It launched during Upper Deck's heyday as an NBA trading card partner and that 2003-04 Exquisite Basketball product became the stuff of legend. Now, the company is using its collegiate license and a lot of autographed cards to try and keep one of its strongest brands in the forefront of the hoops card landscape. 2011-12 Exquisite Basketball is due out Tuesday with each one pack box lighting up the cash register to the tune of $850-950.
Upper Deck is using its collegiate license for photos and logos, highlighting the NCAA careers of all-time greats and current coaches. Every six-card pack will have five autographs inside. Every three-box case, according to company product manager Gregg Kohn, will contain a Michael Jordan autograph, probably a LeBron James autograph, one of either Bill Russell, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson or Larry Bird, plus one of either Jerry West, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dennis Rodman or David Robinson.
At least one of the autographs will feature a rookie.
Among the themed subsets are Dimension Signatures, which will feature Jordan autograph variations.
Eighteen different Exquisite 12 autograph book cards will feature up to a dozen signatures with each a 1-of-1. Each will be a one-of-one. There will also be book cards with one, two, three and four autographs.
One of the more unusual autograph cards are the "Exquisite Personal Touch" line which carry and autograph and an inscription about the player's favorite food, music, car and...yes...dream date. Not exactly the most manly card concept to come down the pike, but definitely different. Each is numbered to 30.
Fewer than 2,000 cases have been produced. Boxes and cases of 2011-12 Upper Deck Exquisite are expected to arrive at hobby shops on Tuesday. Here's the checklist: