Monday, June 18, 2012

One Good Series Of Trading Cards Deserves Another, Star Trek: Voyager Season One Series TWO!

The Good: Interesting chase, Nice looking cards, Well written
The Bad: Various boxes/exclusives make it hard to complete a master set, Simple chase cards, Value
The Basics: This Star Trek: Voyager card series is a remarkably average trading card series that did not retain its value because of its retail-exclusive re-releases.

When Star Trek: Voyager premiered on television, fans of the Star Trek franchise were treated to an opportunity to collect trading cards based on the first, double-length episode. That set of trading cards was the Star Trek: Voyager Season One Series One trading card set (reviewed here!). Following the conclusion of the first season of Star Trek: Voyager, SkyBox released a new set of cards, the Star Trek: Voyager Season One Series Two set.

The Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 Series 2 set is probably the most widely available collection of Star Trek: Voyager trading cards, in no small part because the product was released to the market three separate times. The first release was the commonly available hobby and retail boxes. It was followed months later by the second two releases that had packs sold exclusively at WalMart and Blockbuster stores. The WalMart exclusive packages had twice as many cards per pack and included one of nine embossed cards featuring the crewmembers of the U.S.S. Voyager. The BlockBuster exclusive packs each included one of nine trading cards that popped up to make a 3-D mini-standee of each of the main cast members!

So, like the some of the earliest SkyBox Star Trek releases, this set was a bit overproduced and as a result all of the bonus cards that can be found in the standard hobby/retail boxes - as well as the common card sets - have been severely devalued. Cards like the SkyMotion Redemption Card which usually held their value because they were so hard to find (whatwith collectors redeeming them!), became more plentiful in the market with the subsequent releases so the boxes and single cards that were common to all three releases were severely devalued. Out of all the Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 Series 2 boxes, the standard hobby release with thirty-six packs featuring eight cards per pack is the least expensive and least valuable to consumers and collectors. The advantage, of course, is that one might assemble the set fairly inexpensively as a result (at least the box-bound set).

The Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 Series 2 trading card set consists of ninety common cards, 18 chase cards available in the packs and twenty bonus cards that were available only in the retailer-specific exclusive packs or through mail-away promotions that render them no longer available directly from SkyBox. Like the manufacturer-produced binder the final two cards are not available in any of the boxes of trading cards. For those unfamiliar with trading card collecting, "chase" cards are bonus cards inserted into random packs that fall outside the regular numbering system. Usually, there is some special (and usually more-expensive-to-produce) quality to them which is why they were made rare in the first place. The Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 Series 2 set was released at a time when chase cards were not especially interesting, though the highlight of this set was easily the mail-away SkyMotion card with an image that moved on it! While boxes of these cards may contain the Redemption Card needed to get the SkyMotion card, none of them would have the actual motion card in them.

A box of Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 Series 2 trading cards consists of thirty-six packs of cards, with eight cards per pack. A box of cards ought to contain at least one complete set of common cards and collation in these boxes was so good that most will yield a second common set. In addition to a common set, each box ought to contain three of the "Spectra" chase cards and two of the Neelix scratch and sniff recipe cards. One in every six boxes contained a redemption card for the SkyMotion card!

The common card set consisted of ninety cards and one of the nice things is, like its predecessor set, this set is a very sensibly oriented set! All 90 cards and all of the chase cards (save the Blockbuster Exclusive set) are oriented in a landscape orientation. This is especially nice for those who put the cards in a binder as everything is oriented the same direction, making it very easy to see all of the images in a consecutive order and read the backs of the cards in order as well.

The 90 card set focuses on the entire first season of Star Trek: Voyager. This set provided a great collection of images from the first season and contains some images not captured outside the series elsewhere (like on 8X10 photographs or collector's plates). Each episode is explored in detail with three cards devoted to the plot. The images on the front are full-bleed (one image per card, no borders) and the backs are generally well-written explorations of the episode plots, the technology, and the worlds of the first season of the show. It is a nice, collectible compendium of images and information for fans of "Star Trek: Voyager!"

The 90 card common set is broken down as follows: 1 - 9 Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 timeline illustrating the order of the episodes and charting the course of the season, 10 - 57 detailing the entire story in depth of the pilot episode, 58 - 63 trivia cards, 64 - 72 The Caretaker's Array being destroyed mural - a beautiful nine card mural that depicts the viewscreen shot of the Caretaker's station exploding on the front and viewscreen shots on the backs of the cards, 73 - 83 technology cards, 84 - 88 Strange New Worlds cards depicting planets Voyager visited in its first season, and 89-90 Checklist cards.

The bonus cards to this set include a nine-card Spectra card chase set, six Neelix Recipe cards that feature a scratch and sniff panel on the back, and a SkyMotion redemption card. While not strictly speaking chase cards, this set also includes a survey card and an order form card for the "Star Trek: Cinema Collection" cards. The Spectra cards are nice, etched foil cards with a pink background and each of the nine cards has one of the important aliens from the first season of Star Trek: Voyager on it. The Neelix Recipe cards feature shots of Voyager's chef, kitchen and cuisine on the front and a recipe and scratch and sniff panel on the back. The SkyMotion Redemption Card is a bland black and pink card with words "SkyMotion Redemption" on the front in big letters, though it looks a lot like the survey card. The back of that card has information on how to redeem the card for the actual SkyMotion card. It is worth noting that the SkyMotion Redemption Cards may no longer be redeemed for an actual SkyMotion card.

In addition to the cards available in the boxes, there are several cards that were not available in the boxes. They included the nine crew embossed cards from the WalMart packs, the nine cards from BlockBuster video that were probably a better idea than execution, the SkyMotion card and the oversized SkyMotion card. There was the regular trading card-sized SkyMotion card, a thick plastic card featuring the Captain Janeway beaming up to the ship. This card was only available from SkyBox with the mail-in Redemption card. As well, SkyBox offered an oversized SkyMotion card that was at least twice as big as the standard one and had the same image. The jumbo SkyMotion card was something that could be bought directly from SkyBox at the time (again, that offer has long since expired!).

For the true completist, there are three promotional cards. One was a general distribution oversized promo card sheet. The other two promotional cards are a bear to find. The first was exceptionally limited and was given out as a prize for the Gummie Awards by Non-Sports Update Magazine and the other - a rather bland #0 promo - was given out by Mastercard as part of a Star Trek credit card promotion. Those last two promos are arguably the hardest to track down.

But out of a box of these cards, the best one may hope for is the SkyMotion Redemption Card, which is pretty pathetic considering that it can no longer be redeemed. At best, this card carries a value of $25 and that is for the completist collectors that absolutely must have everything. Considering that a collector would have to purchase approximately six boxes of cards, this seems like a lot to buy to put together such a mediocre set. This set might sell best to fans of Star Trek: Voyager and those who want a simple, affordable Star Trek card collection. Indeed, if one were to use the checklist as the guide, the complete set of cards (all of which are in the boxes) represents a very attractive, colorful set.

But by today's standards, the savvy card collector is likely to find this set quaint and somewhat simple. It is inexpensive to assemble - boxes sell regularly for $10 - $25 in the market - and the value of the sets tends to reflect that low cost. Despite not having a lot to offer collectors in today's more extreme chase oriented marketplace, this set was fun to collect and it is worth recommending to any collector who wants to have fun assembling a set of trading cards that looks good!

This set uses material solely from Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete First Season, reviewed here!

This is a set of trading cards I sell in my online store! Click here to check out my current inventory!

For other sets of SkyBox cards that had SkyMotion bonus cards, check out my reviews of:
Star Trek: Generations trading cards
Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode Collection Season Six trading cards


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

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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