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.

Review: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball

We are still looking at the college stuff here, but this time in a different light under a brand that just about everybody recognizes, 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball. What I have always loved about the SP Authentic brand in all sports is the quality of the base and hits that goes into each box. This year is no different.

You will get about 3 hits per box this year in SP Authentic, but the interesting thing is that you can find a Jordan or Lebron auto in one half case, or a Jordan/Lebron/Bird/other legendary high value autograph in the other half case. Some may say it dilutes the autograph market a bit, which it does, but it makes opening a box a little more exciting. Let’s see what we pulled:

Design:

It seems like every year SP Authentic has some great designs. This year again is no different. There are some very clean looking cards with a white background, as usual. The photos they use are great action shots in the player’s college uniform and I like the light background design that really makes the bold colors in the player photos stand out. The lettering is easier to read, unlike last year. If I had any complaint what so ever, it’s gotta be that large white box below the player’s typed name. What is it and why is it there? I mean, it looks okay, but it just sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s the first thing I noticed when I opened the first pack of cards. But other than that, very good design work.

Checklist:

The checklist has it’s negatives and positives but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. First, why is the plain base set just 50 cards? I pulled two complete plain base sets (minus Rookie F/X) in one box with a few cards left over. That is asinine and strangely impressive. I also find that there just isn’t a lot of current NBA talent on the checklist. A ton of rookies, just not many current players. I’d love to see more current players in their college uniform. There are some great legends as well so can’t complain with that. Next, the hit checklist, especially for autographs, is wonderful. There are tons of awesome legendary player autographs to be had. Again, lacking in current talent as well. I feel like they should rename this product Rookies & Legends.

Value:

First, the doubles and triples hurts. I know it saves the company money, but it doesn’t help the consumer (unless it’s put toward more autos). Second, the Jordan Brand Classic jerseys are just that. Plain old jerseys. I know what they tried to do, but this is a $120 product. Plain jerseys aren’t fun. Next, Jordan floor cards are played out. Great with an autograph, played out when plain. But everything else is pretty nice. I like that I got a full regular base set and like that the Rookie F/X cards are a little hard to get. I also really like the auto checklist and the Alonzo Mourning auto I pulled makes me giddy as I’ve always been a fan of ‘Zo. The manu-patch autos I could still care less about, but some of the names are solid. Overall, not bad at all.

Overall:

Overall, UD Rookies & Legends is a solid product and is what I will now call this product this year. The design is beautifully done with another great, clean look for this brand. It always brings that sort of nice clean design so I shouldn’t be surprised. The checklist is a bit small for the base set, but the autographs checklist is pretty stacked. While the doubles and triples hurts the consumer value a little bit, as well as the plain jersey cards, the autographs can easily make up for it. I like what Upper Deck tried to do with this product and I would judge it as a moderate success. But I can’t wait to see SP Authentic football.

As always, I’d like to thank Upper Deck providing the box to review. Please visit their official website, official blog, Facebook and Twitter pages for more information about them.

And remember, after tomorrow’s last review I will be giving away a ton of Upper Deck cards to some people so stay tuned for that.

Video coming up soon.

Preview: 2011 Upper Deck World of Sports

Upper Deck is trying again with their World of Sports brand after a dismal attempt last time around. Many hobby blogs and collectors around the internet slammed this product for the lack of quality that it brought to the table. I know I wasn’t the only one who gave last year a bad review. But I’m willing to give Upper Deck a clean slate to try again since I thought it was that bad.

Not only is the design better this season, the autograph checklist looks better as well. This is still a monster of a product to put together with 100 SPs and 300 cards, but the overall better looking quality and somewhat better checklist makes it better to me.

Each box will yield 3 autographs/game used from some of the top names in sports including Upper Deck exclusives Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Wayne Gretzky, and Landon Donovan. Some of these will be featured on dual, triple, and quad autographs as well!

There will also be one SPx Shadowbox card inserted one per case as a nice little chase element.

Each box will contain 20 packs with 6 cards per pack. All I ask is a better checklist this season with athletes I actually know. I know a lot about sports and alot of sports and I still had trouble naming some of the people in the last product. A better checklist this season will help immensely.

This product will hit your local store on October 11, 2011 for around $75 a box.

Preview: 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball

Upper Deck brings you their next basketball product of the season on July 6, 2011, and this one comes with a bang. The man who really holds the crown in basketball has a ton of autographs ready for you to pull. Every 1 out of 6 boxes will have a Michael Jordan autograph. That’s right, your chances of pulling a MJ autograph are 1 in 6 boxes.

Each tin will have 3 base cards and 1 autographed card. The product will also be player specific, which means every box will have only one player in it. There will also be some mystery boxes with multiple players in it. This will be the next high end basketball product from Upper Deck however, so if you want 6 boxes to try and pull your MJ autograph, it’s going to cost you some dough. But “Sir Altitude” is not the only great autograph you can pull from this set.

There are only 20 players in this checklist. These 20 players are chosen specifically and you would want an autograph from just about any of them. This 2010-11 Upper Deck All Time Greats Basketball checklist is so small I am going to list it here for you. The checklist is as follows: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Steve Nash, James Worthy, Jerry West, John Havlicek, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, Hakeem Olajuwon, Walt Frazier, Derrick Rose, Clyde Drexler, Grant Hill, Chris Paul, Larry Johnson, and finally Penny Hardaway. That is the complete checklist.

These players will be found in a number of different types of cards. Letterman signatures, Storybook Career booklet, One on One dual signature booklets, and All-Time 9 signatures which are 1 of 1s. Also is regular insert sets which are variably numbered.

One thing I don’t like is Upper Deck is bringing the Letterman subset with signatures on plastic across the top of it, not signed directly on the manufactured patch. Now I’ve always disliked manufactured patches, however, I have less of a problem with Letterman as being manufactured as it brings a fun set to collect the players whole name. But Topps tried this plastic piece over the top of relics and it didn’t go very well with collectors. I’m pretty sure this won’t go well either as it’s the same concept. Who knows, maybe the mainstream collector has changed their mind about this.

Finally there will also be some cut signatures of deceased players mixed with current legends in a dual signature booklet. I am hoping these cut signatures will be a little better designed then the recent Legendary Cuts product which wasn’t the best design in my eyes.

Otherwise, this set is filled with the current and former legends of the game and autographs will be plenty. With the odds of pulling a Jordan box in 1 every 6 boxes for around $285 a box, it’s definitely a gamble but with a solid checklist it will be a gamble worth taking.

Here is an example of the new Lettermans which I’m not a huge fan of. At least the signatures are more clear this way.

Preview: 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions

First off, please God, we can only hope this is not as bad as World of Sports. I want to get into the whole multi-sport thing, but World of Sports wasn’t Upper Deck’s best effort. You can check the review tab for my personal box break and review of that product.

Anyway, this product is filed under baseball on most website, but you can find a ton of autos from a large cross spectrum of sports in this product. The best part about this product is that every card is hard signed. Finally companies are starting to give what the collectors want and that is hard signed autographs. This product will have 20 packs with 5 cards per pack. The base set is 150 cards so it will take 2 boxes to make a complete set.

Every box will contain a total of three of the following: Hard signed autographs, Memorabilia, Embroidered patch cards (more manu-patches! ew), or a 1 of 1 printing plate. Every pack will have a mini, a short print, or an insert inside it so you will get your insert fixes. Also, this marks the return of the 5×7 box topper in all the boxes. Personally, I think all boxes should have some sort of box topper and this is a great addition.

Included as relics in this product are several intriguing possibilities. World leaders from the past and present, inspirational people, and landmarks from around the world. Did I mention the bugs are back? Yes, Entomology is making a comeback with all new bugs and beetles and all that stuff if you are into it. They were a hit last time, but personally I would squish them. I’ve never been a fan of non sports in my sports cards. I can understand the occasional Americana relic in certain sets, but bugs? Not my piece of the pie. Although animals involved in sports are different. There will be Kentucky Derby winner relics in this product as well which I don’t mind.

Although this is not officially licensed in any sort of way, the design of the cards is nice and it looks like the checklist is full of stars from the sporting world. Most of the cards have the player in a casual, non-competitive setting which I’m not crazy about, but I don’t hate it either. It’s definitely different but hopefully in a good way. But I don’t think it will be hard to do better then World of Sports.

Right now it’s set to come out the first week of July 2011. The price point is around $70 for a full hobby box.