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Posts Tagged ‘SP Authentic’

If you remember back to the spring, I started something I called The Patchworks Project. I love patch cards and I started to grab some whenever I found a good deal. Since we’re now getting near the start of NFL Pre-Season games*, I figured I should get into a football state of mind.

I’ve made it well known that I graduated from Indiana University so when IU produced a high round football draft pick in 2008 (James Hardy), I knew I wanted to go out and grab a few of his cards. Since he didn’t really make a splash last year, finding some of his good cards at a good price wasn’t real difficult.

08SPA_Hardy_RC

The first card I picked up was Hardy’s Rookie Auto Patch from the 2008 SP Authentic product. I picked this up not long after SPA was released last year so I’m sure I overpaid for it. I would imagine I could get the same card now for 30% less than I what I spent for it back then. The patch is so-so but the card features on on card signature which is something that I’m getting pretty big on so that was a definite plus.

08Exq_Hardy_Patch

The second Hardy card in my collection is this Dual Patch card from the 2008 Exquisite product. The patch pieces in this card are really good and feature a lot of colors so I’m real happy with the way the card looks. I got this card for a song due to a seller deciding to end his listing at 1:00 in the afternoon. (Here’s a helpful tip…don’t be a moron when listing things on ebay. The majority of ebay traffic and bidding occurs at night, not in the middle of the afternoon) This particular card is numbered #6/15. There was another card like this numbered to 15 that featured bits of the Reebok logo from the jersey. I bid pretty aggresively on it when it was on ebay but I missed out.

The last card in my mini James Hardy collection is the Rookie Signature Patch from Exquisite numbered #64/75. Again, I bid on this card right after the product was released and I’m pretty damn sure I overpaid on this one. But, I don’t regret the purchase at all since the card looks great. Again, the on card signature is clean and flawless and really looks good on the card. The patch looks like it could be part of the “A” from his name across the back.  

08Exq_Hardy_RC_AUTO_Patch

I give people a lot of grief when they decide to open up boxes or cases of Upper Deck because I feel like you never really get your money’s worth. But I do admit that they do some products exactly right and I think Exquisite Football and SPA Football are two of their better products. If you have a player you like, chase down these cards. You won’t be sorry.

* Mini-Rant – How damn ridiculous is it that the NFL charges people full price on tickets to pre-season games?!? Now that I’m a season ticket holder, I have to admit that I’m pretty pissed about having to shell out $200+ for a pre-season game next Friday night against the Vikings where I won’t even see the guys I pay the money to see. Bah!!

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Upper Deck – 2008 SP Authentic Baseball
Cost: Approx. $95/box

Another baseball season brings us another edition of Upper Deck’s SP Authentic Baseball. This year Upper Deck decided to ship their product during the playoffs instead of after the playoffs to build off a successful baseball season and take advantage of all the post season hype. UD touts 3 autographs per box (1 By the Letter, 1 Rookie auto, and 1 other).

Personally, I’m not a big set builder so you’re not going to see my talk about base cards in my reviews. Let’s talk about the good stuff.

By the LetterThe By the Letter cards return yet again this year in SP. If you’re not familiar with the BTL cards, they are manufactured patch cards that are signed by the players. When these letters were originally intorduced in 2006 they just spelled the player’s last name. Starting last year, UD decided to add in new letter combinations to spell things like “Rookie” or the team name and city. It appears that they continued with that this year as you can see from the Chad Billingsley card to the right. It appears that this year you can chance down your favorite player’s first name as well. The checklist for the BTL cards features many new subjects but sadly also features players who have been done before.

Rookie Autographs – This year UD included rookie autograph cards. When I first heard this, I thought it was a good idea. Who wouldn’t like serial numbered rookie autograph cards? Then, I got a look at them. Yikes! Talk about stupid card design….look at that travesty to the left!! There isn’t a hotter rookie out there than Evan Longoria, but would you actually want that card? The stupid window cuts off parts of the signature. And Longoria isn’t the only player who has his signature cut. If you scan all the cards out there now, this is very common.

In addition to the regular rookie autograph card, there are Rookie autograph jersey and patch cards. Unfortunately, these cards feature the same window for the autographs and you run the same risk of the signature being cut off. Most of the jersey cards are your plain single color swatches with the occasional pinstripe. The patches I’ve seen so far have been pretty good (the Bruce card to the right notwithstanding) and feature multiple colors. My only gripe is that the windows are small and don’t give them a chance to show off some of the patch pieces.

Best Hits? – If you’re breaking this product, there are a lot of “hit” cards that you will pull that won’t bring much on the secondary market. For the rookies, your biggest hits are going to be Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce, Kosuke Fukudome, and Joey Votto. On the BTL side, players like Billy Wagner, Jim Thome, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Alfonso Soriano, and Ching-Ming Wang are ridiculously short printed.

Overall Opinion – To me, I would avoid breaking this product by the box or case. I just don’t see the value there from the cards that are pulled. The BTL cards have lost their luster and people don’t chase them like they used to. Even some of the BTL cards from the 2006 and 2007 series can be had for very cheap. It’s time to retire this idea. The rookie autograph checklist is lame. Other than the ones I mentioned above, many of the others have next to no hobby value at all. Where’s Clayton Kershaw? I don’t see him on Upper Deck’s checklist at all. The addition of the USA Under-18 team autographs are nice but I don’t know how valuable they will end up being.

I give this a DON’T BREAK / JUST BUY SINGLES grade.

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It’s been a slow week on the acquisition front (although I’ll have a post tonight after I can get some scans) so I thought I would post about some of the remaining 2008 baseball products (in order of current release date) from a Morneau and general perspective.

2008 UD SP Authentic
Release Date:
10/14
After having “By the Letter” sets in each of the last two SPA products, Upper Deck has thankfully left Morneau out of that line this year. Last year’s product was a major headache for some player collectors as the BTL cards had more than one combination and different numbering. The base cards are blah and I imagine they’ll be the same this year. With boxes over $90 per, I’ll be passing on this until the price drops down a ton, which it will if this product is anything like last year.

2008 Topps Stadium Club
Release Date
: 11/5
This is one of those products that I really have no idea on. I haven’t seen a checklist on this anywhere so I have no idea if Justin Morneau will have anything in here other than a base card. The boxes here are pretty pricey (~$220 per), but you do get 12 autographed cards and some other goodies per box. Now, if the auto checklist is better than the crap list from this year’s Triple Threads, then I could see maybe picking up a box. But the fact that we’re now less than a month out for this one and I haven’t seen a checklist makes me think this will end up being overpriced garbage.

2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot
Release Date:
12/20
Normally Sweet Spot is a pretty good product for player collectors. Each player seems to have a few different cards with varying material (ball leather, bat, glove leather) and various inks used for signatures. Plus, these cards don’t hold a ton of value and can be picked up on the cheap on the secondary market. You get 6 packs per box this year and only one will have the “Sweet Spot” autographed card. It strays from the tin idea last year with 1 pack per tin and the auto in that pack. This is more like how Sweet Spot was initially with the boxes with multiple packs. The checklist shows a Morneau “Sweet Spot” card but that’s all it says. Hard to say if this product will be worth the coin (~$100 per box), but my guess is that it will fall well short. This is another “wait until the market bottoms out” product.

2008 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection
Release Date:
12/30
Hopefully I’m not alone in thinking this way, but last year’s Ultimate was a train wreck! Ugly cards, bad relic pieces, lame checklist, and seriously overpriced. There are Morneau cards from that product that I have absolutely ZERO interest in chasing. This year it looks like UD has decided to try to really beef up this product. Morneau doesn’t appear in the current checklist all that much….just a base card and a couple cards with his signature with a couple other players. I’m pretty disappointed in this since UD has some really cool cards in this product this year featuring signed oversized jersey swatches and oversized bat barrel pieces. The product to me actually looks so good, I’m considering doing a case of it and I don’t do cases all that much anymore. I just wish there was more Morneau in there.

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