(written from a Production point of view)
Atlas Publishing acquired Collier Publications in 1993 and Newfield Publications in 1995, merging to form Collier Newfield, which was eventually rebranded as Atlas Editions, Inc. in 1998. During this time period all of these companies had a hand in producing a series of collectible cards called Star Trek Universe. The series was originally started under the Collier Newfied publications imprint in 1996 but was distributed as an Atlas Editions product beginning in 1998.
The cards were a double-sided, 8.5 × 11-inch, glossy print. Atlas Editions shipped a packet of cards once a month and each packet contained thirty cards in three decks. Collectors could discontinue the series at any time but many collectors found their collections abruptly terminated when Atlas Editions closed its doors in 2001.
Once Atlas had discontinued production, the license for these cards returned to Paramount, which subsequently did not re-license their manufacture. Accordingly, in many cases, only collectors who received products early were able to completely acquire the entire series during its run.
Star Trek Universe Collection
The collection is a total of 950 cards, comprised of 94 decks (10 cards per deck), 5 bonus cards and 5 cards that are no longer available (discussed later).
There were a total of 32 shipments. The first shipment included ten cards with a free binder, dividers, trivia book, and sixteen coasters. The remaining thirty-one shipments contained thirty cards (in three decks) each, except for one shipment that had five additional bonus cards. By the time a collection was complete, the collector had received three additional binders with dividers.
The individual shipments can be identified by a serial number located on the back of each card. This serial number appears similar to the following:
The 56 in the middle indicates that this is the 56th deck of cards. The 08 on the end indicates that this is card number eight of ten in the 56th deck. The leading 6758 is most likely an internal reference number for Atlas Editions; however, the number remains the same for all the cards in a particular deck – except for one, the infamous second deck of cards. There is also a bonus set of five cards that begins with 5408-0B-0X.
Finally, there are the five cards that are no longer available and were shipped only to those who started the collection in the first year. Atlas Editions eventually shipped the following cards in its second deck:
- 5205-02-01 Sarek of Vulcan
- 5199-02-02 Lieutenant Ilia
- 5205-02-03 Tuvix
- 5199-02-04 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Part 1
- 5199-02-05 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Part 2
- 5199-02-06 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Part 3
- 5205-02-07 The First Pilot – "The Cage"
- 5205-02-08 The Founders
- 5205-02-09 Saucer Separation
- 5199-02-10 The Borg Queen
Note the inconsistency in the Atlas Edition's reference number. Some cards begin with 5205, yet others begin with 5199. This is because Atlas changed five of the cards in this original shipment so these cards became extremely rare. The following is a list of the five missing cards.
- 5205-02-02 Nomad
- 5205-02-04 Minuet
- 5205-02-05 Vulcan Mind Meld
- 5205-02-06 The Ferengi
- 5205-02-10 Medical Tricorder