Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Victory Hockey

2011-12 Upper Deck Victory hockey is out now. I’m a little late on my preview, been busy with other projects, but it is here now. This is the low-end offering from Upper Deck as far as their hockey selection goes. You can find this product anywhere from hobby shops to your local dollar stores, which is where I bought my last packs of Upper Deck Victory a year or two ago.

With that being said, there isn’t much being offered in this product, but there is a little more then last year’s product. There are 36 packs per box and 6 cards per pack of this first hockey product of the season. The regular set consists of 200 base cards and 50 rookies. You can find parallels of all these cards in a black version only now it appears from the sell sheet. I don’t see anything about gold parallels like past years. I’m not a huge fan of the base design, but the inserts I mention below look slick.

There are a few inserts this year as well, including the new MVP rookies, found 2 a box. These cards feature a slick black background with the rookie in the center with the former Upper Deck MVP symbol on the front. I think the inserts look pretty good for a low end set. You can also find regular MVP cards, Stars of the Game, and Game Breakers insert cards at a little more better rate in a box.

And basically, that is it in this box. Not any chance for any autographs or any game used cards. So when I say low-end, this is really lower end.

Upper Deck, can’t you do something like Panini Score and maybe throw in a couple of autographs per case? Just a thought to get some of those top rookies autographs out a little bit earlier.

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.

Who Really Won The Video Trading Card War

First, sorry for the delay! I’ve been busy training and getting some certifications, permits, and such to help me get some sort of job. These will definitely benefit me which in turn benefits the blog. More money in my pocket means more boxes I can break! I think that’s a good trade off, don’t you think?

Anyway, happy Monday! And boy am I tired.

But what is awesome about today is we are finally able to see some of the results of what people are paying for video cards. And honestly, didn’t we all know from the beginning who would win this video card war? Upper Deck had the first video card on the market, the Evolution, but proceeded to fail to give these cards any sort of value besides them being kind of hard to pull, just regular case hits and easily searched by dealers or collectors. The first ones sold didn’t do too bad but right now you can have them for $30-$40 bucks a piece.

But just as I called it when Panini announced their HRX video trading cards I knew Panini would win this battle. Why? Better collectibility. Upper Deck was so caught up with trying to get video cards out on the market first they forgot the key ingredient to make these really want to be collected by collectors. What did Panini do that Upper Deck didn’t? Autographs and rarity.

Firstly, HRX cards are about 1 in every 6 cases of 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified basketball. Rarity is important and with 51 total video cards for each of 4 players, you will have a hard time finding these. With 11 of them being autographed including a 1/1 version, this adds a new layer of collectibility to those video trading cards.

Upper Deck could of had the upper hand if they waited just a little bit and got some autographs slapped on those cards. Instead, Panini’s HRX video cards are selling through the roof on the secondary market. The first Kobe Bryant autographed HRX video trading card sold for $1,000! Blake Griffin? Over $850! And that guy Kevin Durant? Just north of $500. Even the unsigned versions are getting decent money because of the rarity. I don’t think any of the Upper Deck Evolution video trading cards reached heights like those and I expect those numbers to stay higher than the Upper Deck Evolution video cards.

Panini HRX easily wins hands down in the first ever video trading cards, but I can assure you that Upper Deck will be back to the drawing board and will be adding autographs to these cards in the future. Which company will create the first autographed plus memorabilia card? What will they do to improve on the first generation of video trading cards? With secondary values achieved by the Panini HRX, I don’t think these will be going away anytime soon. Do you want to see what these cards look like? Panini announced a world premiere of revealing of the finished HRX video trading cards ready to be delivered to your door if you’re lucky enough to pull one so you definitely need to check that out!

I just noticed another blogger posted about this today as well so many sure you check out Card Geeks Blog and their thoughts on Upper Deck Evolution vs. the Panini HRX video trading cards. Let’s hope my plans for an article tomorrow aren’t the same as his! That would be awkward to have two days in a row.

Now tell me, which ones would you rather collect?

or

Want to see more autographed HRX cards?

Just In: 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup…It’s Coming!

I know I have been lacking in the Upper Deck news. However, they just aren’t putting out a lot of products with only one fully professional license. But this news is great for hockey collectors as arguably Upper Deck’s best product, and most high end, finally has some information on this year’s product.

With one of the best rookie classes since the class that brought us Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, this year’s product should not only fly off the shelves, may be a great product to invest in. I’m going to say this only once, if you aren’t into stock or into gold, this may be one of the product you want to throw a couple grand in and just sit on the cases. If I had the money, I would do it.

A new edition to this product and I believe hockey products in general is the booklet cards. They look sorta like this:

While I’ve never been a HUGE fan of booklet cards, these look like solid additions to the product. That P.K. Subban autographed rookie gear booklet on the left looks great and would make a great addition to any collection. That is probably one of my favorite rookie subsets and would almost rather pull that than a regular rookie patch. Imagine displaying that bad boy.

It will also mark the return of Limited Logos autographed patches, Property Of game used stick nameplates, Team Canada hockey autographs from stars of the past and present, and the ever popular shield autographs.

But 2011 Upper Deck The Cup comes with more awesome new goodness.

On stick autographs! (Slapshoterific!)

Base card autographed laundry tags! (Made in Canada!)

And dual cuts! (Let’s hope they aren’t as bad looking and cut up as Legendary Cuts was!)

All we really have is pictures and a retail price of $380 for one pack with 5 cards in it. And it releases sometime in August. I’m sure there is more to come. Learn more from Upper Deck’s announcement post on their blog.

A little birdie who has his own blog called the Topps Archives told me I need more pictures in my posts because reading lots of text hurts his head. I hope this post is colorful enough for him. I think I’ll add more pictures from now on though, good idea?

And here is my 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup haiku:

My eyes shed great tears,
When I see The Cup released,
I must open it.

Let’s hope I can come up with the Benjamins to have a head to head breaking battle with 2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup vs. 2010-11 Panini Dominion. It would be the battle of the century.

More information on this product when it is announced!

Reply from Upper Deck’s Mike Phillips

So as you may have read with my interview with Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards, I asked about why Blowout Cards was not part of the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailers program. I was told to direct any questions about that to Mike Phillips, Director of Hobby Sales, or Richard McWilliams, CEO of Upper Deck. I figured that I wouldn’t get any response from the CEO of a large company like Upper Deck so I went to the source which I felt would give me an answer. In a short turn around time, I received an answer that completely avoided my actual question 100%.

I explained my situation of why I was asking the question and specifically asked why Blowout Cards was not an Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer. The response I received seemed like a form letter with my name attached to the top. No answers, no comments, nothing. This is basically like saying “no comment” to the press when you have a question. You know they know the answer, they just don’t want to say it. Here is what was said:

Thank you for your interest in Upper Deck’s Authorized Internet Retailer program. While there are many factors that Upper Deck takes into account when choosing its AIRS, first and foremost to even be considered as an AIR one must own and operate a full time brick & mortar trading card and collectibles store. Any brick & mortar store that has met the qualifications of becoming, AND has been approved as a Certified Diamond Dealer can apply to be considered for appointment as an AIR. Upper Deck will add additional AIRs to its network as it deems necessary. Upper Deck currently has eight AIRs in the US and five in Canada, with a few new AIRs pending in the coming months.”

So there is the answer. I was told that Blowout Cards has a B&M store as well and I’m guessing with their presence in the hobby they have moved quite a bit of Upper Deck product over the years. Why would you not allow one of your best retailers the opportunity to not sell your product in the first 30 days, or whatever the limitations are?

Personally, I don’t see this program lasting for the long run. Not only are collectors unhappy with this program, so are some of your top retailers over the past few years. If you really want to fix brick and mortar sales, it’s not your job to do it. It is 100% up to the B&M shops to fix themselves. I would not mind paying $10-$20 over prices at places like Blowout Cards at a B&M shop if I actually enjoyed going to the B&M shop. The ones I have been to around me are terrible. They know nothing about the products coming out, they are overpriced even more, and rarely do they get their products on the shelves in enough time. They don’t cater to the customer, all they do is cater to themselves. I am going to use my experience at Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton, Canada, is my prime example of how a shop should be run. Great customer service, promotions, and tons of selection. If I lived up there I would be in there whenever a new product came out instead of ordering from anywhere online in Canada. In the end, collectors don’t want to wait to open their boxes. That is what made Chris of Cards Infinity so popular. I will show up at a B&M that deserves the support and pay whatever to open up product myself. I just can’t find one in my area that I am willing to support. And B&Ms are wondering why they are losing money.

Quit whining to Upper Deck and Panini that your sales are down. Take some of the blame yourselves and improve the experience and make people actually want to come to the store. Until that happens, people will just keep buying from places like Blowout or DA Card World online.