Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball

Upper Deck is coming back with another NCAA licensed basketball set featuring their two best exclusives in the sport with Michael Jordan and LeBron James. You can’t get better exclusives then those two and Upper Deck is the only place to find their autographs if you want them, besides eBay.

2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic will have 5 cards per pack and 24 packs per box. There are 6 boxes per inner case and 2 inner cases per full case. Each inner case will have either a Lebron or Jordan autograph and the other will have a Lebron, Jordan, Bird, Bill Russell, Magic, Dr. J, or some of the top rookies of the year.

Now I’m not one to complain about great autographs but the possibility of two Jordan autographs in a full case or Lebron autographs, wouldn’t that bring down the value of those cards? Having them in their college and high school jerseys already brings down the value a little bit, but now by adding more to the market it’s killing their autographs in those jerseys. Not surprisingly, their autographs in NBA jerseys are being sold for a little bit more now…but there are a ton of Lebron and Jordan autographs out there now over the last couple of years since the NCAA licensing. I know you’re trying to find a reason to sell more product since the loss of the NBA license, but I don’t think flooding the market with Jordan and Lebron autographs is really the way to do it.

Anyway, there are 50 cards per regular set with the always popular Rookie F/X cards and By The Letter autographs which has become a staple of basketball products by Upper Deck. You can also find College Pride autographed jersey cards, the Sign of the Times autographs with single, dual, and triple autographs as always, and again this year more North Carolina featured cards.

Okay, I understand North Carolina is possibly the greatest college basketball team of all time with some of the best players, including Jordan. But do we need more North Carolina sets? Not everyone is a Jordan or North Carolina lover. In fact, I hate North Carolina. And how many Jordan floor pieces from his time at North Carolina do we need? What about some of the best players from Duke? How about UCONN? There are plenty of other great teams that have had great players over the years, not everything has to be North Carolina. You even put out a set dedicated to North Carolina. Haven’t we seen enough Tar Heel blue?

I just want to see something different. This 2011-12 SP Authentic basketball looks pretty similar to last year, mixed with some North Carolina basketball. I know there is only so much you can do with just a college license, but maybe it’s time to try something different? I think it’s time to take a gamble.

I don’t know how to say that I’m disappointed without being kind of mean, but I’m disappointed. At least hockey is looking better and better every season.

You can find this product for $115 or so dollars on August 30, 2011 at Diamond Dealers and Authorized Internet Retailers.

Here’s something not Jordan, Lebron, or North Carolina.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Champions Hockey

I am still in a hockey mood. The NHL Draft was last week and my two favorite teams picked up vital pieces to their organizations that they need to succeed. The Oilers picked up the number one pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and a solid defenseman in the first round and my Hurricanes also picked up a much needed defenseman. I’m excited for the future of both of my favorite franchises.

But this product isn’t about the rookies. It’s about what those rookies may become someday. Legends. Lemeiux, Gretzky, Orr, Howe….they were all rookies at one time but evolved into some of the greatest players to ever put their metal on ice.

2011-12 Parkhurst Champions is going to bring you the legends of the winter like no other hockey product has before. With 20 packs a box and 5 cards a pack you are going to find some great cards. One of those cards is going to be a Champs mini. I know many people in the hockey collecting community missed Champs this past year, so Upper Deck is reviving it as a subset in this product. Remember how the last Champs product you could pull fossils and other artifacts? It’s back with Parkhurst Champions.

The main selling point of this product though is the autographs. You will find 2 autographs per box, unless you pull an artifact or fossil which would then make it one autograph a box. 100% on card autographs too on these beautifully designed cards. With base parallel autographs, wire-to-wire autographs of the players in original black and white newspaper photography, Rendition autographs with an artistic style photo, and Champs mini autographs this product is going to be loaded with beautiful autographs.

You can also find those inserts in standard non-autographed versions as well and they look sharp.

An average box break will have 2 great hits with at least one being an autograph, 5 wire photo cards, 2-3 Rendition inserts, and 20 Champs mini cards. A case will have at least one of the following: fossil/artifact, a Champs red ink auto numbered to 5, Parkhurst Masterpiece sketch, Renditions autograph, or Wire Photo multi-signed card.

2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Hockey looks to be one of the best collections of hockey legends I’ve seen in quite some time. Look for this product arriving sometime in the Fall of 2011.

I’m going to beg Upper Deck for a checklist as this product looks amazing. Just look at this Super Mario base parallel autograph.

Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Artifacts Hockey

Upper Deck Artifacts hockey is the first hockey product of the new season. Featuring all your stars of the previous seasons and some of your newest rookies, Artifacts is what hockey collectors get excited for, it means hockey season is right around the corner.

This year’s rookie that everyone will want to get their hands on is Cody Hodgson of the Vancouver Canucks. Upper Deck has that covered in 2011-12 Artifacts. A box of Artifacts this time around will contain at least 3 multi-swatch memorabilia cards. At least one of them will be a dual/triple player card. One of the new memorabilia cards in Artifacts this year is a fight strap card containing the fight strap of a player’s jersey. Also, finally, making it into products more often is pieces of a game used stick. It seems that stick cards have only been reserved for the higher end of all brands but it’s nice to see them a little more often. Returning is the great patches from last year, so don’t forget about those.

The box will also contain 2 rookie cards and 1 rookie redemption. Yes, you hear the word redemption and you think of terrible things. But with the NHL rules on rookie cards, they must step foot on the ice, it gives the company a chance to get more rookies out with their initial product. Again, it might take awhile, but the rookies will be made and they will show up in your mailbox.

Finally, as far as hits go, there will be one autographed card inserted in a box. This year though, they have added some autographed memorabilia hits to the foray so it adds a little bit of value to the possible hits.

The base set will be 100 cards and you will find one base parallel numbered to 100 per box. There will also be two Legends or Stars insert sets included as well.

At 4 cards per pack and 10 packs per box it will take a few boxes to complete a set.

I have to say that the design hasn’t changed much from the past couple of years so if you’re looking for something different then it’s not going to come. The Auto-facts design for autographed cards look a little sharper this year, so I’m impressed with that. But one thing I would like to see is to incorporate some of the designs from UD Ice into this product. A lot of their Artifacts designs have some sort of wintery feel to them and I think the acetate designs from Ice would make a great insert or memorabilia set inside Artifacts. Just an idea.

This product is set to release in September and although I don’t have a price for it, I can expect it to be about the same price as last year, around $80 to $90.