Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Hockey

One of the favorites among hockey collectors is set to release tomorrow in 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic hockey. Featuring some of the games best retired, veteran, and rookies in the league, SP Authentic always has quite the following amongst collectors. With an autograph heavy lineup for hits and the ever popular rookie patch autographs, it returns for hopefully another successful season.

While it is releasing late, Upper Deck has done their best to get the most content that it can in the product to make sure there are as little redemptions as possible. Speaking of hits, there should be about 3 autographs in your box. You will have a mix of Future Watch autographs, Sign of the Times, and Chirography autographed cards. Of course, the hottest are the rookie autos of players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog.

Each box will contain 24 packs per box with 5 cards per pack. Some of the cool additions this year include Signature Stoppers featuring some of the best goalies in autographed form and Rookie Extended Series which showcases more of the first year players.

Other than that, it’s really your typical SP Authentic product from the past with this being the 15th installment of this product.

Hockey fans, make sure you hit the hobby stores on July 11, 2012, for your shot at this product. It looks like it has risen in price a bit around $110, but I’m sure that won’t matter to many hockey collectors.

Has Contenders Matched SP Authentic For Best Hockey Rookies?

While I am still working on my review for 2011-12 Panini Contenders hockey, one thing was made abundantly clear during the preview of this product. Panini is in it for the long haul in hockey and are doing everything they can to woo collectors.

Upper Deck’s SP Authentic brand has long been known as some of the best rookie autographs and rookie autograph patches of the season, besides their The Cup cards. Collectors have loved them and haven’t strayed from anything Panini put out last season.

Last season, Panini debuted Contenders hockey. One of my remarks about the product was that it could possibly match Upper Deck’s SP Authentic…eventually. Well collectors weren’t too keen on the product last year with some of the issues in collation and without patch autographs. But Panini listened and has totally upgraded this product. Again, my review isn’t out yet, but even from just looking at the preview you can see the changes Panini made to better compete with the opposition.

With NHL Ink being similar to Sign of the Times, Calder Contenders being similar to Future Watch, and the Calder Contenders rookie patch autographs being similar to Upper Deck’s rookie patch autographs, do we have a new fight for supremacy on our hands for hockey collectors?

Check out my review of 2011-12 Panini Contenders tomorrow to see what Panini has in store this year.

Ernie Els Signs First Autographed Trading Card Deal

Former number one world ranked golfer Ernie Els has finally signed a trading card deal with Upper Deck for the upcoming 2011-12 SP Authentic Golf set.

The former U.S. Open champion from South Africa will be signing his first autographed trading cards that will be inserted into the set with other widely known and popular golfers such as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Golf collectors everywhere should be excited to hear this news as not only has he never had an autographed trading card on the market, but he is a great golfer and contributes quite a bit to charity off the course.

Additionally, Upper Deck is adding some other top names in sports who are actually quite the golfers themselves, in order to add some value. You can find autographs from stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Drew Brees, and Michael Jordan in the new “Parade of Stars” insert set.

Stay tuned for our full preview of 2011-12 SP Authentic Golf which releases on July, 10, 2012.

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 SP Authentic Football

Your favorite rookies and veterans are back for another season in their college uniforms for 2011 Upper Deck SP Authentic football! Some of the hottest rookie cards on the planet come from this product with the SP Authentic autographed patches. Although these are in their college uniforms and not what they once were in terms of how people collect them, they still hold great value if you’re looking for some of the top rookie cards of your favorite players.

2011 Upper Deck SP Authentic comes out with a 100 card base set including 100 1998 styled SP Future Watch cards. You can also find SP Autographed Patches, SPx Rookie Autographed Jersey cards, and SP Signature Threads Autographed Jersey. And I must say, with last year’s SP Authentic football looking kind of boring in the insert department, these look a lot better than last year, especially if you’re lucky enough to pull a SPx pack because those cards look phenomenal.

Each box will yield 3 hits including one SP Autographed Patch card. You may also find 4 SPx packs per case featuring an SPx Autographed Jersey in every one of these packs. This adds a cool little addition to the SP Authentic brand by including some SPx styled cards. There will also be at least one SP Autographed Jersey per case. Your other hits normally consist of plain signatures. You may also find dual, triple, or even quad autographs from some of the games legends, veterans, and rookies from players like Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Mark Ingram, Cam Newton, and more!

You can find this product on shelves February 7, 2012, at around $115 per box.