The Good: Not prohibitive to collect, Some truly spectacular autograph card signers, Metal cards are neat, Cool relic cards
The Bad: Orientation issues, A lot of familiar autograph signers
The Basics: The 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards make a decent trading card set out of an unfortunately bad James Bond film!
When it comes to James Bond trading cards, the trading card manufacturers are, unfortunately, limited by the material. While the James Bond film franchise has an astonishingly large international following, objectively viewed, the movies in the franchise are not all winners. I have a very mixed relationship with the films in the James Bond franchise and the last two films in the franchise have worked in defiance of the most sensible interpretation of the franchise: that James Bond is a code name, an alias, used by MI-6 spies and that the CIA has similarly-protected agents. So, when Rittenhouse Archives announced they were producing the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards, I did not have as much anticipation in the product as many of the die-hard fans.
As one might expect, the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards were produced in 2016 by Rittenhouse Archives, one of the biggest producers of non-sport trading cards in the industry, as one of two James Bond trading card releases for 2016. For the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition cards, Rittenhouse went with a retro look and feel for a couple of the chase sets, following in the tradition and concept of the 2014 James Bond Archives trading cards.
Rather impressively, the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards manage to take a mediocre subject and make a very cool trading card set!
Fully assembled, the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading card set has 437 cards and is essentially four (or six) sets in one. As well, there is an oversized binder produced by Rittenhouse Archives that actually manages to hold the entire set, with all of its associated chase cards! The set consists of 76 common cards and 361 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 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards were released in boxes of twenty-four packs of five cards each.
The common card set for the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards consists of seventy-six modern-looking trading cards. The entire common set recaps the plot of SPECTRE (reviewed here!). One of the wonderful aspects of the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading card common card set is that the cards are consistently oriented. With a nice footer with the movie's title, all of th cards in the common set are landscape oriented to make for a nicely consistent trading card set.
The 2016 James Bond Archives cards have the traditional UV-resistant coating which is flawlessly applied. Regardless of the content of the film, the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards feature a great range of vibrant pictures that have not been overly-promoted. The cards have a fresh look to them that makes it a visually-interesting trading card set. The backs are well-written and the cards detail the plot of SPECTRE quite thoroughly.
The 354 chase cards that can be found in packs and boxes of 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition essentially create three additional "common" sets and two bonus parallel sets, in addition to more traditional James Bond chase cards. As is the habit in many of the newer trading card releases, there are no bonus card sets that can be completed with even a single case of trading cards; most require three to six cases to assemble the chase sets.
The 2016 James Bond Archives trading card set features three extensive bonus sets that require multiple cases to complete. There are retro sets that retell the stories of Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker and The Living Daylights with 48, 61, and 55 cards each. Given that past retro sets have had as many as 102 trading cards, there is the comparative feeling in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards that Rittenhouse Archives is running out of substantive material for the retro sets. The throwback sets, like many of the prior Throwback retro sets are inconsistently oriented and are more problematic to try to put into binder pages in any sensible way. The Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker throwback sets are made of a more retro cardboard stock to make the cards from the older films seem like they were from the period in which the films were released. The Diamonds Are Forever set features black and white photography, which is odd because the film is in color. Perhaps even more irksome, though, is the fact that both the Moonraker and The Living Daylights cards are predominantly in color, but feature a handful of random cards in each set that are black and white.
One per box there are gold parallel cards for the SPECTRE and The Living Daylights sets. Each of those sets were limited to only 100 (for SPECTRE) and 125 (for The Living Daylights) of each of the cards. The gold parallel cards are a particularly boring parallel card; they are distinguished from the common versions of their cards by limited gold foil lettering on the front of each card and an individual foil-stamped number on the back, at the bottom of the card. While they are substantively similar to prior James Bond parallel cards, the parallel cards lack any real flash quality to them.
The 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards continued the 007 Double-Sided (Mirror Cards) card set that was begun early in 2016. The eight cards found in this subset in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards work together with cards found in an earlier and a subsequent set to create a 24-card bonus card set. These beautiful trading cards feature the incarnation of James Bond on one side and the primary villain on the obverse for each of the James Bond films. The eight cards in the 007 Double-Sided set found in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards are every three Bond films starting with the second M2,M5, M8, etc. While this might create a weird ultimate collation the cards themselves are stunning and cleanly printed on a vibrant-looking mirror board that is very fresh looking.
Also found only two per case are two of the twelve Metal cards for the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards. Featuring the movie posters for each of the first twelve James Bond films, the Metal cards are individually numbered on the back and they begin a very coolset that will be completed in the 2017 James Bond 007 Archives - Final Edition trading cards. Rittenhouse Archives has recently gotten into metal card production and the metal cards in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards makes well the argument that Rittenhouse Archives knows exactly what it is doing with that technology!
The 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards feature thirteen Relic cards, split between fairly traditional costume cards (albeit in an uncommon portrait orientation) and relic cards of James Bond props. The most rare of these is a Russian Atomic Energy Badge (MR6) that features a chopped up badge prop that yielded 125 trading cards in a very neat shadowbox style! The costume cards are limited to 200 each and they are pretty typical costume pieces - James Bond suits, dresses from Bond girls and a supporting character or two's costume pieces. Unlike something like a Star Trek costume that has a variety of fabrics or colors, the James Bond costume cards with costume materials from Quantum Of Solace and Skyfall have fabric swatches that are very consistent and unimaginative. Fortunately, the rarer relic cards are much more variable and intriguing for card collectors and James Bond fans.
As with most media-based trading card sets, the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards feature autographed trading cards. This set of trading cards features only twenty-six autograph cards, which is a significant step down in numbers from the prior few James Bond sets. Autograph cards in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition 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 eight 40th Anniversary style autographs are highlighted by autographs by Jeffrey Wright and Daniela Bianchi. The rest are signers who have either signed plenty of cards before or had comparatively minor background roles in James Bond films (four of the six do not even have character names with actual names - i.e. "Drax's Woman").
In the full-bleed autographs, the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards Rittenhouse Archives made an uncommon and audacious decision to include only a single autograph by an actor who played James Bond. The Roger Moore autograph in the set is one of the more common Moore autographs, but it's nice to see at least one Bond autograph in the set. The The Living Daylights bonus set in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards unfortunately highlights the fact that Timothy Dalton has not signed cards for Rittenhouse Archives's James Bond trading cards. Instead of rehashing multiple Bonds or previously-done signers, the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards has full-bleed autographs of Dave Bautista, a gorgeous autograph card for SPECTRE star Lea Seydoux, a cool Sheena Easton signature card, and another for Dolph Lundgren. Returning autograph signers were of a fairly high caliber with Teri Hatcher, Jane Seymour and Caroline Munro signing new autograph cards for the set. Even the comparatively minor signers in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards have beautiful cards and crisp and nice signatures on them. The autograph cards in the 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards have remarkably good collation with none of the autographs being particularly prohibitive to find.
The 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition 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 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading card set is a fairly bland SPECTRE movie poster card, which continues the downward trend of casetopper cards (they used to be cool autograph, sketch or autographed costume cards!). The SPECTRE cards are not individually numbered, foil or even sealed into their toploaders!
Then there are the incentive cards and these again seem more subtle than prior, flashy, incentive cards. For purchasing six cases, dealers received a dual autograph card of Aliza Gur and Martine Beswick from From Russia With Love. This is an unfortunately obscure and unremarkable dual autograph card and does not hold anything near the value of dual autographs like the Richard Keil/Roger Moore dual autograph that was previously released. For buying nine cases, dealers were given a Jonathan Pryce autographed costume card. That card is, admittedly, very cool.
The final card in the 2016 James Bond Archives set is the Archive Box exclusive Clifton James full-bleed autograph card. Sadly, the unfortunate and most profound commentary that can be made on the unremarkable nature of this card is that despite its comparative rarity and its general quality, when Mr. James died recently, it did not affect at all the value of the card in the secondary market. While Rittenhouse Archives wants to be able to sell far more than just the Archive Boxes (the metal cards alone pretty much guaranteed the cases would sell without the Archive Box incentives), the Clifton James incentive autograph was a particularly lackluster benefit for those who tracked down or bought in enough volume to be granted an archive box.
The 2016 James Bond 007 Archives - SPECTRE Edition trading cards make SPECTRE a more fun and collectible trading card incarnation than it was a blockbuster film, but its best parts are the chase sets that require other trading card sets to complete.
This set culls images from the James bond films SPECTRE, Moonraker (reviewed here!), Diamonds Are Forever (reviewed here!) and The Living Daylights (reviewed here!)!
These cards are available in my online store! Please check them out here: 2016 James Bond Archives - SPECTRE Edition Trading Card Current Inventory!
For other James Bond trading card reviews, please check out my reviews of:
2009 James Bond Archives
2015 James Bond Archives
2016 James Bond Classics
For other card reviews, please visit my Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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