CONNOISSEURS COLLECTION VOL. I, THE '60s (Inkworks)
“GoldenEye” broke every box office record, and James Bond merchandising was everywhere, toy guns, toy cars, books, watches etc… you name it, there it was. The 007 logo had the cash registers ringing in shops all summer. With that in mind and the success of Pierce Brosnan as secret agent 007, the famous American trading card manufacturer “Inkworks” launched a major campaign for the release of the “Connoisseur’s Collection” trading cards. The campaign for this ultimate trading card series started with the distribution of a black announcement envelope. The envelope contained a doubled sided three folded release sheet and a sell-sheet. On the front of the envelope “An Invitation…” was printed in shiny golden letters, the reverse was sealed with a round golden sticker showing an embossed “Inkworks” logo. According to “Inkworks” vice-president Greg Goldstein the “Connoisseurs Collection” is what every James Bond fan has been waiting for. When Allan Caplan founded the “Graffiti” trading card company, Bond was really one of the things he wanted to go after. To do things the right way, Greg Goldstein received access to the new Bond archive in London. Along with the archivist of the James Bond Company, EON productions, they poured over 100.000 images to find the very best pictures suitable to create the “Connoisseurs Collection” a masterpiece among the trading card series.
The “Connoisseurs Collection” comes in three parts: “Volume I, The 60s”, “Volume II, The 70s” and “Volume III, The Bond Legacy”. The first part, “Volume I” appeared in the retail shops during the fall of 1996, the basic set exists of 90 cards, with nine cards used to cover each of the first six James Bond movies, “Dr. No”, “From Russia With Love”, “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”, “You Only Live Twice” en “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. The cards are foil-stamped, double UV coated and printed on 18-point tick stock with different images on the front and reverse side. Subsets include “Heroes & Villains”, the “Sean Connery Portfolio”, the “Lazenby Files” and of course a beautiful “Ladies Gallery”. The last card in the set is an introduction to the next part or the so called “Volume II. The trading cards were sold individually in packs containing seven randomly chosen cards, a counter display box could also be purchased and contained 36 packs for a total of 252 cards. Inkworks guaranteed a complete basic set of 90 cards when you purchased a complete box. ”Inkworks” produced three beautiful chase sets. The first chase set “The Women Of Bond” containing nine foil-etched cards depicting nine sexy Bond girls taken from the first six James Bond movies. The Bond Girl cards are numbered from W01 thru W09 and were randomly inserted into 1/11 packs.
The second chase set, the “Movie Posters of Bond” had only six cards. Each metal-foil card shows the original movie poster from the first six James Bond movies. This poster chase set is printed on a thin layer of metal-foil and is finished with a golden border. The poster cards are numbered from P01 thru P06 and again randomly inserted in 1/24 packs.
As a last chase card, “Inkworks” created a beautiful gold-foil, sculpted and embossed card featuring Sean Connery in a scene taken from the movie “Goldfinger”. The card is very rare and only inserted in one per 108 packs. This meaning one would have to buy at least three full boxes and have all the luck of the Irish or in the world to find it. The card is named the “Golden Touch” and is numbered as G1. Also shown in the pictures below is the platinum chase card. Read all about the platinum cards in Volume III.
At the 1996 San-Diego Comic Convention “Inkworks” distributed four promotion cards, the amount was limited to one card per person per day. These cards were numbered SD1 thru SD4. The front side of the promotion cards depicted a still of one the first four James Bond actors, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore & Timothy Dalton. When putting the four reverse sides together, they showed a picture of the latest James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan. As you could guess, these promotion cards are hard to find, but sometimes they do pop up on eBay. A limited edition print of the four convention promo cards was available as an uncut sheet together with a promotion flyer, displaying a picture of the four promo cards SD1-SD4.
To promote the first volume, the card designers used a still showing a risqué love scene between James Bond and Tatiana Romanova. The promo card is numbered as P1 and the scene came from the second James Bond movie “From Russia With Love”.
"Sell Sheet Volume I"
To store all three volumes of the James Bond Connoisseurs Collection trading cards, “Inkworks” produced a very special 007 Connoisseurs Deluxe Collector Album. This special album is manufactured in high quality black scuba vinyl, beautifully gold foiled and emblazoned with the world famous 007 logo. The binder also comes as a stand-up binder to display the cards, this type of binder is very rare. Many James Bond collectors purchased several binders to store other James Bond trading cards or memorabilia.
The World Wide Web keeps on growing and gives the collector an inexhaustible source of collectable memorabilia. An example shown here below is an uncut-sheet containing two counter display boxes to hold the 36 packs for the Connoisseurs Collection Volume One. Have you ever seen this before?
"Counter Display Box Uncut-Sheet"
A similar uncut-sheet packed with all the promotion cards popped-up on eBay in July 2009. The sheet displays the promotion cards for all the Volumes, including the special promotion cards SD1-SD4 disributed at the 1996 San Diego Comic Covention. That's one of the ways that you can see how carefull everything is planned in advance.
"Promotion Card Uncut Sheet Front"
In July 2009 a similar uncut-sheet packed with all the promotion cards popped-up on eBay. The sheet holds all the promotion cards for the three volumes, including the special promotion cards SD1-SD4 distributed at the 1996 San Diego Comic Convention. That's one of the ways that you can see how carefully everything is planned in advance.
"Promotion Card Uncut Sheet Reverse"
“Basic Card Set”