Its Not All Fuzzy Bunnies and Rainbows With Exquisite

Exquisite is live, and there are some breaks that are finally making their way onto message boards. It gives people a first look at box makeup, and results have been good and bad. I think the way the cards look are very much living up to the previews we got from Upper Deck during packout, but a few complaints are surfacing about a few things that seem unacceptable to me if true. Outside of these few complaints, I think that we are going to have a blast with the boxes that we will be getting, and hopefully the cards will equal the excitement that I have over the product in general.

The main complaint so far is that there seems to be a lot of chipping and damage to the cards in the boxes. I have commented numerous times how terrible this can be, especially for a card that is as rare as some of the chase examples are. My suggestion has always been encasement, but more than one manufacturer has expressed how costly and time consuming that would be when the issue has been brought up. Not that its an excuse for the damage displayed so far, but when the cards are put in cardboard boxes without holders and handled by a number of people, it increases the possible damage to the card. That sucks, bad.

I will say that this is nothing new for Exquisite and nothing new for hand packaged products in general. Its expected, as unforuntate as that is, and it doesn’t stop many collectors from buying the chipped cards because of the extreme rarity that characterizes the product. No one should be grading these cards, and I have said before that its more about the card itself than the condition with these. Regardless of collector’s willingness to put up with chipping, it doesn’t make it any less of a crap oversight.

Another thing I noticed is a lack of a certain player in the set, something I talked about when the checklist was first released. The darlings of last year’s season were definitely Drew Brees and Brett Favre, but only one is reflected with presence in the set. Brees has many cards in the product including cool inscriptions, but Favre only has 1 or 2 without a single auto. A rare materials was pulled on blowout, but the pic has him in a Vikings uniform, where the jersey swatches are from the Packers. I understand why this is the case (the cost of Favre stuff from the Vikings is astronomical), but I think a lack of Favre autos in this product will hurt a lot of prospects for Vikings fans and Favre fans.

Lastly, the box configuration seems to be more geared towards additional swatch cards than additional auto cards. I understand that cost is mutually exclusive to adding further auto content, but I dont think thats what people are thinking about when opening a box of this stuff. Much like Ultimate, the cool auto cards are awesome enough to chase a box or two, but the jersey ones have huge potential to kill a box. However, that is the nature of a product like this. At least you are guaranteed an extra auto in the bonus packs, and there are no more non-auto jersey cards, only patches.

EDIT: Just got confirmation that its 1 base, 1 Rookie Patch Auto, 1 Rookie Auto, 1 “Additional” auto, 2 patch cards, 1 signed booklet. This is a change from previous years where it was 1 jersey/1 patch.
Personally, I will hunt singles in this set like a shark, so I am definitely on board with this Exquisite. I guess we will just have to wait and see how everything turns out after a few more breaks before passing final judgement.

Exquisite Hits The Bay, Waiting On More

Exquisite has now hit the bay as expected, and most of the cards posted so far have been variations of the ones posted on UD’s facebook page. Once we have a better idea of what the general set looks like come tomorrow, Ill have my thoughts on the overall product.

Here is what is up so far.

Peyton Manning Inscription – I love inscriptions like this, more so than ones pertaining to their personal life. Very cool.

Jeremy Maclin Signature Swatch – These cards look ten times better than last year’s, despite Maclin’s pen problems. Completely unacceptable in a product like this.

Donovan McNabb Rare Materials – I love the look of these cards, will be waiting on a Peterson to show up.

Knowshon Moreno Rookie Auto Patch – Moreno has a good looking card and sig this year. These are going to be pretty nice.

Kenny Britt Notable Nameplates – I didnt know there were non-autos of these, which is too bad. These are the cards that could kill a box.

Sanchez Bookmark Signature Swatch – I think these cards would have been awesome if not for the foldout crap. They should have been singles. Still better than a crap gold auto, though.

As soon as more of the biggies hit, ill post more. So far, nothing new has surfaced, though more is expected.

What The UD Awards Say About Hobby Reporting

Since 2008, the hobby media has gone through MANY significant changes, especially with the advent of social media. First there was the 2008-2009 blog boom, then facebook, then twitter, all of which contributed to collectors being the most informed “generation” in sports card history. Message boards also have contributed their share of connection tools as well, mainly that there is a growing number of places where collectors can converse without leaving their house. Thanks to sites like eBay, Blowout Cards, and DA Cardworld, the internet has basically rendered the shop and show obsolete, and I am one who welcomes the digression from the norm of the last 25 years. Collectors are now tied together more readily and easily than ever before, and I love it.

Yesterday, we entered a new chapter in this ever changing saga, as Upper Deck became the first manufacturer to offer awards for excellence in these mediums. Unlike other hobby media who loathes the loss of their reporting territory and prominence, Upper Deck has chosen to embrace it. Although the idea is most definitely a publicity tool to drive people to their site, the concept reflects how social media has revolutionized the hobby’s reporting crew. Three years ago, if a anyone offered awards like this, there would only be a handful of people around to accept them, now there are thousands. Collectors are starting blogs like it’s a job, mainly because of the wonderful community that has been established by the hundreds already in existence. Twitter is catching on as well, with manufacturers starting their own pages to complement the many blogs and message boards that are already established. Through these Blogs, Twitter and Facebook, collectors no longer have to search for the info they need through pages of outdated and disconnected magazines or through posts on countless forums. Instead they can go to the Blogs or Facebook pages and see a ton of information as it becomes available.

With the recent advent of awards for best of the best, I can forsee a lot more people getting started in speaking their mind through places like Twitter and Blogs. With magazine readership dropping, people who do it for fun have become the best resource for information and commentary, as there is no ad revenue or editors to worry about. Most of the time, that leads to free roam of the hobby landscape, something that has never been offered before, ever. It also gives people the opportunity to police the douchebags, as previous hobby news sources still try to shy away from exposing the “dark side” of collecting.

For a lot of the people who casually stumble across the hobby, the mantra usually is a variance of “its just card board,” but for a lot of us, its more than that. Its something we use to better writing skills, build resumes, and most of all have fun doing. There are no limits and no censorship, and because of that fact, online collectors are quickly starting to outnumber old and stubborn curmudgeons.

I doubt the Upper Deck awards will be the last of its kind, because its obvious that its online success will produce copycats. Im fine with that as long as the contests facilitate more people take up the banner and start their own way of reporting on the hobby they love. Just because there are hundreds of blogs and message boards out there already, doesn’t mean there isnt room for you to find your niche as a new member of the online community. As I have said a hundred times before, I will not hesitate to add any new people to the sidebar and give you a link, or answer any questions you have in getting started.

Remember, if you have something to say, there will always be people willing to listen. Then, if you are fortunate enough to have great content and good readership, you now have the ability to be recognized industry wide.

More Exquisite From Upper Deck

Upper Deck recently posted more Exquisite images on their facebook page, and they continue to impress. The interesting card in this batch is the quad logo card, which I find to be something of a rarity in creation, not in circulation. See, usually, there is one or two good players on a quad and one or two duds. This one, much to my surprise, looks to have four of the better players of the class. Nice.

Here is the latest batch:

Packout Pics Round 3 – Exquisite Continues To Impress

Now that we have a better feel for what the singles look like, I think there is going to be some bigger buzz than people anticipate when this product is released. Collectors like to see what is out there in terms of chase items, though you have to have the meat to back it up. Personally, I think Exquisite is shaping up to be an incredible set for singles buyers, like myself, and I have already started saving up my money.

Here is the latest batch: