Thursday, November 15, 2012

Everything Star Trek: Voyager Makes For An Erratic Set With The Complete Star Trek: Voyager Cards!

The Good: Good concept, Some interesting autograph cards, Some of the chase cards
The Bad: Some underwhelming chase cards, Surprisingly lame common set, Checklist rarity.
The Basics: Star Trek: Voyager starts Rittenhouse Archives "Complete" treatment with a set of cards that had great high-end cards, but a mediocre common set.

Rittenhouse Archives, when it took over the Star Trek line of trading cards, quickly revealed that it was an ambitious company and would be creating trading card sets that were unlike anything Star Trek fans had before seen. It was the singular vision of company president Steve Cherendoff that propelled Rittenhouse Archives to the forefront of the trading card industry by experimenting and making leaps on sets. Unlike prior card companies which had done season by season explorations, Rittenhouse Archives took some of the completed series' in the Star Trek franchise and created trading card sets based upon the entire series, like "The Complete Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (reviewed here!). As well, Rittenhouse gave equal treatment to the neglected Star Trek: Animated Series and gave it equal coverage by presenting "The Complete Star Trek: Animated Adventures" cards (reviewed here!). But to get it started, Rittenhouse Archives took the leap with Star Trek: Voyager.

The result was The Complete Star Trek: Voyager trading cards and the concept thrilled fans while, unfortunately, the execution left many of them sour. Rittenhouse Archives had an ambitious idea and the concept of packing many images into a card, as opposed to trying to figure out one defining shot per episode, but when the set was created, fans were less excited by how they looked with a lot of little images packed onto each card.

Basics/Set Composition

The Complete Star Trek: Voyager set was a set of trading cards produced by Rittenhouse Archives to celebrate the entire series Star Trek: Voyager. Because the series had ended just prior to the release of the cards, nostalgia for Star Trek: Voyager was at its peak (oddly enough) and Rittenhouse Archives decided to risk on a set where the common card set was a big deal. Boxes of the Complete Star Trek: Voyager cards contained forty packs with nine cards per pack. One gets a lot per box and there is a guarantee of one common set and two autographs per box. Given that there are not many autographs to hunt, this gave the appearance of decent value for the boxes. As well, Rittenhouse inserted two levels of hard-to-find chase cards: costume cards and SketchaFEX cards. Even so, Rittenhouse Archives was good to its word and this set was remarkably by-the-numbers with common sets per box and the proportions of chase cards.

The common set is all about the episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, with each episode getting a single card. The chase cards, however, range from inexpensive sets focused on holodeck experiences of the crew and villains they encountered to autograph cards featuring characters and actors from all seven seasons of the show. This set feels erratic the way it is put together, mostly because Rittenhouse seemed obsessed with quantity over quality in the images.

The Complete Star Trek: Voyager set consists of two hundred fifty-five cards (forty-six, actually), which seems like it would be a fairly easy set to complete. The 255 card set consists of 180 common cards and seventy-five (six) chase cards, only three (four) of which cannot be found in the packs.

Common Cards

The 180 card common set of Complete Star Trek: Voyager cards established a new style of card, though the idea had been tested in a slightly different fashion with the HoloFex cards. Each episode of Star Trek: Voyager is given a single card in this set and each season uses the cast image of that season to present the appearance of the cast that season and a list of each episode. The front of each card features six panels, each with a different image from the appropriate episode and a color border unique to the season of the show. So, for example, a sixth season episode would have six viewscreens with shots from "Collective" (for example) all of which would be bordered in yellow. The images, packed in as they are, were a decent mix of characters and special effects shots. Still, many collectors rejected the Complete Star Trek: Voyager set falls because all of the images are tiny. In addition to squeezing in all six of the images, each card has a central Delta symbol on the front under which a seventh shot is included! As a result, the front of each card tells the name of the set, which is somewhat ridiculous as far as using the space goes. The front of each card also has the title of the appropriate episode. At least all of the cards are oriented the same way in the common set; this is a landscape-oriented set.

The back of each card includes two more small pictures from the episode as well as a complete plot description of the episode (or as much as one can get onto a trading card). Rittenhouse Archives did a good job at explaining each episode.

To be fair to Rittenhouse Archives, the images - what may be seen of them - tend to be culled from every episode and are not the typical images one sees over and over again in published mediums. This, at least, maintained the standards of the concept, which was to give collectors the most complete Star Trek: Voyager trading card experience yet.

Chase Cards

The Complete Star Trek: Voyager set has only seventy-five (six!) chase cards, of which seventy-two are available in the right packs! Unfortunately, the set becomes very difficult to collect with the sketch cards and Rittenhouse added the sketch cards at the last minute so they are not included in the checklist. In a decent move, though, Rittenhouse Archives included more SketchaFex cards than it originally planned, so the odds of finding a hand-drawn sketch card were actually better than the original promotional materials indicated. Outside the sketch cards, this would be a remarkably easy set to collect in terms of the bonus cards, if for no other reason than with two cases, one is likely to pull all of the cards in the set. Then again, the SketchaFex cards complicate those odds some, but generally, this is a decent set for card collectors and Star Trek fans by the numbers. The checklists - there were three for this massive set - were considered bonus cards and were inserted at one in every ten packs. This seemed to be a way that Rittenhouse could better live up to its promise of a common set in every box (by not promising all three checklists by not including them in the common set). This was weird, but not unforgivable.

The first level of chase set was the Holodeck Adventures set, which were very bland portrait-oriented cards featuring tiny little images of characters in one of nine Holodeck scenarios from the seven years Star Trek: Voyager was on the air. The only thing that makes these chase cards is a little foil strip at the bottom and the alternate numbering on the back. These cards were quickly dumped by dealers and have almost no value today.

Similarly valueless were the Formidable Foes cards, though these at least were foil. These portrait-oriented cards were foil cards featuring the villains of Star Trek: Voyager and they included big images of the creepy Vidians, the Borg and Annorax. These looked good, but somehow lost value quickly, despite having great big images.

At only one per box were the nine Gallery cards. Each card is a double-thick card and has a film cell embedded in it. All nine members of the main cast are represented, though Kes is excluded rather unfortunately. These cards are interesting, look good and have retained their value well over the years.

Also in the packs are the autograph cards. The autograph cards are found two in every box, which are good odds, especially with only twenty-five autographs in the various packs. There were three styles of autograph cards, though, and that annoyed some collectors. The first were the landscape-oriented Alien autographs and the highlights here had to be Manu Intirayami (who played Icheb) and Kurtwood Smith (probably more famous for his role on That '70's Show, but beloved for his Star Trek: Voyager villain Annorax). These were the most common autographs in the boxes and many fans were unimpressed by the signers, though this represents one of the more intriguing lists of autograph signers that Rittenhouse would assemble. The main cast tended to be relegated to the other two sets of autograph cards, which were Captain Proton themed and dual autographs. The Captain Proton autograph set featured main cast members in their black-and-white Captain Proton alter-egos on portrait-oriented cards. So, for example, Kate Mulgrew signed in the Complete Voyager set not as Janeway, but as Arachnia. Others like Robert Duncan McNeil, Garrett Wang, and Robert Picardo followed suit, though the set was fleshed out with an abundance of Captain Proton characters that few collectors actually cared about. What they did care about were the three dual autographs. Landscape-oriented, The Complete Star Trek: Voyager cards included three autographs - limited to 500 of each card - where two people signed the card! Tim Russ and Marva Hicks (Tuvok's wife), Ethan Phillips and Jennifer Lein and Robert Duncan McNeil and Roxanne Dawson each had dual autograph cards which collectors loved because they illustrated well characters who were intimately associated with one another.

Also sought after by collectors of The Complete Star Trek: Voyager, were the two costume cards. For those unfamiliar with costume cards, please check my review of one here! Found only one per case there was a Seven Of Nine and a B'Elanna Torres costume card available in the packs.

The grail of the packs are the fifteen SketchaFex cards. Each of these cards was a hand drawn sketch (not a copy of a sketch, but a unique sketch each and every one!). Five artists contributed sketch cards of the same general thing, like Bolson (ships), Czop (characters), Pablo Raimondi (Characters), Dan Schaefer (characters) and Martineck (starships). Rittenhouse Archives insisted on having some standards so while each card is technically unique, artists simply drew the same thing over and over again, like Bolson drew a one hundred sixty sketches of both the Delta Flyer and the U.S.S. Equinox. Most of the sketches were limited to 160 of each sketch, though Raimondi did just over two hundred of his two sketches.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

There are only three (four) cards that cannot be found no matter how many packs one opens. These include the regular promotional card, which Rittenhouse gave free to dealers, who distributed them pretty freely at the time. These looked very much like the ultimately released common cards. One of the other cards was exclusive to the binder and was a costume card of Chakotay. This costume card was exclusive to the Rittenhouse-produced binder.

The final card to hunt was the casetopper and Rittenhouse made it a doosey; it was a Jeri Ryan autographed card, allowing the company to trade yet again on the popularity of Seven Of Nine.

Throughout the article, I've mentioned the count being off by one, there is a simple reason for that. Artist Pablo Raimondi created a SketchaFex card of "Admiral Paris" for the set. He did 210 sketches of . . . Tom Paris, though, and they were labeled "Admiral Paris." Rittenhouse Archives caught the mistake and issued a swapback program. Raimondi went back and sketched Richard Herd as Admiral Paris, but many collectors kept the error card. The proper card is now still available from Rittenhouse Archives as part of their Rittenhouse Rewards program and is considered part of the set.


The Complete Star Trek: Voyager attempted to revolutionize the common card set by creating a massive set, but the execution of its efforts underwhelmed too many fans, making this a tough sell. Still, the high-end cards were innovative and that is what ultimately earns the set a slight "recommend" from me.

This set culls images from all seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager reviewed here!

This is a set of trading cards I sell in my online store! Check out and purchase from my current inventory by clicking here!

For other Star Trek: Voyager trading card sets, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Season 1 Series 1
Season 1 Series 2
Season 2
Star Trek: Voyager Profiles
Closer To Home
Women Of Star Trek: Voyager HoloFEX
The Legends Of Star Trek: Captain Kathryn Janeway


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

© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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