Exquisite Basketball used to be the hobby event of the year for NBA collectors who loved the high end appeal of the cards. It was the first product of its kind, and for the majority of the big hits out there, its still the king of the mountain in every sense. Now that Exquisite has been NCAA licensed instead of NBA licensed, many of the loyal followers have moved on. Upper Deck continues to try to recapture the glory days, sometimes succeeding in doing so.
Here are some of the cards already up:
2013 Exquisite Bill Russell Black Auto 15/15 – Really nice looking card
Let’s be honest here, its got to be difficult to continually find new ways to make Exquisite fresh each year. Fact of the matter is, there are only so many high resolution photos from the college days of the HOF and Veteran stars who sign, which forces UD to rely on the design and innovation brought by their team to make the product work.
Over the last few years, there have been some awesome cards to come out of Exquisite, most notably the dimensions shadowbox style cards. That being said, most of the other content seems to be a re-imagination of previous year’s cards, which can be both good and bad. For the first time in years, the Limited logos are back, only this time they are using event used or manufactured patches instead of the normal game used swatches seen before. I really like the look of these cards, with the players signing acetate sheets over the patches instead of the card itself. Considering that these cards will be hampered by the swatches not being game used, the design success should help create some chase for the bigger names.
As for the other cards, Im really liking the Masterpieces signature booklets for the first time, which are really making the most of the artistic presentation of the players. These booklets have been something I haven’t really liked in the past, but I think they are vastly improved for 2013.
Keeping on with the booklets, I have to mention the 16 autograph booklets of Jordan and Lebron, which feature something I don’t really understand the appeal. I get wanting rare autograph cards from these guys, but 16 autos of the same player on one card? Not really seeing why this type of a program is a good use of that many stickers, but then again, basketball is a different animal.
I wont be shy in saying that Upper Deck has already made believers out a lot of people, but I am curious to see if there is enough here in Exquisite to believe there is a long term plan that doesn’t involve revamping the entire product.