Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012-2013 Artifacts Review

Hockey season locked out and on-hold? That's not going to stop Artifacts from coming out! Upper Deck's popular hit-filled brand released this week. Collector's for the past few years have really taken to Artifacts. In fact, last year's Artifacts was so popular that the box price jumped up quite a bit from it's starting point of around $100 - eventually settling in at about $140 per box. Will this year's Artifacts line bring it strong again? Let's take a look a what a box yields.


Base Card Design -
I must admit that when I saw the base cards on the sell sheet, I was unimpressed. The cards looked plain, boring, and flat. In person, however, the cards shine... literally! The first thing that caught my eye about the Artifacts base card was the amount of foil used this year. Upper Deck did not hold back on the foil budget with artifacts. The entire bottom border that includes the player name, position, number, and team logo are all in spectacular silver foil. Opposite that towards the upper portion of the card is the Artifacts brand name, also in the same silver foil. It looks really good, and I have to say that this Artifacts design is the best I've seen. The icy white background only makes the use of silver foil that much more attractive. The cards have a cold and cool look. And players really pop off the card. The only complaint may be that the player's name can be a bit difficult to read as it is etched into the foil. But all-in-all, I have to give the UD designers high marks for these base cards.


The back of the Artifacts base card is top notch. The horizontal design is perfected here by using different sections to hold different elements. The introduction of the blue tones on the back add both brightness and reinforce the cold color scheme. Each card has a limited amount of statistics as well as a short write-up of the featured player.


It's looking like the goalies this year get special short printed treatment. My box contained Corey Crawford and Tim Thomas, both numbered to 999. Gone this year are the Artifacts Star cards. Good choice on eliminating those Upper Deck! I never saw a point to those cards. The designs were lackluster, they didn't go for much on the secondary market, and most importantly, collectors didn't seem to care about them whatsoever. Simply making a segment of the base set short printed is a much better idea. I'm not exactly sure why goalies were chosen as a specific group to short print... but it fine. Not a huge deal.


The rookie cards this year can also boast that they have a large amount of bling to them - just check out that huge silver foil rookie logo! Though by no means ugly or terrible, the rookie card design doesn't stand out in a way that makes you want them. And that might be appropriate as many feel this year's initial cardboard rookie crop will be lacking in big names. For some reason the design at the top of the card reminds me of the sun. Is it because these cards mark the dawn of a new hockey era for these players? Maybe I'm going a bit overboard there... I'll stop it at that.

Base Card Design Score:
9/10

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each box of Artifacts should come with three game-used memorabilia cards, an autograph, a rookie redemption card, as well as a few serial numbered inserts. It's definitely a solid combination of hits at a very nice price.


The most common type of hit in Artifacts is the dual jersey card. Collectors can find base card parallels with dual jerseys as well as themed inserts such as the venerable Treasured Swatches line. Upper Deck has done an artful job of combining the jersey pieces with solid insert design. This Lemieux card in particular is great because it fits the theme of the 12/13 Artifacts set with it's iced background and curved arch design element. I particularly like this card because it shows Super Mario in one of his old All-Star uniforms - certainly a unique picture choice.


Typical boxes of Artifacts will come with an Autofacts sticker-auto card. If not... well, that means you probably got something nicer... but the good thing this year about Autofacts is twofold. One, the cards look sweet. It's a classy design with stickers that you can hardly notice that they're there. Two, I have been informed by Upper Deck that major stars like Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, RNH, Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Roy, and Steven Stamkos are new additions to the Autofacts set this year. Pretty cool... but I wonder how hard it will be to get one of those top names.


As usual with Artifacts, parallel cards are back in full force. They can come simply like this emerald parallel to 99, or can come in a form with jersey, patches, tags, and autographs. For player collectors, Artifacts is always one of the most challenging rainbows to put together. There are just so many cards to chase! I for one know that I'll be on the hunt for many Logan Couture parallels this year.


Oh, here's a nice jersey and patch parallel of Sid-the-Kid. I'm loving the patch piece they used for this card!


Coming in at one-per-box again are the rookie redemption cards. Anyone familiar with Artifacts knows that since Artifacts usually is released before the season starts, it cannot contain rookie cards of players who have not skated yet. To solve this problem, Upper Deck has decided to insert these redemption rookie cards into the product. I have found that these cards have a marginal following - but ultimately are not the most sought after cards. It will be very interesting this year with the lock out in effect though. If the season, gasp, is cancelled, I wonder what Upper Deck will do with these cards. We'll just have to wait and see.


Some cards are tough finds in Artifacts. This dual fight strap card is one that is much more limited, and much harder to pull. Fight strap cards have been a pretty recent addition to Artifacts, only appearing in the last couple years. Though they may not have unique patch designs on them, they are a very unique part of the jersey, so collectors have generally liked finding them. They make a great addition to the memorabilia centric Artifacts set of cards.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:
8.5/10

Overall Rating -
This year's Artifacts looks as though it'll continue the trend of a quality, mid-level, hockey card line. Though it's definitely not a high-end product, the cards do not feel cheap what-so-ever. I have found that the designs are top notch. These are cards that look great and have high collectibility.

Opening up a box of Artifacts is really fun because of the great variety of things to find. Guaranteed are three memorabilia hits and one autograph. I always find myself wondering if I'll get a patch or an autograph of a great player. Though every box may not have a patch card, they are prevalent enough that the chances of pulling one is pretty high.

I can't predict if Artifacts will take off in price again this year as it did last year... but I would not hesitate to go out and purchase this product over and over and over again. Now that Artifacts has been released, the real hockey card collecting season has begun!

Overall Rating:
9/10

Check out my box of Artifacts from D&P Sports Cards:

54 comments:

  1. Sweet box love the cards
    hockeycardcollecters

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  2. Sweet box love the cards
    hockeycardcollecters

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  3. Great break, I always like Artifacts and it gives pretty good value for the buck! The Crosby is the gem of the break.

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  4. Artifacts this year really stepped it up, more low numbered hits, and the base cards look amazing, and did they lower the price on Artifacts too? I don't know, great product I can't wait to buy a box, Artifacts is one of my favorite boxes.

    Youtube- Datsyukify

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  5. very sick hits
    - seguinsupporter12

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  6. Artifacts is always a nice product, you usually get a patch and there are many low numbered stuff ex. tags, patch autos, tag autos etc. The product always rises from 95 to 145 so you better get it quick! The base always looks a little similar to the past years but they still look very nice.
    Thanks again Luke!
    -HCC

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  7. I think artifacts is a great product. Don't like how the jersey's aren't all numbered. I like how many hits you get though! Overall it's a great product! Thanks for the contest!
    -NothinButHockeyCards

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  8. love this product every year, very good boc btw!
    -nuddymud

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  9. Artifacts has got to be one of the best sets ever

    YouTube micerule934

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  10. My favourite product of the year is finally out! I have busted a box myself already and boy am I impressed. Great value in side for a lower end product. Can't wait to bust more!

    - jtgoleafs

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  12. Artifacts is amazing! I have to go and get a box before it raises in prices. 10/10 for me on the review

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  13. UD does it right with Artifacts. You do it right with excellent reviews! Nice Super Mario AS Jersey.
    YT - Skroeker24

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  14. Artifacts is the best product out there in my opinion. Its not too expensive and you get a lot of hits and inserts.

    Youtube: LIGHTman7x

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  15. Nice box love the spezza fight strap

    -XplodingmonkE11 (YouTube)

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  16. Wow, your box was amazingly good! I haven't busted this product yet, but I can't wait. Seems like a there's a patch card per box which is very alluring for collectors. I have much respect for Upper Deck since it came before Panini, and it's still going strong.

    -ryannturnaa

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  17. One of my favorite products of the year!!!!!! YouTube: Graboguru

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  18. amazing box. i gotta get a pack or box

    alstonk98

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  19. Love the product, except i am disagreeing on the design for the rookies this year, i think the colouring is a bit light!

    -BruinsMA888

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  20. youtube 3jackjohnson3

    i love how artifacts finally changed the base card design. its so good this year. artifacts is known for having cheap and ugly looking base cards. i also like how they made the team canada and goalie short printed. makes it more challenging for set builders. one thing i am still disappointed with is the autofacts set. its nearly impossible to get a decent player. almost every box you see opened contains either one of three of a scrub player that no one wants. artifacts has potential to be a stellar product with a few minor improvements

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  21. Ik not a big fan of artifacts as I am a bigger fan of more autos but great review and sweet Crosby!

    YouTube: 49ersfan619

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    Replies
    1. The product looks really cool this year but I do prefer last years design better.

      Thanks for the contests!!

      87Leafsfan

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  22. well I really like artifacts this year. They really have a great design with the arch look and the shiny rookie cards. Big hits for a reasonable price is always good in my book
    Thanks Luke
    Youtube=CanesOnTheBrains

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  23. Last year artifacts was probably my favorite product and was the only (higher end) box i bought last year... this i dont think i like it as much as last year but i still like it i am hoping to get a box soon i would give it a 8.7/10...

    Thanks for the contest Luke!

    -CalebClardy

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  24. last year i got the set of artifacts and would also like this years. great review as alwas
    youtube:multihabsfan31

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  25. Nice box, killed it. Cards look great, though I'm not feeling the Tundra Tandems, something about the way the design is divided up and the white space on the bottom 3/5 of the card bugs me - prefer last year's design for those.

    The rest is an improvement though, with the shift to a brighter colour palette and less antiquated hard edged framing.

    Dominion is next up for me, so hopefully by the time I get around to Artifacts the price doesn't shoot up.

    - reebz0r

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    Replies
    1. ps. the more I look at it, the more it has an Upper Deck Ice feel to it.

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  26. Artifact 12/13 looks amazing this year the autos are nice the yerseys are nice the base cards looks great!
    Youtube-Irbehockeycardcolect

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  27. I'm really impressed of Artifacts this year. I like the look of many of the sets, and with this Upper Deck shows that they wnat to compete with Panini agin. Especially the Autofacts-set looks really nice, probably the best design of that set ever!

    YouTube: Majlfp

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  28. Really like the look of Artifacts' designs this year!

    Youtube Username: mjhockeycards101

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  29. i usually hate artifacts but so far what i see is pretty fresh!

    youtube:hockeykid968

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  30. Great review as always! Love Artifacts this year.

    YT: SuckYourHeadphones

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  31. The base cards look a little plain but I love the short-printed goalies! Great review!

    YT: blackhawks61895

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  32. Artifacts is great as usual. Love the base design, but not a fan of the short printed goalies. I also think the rookies have the nicest look out of any year of Artifacts.

    Youtube Username: MrHockeynut77

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  33. This year's artifacts seem pretty interesting. I like the good variety they include and this is an amazing review. I will probably pick up some of this!

    YouTube: Penguins6668

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  34. Love the desighn they used probably will get a box youtube -muellerfan88

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  35. the base design is pretty good! Although i am not a huge fan of the 'old time' player hits.
    Youtube username:Mpb7771

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  36. i like it! its super clean! nice crosby btw luke! =)

    YT - canucks112785

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  37. I really like this year's Artifacts. Especially the Team Canada inserts!

    YouTube- TheEdgeHead41

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  38. Artifacts is a great product. Like all the hits, the base looks great. 9 of 10 for sure.

    YT- adlsam19dew

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  39. Artifacts gets better every year great product and nice review luke!
    My youtube is:tblightning4life

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  40. Artifacts is Awesome, Probally going to buy a box

    - Sports149

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  41. artifact is an epic product.Steven Stamkos

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  42. im not the biggest fan of this years artifacts i dont know what it is about it
    lolskateboarder

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  43. I'm really liking Artifacts this year. Nice base card designs and my favourite part of this product is probably the rookie cards, they really good. Great review Luke!
    youtube username: reimer134

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  44. This years artifacts are the best product yet (if not, maybe even the best product of the year). The base and jersey/patch cards look clean and always has the right amount of foil on them. They look better then last year. For some reason the back of the base cards remind me of the macdonald cards. Overall the product is is a score for me and is probably gonna be the BEST product of the year.

    YT: teeheekid1

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  45. Artifacts is always a solid product. My only complaint would be that the holes cut for the mem cards are a little bit too small in my oppinion.

    -danboyle13

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  46. love them wow looks great!!!!

    - cardkid34

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  47. The base look perfect, and the inserts are great as always. Great review and thanks for the contest,

    Youtube Name- Eoj18

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  48. Nice review I always loved artifacts and good to know its still good

    YouTube name- notinbutcod

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