One of the most anticipated annual trading card products arrived Wednesday with the release of 2013-14 The Cup hockey from Upper Deck. The super premium product is again packaged in a five-card tin with prices generally ranging from $450-500.
Upper Deck says that each tin will have at least one autographed rookie patch card. The other cards will also be low-numbered, with autographs and memorabilia or a regular card or its parallel. Three tins come in a case.
Autographed Rookie Patch cards are split into two levels, with most rookies limited to 249 cards and a select few produced with an even smaller print run. The players who are numbered to 99 are Valeri Nichushkin, Nail Yakupov, Nathan MacKinnon, Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Hertl and Sean Monahan. The Autographed Rookie Patch cards have a player photograph on the top half of the card, an autograph on a white background on the bottom half of the card and a memorabilia piece in a shield shape in the middle of the card.
Collectors have options for the rookie booklets they want to collect. Autographed Rookie Gear booklets open up to reveal a large autograph on one side and a collection of memorabilia on the other that includes patch, jersey, fightstrap and tag pieces. Dual Auto Rookie Booklets put two new stars, their autographs and a memorabilia patch into the one booklet. Both types of booklets are numbered to 25.
Other longstanding inserts like Emblems of Endorsement and Honorable Numbers get a design makeover to highlight the on-card signatures and patches.
Black Auto Tag 1 of 1 cards are among the major hits, and the Limited Logos cards that are numbered to 10, 25 and 50 should also be popular. The Logos checklist includes about 80 different players, incorporating stars of the past alongside today’s superstars and top rookies.
Some of the other autographed cards to look for include Brilliance and Rookie Brilliance as well as Program of Excellence. Emblems of Endorsements are numbered to 15 and along with the autograph include two memorabilia patches.
While there are many cards in The Cup that have autographs, some of the insert sets that don’t come signed may be just as popular with collectors. Notable Nameplates feature the letters from the back of the uniform, and fans can try to collect the entire name of their favorite player. 1 of 1 Property Of cards put the best part of the hockey stick on a card while Cup Trios and Cup Quads Patch cards fill a card with multiple superstars and their uniform pieces.
Wayne Gretzky autographs return in 2013-14 The Cup. There are 1 of 1 Property Of cards, with Gretzky’s stick nameplate from his Oilers and Kings days and autographed cards that have Gretzky by himself or on a card with other legendary players. Gretzky shares a Triple Enshrinements autographed card with Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman which is numbered to 10, as well as a Dual Scripted Sticks signed card with Jari Kurri and Signature Renditions Combos cards with several other superstars.
Collectors also learned this week that Sidney Crosby autographs would also be part of The Cup, albeit in redemption form as they didn’t arrive at Upper Deck offices in time for the packout. The Crosby Tributes are back as well.
Other past and present greats including Bobby Orr, Guy LaFleur, Phil Esposito, Ray Bourque, Alex Ovechkin, Dale Hawerchuk, Stan Mikita have signed for the product. Mikita can be found in the Honorable Numbers insert set which numbers the cards to the player’s uniform number while Bourque has a card in the Scripted Sticks set which is numbered to 35.
The Cup is a card release for those who collect, invest in and trade premium cards, and for those who like the challenge of putting together a complete insert set of extremely rare cards. Team and player collectors can also find cards that could wind up being the centerpiece of their collection.
Click here to see 2013-14 The Cup cards, boxes, cases, box break spots and more on eBay.