Saturday, February 14, 2015

So Dependent Upon Prior Sets, The 2009 James Bond 007 Archives Trading Card Set Wobbles On Its Own!

The Good: Attainable, Some neat autographs and relic cards, Cool retro look and feel
The Bad: Weird bonus sets, Thematically dependent upon prior sets
The Basics: For my first experience with James Bond cards, I take on the retro-looking 2009 James Bond 007 Archives, a set that falls more in the average range than striving for the extraordinary!

One of my goals for last year was to finish watching all of the James Bond films. I failed. The franchise can be repetitive and there is surprisingly little character development over the course of the films. And continuity issues in the franchise are just awful. And so on and so on. I have four left and I actually am preparing to finish the franchise. My sudden renewed interest came, arguably, as a result of my getting in a couple of cases of 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards.

As the name implies, the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards (not to be confused with the 2014 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards) were produced in 2009 by Rittenhouse Archives, one of the biggest producers of non-sport trading cards in the industry. For the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives cards, Rittenhouse went with a retro look and feel, much like they did for the Star Trek The Original Series 40th Anniversary Series 1 set (reviewed here!). The interesting aspect about the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives set was that, in addition to going retro, Rittenhouse used the opportunity to flesh out prior James Bond trading card sets with cards in their style featuring Quantum Of Solace. The bulk of the bonus cards were designed to interface with these prior sets – Complete James Bond, James Bond: Dangerous Liaisons, and 40th Anniversary. There is also a “Quotable” Quantum Of Solace bonus set, but it is not numbered as if one would stick it into the “Quotable” James Bond set (which is all the more baffling for it).

It is also worth noting that while the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards include from Dr. No to Quantum Of Solace, Never Say Never Again is not represented in the set (the license agreement Rittenhouse Archives has was with Eon, so Never Say Never Again was not part of it). All that means is there are no cards of the aged version of Sean Connery’s James Bond, nor any of Kim Bassinger as a Bond woman!

Basics/Set Composition

Fully assembled, the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card set has 175 cards and there is a nice binder produced by Rittenhouse Archives that easily holds the entire set. The set consists of 66 common cards and 109 bonus cards. The chase cards are mostly available in the packs of cards, though seven of them were incentive or promotional cards and could not be found in any of the packs. The 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards were released in boxes of twenty-four packs of five cards each.

Common Cards

The common card set for the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards consisted of sixty-six retro-looking cardboard cards. The entire set consists of cards that look like they are from the 1970s or 1980s and feature decent-sixed images of characters on their fronts. One of the nice aspects of the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card common card set is that it is entirely oriented in a portrait orientation, which makes it very easy to look through the set (one need not turn cards, binders, or one’s head to see all the images in their proper orientation!).

The subjects of the common cards are generally a rotation of James Bond, a Bond Girl, and the film’s primary Bond Villain. There are exceptions to the rule - Thunderball does not have a card featuring James Bond, Moonraker has Jaws, who was not actually the villain of the film – but the pattern generally holds. The cards are generally good, though there are some truly baffling choices made by Rittenhouse (Goldfinger, for example, does not have a card of Auric Goldfinger). The backs of the cards list the character’s name and the film and there is a decent level of consistency to the set to make it interesting. Having three cards per film, though, made the set come out to 66 cards, which is an awkward number for collectors as most card pages have 9-cards. Still, given that the days of the giant sets (Rittenhouse had some early sets where there were more than one hundred fifty cards in the common set!) are gone, the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card fits the modern size and feel of what a common set should be fairly well.

Interestingly, the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards do not have the traditional glossy coating that protects cards from UV light. Instead, the satin matte finish maintains the retro look and feel of these very cardboard cards. What is surprising about this is how well the cards have been maintained over the years; these have not faded, warped or showed any signs that they will not endure (unlike their vintage counterparts). Despite some of the eccentricities, this is actually a very cool common set!

Chase Cards

The 102 chase cards that can be found in packs and boxes of 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading cards are very easy to spot in packs because they do not have the same retro cardboard backs as the common cards. Unfortunately, of the six sets of bonus cards, only two of them have broad appeal to James Bond collectors. The four more common bonus card sets merely expand prior sets and they leave the collector with the odd conundrum of whether or not to keep the bonus set with the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives or assemble their prior set to its new level of completion.

The reason I gripe about the first four levels of chase cards is because most of them are not really chase cards at all. The nine cards of the Quantum Of Solace: Dangerous Liaisons set, Complete James Bond 007 Expansion Set, and Quantum Of Solace Expansion cards, each found one in every twelve packs (2 per box) merely expand the common sets of the Dangerous Liaisons, Complete James Bond 007 and 40th Anniversary sets Rittenhouse previously produced. In other words, these are cards that have a quality that would have made them multiples per pack if Quantum Of Solace had been produced before those common sets were made. There is nothing special about any of these bonus cards, save that they are so rare! The same can be said of the “Quotable” Quantum Of Solace cards. The one cool aspect of the Quantum Of Solace Expansion cards and the Complete James Bond 007 Expansion set is that they both pick up the numbering where prior expansion sets ended. So, if one actually was working to complete the Complete James Bond 007 set by adding the 9-cards from Quantum Of Solace that were released in the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card set (and form a 9-card movie poster for the film!), they are properly numbered 190 – 198 and fit seamlessly into that set!

What redeems the chase cards are the relic and autograph cards! I’m not sure why Rittenhouse Archives bothers to call the cards in the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card set “relic” cards when they are all costume cards, but Rittenhouse got some neat costumes and made some very cool cards out of them. All of the costumes in the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card relic card set feature costumes from Quantum Of Solace. Cards range from single fabric swatch cards of Camille’s dress and James Bond’s tie (the hardest to find in the collection!) to a single quadruple costume card that features Bond’s jacket and pants and Camille’s camisole and skirt. My favorite was actually the less-rare triple costume card of Mathis . . . one of the fabric swatches on the card I pulled was actually bloodstained from the character getting shot! Relic cards were found two per box and there were twenty-seven, which means that even with ideal collation, one needs to open two cases to pull a complete set. Given that there are three relic cards which were numbered 375 and under (the back of each card has an individual collector’s number stamped into it!) most collectors will take more than two cases to complete the set.

Then there are the autographs. Autograph cards in the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card set are split between the familiar format of the 40th Anniversary set – which had very small pictures of the character’s head and were oriented in a landscape format – and the vastly more popular full-bleed style which was portrait oriented with giant images of the characters and a minimal signing space at the bottom. The six 40th Anniversary are all of characters and actors with minimal influence or interest to collectors – in fact, five of the six are duplicated in this set in the full bleed autographs! In the full-bleed autographs, there are some impressive and hard-to-find autographs, including 2 Bonds (Moore and Lazenby), Olga Kurylenko (Camille), Famke Janssen, Wayne Newton, and John Cleese! Honor Blackman, despite having signed for several sets before, still has one of the grail cards from the full-bleed set. The full-bleed autograph cards are unnumbered, which might be in keeping with prior releases, which is really annoying for collectors trying to complete the set.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

The 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card set has seven cards not found in any of the boxes or packs. There are three promotional cards – the usual general release, an exclusive one to Non-Sport Update Magazine, and the binder-exclusive promotional card.

The casetopper for the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card set is a pretty awesome relic card of the Aston Marton’s Windshield from Quantum Of Solace! The windshield pieces are cracked and the thick card was limited to 700 and individually numbered on the back. This is one of the coolest-looking cards in the set!

Then there are the incentive cards and these are some of the hardest-to-find of any Rittenhouse Archives product! For purchasing three cases, dealers received a full-bleed autograph of Judi Dench as M. For buying six cases, dealers were given a Women Of James Bond style autograph of Famke Janssen and almost impossible to find now is a full-bleed Jonathan Rhys-Davies autograph that was a fifteen-case incentive! All three of these incentive cards have exploded in value and are virtually impossible to find on the secondary market now!


While somewhat dependent upon prior sets to get the most bang for the buck, the 2009 James Bond 007 Archives trading card set nevertheless has some of the most valuable James Bond cards without being an oppressive-to-collect set!

This set culls images from the James bond films from Doctor No through Quantum Of Solace, with a special emphasis on that last film, reviewed here!

These cards are available in my online store! Please check them out here: 2009 James Bond Archives Trading Card Current Inventory!

For other trading card reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Star Trek Aliens
Star Wars Jedi Legacy
Cryptozoic DC Comics The New 52


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

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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