Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hockey Cards - A Quick Upper Deck Trilogy Break

I don’t make it a habit to purchase “high end” product.  Not because I’m an anti-elitest, but because I’m poor. Well, not poor poor, but not exactly rolling in the dough.  So I stick to base sets, with the occasional dalliance into mid-tier products like Heritage.  However, today I decided to turn some of my hard-earned overtime into new cardboard.  So I wandered down to my LCS and picked up a mini box of 2013-14 Upper Deck Trilogy (or Trilo3y as Upper Deck has it branded) from John.
For those not in the know, a mini-box contains 3 packs of 5 cards each and is priced right around the same amount that a box of Series I is going to go for.  So 15 cards for the price of about 200.  So yeah, not exactly in my collecting wheelhouse. But I was jonesing for some new hockey cards and this was the first release of the year. 
I’m not sure what other folks look for when they buy higher-end product, but I was hoping either for a card that I can make some of money back or a super cool card of a player or team I collect.  The ultimate would be to get one of each, of course.  I will say one of those three outcomes happen.  But first, what about the cards?


If this was 1982 I would scratch out "Bruins" and write "Stars"

Clean cut, white backgrounds that Upper Deck normally uses for SP Authentic make for a nice looking card. Two diagonal lines do a nice job of framing the player on the card.  Now, I’m not sure why the designers needed to add concentric circles behind the player, unless it’s some sort of Illumanti thing (alert Jay Z).

Cooper appreciates the product placement.

The checklist mixes in current players with retired stars from the past. It doesn’t appear that they’re airbrushing free agents or traded players onto their new teams (Tyler Seguin is still a Bruin),but that could also be a result of the release date being so close to free agent frenzy.


Each mini box averages 1 signed rookie card. My three packs produced two autographs and a triple-player patch.  So it’s nice that you get something for your money.  Maybe not enough to flip for a profit, but anyone busting this product will add some nice cards to their trade bait.
First up:

Base autograph of Islanders rookie Thomas Hickey. The former Kings draft pick was signed off of waivers by the Islanders in January of 2013 and scored one goal in the shortened season. Technically, based on the numbering scheme these rookie cards are part of the base set. I'm not a huge fan of sets that do this.  I'm sure most set collectors agree.

This particular card was numbered to 699 and is considered a Level 1 card.  Each rookie also has a Level 2 (numbered to 399) and Level 3 (numbered to 49).

For Lightning fans, there is only rookie in the set and he’s not with the team any longer – Cory Conacher. I would have gone with Alex Killorn, but once again they didn’t ask my opinion.

Second Hit:

Jersey Swatches from a rookie photo shoot. At least UD is honest!

Three Star Spotlight National Trios – Swedish Rookies Viktor Fasth, Jonas Brodin and Rickard Rackell. Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen? Not the greatest card for me, but it’s actually a cool card with a little color to it.  There is another version, Three Star Spotlight Past, Present and Future which highlights one organization instead of one country.

The Big Hit:

Congratulations Ben Bishop on becoming the number one goalie in Tampa.

Anders Lindback Signature Pucks.  While me picking up a Lightning card might not bode well for Lindback’s future with the club it was nice to pull a player of my favorite team.  When I had seen other previews of the set, the Signature Pucks was one of the inserts I was really interested in.  The autograph is on a piece of rubber shaped as a miniature puck with the team logo on it.  The gold pen used helps make the signature (or scribble in Lindback’s case) shows up nicely.

There are two other variations of Signature Pucks (both selling well on eBay). Retro logos are numbered to 13 and NHL Shield versions are numbered to just 3 each. The cards are pretty thick and have a nice heft to it.  The pack I pulled this from did have one less card in it.

In closing, I won’t be buying another mini box of this product (but if you want to buy me a birthday present, feel free).  I will be tracking down the Lightning cards in the set (pretty sure it’s Vinny, Marty and Stammer along with Conacher) through trades or eBay.  It’s just not in price range, I’ll be saving my pennies for UD series I (now with more rookies!)

Folks looking for big hits are probably going to enjoy this set a little more than set builders or team builders as there is a slew of other inserts involving autographs and relics.

**Update** While the Conacher Signature Puck features him in his Lightning uniform, the "base" rookie auto cards have him sporting the Ottawa sweater.

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