The Walking Dead TV Trading Cards - A Collectors Guide

Cryptozoic Entertainment are a relatively new Company, formed in March 2010 by games and trading card industry veterans Cory Jones (Blizzard), John Nee (DC Comics) and Scott Gaetta (Upper Deck). Initially winning a partnership franchise for Blizzard's World of Warcraft, they have gone on to produce a number of licensed Board Games and Trading Cards for a number of popular franchises such as DC Comics, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Smallville and the Big Bang Theory. In 2011, they won a license to produce merchandise for the hugely popular AMC Cable TV Series "The Walking Dead" and as well as producing popular and successful Board Games relating to the franchise, they have issued hugely successful series of Trading Cards. To date, they have released three sets, Walking Dead TV Series 1 in December 2011, Walking Dead Comic Book Trading Cards in June 2012 and The Walking Dead TV Series 2 in 2012. I'll just cover the TV series sets here , details of Cryptozoic's The Walking Dead Comic cards in a separate Hub (click on the following link for that!)

The Walking Dead TV Trading Cards Series One

On release on 16th December 2011, this much anticipated Trading Card set pretty much sold out immediately. As with all of Cryptozoic's The Walking Dead Trading Card sets, the issue was limited to just 2000 Boxes.

The sets were sold in packs of 5 cards, officially retailing at $3.50 per pack, with 24 Packs per box. The base set consists of 81 cards and two 9-card chase sets. Additionally, the set included Autographed cards from leading cast members such as Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Michael Rooker (Merle), Jon Bernthal (Shane), Steven Yuen (Glenn) and Lennie James (Morgan), Cryptozoic confirmed that there was one Autograph card per 24 packs (1 Retail Box)

Also in the release were Wardrobe cards which consisted of an inset piece of original material from a cast members wardrobe with the card picture showing an image of the clothing item on screen, which along with the autograph card, included a CZE hologram to confirm authenticity. The Wardrobe Cards were confirmed by Cryptozoic as 2 per 24 Packs (Retail Box)

The set also included 20x redemption cards numbered R1-20, with R3-30, on redemption from Cryptozoic, the holder is issued with a special card with a piece of Rick Grimes Sherif Badge, whilst Cards R1, on redemption, issued the holder with an Oversized Card with Rick's full Sheriff Uniform Patch and R2 with Shane's mounted T-shirt Sheriff Patch. The main cards have been been redeemed (as of February 2013) but some of the piece cards are still unclaimed).

Additional Promotional cards have been issued, typically for Comic Cons in the run-up to the card release and Cryptozoic release 5 different cards - P1 - Non-Sport Update Magazine August/September 2011, P2 - Philly Non-Sport Card Show April 2011, P3 - Distributor, P4 - The Walking Dead Season 1 Ltd Edition DVD Set and the 5th card was a handout on the AMC Booth at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. eBay would probably be your best hope of obtaining any of these cards.

As mentioned, the Trading Card release from Cryptozoic, on the back of the popularity of the TV show, was a massive success and sold out incredibly quickly and as of January 2013, Series 1 Cards, whether they be sets or boxes are quite hard to obtain and those that are available, are very expensive, although it is possible via eBay and independent dealers to purchase individual cards, although often at around $4/£3 each

The Walking Dead TV Trading Cards - Series 2

In December 2012, Cryptozoic released the Season 2 wave of Trading Cards. This wave, as previously, have proved to be very popular and sought after by collectors. Series 2 includes a slightly more expansive collection with a base set of 80 trading cards with images from AMC's The Walking Dead Series 2, 5 cards per retail pack (retailing at $3.50 per pack, and sadly, again for retail only in the US). 24 Packs per retail Box (at around $84, on release) and 12 Boxes per carton. I believe the release was higher than the previous series, possibly 6400 boxes (but have been unable to absolutely confirm this, but would explain the greater availability).

The chase and inserts are interesting in this release, with Character bios (1 per 12 packs), Foil Puzzle Cards (1:12) and Walker Shadow Box Cards (1 per 24 packs), Wardrobe Cards (1 per 12 packs), there are also three separate dual wardrobe cards . The Autograph cards are 1 per 24 packs and pretty much all of the primary cast are involved this time, including Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Jon Bernthall (Shane), Norman Reedus (Daryl) , Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori), Steven Yeuen (Glenn) and Lauran Cohan (Maggie) among others. Unlike the previous series, this set also includes some very nice Sketch Cards by a carefully selected group of artists and are the rarest cards with 1 per 288 packs!

Not overly promoted, I believe there are 50x redemption cards available, 25 of which are Jon Bernthal (Shane) triple wardrobe cards and the other 25 are dual autograph cards featuring Lauran Cohan (Maggie) and Steven Yeuen (Glenn).

Series 2, similar to Series 1 has unsurprisingly proven immensely popular, however there does seem to be greater availability through the normal channels such eBay or on direct dealers sites, however sealed boxes are, as of February 2013, retailing around $150/£100 and Cases at around $1800/£1200. Basic 80 card sets can be found for around $15/£10. Chase, foil, autograph and sketch cards are already retailing at a heavy premium with Foil chase cards starting at around $5/£3, Walker Cards around $8/£5, Wardrobe Cards varying in price but around $9/£6, Autograph cards variant on the card and signature but anything from $40/£25 (for a Steven Yeuen/Glenn) up to $230/£150 (for Andrew Lincoln/Rick).

Summary and approximate prices

If you are a fan of AMC's The Walking Dead and Trading Cards, then these are brilliant sets to collect, my main gripe though, is the limited availability in general, which has pushed the price of the cards up . Each release has been limited to 2000 retail boxes, which is fair enough, but they are released to the U.S. Domestic market. Outside the U.S., Cryptozoic have confirmed that due to licensing, officially they are only for sale in the U.S which is why it is not possible to purchase the cards from Cryptozoic's own E-Store. Although it is possible to source them through the usual channels such as eBay or direct from some of the good online US based Card Stores that are happy to ship to Europe , there is obviously additional costs. Also the limited availability has already put a premium on the purchase price with online sealed boxes of the Series 2 release, retailing at around $160/£100 (plus if outside US around £20-£30 +Shipping to Europe, if available!). There appear to be very few sealed Series 1 boxes available (as of January 2013), however the few that are, appear to be typically retailing between $260/£165 - $300/£190 Plus shipping. Loose Basic Base Sets are available, most notably on eBay although Series 1 Base Sets typically around $50/£30 and Series 2 Sets at around $15/£10-$25/£15. The special cards such as the Wardrobe and Autograph cards are very much in demand and depending on demand, the wardrobe cards are retailing typically at around $15/£10 each (Plus shipping) and Autograph cards can be anywhere in the region of $30/£20 to $315/£200 dependent on the cast member, with perhaps Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) and Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) being the most sought after and therefore expensive. All prices are indicative only and based around January 2013 and therefore likely to go up or down in future.

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