If you’re like me, you saw the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Collector Cards back in the early Nineties, maybe bought a couple of packs, and then forgot about them.
These came from a serious collector of these AD&D trading cards. I made this post as a result of research to understand the bewildering medley of packs, boxes, and sets. And hopefully, you as well will come away with a better grasp of the card styles and formats.
I’ve got a lot up on Ebay, an auction of the special cards. The regular Factory Sets I’m selling in the shop. [SOLD! See bottom of this post for the auctioned lot of the special cards, and the final amount]
The cards featured monsters, NPCs, or items, with art pulled from TSR archives or commissioned specifically for the card project. On the reverse side were the stats.
I used them in my games, either for inspiration, or to spice up a random encounter. They were either generic AD&D, or affiliated with one of TSR’s campaign settings (Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, etc.) Frequently, the cards would form Mini-series (Cities of the Realms, for example).
The collector cards were sold in boxes of individual packs or complete factory sets.
There were also special card releases in Dragon magazine, or through 3rd-parties.
So why not just buy the complete factory set? You certainly could, if all you care about is the utility of the cards themselves.
For collectors, however, the cards from the individual foil packs had different borders, depending on their origin.
SILVER bordered cards were from the factory sets.
GOLD cards could only be found randomly in packs. You’d have to buy a lot of packs to get a full run!
RUBY cards were seeded in 1993 packs, and were quite rare.
The 1991 Factory Set had the full run of 750 cards, albeit all were SILVER-border.
The GOLD pack-pulled cards were as follows:
- 1 – 17 were found only in Dragon magazine #160 (August 1990)
- 18 – 377 were found in the Series 1 packs
- 378 – 737 were sold in Series 2 sets
- 738 – 746 were released only as promos
Certain of these individual cards were Rares (smaller quantities printed).
See Jeff Allender’s 1991 Checklist for details.
The 1992 Factory Set had the full run of 750 SILVER-border cards.
The GOLD border pack-pulled cards were as follows:
- 1 – 360 were found in the Series 1 packs
- 361 – 720 were sold in Series 2 sets
- 721 – 750 were released as special promos (very difficult to find today)
A number of these individual cards were Rares (less quantities printed).
See Jeff Allender’s 1992 Checklist for details.
1992 GenCon promotional card set
11 cards, gray background and black border. Includes games/setting not in the original cards: Gamma World (4th edition), Dragon Quest, and Challenger edition Dungeons & Dragons (Thunder Rift setting). [Images courtesy of William Johnsen (site)]
The 1993 Factory Set had the original run of 495 SILVER-border cards. (But not the alternate 1-60 Insert cards; see below)
1993 changed things up a bit in the foil packs. No longer were specific card numbers to be Rares.
Instead, there was a parallel full series of red RUBY cards (1 per pack). Most cards in a given pack would be the usual GOLD borders.
- 1 – 165 were found in the Series 1 packs
- 166 – 330 were sold in Series 2 sets
- 331 – 495 in Series 3
See Jeff Allender’s 1993 Checklist for details.
1993 Promo Card Sheet
Sheet distributed by TSR to drum up collector interest.
Front: Panel of 6 cards from the set (11, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18).
Reverse: Collector information about 1993 card year.
1993 Insert Cards (1-60)
PLUS! There was a special insert set of 1 to 60 alternate cards all GOLD-bordered (9 were SILVER-bordered foil cards however). In other words, a completely different set of sixty 1993 series cards! One alternate card could be found in every other pack, on average. I’ve seen these called “chase cards”. These are not in the factory set.
So from the 1993 cards, RUBY cards were Rare, and the 60 Insert Cards were Very Rare! At least there weren’t the oddball promo cards in 1993.
In summary, there were 495 SILVER, 495 GOLD, 495 RUBY, and 60 Insert Cards in 1993.
This lot sold for $169.05 on 21 August 2022.