Base Card Design -
The Ultimate Collection base cards are more ornate than they have been in the past. It seems as though the graphics this time around are busier. The design of the card certainly centers your attention to the player, but I also feel that it confines the player a bit too much as well. Overall I find the card to be a bit distracting. Even the nice Ultimate Collection logo gets a bit lost on the card. Each base card is serial numbered to 499.
The back of the base cards are much more subtle than their fronts... maybe even too subtle. All the necessary information is there along with a short write-up, but there is nothing on the back that is particularly exciting or interesting.
Non-autographed rookie cards have a similar design to the base cards, but the blue and silver color scheme works a whole lot better. These cards are bright and vibrant - somehow with this color combination the cards open up a bit more and become much more pleasing to the eye. These Ultimate Rookies have their own logo in foil and also feature serial numbering.
Autographed versions of the Ultimate Rookies can also be found in the product. Again, there is a similar design here but with a different main color scheme - in this case - gold. The autograph is on-card, which is a great thing for such a high-end product. I think the blue design looks the best, but this one certainly comes in second.
Base Card Design Score:
Each box/pack of Ultimate Collection will yield two hits. Often times collectors will find one autographed card and one memorabilia card. I've seen packs with two autographs, but those seem to be a bit more uncommon.
My autograph hit was a rookie card (which is pretty typical), but my memorabilia card was this pretty sweet patch of Alex Galchenyuk. This card is a Debut Threads Ultimate Patch, and I've got to say that it is a very nice chunk of material. The card looks great because of the quality of the patch. If it were a one color, center of the number job, it definitely wouldn't be as nice though. The card is numbered to 100, which I think is quite high. The back states that the patch is event-worn... so that's a bit of a bummer.
Ultimate Collection has a ton of different hits to find within it. Since I opened just one pack, there wasn't much to see. But rest assured that Ultimate Collection has plenty of variety. There are multi-memorabilia cards, throwback autographs, as well as NHL Shields to pull.
Overall Rating -
So do I recommend Ultimate Collection this year? I actually find it hard to recommend unless you're a collector with very deep pockets. I've seen so many packs opened with a mediocre rookie autograph and a jersey card of some type. And that person just paid a hundred dollars for it! The typical break of Ultimate Collection will not get you anywhere near your money's worth - even if you pull a decent auto or patch card.
I really like the Galchenyuk patch I got, but I could have gotten my entire pack for much less than $100 on the secondary market.
If you're going to break Ultimate Collection, I'd say break a case of it. Then at least you're guaranteed to get a few stellar cards for your money. Box by box of Ultimate is a very risky proposition.
Check out my box of Ultimate Collection from D&P Sports Cards: