Yesterday was a big day for every NFL fan, and Upper Deck aimed to pile on with the first previews of 2012 Exquisite. Since the loss of their NFL license, UD has remained relevant and continued producing products under their CLC license with NCAA sports. For 2010 and 2011, Exquisite remained a high end chase for a lot of collectors, and this year should prove to be similar.
Here are some of my favorites from the last few years:
Although I believe the 2011 design was superior to 2012, these cards are far from ugly. I think my only design complaint (and a nitpicky one at that) is that the ghosted transition area below the player climbs too far up the picture, making the photo look like a bust instead of portrait. Overall the cards continue to be on a high level, and I dont think that there will be any complaints – OTHER than the fact that Andrew Luck doesnt look to be live in product. I was hoping they would wait to release this product until the horrible Press Pass exclusive expires, but I guess they are moving forward with more redemptions like 2011.
My other complaint is that the jersey swatches look like they will be mirroring the swatches used from 2010 and 2011. They have commented that NCAA jerseys are not available in the same way that NFL jerseys are available, but I am of the ilk that this fact isnt necessarily true. They just arent available at the same COST as they are in the NFL. Instead, UD has resorted for three years now to using screen printed jerseys that look to be purchased from bargain retailers, in the idea of saving money as much as possible. One can hope this money saved was rerouted into the auto checklist, but that has only been partially true in previous years.
I would say its a worthwhile investment to put some money into purchasing jerseys that at least RESEMBLE patches, as the screen printed jerseys just look cheap. Of course, event used is event used no matter which way you slice it, but at least give me a whiff of the way it used to be.
The rest of the design for the set is really spectacular, with my favorites being the Lustrous autos that are previewed below. These are usually card that utilize a special stock and composition, but came up significantly short last year. This year, they are back and better than ever, and I am excited to see how the live ones turn out.
Even the other autographs look great, and I dont think we have seen a full representation of what this set is really going to be. I sincerely hope the Dimensions Shadowboxes are back, as this unique ideas was a huge favorite of mine last year. Upper Deck is sure to have surprises, I am interested to see how this all comes to fruition, as Exquisite is still very relevant, even though they dont have an NFL license.