by Mike Fruitman
Hoop fans got one of their annual wishes granted this week when 2012/13 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball hit hobby stores. Yes, sadly once again Upper Deck is not able to feature players in their professional uniforms but based on sales at my store at least, collectors do not seem to mind in the least. Mere hours after sending out our new product arrival email to customers, we were digging into our second case just to keep our breakers satisfied.
Upper Deck’s exclusive autograph relationship with Michael Jordan and a certain Miami Heat player who wears number 6 and has the initials LBJ continues to inspire box sales that any other manufacturer would be jealous of, and the creative forces at UD have put together some truly awe inspiring singles.
2012-13 SP Authentic boxes offer three autographs and there is a wide array of types of signed cards. There are Home Court Signatures with single and dual autographed versions, College Pride Autographed Patches featuring autographs on card sized mini jerseys, By The Letters autographed singles (side note, I have to share my disappointment in how the chosen letters spell out their college teams. Letters should be reserved for a players last name, but that’s another story), Authentic Nickname Signatures (anyone care to guess how long the lines will be for the Shawn Bradley “The Stormin' Mormon”or Bryant "Big Country" Reeves cards will be?), the ever popular Sign Of The Times (singles, duals, triples and quad versions) and yes, there are even more.
Looking through the checklist of signers, you could fill up a conference worth of one name superstars including – Hakeem, Drexler, Malone, Miller (both of them actually), Walton, Dr. J, Russell, Robinson, Isiah (no, not Rider), Rodman, Alonzo, Payton, Walt, AI and loads more. And by the way, here's the 2012-13 SP Authentic Basketball Final Checklist (xls file) if you'd like to download it.
While I am guessing box breakers would rather see more red and black on the card below, there is not a collector alive who would be upset to see one of these come out of a pack.
While the MJ card might inspire some jealousy among collectors, the quad of Jordan, LeBron, Magic and Russell might be worth trading a showcase worth of singles for.
I hate to harp, but can anyone tell my why it was necessary to ruin a great autographed card of Dominique and Spud by adding Harold? Come on, there has to be another Slam Dunk champion out there who could have better rounded out this card.
Once again Upper Deck has delivered a monster NBA release with 2012-13 SP Authentic, which in spite of its limitations, already has collectors lined up to take their chances at pulling the biggest names available. Now to go find another case so I can have some more for next week.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike's Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo. You can read his column here every week (or close to it), focusing on what products are selling best in hobby shops. See his eBay listings here. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him at [email protected]