For now you will have to settle for a quick post on an upcoming high-end product from ITG. That's right, I'm going to write about a product that I have no chance of owning. Much like The Cup or Panini's new Dominion product, the best I can hope for is to scour e-Bay for singles and possibly steal a relic card on the cheap. The product I'm talking about is ITG's Ultimate Memorabilia 11th Edition. UM made its debut in 2000-01 and has been providing collectors with awesome cards ever since.
Lemieux auto/patch? Yes Please!
So what can we expect from this year's product? Pretty much more of the same – and that's not a bad thing. Despite not having a NHL license you can count on ITG to put out a good looking product with a pretty decent checklist of players. The base cards are limited to 100 players from both past and present (including Mr. Lecavalier) which is nice, because if you're shelling out hundreds of dollars for a box, the last thing you want to pull is a John Scott autograph.
The official particulars for this product are:
Release Date: 11/10/11
5 packs per box
3 cards per pack
Of those three cards in a pack you should receive – one limited Ultimate Base card, on Ultimate Autograph card and one Ultimate Authentic game-used memorabilia card.
Each of the 100 base cards feature artwork from Mike James and has three versions:
Silver – limited to 63 or 64
Gold Parallel numbered to nine
Black Bordered sketch 1/1
So good luck with that master set builders and player collectors. Of course, if anyone out there happens to pull the Lecavalier sketch card I will be more than willing to take it off of your hands. Who cares about base cards though, right? You're interested in the real meat of the product, the inserts and autographs! Well, I don't have that many photos to show you. One I was able to snag off of the Blowout Cards forum is:
One card with six pretty sweet patches
With names like Ultimate Cup Finals, History of the Franchise, FantaSTICK, and Boys are Back, I can't wait to see more of these in the wild. By the way, the Boys are Back is a subset dedicated to the "greatest players to ever skate for the original Winnipeg Jets franchise". That should definitely be a hot seller for ITG.
The autograph inserts include subset names such as Future Star Auto (get your Brett Connolly cards now!), Goalie Legend, and cut autos from past players with sweet names like PaperCuts and Lumbergraphs.
All that is nice. OK, it's really, really cool. However, there are two additional inserts that have me intrigued. The first is the Ultimate Giveaway program. It took me a couple of read-through's to understand exactly how this works. I think I have it. In random packs one of 10 different Ultimate Giveaway cards will be inserted. Each UG card will have six different versions based on the color on the front of the card. Therefore, it seems there are actually 60 total cards inserted. If you pull one of these cards (which replaces a base card in the pack) you are entered to possibly win the game-used memorabilia featured on the front of the card.
How do you win? Well you go to the Spring Expo in Toronto and spin the In The Game Wheel. If it lands on your color – you win! But even if you lose you win, because if it doesn't land on your color (or if you don't pull the card by the April 15th deadline) you will receive a 1/1 sketch card in the color depicted on the front of your card. One of the things up for grabs is a:
Brett Hull All Star Game Jersey
When I hit the Powerball and can drop some coin on this set I hope I pull one of these cards. A road trip to Toronto to spin a wheel would be totally worth it. I'm pretty sure I can con Link, Scott and Saint Leo Mike to come with me for the festivities.
The other twist is the designated hot pack. HOT PACK! HOT PACK! In each case one pack will be designated as a hot pack. Each pack will include 3 designated Hot Patch cards numbered to 459. There are 56 different cards (and yes Mr. Lecavalier is included).
Look at how hot that looks!
From what I can see it's a pretty nicely put together set. Some of the hockey collecting veterans like Sal and Captain Canuck probably have more experience with past versions of this set and can speak more to the value of busting a box. I will be setting up an e-Bay alert for the Lightning cards in the set which appear to be Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. I was kind of joking about the Connolly card earlier since I'm not sure if he's going to be included or not. ITG continues to prove that you don't need a license to put out cards that collectors want.