Last week I decided to go ahead and take the plunge, so I purchased one box of Harry Potter: Heroes and Villains by Artbox. As I said in a previous post, I purchased a case of the previous issue that came out last summer, and I was very impressed with the quality and variety of cards offered in that set. And this set is no different.
The box, as most do nowadays, came shrink-wrapped and on the bottom of the box was the number of the box. This particular box was #265 of 3000 and included 24 packs.
This set has a 54-card base set, an 18-card clear acetate set (numbered 55-72) and a 9-card foil set. Other cards randomly inserted are boxtoppers (1 per box), costume cards (1 per box), prop cards (1 per 2.5 boxes) and autograph cards (1 per 2 boxes).
Like previous Harry Potter sets, the base cards have the name of the set stamped in foil on the front of each card, and the fronts and backs are a glossy finish. As the title suggests, the base cards highlight the heroes and the villains of the Potter Universe. Cards 1-19 have portraits of the "Heroes" with blue in the background and the 20-36 have portraits of the "Villains" with red in the background. Cards 37-53 highlights key scenes from the first 6 films. Card 54 is a checklist. This box contained 3 complete 54-card base sets with just 10 leftover base cards.
The clear acetate cards are really nice. They highlight key players in the films and some include image reproductions of the theatrical posters from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The only problem I have with these cards is that they look a little scratched up. But I guess that's the price to pay with plastic. This box had 12 of the 18 acetate cards, with no duplicates.
The foil inserts are made up of three cards each of Harry, Ron and Hermione, with each card showing a different stage in their progression through the stories. When placed in a 9-card binder page, the backs make a puzzle. This box had four of the 9 cards, with no duplicates.
Each box comes with one random costume card (see previous post for list of possible cards). In this box was DC1, a dual costume card that included pieces of wardrobe worn by Gary Oldman and Sirius Black and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. One of the things I like about what Artbox does with their costume cards is that they number them. I mostly like this because it lets collectors know exactly how many of each card are available. In this instance, I received #11 of 140.
Each box also comes with 1 of 4 possible boxtopper cards. In last years Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince set, these cards were metal. This time around, they are cardboard. In this box was BT3, an image of Dumbledore.
Lastly, there is a possibility of a prop and/or autograph card, as well. In this case, there was no prop card, but I was fortunate enough to find an autograph card. While I was hoping to pull a Rupert Grint (Ron Weasely), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) or Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), I actually pulled one of the more popular autographs in this set: Toby Jones (voice of Dobby, the house elf). Turns out most of the autos in this set are redemptions, including this one, which means the card I received must be sent in to Artbox in order to get the actually autographed card. I would certainly prefer the autos all be pack-inserted, but it's really no problem.
I posted this box break on the Non-Sport Update Magazine Forums and interestingly enough got in touch with a fellow board member who was looking for a Dobby auto and was willing to trade his Ginny Weasley for it. So, in the end, it turned out really well.
I really dug this set. While I stated previously that I probably wouldn't be getting a case of this product, with the top notch props, costumes and autographs, I think I'm going to pull my pennies together and spring for one. But this time, I'll plan to keep all the good stuff in my personal collection.