Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Collectible And Cool, The “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies Trading Cards Retain Value!

The Good: Cool (if repetitive) chase cards, Some awesome signers, Patch cards are neat
The Bad: Lack of continuity with prior sets, Autograph numbering issue, Later movie quotes
The Basics: Still worth hunting down, The "Quotable" Star Trek: The Movies cards are a confounding mix of wonderful and troublesome for collectors and fans.

As a Star Trek fan and a trading card collector, I have become quite the fan of Rittenhouse Archives. Rittenhouse Archives is the manufacturer of Star Trek trading cards and they have served the license fairly well throughout their fifteen years of producing Star Trek trading cards. The company has weathered the recession well and the staff continues to be collector-friendly, even if some of their products have made it very hard for a decent number of collectors to continue collecting (at this point in Star Trek trading card collecting, there are only five possible master sets for Star Trek card collectors!). For as wonderful as the company is, sometimes the execution of their ideas results in a more mixed result than they might have intended. Perhaps one of the best examples of that is the "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies set.

The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies follows in the tradition and concept of Rittenhouse Archives' previous "Quotable" Star Trek sets, but as the fourth “Quotable” Star Trek set is hampered by weird problems that make it a harder sell than it should have been. In fact, the “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies does a better job of continuing the movie-themed sets begun with the Complete Star Trek: The Movies (reviewed here!) and continued with the Star Trek Movies In Motion (reviewed here!) than it does creating a compelling “Quotable” set. Even so, many of the bonus sets are cool enough to make the “Quotable” Star Trek The Movies set well worth hunting down and the bulk of the cards make it an enjoyable set.

Basics/Set Composition

The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies was the fifth set of cards that focused on the cinematic Star Trek produced by Rittenhouse Archives. Properly assembled, the set is a collection of 171 trading cards and there is an official The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies binder from Rittenhouse. All but eight of the cards are available in boxes of The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies cards, making it one of the sets that is a bit easier to collect (and have fun doing so). Produced before one had to buy dozens of cases to make a master set, fans, collectors and dealers were generally able to succeed at assembling the set with six cases, a binder and hunting down a few promotional cards. The cards were originally released in boxes that contained twenty-four packs of five cards each. Boxes tended to run in the $60 - $75 range and guaranteed one common set and three autograph cards per box.

Collation in the The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies set was remarkably good. To complete a true master set of The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies cards, collectors had to purchase at least six cases of the cards, as there were two multi-case incentive cards. As well, there were promotional cards that were not available in boxes or cases and there was one card that was only available through Rittenhouse Archives' Rittenhouse Rewards program (though it was inexpensive in its wrapper cost). In other words, there was quite a lot packed into these boxes of trading cards, which has helped the boxes to retain their value over the years.

Common Cards

The common card set consists of 90 trading cards, which are printed on standard cardstock and have a glossy UV resistant coating. The ninety card reduced set actually works well for the film set as there were ten films and the nine cards per movie makes it easy to place the set in a sensible way within the binder of cards. With 90 cards, Rittenhouse Archives caters to putting the cards in binders as the binders have standard nine-card pages.

The ninety card common set focuses on the memorable quotes from the Star Trek movies (the first ten before the reboot). The big reason for the issues with the “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies set is that Rittenhouse Archives had already mined the films for some of the key materials used here. The SkyBox Star Trek: Insurrection set (reviewed here!) included quotable cards in its common set, as did the Rittenhouse Archives Star Trek: Nemesis set (reviewed here!). Teased in the Star Trek Movies In Motion set as a bonus card set, the “Quotable” Star Trek The Movies set misses out on a number of good quotes simply because they have already been done before. Star Trek: Insurrection might suffer the most in this set as Rittenhouse was forced to use a few lame quips from Riker from the battle sequence (card 80, for example, is hardly memorable, quotable Star Trek lines!). That Rittenhouse Archives had already mined some of the most interesting quotes before committing to produce this set undermined it a little bit.

Also undermining the set is the orientation. I get what Rittenhouse Archives was trying to do by changing the orientation of the “Quotable” Star Trek The Movies cards from a portrait to a landscape orientation; they wanted to make the images more of a “widescreen” format and spread the text out. Unfortunately, though, that does not fit with any of the other four “Quotable” sets (there was a “Quotable” Star Trek: Voyager set that followed this set). The common cards look decent, but not consistent with the rest of the “Quotable” Star Trek cards. The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies set utilizes many images that are not the typical ones seen over and over again, making for a visually interesting set that features both the main cast and some of the significant supporting characters/villains from the films. With different quotes on the front than on the back, collectors and fans are treated to two different quotes per card, netting 180 quotes for the 90 card set!

Collation on this set was excellent, so the common sets averaged one and a half per box, which was good for collectors. With only 6000 boxes of “Quotable” Star Trek The Movies cards, this might be the least-common “Quotable” Star Trek common set!

Chase Cards

There are eighty-one chase cards in The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies set, with seventy-three found in the boxes of cards and the remaining eight available outside the boxes and packs. The bonus cards that can be found within the boxes were the Women Of Star Trek Movies Expansion, Star Trek Bridge Crew: Transitions, Star Trek Movie Poster cards, Star Trek: The Motion Picture Bridge Crew patch cards and autographs. For some baffling reason, there was no checklist for this set within the packs. This is awkward mostly because several of the autographs are not consecutively numbered (see below), so those picking these cards up and not utilizing an online checklist might be left baffled or hunting cards that do not go to this set. Noticeably lacking from the “Quotable” Star Trek The Movies set are TV Guide Cover Cards (believe it or not, many of the Star Trek movies have made the cover of TV Guide, so it’s not a ridiculous assertion that there should have been a TV Guide Cover card set to maintain continuity in this set!) and StarFleet’s Finest cards (which could have featured the cinematic renditions of the characters from Star Trek and/or Star Trek: The Next Generation). For those not concerned with conceptual continuity, this is not a big deal. There are also no “Quotable” style movie autograph cards, which is fine considering how all of the main cast has done autograph cards before (or since) in that style.

The most common bonus cards in this set were the Women Of Star Trek Movies Expansion cards. These were nine cards that continued the common card set of the Women Of Star Trek cards with the missing significant women from the films. Found one in every six packs, these cards have remained ridiculously inexpensive, despite taking three boxes to complete a set (largely because they are essentially bonus common cards for a different set).

At two per box were the Star Trek Bridge Crew: Transitions set. On the front of each card is a main cast member from the original Star Trek and a central picture of them as they appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Rather than rehashing how their character changed between the television show and the movies, the backs come together to form a nine-card mural of the cast of Star Trek: The Motion Picture on the bridge of the Enterprise. These cards are, unfortunately, more rare than they are valuable, given that they are fairly simple and it does take five boxes to complete a set.

Also two per box were the Star Trek Movies Poster Cards. Given that the Cinema 2000 set (reviewed here!) had already done nine of the ten movie posters, Rittenhouse Archives could have made a terrible mistake with this bonus set (which, frankly, is one of the most sensible bonus sets for a movie-based trading card set!). Instead of doing a carbon copy of the Cinema 2000’s movie poster set, the “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies cards feature movie poster cards that are acetate cards! These translucent cards have the movie posters silk-screened onto them and they look awesome and distinctive as a result. While I, personally, would have loved some variants with these cards in the form of the promo posters released for the Star Trek movies (it’s hard not to laugh today seeing the promo poster for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier with its chair and tagline “Why are they putting seatbelts in theaters this summer?” [to which those who hated the film laughingly respond now “to keep people from walking out of the movie!”]) or some of the international movie posters (Star Trek: Insurrection, for example, had a far more distinctive and original international poster than the U.S. release) for the bonus set, Rittenhouse Archives made a solid chase set with the standard movie posters as the subjects of this card set.

One of the most valuable bonus sets in the “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies cards were the Star Trek: The Motion Picture Bridge Crew Patch Cards. Individually numbered to 250, the nine badge cards feature insignia patches made for Rittenhouse Archives for the set for all nine of the main Star Trek characters (including Rand and Chapel) for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Star Trek: The Motion Picture might not be the most popular or incredible film, but this chase set is incredibly well-rendered with nice images and very cool patches. This is a nice variant of the costume card concept.

Then there are the autograph cards. The “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies autographs continue the form and numbering for the autographs begun with the Complete Star Trek Movies cards and continued in the Star Trek Movies In Motion. These full-bleed autograph cards with the purple line at the bottom and the backs that have blue and purple frame are consistent with the past releases. As well, the “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies cards continue the Star Trek: Generations character autographs as they appeared in the film’s first scene on the sailing ship with Gates McFadden and LeVar Burton. If the other bonus sets are biased toward the original Star Trek’s cast (two of the four bonus sets focus on Star Trek: The Motion Picture), the valuable autographs are exclusively focused on the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast. In addition to McFadden and Burton, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn signed for the “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies set, though the other three do not feature the characters in their Star Trek: Generations naval outfits which is somewhat unfortunate, as it would have been cool to get the entire cast as they appeared that way. Perhaps the most significant Star Trek actor to sign was John Winston, who was actually Lt. Kyle in eleven episodes of Star Trek. While exceptionally popular actors John Larroquette (who I was most psyched to see signing for this set!), Kim Cattrall and Kurtwood Smith signed for this set, arguably the most valuable autograph is the very limited Rex Holman autograph. Holman played J’Onn in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and that he signed between two and three hundred cards makes it valuable by default. The autograph collection in this set fills in prior gaps – A56 and A59 were missing from the Star Trek Movies In Motion set – but also somewhat ridiculously makes new gaps (A107 and A111 are missing from this set, but are included in the subsequent Premium Pack set!). Even so, this set has a decent collection of signers from the famous to the obscure (only the die-hard fans will feel the need to hunt down Jon Kamal Rashad or Jeff Lester’s autographs if they do not pull them in their boxes!) that maintains the continuity of the movie sets well.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

As with most "modern" trading card releases - certainly the ones from Rittenhouse Archives - not all of the cards needed to make a true master set are available in the boxes of these trading cards. In this set, there are only eight cards that cannot be found in the boxes. There is the usual promo card which foreshadowed the series release which is common enough to find (P1). There is also a promo card exclusive to the The "Quotable" Star Trek The Movies trading card binder (P3). The P2 card is a promotional card available only through Non-Sports Update Magazine and it might take a little work to track down (though the magazine offers back issues pretty readily).

There was one other promotional card, which was exclusive to Facebook. Having worked to track this particular card down for the past few weeks, I can attest that it is annoyingly hard to find now in the secondary market (if not damn near impossible!). It is a simple-enough promotional card that features the Borg Queen and the usual catch phrase from the Borg. Ironically, all four promotional cards feature the traditional “Quotable” portrait orientation for the pictures and quotes.

The remaining cards are the casetopper, two multicase incentive cards, and the Rittenhouse Rewards cards. The casetopper is a simple costume card of Data’s invisibility suit from Star Trek: Insurrection and this follows the format of the costume cards from the Complete Star Trek Movies set. It might seem odd that there is a gap between the sets for this style of bonus card (Star Trek Movies In Motion did not have any costume cards), but the card looks good and is consistent. The only inconsistency is the numbering on the back. As opposed to the prior costume cards in this style which featured a foil-stamped collector’s number, the MC17 is hand-numbered out of 775.

The grails of the set are the multicase incentive cards. For every three cases of “Quotable” Star Trek The Movies cards a dealer bought, Rittenhouse Archives provided an A96 Michael Dorn as Colonel Worf autographed trading card. Like most of Rittenhouse’s incentive cards, this autograph card is found sealed in a hard plastic toploader with a gold Rittenhouse Archives seal keeping it inside.

The six-case incentive card was an autographed Brent Spiner costume card. This is a very neat concept and it is well executed here, with Brent Spiner’s autograph on a card very similar to the casetopper card – the costume swatch is the Invisibility Suit again. The 6-case incentive card is hand-numbered out of 200, so this is the most enduringly valuable card in the set.
The final card in the “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies set is the Rittenhouse Rewards card. Rittenhouse Rewards cards are exclusive cards that fans can get by sending wrappers from any sets in to Rittenhouse to redeem for cards not otherwise available. For this set, Rittenhouse produced a tenth Star Trek: The Motion Picture Transitions card. The final Transitions card is the U.S.S. Enterprise. The cinematic Enterprise is an interesting, if obscure, subject for the Transitions cards, but it has become sought-after by those wanting a true, complete set and it looks good (though the back, obviously, cannot, fit into the mural that the other cards formed).


The “Quotable” Star Trek Movies cards are a worthwhile investment and a neat set for those who love the Star Trek feature films and trading card collecting. Rittenhouse Archives made a solid set with this one and it’s not so pricy as to be stifling to collect even now. The cards look good, the autographs have decent value and the other bonus cards are neat . . . even if they do not completely fit the other “Quotable” sets.

This set culls images from all ten of the Star Trek Movies, reviewed here!

This set of trading cards is available in my online store! Please check out my current inventory at The “Quotable” Star Trek: The Movies Trading Card Inventory!

For other “Quotable” Star Trek trading cards, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
The “Quotable” Star Trek
The “Quotable” Star Trek: The Next Generation
The “Quotable” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


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

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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