It has been a long dry spell for non-sport collectors, with hardly any new card releases in early 2014. Now the floodgates have opened, with many long awaited sets coming out in the next few weeks. This week, I plan to crack open a couple of boxes and give a full report on what was inside with these anticipated products. First up: Downton Abbey Collectible Cards: Seasons 1 and 2 from Cryptozoic Entertainment.
Downton Abbey Base Card
Downton Abbey has a huge fan base that includes a portion of the card-collecting community. NSU first reported on this set last fall in our December issue which also featured a beautiful Downton Abbey variant cover and one of only two promo cards for this set (the other was the P2 Metal card first offered at the Memorabilia Show in Britain). This month Downton Abbey was released by CZE and the finished product was worth the wait.
The box contains the now standard 24 packs, each with 5 cards. Originally CZE planned a 108 card set, but the final product is 126 base cards. With parallels and inserts (packs with relic cards contain only one or two base cards), nobody will get a full set out of one box, and we pulled 97 out of 126 base cards, with no duplicates.
The base set is very nicely done, with a glossy finish, sharp images and the Downton Abbey logo across the bottom of each card along with a title. The text on the back is easy to follow and fans with a basic knowledge of the show will be able to keep track of the many characters. The first card opens with news of the Titanic’s sinking in 1912, and the set continues through World War I and the Flu Pandemic of 1918.
Downton Abbey Parallel Card
Included are Mini Parallel cards, these are tobacco card size and a full set would include 125 cards. They are printed on brown cardstock, and the images are a little dark, however they are a cool insert, being the same size as trading cards of the early 1900’s. There were 12 mini cards in our box (you math majors may have already figured out you’d need 10 and a half boxes and unbelievable luck to complete a parallel set).
Three beautiful foil insert subsets are included. Portrait shots of major cast appear on the Upstairs and Downstairs sets, with 12 “Upstairs” Upper class folks, and 14 “Downstairs” servants. The Great War gets a nine-card set with the gold foil trimmed WW I cards. There were two of each of these in our box.
Downton Abbey WW I Card
There was one Wardrobe card, ours was a double materials card with swatches from Sarah O’Brien’s black dress and Mrs. Patmore’s linen shirt. Our autograph was Rob James-Collier as Thomas Barrow, who is somewhat of a cad on the show. Some outstanding sketches are inserted in packs, however they are hard to find and there were none in our box.
Overall, this is a beautiful set, with an elegant look befitting its subject. The fact that it will take more than one box to complete a base set, and its crossover appeal to fans who don’t collect cards assures that this set won’t wind up in the $5 Bargain box. Have fun with these!
Downton Abbey Autograph Card
Downton Abbey Authentic Wardrobe Card
Downton Abbey Upstairs/Downstairs Cards