On the same day that the NFL released their 2013 schedule, Upper Deck put the first licensed football release into the hands of hobby shops and collectors. I was pleasantly satisfied with the sales from the first day and based on emails and phone calls, we should be well into our second case by the time the draft gets going next Thursday.
Boxes of Upper Deck once again offer 3 autographs and in addition to offering signed cards of 200 potential 2013 rookies, there is a monster selection of autographs from retired superstars. Collectors are about to be introduced to cards of (hopefully) future hobby favorites like Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Manti Te’o, Denard Robinson, Landry Jones, Marcus Lattimore and others.
Upper Deck is bringing back Ultimate Collection in their base brand release with 60 of the top rookies limited to 599 copies and 19 of those same players making the cut for autographed versions.
Last year, Upper Deck brought back the design of the very popular 1993 SP set and this year they hit fast forward to the 1995 design. This hundred card set is split evenly with the first fifty players representing the best of the past and the second fifty focused on the best of the future.
Those first fifty include some of the best to ever lace up pairs of cleats. Who would not want to snag autographs of players like John Elway, Joe Namath, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Bart Starr, Jerry Rice, Bo Jackson, Jerome Bettis, Paul Hornung, Chris Weinke (PSYCHE!!!) and many others?
An Upper Deck tradition gets the Barry Sanders treatment with this year’s Heroes set. The annual ten card set features highlights from his career at OSU and what would this set be if you could not snag autographs from one of the top running backs in NFL history?
If that was not enough, Joe Namath also gets treated like a hero and sadly, while there are ten cards of Broadway Joe, his infamous sideline moment with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber did not make the cut. I can guess that pulling one of his autographs would more than make up for that omission.
The popular College Mascot Manufactures Patch cards pick up with another sixty mascots getting the stitched treatment at the rate of four per case. I will gladly admit that I went to ebay last year and gladly purchased a Ralphie The Buffalo single for my personal collection. With some of last year’s singles eclipsing the $100 mark, it will be interesting to see whether Big Jay and Baby Jay, Albert & Alberta Gator, Mr. Wuf or Swoop will hit the century club. Personally, my money is on The Oregon Duck but then again I had CM Punk beating The Undertaker in this year’s Wrestlemania.
Lastly and perhaps creating the most buzz, are the Rookie Autographed Lettermen. Collectors have long since been drawn to lettermen and the top fifty rookies from 2013 get the superstar treatment. This year look for players to have as few as 105 and as many as 675 available. Some of the bigger names are printed to the following quantities; Barkley/105, Lattimore/135, Smith/180, Robinson/250 and Te’o apparently having some free time since he was able to pen 650 copies.
Come next Thursday as players find new cities to call home and collectors start to familiarize themselves with this year’s crop it will be fun to see who replaces Andrew and Robert as the new hobby darlings.