Base Card Design -
The main set of Ultimate Collection is a little confusing as the cards contain jersey pieces and autographs. The cards may initially be thought of as inserts or parallels when pulled... but no, each veteran base card has a jersey piece embedded in it and is numbered to 199. Aside from the memorabilia, the base cards carry on the traditional look of Ultimate Collection. The brand logo is in all foil in the corner, and streaks of silver foil run across the card. The player is prominently featured within the design elements and photo background. The look of these cards are definitely high-end and will be appreciated by collectors who enjoy premium card stock and a refined look.
The back of the base card has a zoomed-in version of the front photo and just a few bits of the player's bio. As you can see, the majority of the card is taken up by Upper Deck's message guaranteeing the jersey piece on the front is authentic. Premium high-end cards really don't put much emphasis on including player write-ups or stats, so I guess it's not that big of a deal. With these premium cards, everything that matters is really on the front - the serial numbering, the looks, memorabilia, auto, etc. Collectors aren't going to be using Ultimate Collection cards to gain knowledge on a player's career.
Rookie cards from Ultimate Collection retain a similar feel to the way they have always been done in this set. The rookies have hard signed cards with varying serial numbering depending on what tier a rookie is in. Top tier guys like Connor McDavid have rookie cards limited to only 99. The common rookies like the Matt Puempel I pulled are serial numbered to 299.
Base Card Design Score:
Ultimate Collection is all about the hits... even the base cards are hits! Aside from those, though, collectors can find many patch variations of cards as well as numerous cards that contain many different combinations of ink and cloth.
Paralleling the base set are cards like the Jake Virtanen I pulled. This card has a large swatch of jersey along with an on-card autograph. There have been similar cards to this in past Ultimate Collection releases. Though this card looks pretty good for what it is, Upper Deck has even nicer versions of this card available. They go from having patches that fill the window all the way to NHL shields.
This Signature Material Phenoms Card of Nick Ritchie was the thickest card in the back. It has 2 patches in it and is limited to just 10. Like all cards here the autograph is hard signed. This card is very nice looking, but I really wish the patch piece on the left was better. One color patches stand out like a sore thumb on these types of cards.
That's all I really got in my box of Ultimate Collection. Upper Deck has really loaded up Ultimate Collection with a lot of things to find. Buying this stuff by the box really isn't going to get you a true taste of everything there is to have here. You'd have to go for cases and cases of the stuff!
Overall Rating -
Giving an overall rating to products like Ultimate Collection is hard. If I had a lot of funds, I'd love to just sit down one day and break case after case of it and then oogle at all the amazing cards that came out. As it stands though, most collectors cannot even afford one box of it.
Each box/pack is a whopping $250. You really have to have some deep pockets to dip into these cards. Collectors who cannot afford to open boxes can go the route of joining in on group breaks. The potential to win big is there, but also the really big possibility of just losing your money with nothing gained... not even a jersey card.
It's easy to love the cards in Ultimate Collection, but it is a huge gamble and risk that is just too much for most collectors out there. As with all card brands in this stratospheric price range... I say just go for eBay or third party sites and buy singles. Single cards from these ultra high-priced products can go for a surprising low price.
Check out my box of Ultimate Collection here: