by Mike Fruitman
Few hobby keywords mean more to collectors than “exquisite”. According to dictionary.com, exquisite means “of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence”. To collectors, it means the place where you can find some of the priciest rookie year cards and unique autographed cards that always have a line of people clamoring for them like few other sets can inspire.
Granted at $500.00+ per pack, 2013 Upper Deck Exquisite Football should not only deliver some off the charts singles, but it should also clean the dishes, make the bed, walk the dog and take out the garbage.
Check out this 16-player signed monster of a card that is currently on eBay. For $19,999.99 it should get on a plane, sit in first class, somehow replace the Jason White and Jake Plummer autographs with decent QBs and have Pro-Mold design a new style of holder exclusively for you.
Just in time for Exquisite’s release, Upper Deck announced that the Trade Cards in previous UD releases and the one in Exquisite would be good for Andrew Luck cards. While this was among the worst secrets ever in the hobby, getting the official notification from UD propelled what was already going to be a massive product over the top. To add even more buzz, there are two different types of redemption cards. One will be good for base cards of Mr. Luck as well as autographed versions of the #1 pick from the 2012 draft.
The Alumni Pride autographed set looks like a dream come true for college card collectors. Some of the inscriptions include “Roll Tide” from Joe Namath, “Play Like A Champion Today” from Daryle Lamonica, "Gig 'Em" from Ryan Tannehill, “Anyone Want To Buy Some Smurf Turf So I Can Afford Bond Money” from Titus Young (not really) and many more (here's an Elway).
The 34 card Art Signatures set features an impressive list of autographs from some of the greatest in NFL history. Possible signatures include Bart Starr, Dan Marino, Jerome Bettis, John Elway, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman and many more.
Of course, some of the most desirable singles from any Exquisite set are the rookie autographed patches. There are Tier 2 versions limited to 150 with future greats like LaMichael James, Russell Wilson, Brock Osweiler, Kirk Cousins and box killer Coby Fleener. The Tier 1 versions are printed to just 99 and include Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and more. Let’s face it, the world knows that Exquisite is the home of some of the most insane rookie autographed patches and this RGIII is no exception.
For the past few years, I have always thought that the XRC cards in Exquisite get overlooked and while they are not quite household names yet, it is not too early to start prospecting with 2013 rookies /175 of Montee Ball, EJ Manuel, Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Denard Robinson and for some reason (even though he is a Denver Bronco and I would like to have a few for my store) 7th rounder Zac Dysert.
2009’s Upper Deck Black gets another chance with both retired superstars and 2012 rookies getting their chance to appear with autographed relic cards like this gem. While it does not have the same “OMG” patch card as his base rookie, there are only 35 of them to go around.
Looking for a guarantee when you plunk down close to 2 grand and you purchase a 3 box case? Every three-box case offers autographs from two or more of the following players: Robert Griffin III, John Elway, Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Trent Richardson
Believe it or not, but there are even more autographed sets possible from this release and it only makes sense that arguably the most impressive year for NFL rookies ends on this exquisite note. Now just don’t get “Fleenered” in your boxes.
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]