Over the last few weeks, we have gotten more and more information on the upcoming release of Upper Deck’s Master Collection series. These products are some of the most high end sets ever to be produced, and focus on two specific players – Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. Both of these guys seem to be the only players that could support a product with this price tag, and it has to do with the sheer number of people who collect them.
Back in 2000, Upper Deck released the first Michael Jordan master collection, with a Bulls uniform and a similar price tag. Content was a bit different because of available technology, but the promise was there.
Here are some of the bigger hits:
I honestly was not aware of this being a previous release, mainly because Basketball is not my sport, but I love the idea. I have often wondered how long it would take for a mainstream company to produce a set comprised of super high end chase cards for a ridiculous price, and I am not surprised that UD was behind this original release. We had a discussion on twitter, regarding which players could honestly make for a release like this, and there just arent many. Lebron, Kobe, Walter Payton, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, could all do it with a lesser price tag, but this is rare company.
The Jordan set singles have started to pop up already, and some of them are definitely head turners:
Tiger Woods is one of those outside the box type of guys, as his signatures are easily on the level of a Jordan, only because there arent as many of them. He has had autos before, and they have sold ridiculously well, but he has only been a part of three real high end sets. The first was 2008 Exquisite Football, the second was Exquisite Basketball at the end of its run, and also made an appearance in the Cup a few years ago.
Realistically, its going to take an auto price of 600-800 per card of sustained value to make this work. Outside of that, the company cant sustain a $3000 box price. Upper Deck knows that Jordan’s player collectors are about as rabid as they come, and the international market is sick with Jordan insanity. This isnt a Bulls product, which reduces the potential slightly, but it makes up for it in content from what the previews show. There are also dual autos that should help get people fired up – including the Ali/Jordan booklet that I found to be a great pairing.
Topps has tried to do player specific box content in the latter part of the 2000s with Sterling, and even though I REALLY hated the design and the Triple Threads style approach, the product was extremely popular. The issue is that with Football, each product has to have some level of Rookie themed content, which hamstrings the ability to put together a product like this in a football arena. It would have been cool to have an on card product that features player specific boxes from Luck, Griffin, Wilson, Peterson, Rodgers, Brady, Manning, Emmitt, Montana, etc, but it is severely diminished when stickers are applied, and the cards look like crap. It has to look like Exquisite for it to be relevant, and that is where Upper Deck has this market cornered.
One day, we are going to have Topps Diamond Edition, where every card is a 1/1, and features a logo, or some crazy patch in every example from the set. It might only appeal to a very small portion of collectors, but man, the possibilities are crazy and exciting.