Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball

Yes, you heard that right. 2011-12 Exquisite basketball from Upper Deck will be released this season, and in just 8 days. Unbelievable, you think. Well it’s true, and we have all the details for you passionate hardwood collectors out there.

Releasing on October 16, 2012, a day before my birthday (wink-wink Upper Deck), the high end favorite makes its return debut. Featuring 5 autographs per box, including one rookie autograph numbered to 199, this product packs a ton of ink into a small 6 pack box.

One of my favorite parts of the product is that at least one of the autographs is an Upper Deck Black autographed card. Upper Deck Black was one of those brands that just about every collector enjoyed, and it’s returning for a limited time in this product. Another cool thing, is like the football version, you’ll be able to find the Exquisite dimensions cards which add a very cool 3D look to the autographed cards.

Exquisite is definitely back in a big way, however, I’m not seeing any actual used memorabilia in this product, so that kinda bugs me a bit.

At $870 a box, it’s a HUGE gamble for a product that hasn’t been along in years, but has a great name behind it. If you open it, I wish you the best of luck.

Check out more about 2012 Exquisite basketball on Cardboard Connection.

Upper Deck Evolution Video Trading Cards in 11-12 The Cup Hockey

As a surprise from Upper Deck, 2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup hockey features their newest versions of their Evolution video trading cards, featuring some of the hottest rookies in the game today.

Each card takes the form of a redemption, with a player randomly being assigned to the holder of the redemption. These redemptions are then sent to the collectors with the player unknown until the collector opens their package. It’s interesting as it makes you feel like you are opening a pack all over again, really hoping to pull a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Gabriel Landeskog.

Now one of the big questions from collectors, with Upper Deck’s rival providing limited signatures on their video cards, is whether these cards will contain some ink from the player on them. Well, sadly, the answer is no. But I recently emailed super UD guru in Marketing Chris Carlin to ask why they decided against autographs. I’ll let his response speak for itself.

In our quest to innovate, we are trying to develop different types of trading cards that do not rely on the same old drivers that make them collectible like memorabilia and signatures. By creating innovative new content we are hopeful to inspire collectors to hunt different types of cards where original content is the main driver. That is the goal with Evolution at this time.

I, personally, applaud Upper Deck’s stance on this issue. It really is about time to change the dynamics of card collecting a bit. With game used memorabilia pieces and autographs driving the current market, the industry could use a kick in its ass to find some new content that will inspire and create hype for a product.

At the same time, as a collector, I really wish these cards had autographs on them. I mean, at this point, where else can you find a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins video card…let alone one with an actual autograph on it? I will never stop loving autographs, so I really wish they would have included them on these inserts.

What are your thoughts on the omission of autographs? Do you agree with Upper Deck or would you rather have some signatures on those video cards?

Read more about the cards on Upper Deck’s official blog.

 

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey

The Cup is coming.

We are less than one week away from one of the hottest releases of the season in hockey. The ultra high-end The Cup hockey is back for the craziest of hockey collectors. The one pack per tin product is always a hit and features some of the most valuable cards of the collecting season.

As is common with the product, you will find 5 card per pack/tin of The Cup. Some of the more valuable pulls are the rookie patch autographs which you find one per box. Upper Deck has stepped it up this year with an additional patch autograph in the product from either another rookie or a veteran. The final hit is another autograph, memorabilia, or rare paralleled card. To round out the box, you’ll have 2 base cards as well.

But it’s not just about the rookies. It’s also about the sweet veteran cards as well. With the Limited Logos insert set, you can find some of the greatest patches anywhere or patch autographs from some of the top talent in the game. Also popular is the Draft Board autographs which are back again, possibly for the final season due to who gets use of the memorabilia. You’ll also continue to find Scripted Swatches, autographed on-patch cards, and a fan favorite as it brings a ton of cash on the secondary market, NHL Shield cards.

The product is just loaded with everything that hockey collectors love, rookies, sweet patches autographs, legends, superstars, and book cards. The high price may scare some collectors away, but the die hard collectors know how great the product is time after time and love the rush.

The Cup is released on September 11, 2012, and should run you around $400 for a box if prices haven’t moved since last season.

For more information and a checklist when it’s available, check out the product details on Cardboard Connection.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Fleer Retro Basketball

The delays have finally come to an end.

2011-12 Upper Deck Fleer Retro basketball is set to make its anticipated debut on September 6, 2012. With classic Fleer/Skybox designs from the 80s and 90s, it brings the feeling of nostalgia when collecting as a little kid.

With an autograph checklist that has some promise, the product looks to be a great product for autograph hunters from your favorite stars of the NBA past and rookie stars. With players in their college uniforms, it also brings a different element to basketball cards that you haven’t seen anywhere else since the original designs featured NBA logos. It may take a bit getting used to though.

But from looking at the 2011-12 Upper Deck Fleer Retro checklist, it looks like we are seeing the same players time and time again from Upper Deck as far as their “legends” are concerned. The rookies change every year, but they aren’t really allowed to use current players…which kinda sucks.

Another issue I have is the hefty price tag. At $300 a box, it is a high end offering. A full box consists of 20 packs and 5 cards per pack. You’ll find 6 autographs in your box and only 4 inserts. I guess that adds a little value to the inserts, but we’ll see how that works out. It just feels overpriced to me. But the inserts are the inserts you loved and enjoyed as a kid if you’re around my age. Precious Metals, Jamalaya, and Intimidation Nation are all in there for you to grab.

I’m not sure if it will live up to the hype or the anticipating will be worth it, but I really hope I’m wrong for Upper Deck’s sake.

At least it shouldn’t be as bad as Signature Edition baseball.

Panini Prime Hockey Released…Best of the Year?

2011-12 Panini Prime hockey was released today and I’ve been watching box breaks of the product all afternoon and everything that I’ve seen I’ve been hugely impressed with. In a time where football products are just getting started and the hockey season is well over, this treat before Dominion is exactly what Panini needed to remind collectors that their season isn’t over yet.

From game used letters, to giant swatches of patches and regular jersey cards, to strings from the jerseys, beautiful on card autographs, this product has everything you could probably want in a product with a price half of Dominion.

With some amazing and colorful cards to be had, the breaks look like a ton of fun. It feels almost like the “Gold Standard” product moved to hockey, but with a much better usage of the game used hits. Instead of small plain jerseys, there are a ton of large swatches and large patch cards. It’s a formula that the basketball and football teams could use in their similar products.

Either way, Prime hockey looks to be one of the best hockey products of the season. All around with the design and the beauty, quality, and uniqueness of the hits, it’s going to be hard to beat Panini Prime as a product. Will Dominion or The Cup take over or can Prime sustain the current title of one of the best of the year?

Hockey fans, what do you think of Prime hockey?