The Good: Good images, Decent autographs, Interesting chase sets, Incredible collectible value for bonus cards
The Bad: Use of redemption cards, Poor copy-editing on common set, Redundant chase cards
The Basics: Enduring value does not forgive this set for being poorly constructed and utilizing redemption cards for some of the most valuable cards in the set.
The thing about having standards that become fairly well known is that when one defies those standards, readers tend to know. What separates reviewers from hacks is their ability to objectively look at things that they do not like and rate them according to whatever standard they have and those of us with high, uniform standards are often caught on our principles when reviewing things we loathe.
To wit; right now, I want nothing more than to pan the Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home trading card set. It is a pathetic set that should be avoided by serious collectors and fans of Star Trek: Voyager and the Star Trek franchise. But, objectively, it remains one of the most valuable Star Trek trading card sets and the boxes still command ridiculously high prices in the secondary market. Some of the chase cards are impressive and even (grumble) look real good. So, while my instinct is to rate this with one star and flame away at this set - which was only outdone in terms of lack of quality by the Star Trek: The Next Generation Profiles set (reviewed here!) - I must grudgingly confess that there are merits to this set.
Properly assembled, the Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home set of trading cards includes 160 cards, all but six are found in the boxes of Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home trading cards. SkyBox was notorious for releasing sets of trading cards incomplete, with redemption cards, and the Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home set is one of those. Sadly, this is also one of the worst assembled common sets ever produced by Fleer/SkyBox and it makes one almost wonder why the bothered . . . oh, yes, they had to exploit the arrival of Seven Of Nine. Bypassing a sensible Star Trek: Voyager Season Three set that had long been promised to fans, Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home leapt ahead to provide cards that capitalized on the appearance of the buxom Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager to try to sell the trading cards.
The Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home set is comprised of a 100 card common set and sixty chase cards, which include autographs, a promotional card, two redemption cards and three different case topper incentive cards based on the size of the case purchased. The set includes a pretty wide array of images from the third through fifth seasons of the popular science fiction show. Wherever possible, the images include Seven Of Nine, an annoying conceit, but at least the set is pretty obvious about what it is doing. Fortunately, the first thirty-three cards - because they precede Seven's arrival - are absent the busty Borg.
The Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home trading cards were originally released in packs of nine cards with thirty-six packs per box. They remain one of the hardest to find unopened boxes because of the popularity of the subject. As well, there was a binder released by SkyBox to hold the complete set.
The Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home common card set is comprised of one hundred cards. The cards are randomly spread between the three seasons of Star Trek: Voyager from the third through fifth season. There are basically thirty-three cards for the third season, twenty-nine for the fifth and twenty-eight for the sixth season, as well as nine cards focusing on villains from Star Trek: Voyager plus a checklist. Some of the episodes have multiple cards ("Basics," "Flashback," and "The Q And The Grey," for example each have three) while others are represented by a single card (almost all of the fifth season episodes).
The common card set is quite poorly-conceived and executed. The cards are randomly oriented between portrait and landscape orientations and there is no rhyme or reason between them when putting them into a binder. As well, they are poorly written and there are at least ten cards in the common set that end abruptly in the middle of the sentence!
Even more baffling is the numbering system. The cards start with number 178, suggesting that SkyBox intends for fans to continue the set where the Star Trek: Voyager Season Two trading cards ended. However, that number does not include the checklist cards to that set or the chase cards, which took that set up to card #202! As a result, there is a somewhat ridiculous sense to this common set.
After the common set, there are sixty bonus cards, all but five are found in the packs of trading cards. The first nine are a set of Advanced Technology cards. These were inserted one in every four packs and they are a simple card detailing new technologies and ships Voyager encountered in the three year span. All that makes them bonus cards (other than the numbering) is a thin bit of foil.
The next level of chase cards (chase, bonus and insert cards all being the same thing - additional cards with alternate numbering that are in addition to the common cards which usually have some gimmick to them) is the Adventures Of Captain Proton set. This problematic chase set is highly sought after, despite its relative ease of assembly (they were found one in every eight packs). While all of the backs are oriented in portrait orientation, the fronts are a mix of portrait and landscape, making for a disappointing look when assembled in the binder. These cards are simple black and white cards illustrating characters as they appear in the Captain Proton holodeck scenario. The subject is all that seems to make this set popular.
The next tier of the chase cards are the Interstellar Species cards and admittedly, these are cool cards. Made of green plastic, the images of alien races from Star Trek: Voyager are silk screened on. The backs have Seven Of Nine's observations on the aliens on the front and that makes them interesting to fans of Seven as well as more moderate Star Trek: Voyager fans. These are found approximately one in every twelve packs and they have retained their value over the years quite well.
The set is duplicated, however, with an even rarer orange plastic set. The orange plastic cards are identical to the original Interstellar Species cards, save that they are printed on translucent orange plastic. These were estimated to be three orange cards per every twenty boxes, making the set one of the hardest to complete!
Then there are the nine autograph cards and these are almost the real grails of the Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home set. The entire main cast of Star Trek: Voyager signed autograph cards for this set, but two of them did not get their autograph cards in in time. As a result, A1 and A7, Janeway and Seven are only available in packs as redemption cards, which have long since expired. Even more problematic for those still able to get their hands on boxes of Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home cards: there are no guarantees of an autograph in a box! Instead, in any box, collectors get either an autograph or one of the nine Command Crew lenticular cards.
The Command Crew cards are an interesting chase card. After years of making lenticular cards with multiple frames of motion, Fleer/SkyBox simplified for the Command Crew cards. These are lenticular cards that simply establish a three-dimensional image of each of the main cast of Star Trek: Voyager on their lenticular surface. The backs of each card has a brief description of the character and is individually numbered out of 750. These cards have retained their value well in the secondary market and even now command prices in the $50 range!
There were six non-box chase cards. There was a very standard promotional card. It is a shot of the complete cast and it is relatively easy to find in the secondary market.
The next level of cards not found in the boxes are the two autographs for which there are redemption cards. The only way to find the Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan autograph cards now is on the secondary market. Unfortunately, since SkyBox no longer holds the license, anyone who pulls one of the redemption cards will be unable to redeem it for an autograph. This kind of gimmick is very frustrating to collectors and fans and it is enough to cost the set a point in my book.
As well, the final level of chase is just annoying. There were three types of cases for the Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home set: six box, twelve-box and twenty box cases. Each size case had a different casetopper. The casetoppers were oversized Command Crew cards of Chakotay, Janeway and Seven of Nine, respectively. Finding unopened cases is near impossible, as is tracking down these oversized cards. Unlike the original Command Crew cards, these are not individually numbered.
From the common card set, which is poorly conceived and executed, through the difficult to find and assemble high level chase sets, Star Trek: Voyager: Closer To Home was a disappointment when it was first released. It remains a thorn in many collector's sides, but investors make out well given several of the cards' rarities, keeping it from being the worst trading card set Fleer/SkyBox ever produced for the Star Trek franchise.
Still, as a collector, this was one of the first sets I liquidated when I lost the ability to get everything.
This set culls images from:
Star Trek: Voyager - Season Three
Star Trek: Voyager - Season Four
Star Trek: Voyager - Season Five
This is a set of cards I sell in my online store! Please check out 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
Star Trek: Voyager Profiles
Women Of Star Trek: Voyager HoloFEX
The Legends Of Star Trek: Captain Kathryn Janeway
For other trading card reviews, be sure to check out my Trading Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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