Redemption cards — two words that send shivers up almost every collector’s spine. Chances are that most of us have had to deal with the cardboard IOUs at some point. Often, it means at least a couple of months. Sometimes it means making deals with customer service reps. In extreme cases, redemption cards can take years to be fulfilled.
It’s not surprising that redemptions have a bad rap. Collectors just want their cards. For manufacturers, they’re no fun either. It costs money to send all those autographs out. Additional funds are needed to pay for staff to package them up and deal with customers’ questions.
But for Cryptozoic, they’ve not only made redemptions desirable, they have made them a selling point for all of their non-sport products.
Up to this point, Cryptozoic has included a redemption in nearly all of their products. That’s not going to change. But their approach to the cards is what makes them stand out. First, they’re planned from the outset. The company doesn’t add anything to their sets (or even announce it) until they’re in house. As a result, there’s no need to issue widespread redemption cards. And those that are made, are ready to ship by the time the collector discovers them. Cryptozoic redemptions are considered bonuses for items that won’t fit in packs.
For example, yesterday, the company announced a pair of book cards for The Big Bang Theory Seasons 3 & 4. Because of their size, they’d be easy to find. Redemption cards make them possible, though. The first features costume swatches from the main guys in the cast. The second is about the show’s leading ladies.
The upcoming Walking Dead Season 2 has a pair of redemptions as well. One is an over-sized triple wardrobe card with Shane’s shirt, pants and patch. The company had some Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan dual autographs left over of an exclusive event at the San Diego Comic Con that are also being given away trough redemptions.
It doesn’t stop there. Castle Seasons 1 & 2 has a jumbo card with costume swatches from eight different cast members.
Past releases have included original pages of comic art (DC Comics: The New 52), cut signatures (Tarzan 100th Anniversary) and over-sized art cards signed by Walking Dead comic creators Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Walking Dead Comic Book).
Because of their rarity (and hassle-free way of getting the final cards), Cryptozoic have helped make redemption cards desirable. Many sell for hundreds of dollars as master set collectors look to complete their runs. They’re rare, but with the much smaller print runs that come with most entertainment card releases, they’re not impossible to pull.
Redemption cards aren’t a perfect process. I think people on all sides of the hobby will attest to that. But there’s no sign of them disappearing completely. And if they’re done like Cryptozoic does them, for bonuses and other things that don’t fit in boxes, there’s no reason that they should.