Upper Deck released 2011 NHL Parkhurst Champions on Tuesday, marking the first time in several years the company has produced a product consisting entirely of retired NHL stars.
The base set consists of 160 cards seeded at varying rates of scarcity. Included in the autograph checklist are signed cards of Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Brett Hull, Joe Sakic and others. As usual, Upper Deck’s exclusive arrangements with Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr mean signed cards from the legendary trio will be among the big hits. All these players signed a variety of unique insert cards, including “Wire Photo,” multi-player “Wire Photo,” “Renditions Color,” “Renditions Black & White” (in gold paint pen) and Champ’s mini-cards.
Outside of the base set and autographs, look for the return of the Champ’s brand, with one mini card found in every pack on average. Champ’s card Nos. 1-45 are considered commons, while card Nos. 46-57 are short-printed and found 1:20 packs on average. Each of the cards in the Champ’s set was painted by famed sports artist Ron Stark within a design that harkens back to the pre-World War II era of tobacco cards. Similar to the base set, the Champ’s mini cards also parallel out to hard-signed autograph versions, including the rare red-ink variations that will be numbered to just 15 copies or less.
A new type of NHL card debuts in 2011 Parkhurst Champions with hand-painted “Parkhurst Masterpiece” cards, featuring a selection of 30 NHL legends and limited to just 10 copies each. The backs are also autographed by the artist.
Upper Deck is also bringing back one of the most popular elements of the Champ’s set with the inclusion of rare Champ’s Fossil and Artifacts redemption cards. Among the wild and wooly artifacts are an ancient cave bear tooth (still embedded in a jaw bone), the brain cavity of an Auroch, teeth from prehistoric creatures like the Spinosaurus and collectible coins dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
“Our new 2011 NHL Parkhurst Champions product is absolutely loaded with some of the most compelling NHL trading cards in recent years,” said Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s Hockey brand manager. “It pays honor to retired NHL superstars with superb imagery for autograph cards and the new ‘Parkhurst Masterpiece’ cards are going to really blow fans away. With the inclusion of the Champ’s Fossil and Artifacts redemption cards, 2011 NHL Parkhurst Champions represents a tremendous value for collectors.”
Upper Deck’s 2011 NHL Parkhurst Champions contains 20 packs, with five cards in each hobby pack.