," my ability to get this set autographed was crushed and I felt disappointed.

When the "Legends of Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy" was originally released, the concept was so new and different and exciting that collectors had a lot to look forward to. Because the concept was somewhat undermined by the McCoy release, many fans did not give this set as fair a shake as the prior ones that had been released and as a result, it is a lot of fun to go back and see the set now. In retrospect, the "Legends of Dr. McCoy" is one of the better "Legends Of Star Trek" sets, even if it lacks incredible image diversity.

Basics/Set Composition

"The Legends of Star Trek" set is a series of cards produced by Rittenhouse Archives and released on average twice a year over the last five years. The "Legends Of Dr. McCoy" set is the third in the ever-expanding series that is released in nine card, limited edition increments. There are no bonus cards in this set, they come as complete sets of nine cards sealed in a cellophane package. There are three things that make these sets truly special: cardstock, an individual limited edition number, and the images on the cards. The cardstock is a 20pt. (thicker than usual) cardstock with the standard UV resistant coating that all quality trading cards come with these days. To illustrate the truly limited nature of the "Legends of Star Trek" cards, every set is strictly limited to 1701 sets and the L9 card (visible at the back of the cellophane pack) is foil stamped with an individual number for the specific "Legends Of" set. So, for example, my personal set is number 0440/1701! This is where it helps to have a dealer that you are loyal to; dealers were able to order all of the same limited edition collector's numbers each time, so every time I get an order in, they are the same limited edition numbers and I - and my customers - are assembling sets with matching numbers, which will presumably hold the value of the overall series better in the long run.

Finally, the "Legends of Star Trek" series is characterized by wonderful, uncommon images that are not the typical shots that have been on 8x10s, t-shirts and collector's plates before. Instead, these cards capitalize on big rare images, vivid color contrast and cards that are uncluttered by pesky text! These cards are for the fans who know the accomplishments of their heroes! No need to write about them, the images speak for themselves!

Common Cards

The "Legends Of Dr. McCoy" set is a nine-card "Legends of Star Trek" set that features eighteen images of Dr. McCoy from throughout the three seasons of Star Trek! These are all screen captures and present heroic shots of Dr. McCoy from the five year mission of the Enterprise. It's mostly blue uniforms and tight headshots. Actually, the "Legends Of Dr. McCoy" makes a decent effort to show McCoy with gadgets, like a hypospray and a communicator. What makes the set so wonderful is that the shots are all from the episodes and it's very hard to tell which episodes the images are pulled from.

Sure, there is the iconic "Miri" shot of McCoy with his hypospray, McCoy among the trees in "Shore Leave," and his hands covered in cement from "Devil In The Dark!" And while the centerpiece card appears to be McCoy from "The Tholian Web," and L6 is likely from "Space Seed" (which I know from the background person), the rest of the images are pretty tough to place. It's a rare thing to make a set with images so intriguing that their source does not instantly leap out to the fan/collector.

At least there are no publicity shots. Instead, these are eighteen hard-to-find shots of Dr. McCoy doing his thing. He is scowling in one shot, smiling compassionately, leaning over the bridge railing in still another shot. Interestingly enough, he's not caught looking at the camera in any of the shots.

The problem is, the image diversity is intriguing, but it could have been better for the fans. The true crime here is that there are no shots of McCoy from his appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation and none of the films! To truly capture the full legendary quality of McCoy, it would have been nice to have some shots of him in his later life when his heroism continued to endure. But even more than that, it would have offered some different color contrasts and potential poses. This is a very blue set!

Moreover, it is a very straightforward and bland set. It is all McCoy in his uniform. Where is McCoy aged from "The Deadly Years?" McCoy disguised himself as a Nazi in "Patterns Of Force" and as a member of the community in "Return Of The Archons," but those images are not included here. It's disappointing that McCoy is not shown following the sacrifice he made in "The Empath" or with his wife, Natira in "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky." And what about McCoy in one of those blasted dress uniforms, from "Journey To Babel?!"

Visually, this is a less exciting set than it could be, in terms of diversity. But it does a pretty phenomenal job of capturing images of McCoy that are not the typical ones.


Those who love DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy will likely enjoy this at least as much as the die hard fans and the card collectors. They are good shots. Overall, it's enough to sell a casual fan on picking up this set, if not starting a "Legends Of Star Trek" collection. Those who have other characters they love and decide not to collect the entire "Legends OfStar Trek" series will find that there are fans of DeForest Kelley and/or Dr. McCoy who are willing to buy up these sets, if for no other reason than they represent something fairly different to keep as a tribute to the late Kelley! One suspects in the future, the "Legends Of Star Trek" sets will be sold in the secondary market almost exclusively as entire series collections, so fans who simply have a favorite character will want to snatch up the releases when they first come out!

For fans of DeForest Kelley and McCoy, despite the limited range of the collection, this is the "Legends" set for you!

This set culls images from:
Star Trek
most recognizably "Shore Leave"
"The Tholian Web"
And "Devil In The Dark"

For other original Star Trek trading card sets reviewed by me, please check out:
Star Trek - Season 1 Episode Collection trading cards
Star Trek - Season 2 Episode Collection trading cards
Star Trek - Season 3 Episode Collection trading cards
Star Trek In Motion
35th Anniversary HoloFEX Holofoil cards
Legends Of Captain James T. Kirk
The Art And Images Of Star Trek
Legends Of Spock
"Quotable" Star Trek
Star Trek 40th Anniversary Season 1
Star Trek 40th Anniversary Season 2
Star Trek (2009 movie) cards


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

© 2011, 2009, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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