Sunday, April 23, 2017

Retail Review #253 (14/15 Fleer Ultra)

I opened up a hobby box of Fleer Showcase not too long ago. That product had insert cards from Fleer Ultra. Ultra was a set hockey collectors were very familiar with in the 90's and 2000's. In 2014, Upper Deck released a version of Fleer Ultra in hopes to resurrect the brand. It didn't really work. The product was pretty lackluster with a weak design and hardly any hits. Why buy this now? That's a good question.

Price - 

Packs - 8
8 x 14/15 Fleer Ultra Blaster Packs

I really wanted Upper Deck to do a great job with Ultra. Having been such a long running brand, there was a lot of content for Upper Deck to use and employ. Sadly, they didn't do a good job of it and the release turned out to be a complete dud.

Thankfully, this blaster didn't cost me too much. There are a few cool looking inserts that are possible to find here. I guess if you're really lucky there is a very small chance of getting a hit. There's so much Upper Deck could have done here. It's a shame that this is how it turned out.

Let's cross the fingers and open up this blaster of Fleer Ultra:

Review -
Wow, just wow. Good thing this blaster was under $5 because it was filled with nothing to really write home about. The only things of note here were the two gold medallion parallel cards. But I didn't include them in the top three because the players didn't speak to me. I really had to scrap to find anything I even liked here.Thankfully there a few SJ Sharks cards in the mix. But that just reminds me of the team getting bounced from the playoffs last night. So overall not a good experience this time!

Is there really a top three?

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Tomas Hertl Card No. 155
I got for Sharks cards in this blaster box. The fourth was Antti Niemi, who isn't on the team anymore so I went with Hertl in the third spot. I wonder if he's already peaked. It'd be awfully hard to repeat his amazing goal scoring ability from his early seasons.

#2 - Marc-Edouard Vlasic Card No. 156
Vlasic has been solid for the Sharks for such a long time. It's too bad that defensemen aren't valued much in terms of the hobby. If they were, I'm sure Vlasic would have some increased value on the market.

#1 - Logan Couture Card No. 159
Of course I had to put Couture at the one spot. It was amazing that he even played in the playoff series against the Oilers with his horrific facial injury. It just shows how dedicated he is to the game.

Overall Value -
Though I did like getting a few Sharks cards int this blaster, this was a very terrible blaster. The gold parallels weren't good and there just wasn't anything exciting about this break at all. I wouldn't recommend 14/15 Ultra to anyone. The content is weak and the cards just aren't that great looking. You can pass on this and move along.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Retail Review #252 (11/12 Panini Pinnacle)

I know I've opened these blasters before, it's just it's been so long I've totally forgotten about them. 2010/11 Pinnacle has been a very popular break for me, so why can't 2011/12? I'm excited about this blaster because it straight up says that there is a guaranteed memorabilia or autographed card in the blaster. I can't wait to see what it is!

Price - 

Packs - 8
11/12 Pinnacle Packs

This blaster box design is a bit more subtle than the bold black and yellow packaging of the year before. Panini toned it down quite a bit, but it does still look very good. I think it gains a bit of class in the design approach for the box. I like the white scheme. It goes well with hockey and the yellow secondary colors still connect it to the Pinnacle brand.

Similarly to last year, collectors get a good number of cards in this break. I'm expecting not only a hit, but at least a few inserts and parallel cards as well. Pinnacle has always had a nice mixture of both. At under $12, this blaster was a great deal. I will have to pick up some more soon!

I'll go ahead and open this blaster to see what's inside:

Review -
This blaster was just as good of a break when compared to its release the year before. The first thing I noticed about the packs was that they were all relatively thick. Panini really jammed a whole bunch of cards into each pack. Though all the packs were thick, I could still tell which pack had the memorabilia card in it. That particular pack was bulgy and tight - as if one of the cards contained inside were thicker than the others.

The cards themselves are very nice - especially the photos. Panini did a great job with Pinnacle in this way. Also awesome were the inclusion of the Nufex foil cards. These foil cards don't just have a foil sheen, but a textured look that is very unique. I pulled two Nufex cards in the blaster as well as some other inserts.

These were my favorite three cards from the break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Toews/Kruger Card No. 2
Card companies like to put young newcomers with veterans, and this Foundation card is a good example of that. You have an established star like Jonathan Toews alongside Marcus Kruger. 

#2 - Dustin Byfuglien Card No. 7
This is my favorite looking card out of the break. The name of the card is difficult to make out, but I believe it says Revolution. This card reminds me of something out of the 90's. It's a fun look that I wish were done more today.

#1 - Jeff Carter Card No. 13
The hit out of the blaster was this Jeff Carter jersey card. I'm no Jeff Carter fan, but I am a fan of getting hits! So that was the number one card out of my break. Sadly, this card wasn't serial numbered like the jersey cards that were inserted in 10/11 Pinnacle.

Overall Value -
I'm just a big fan of Pinnacle at the retail level. It gives collectors great cards to look at, nice looking inserts and parallels, and it also gives out a hit! I certainly recommend it to anybody looking for a nice break at a good price. I'm going to try and open up another blaster of this real soon!

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2016-2017 Upper Deck Ice Review

I am a big fan of Ice for a couple reasons. One, it's always a very slick, good looking set. Two, it contains rookie cards without an autograph or memorabilia on it that can still be worth A LOT if you are lucky enough to pull one. Ice is one of the most unique sets that Upper Deck produces and is a collector favorite. It was discontinued for a few years, but has returned to the delight of hockey collectors.

Base Card Design -
Ice base cards are all done on acetate. This has been the trend for the set these past few years. The cards are well done and the acetate design fits with hockey very well. The clear part of the card reminds collectors of the elemental nature of ice. The bottom half of the card has a white/blue design that further emphasizes this. Each card is also adorned with silver foil that highlights the Ice logo, Upper Deck logo, and player name. The player image is large and fills up a good portion of the card. Overall the Ice cards have a classy and clean look that collectors will enjoy.

As nice as the acetate looks for the frontal design of the base cards, it's always a problem of the back as it limits the space for Upper Deck to print on. All of the necessary information is located at the very bottom of the card. There is only one line of statistics that gives the previous seasons totals as well as a career total. And I'm not sure if it's just me, but I feel like the card numbers on the back look generic or out of place in a way.

The Ice Premier rookie cards are one of the biggest draws in Ice. Well... as long as you pull on numbered to 99. Those particular cards are worth their weight in gold! Getting those top tier rookie cards is pretty rare though. I have actually never pulled a 99 rookie myself. The rookie cards this year adds some foil to the borders of the card and has more of an ice look behind the player. These Ice Premiers don't stand out too much. In fact, they could be mistaken for base cards in my opinion. This year's design isn't on par with what they had been in the past. Of course that won't affect the values too much, but I would have liked a better looking card.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Boxes of Ice only contain six packs... and there are only 4 cards per pack, so you don't get a ton of cards here. The cards are of high quality, though, and you are guaranteed 1 hard-signed autograph and 1 memorabilia or Exquisite card per box. You can also expect 2 Ice Premier rookies as well.

I got two Sub Zero insert cards in my box of Ice. One was of legend Mark Messier, and the other was a Rookie Sub Zero card of Anthony Mantha. It was cool that Upper Deck put actual insert cards in the product to vary up the set a bit. Sometimes I feel as though inserts cards have gone the way of the dinosaur. These insert cards are nice in that the player image is large and the acetate as a rainbow look to it.

My box came with a memorabilia card rather than an Exquisite card. It's a small swatch jersey card in which the memorabilia piece came from a rookie photoshoot. It certainly isn't the best memorabilia card to get. It's actually one of the worst to get as Ice does contain some very nice patch cards. In terms of the card's look though, it's a nice looking card. I like the colors of the card, and the orange swatch definitely makes the card pop a little.

The best card of the box was the autographed card. It is a hard-signed Aaron Ekblad Glacial Graphs card. The Glacial Graph is very dark with a signature done in gold ink. That really made the autograph stand out quite a bit. The card is also numbered to only 25, so there aren't many copies of this card! My only complaint of this card is that the back of the card does show through to the front on the player image. That messes up the sweet look of it somewhat.

Thankfully, I got everything that was guaranteed in this box, unlike when I opened up a box of SPx earlier this year. There are some really awesome cards to be found in boxes of Ice. Most of those cards are pretty difficult pulls though. I'm sure you'll see those come up on the secondary market for a good chunk of change really soon.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
For about a hundred dollars you get a pretty nice stack of high quality, well-made, hockey cards. Ice is a great looking set with some real potential to pull something worth a high amount. I really enjoyed my break of Ice. If I had to pick a recent product to buy more of... it'd probably be this one. Ice does a good job with its cards and I think this set will be popular with collectors.

Getting 2 hits and 2 rookie cards per box is pretty good for the current state of the hobby. Unlike many other products out there, there is a chance to pull one of the best rookie cards of the top rookies in the game today.

I'd recommend Ice as it is both a good looking set and a set that you can find great cards. Upper Deck has a solid product here!

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of Ice:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Retail Review #251 (93/94 Upper Deck Series Two Jumbo Box)

Every so often I like to take things back a bit, and today is one of those times! This box of jumbo packs is over 20 years old! Crazy! It's an old box of Upper Deck Series Two. I remember buying these packs when I was younger. This set was actually one of the sets that got me into hockey card collecting. It should be a really fun break!

Price - 

Packs -
93/94 Series 2 Jumbo Packs

Boy has the price of these packs gone down! I'm pretty sure these jumbos were around $5 a pop when they were new. Now they you can get the whole box for less than three packs back then. Inflation? Hah! Of course, they did print a zillion of these cards so no wonder they are so easy to find and so cheap to buy.

Each pack has 18 cards in it. Back then the set was very large, so getting a complete set was a challenge. There are no hits to be found in this box, but you can find inserts and subset cards. I used to LOVE the Silver Skate inserts. Are those even an option to pull out of a jumbo pack? I'm not sure, but we'll find out soon.

These cards are finally seeing the light of day in over two decades:

Review -
Like man old school retro breaks, this break took quite a bit longer than the usual blaster. When you bought a box of cards in the 90's, you had to be ready to sit down and sift through a lot of cardboard. Being so old, the gloss that was on these cards stuck together. It made going through these cards rather difficult. I just opened the packs as best I could and saved the tedious job of pulling them apart for later.

I was pleasantly surprised that I got 2 Upper Deck SP cards per jumbo pack. This was a set of cards that I adored. It's still one of my all-time favorite sets. They are colorful with beautiful photos. To this day Upper Deck still releases cards based on this design.

The Wold Junior Championship cards brought a little something different to the table. I enjoyed their full bleed look, it's just too bad not too many of them were very good.

Sadly, there was no Silver Skate insert card in this box. I would have loved to get one, but I'm ok with not receiving one, maybe they just weren't packed into the jumbos.

Here are my top three cards out of this old Upper Deck box:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Jeff Friesen Card No. 532
I guess I have a thing for Sharks players with the number 39. Jeff Friesen was a Shark with that number and so is Logan Couture. I had a little collection of Friesen cards as a kid. It's funny to see this card out of the box today and be reminded of him.

#2 - Alexander Mogilny Card No. 488
Alexander Mogilny was a favorite player of mine because of his amazing ability on the old NHL '93 video game for the Sega Genesis. I loved playing with the Sabres and he was one of the best players in the game.

#1 - Patrick Roy Card No. 81
One of the best goalies of all-time on a great looking card. This was always one of my favorite cards from the SP set. I had a few of these as a kid. It's funny to get to pull this card again so many years later.

Overall Value -
For just under $11 you get a nice trip down memory lane. The cards from this era still look very good. It's just too bad they didn't have hits back then. I would say the designs rival that of cards today. The simplicity and elegance of the cards cannot be denied. A modern collector might not fully appreciate this break, but I certainly did. It was a lot of fun and was glad to see this set once again.

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Retail Review #250 (2014 Goodwin Champions)

I did pretty well with my last blaster of Goodwin Champions so I'm encouraged as I give another box a try. My last blaster had a jersey card of Igor Larionov in it. I was really excited to get that! Chances are I won't be so lucky again, but let's give it a go anyways!

Price - 

Packs - 12
Goodwin Champions Blaster Packs

I'm always hopeful when I break a blaster of Goodwin Champions because the kind of inserts and hits you can find can be very, very good. Goodwin has cards from just about every sport - including hockey - so it's a fun buy. I tend to focus the money I have in hockey, I don't often get a chance to open packs with players from other sports. Goodwin gives me that opportunity while still having hockey players in it.

As a bonus to all of this, Goodwin cards look really great to me. I love the artistic renditions of the players depicted on the cards. I find the pictures to be unique takes on the player's personality. It's just a lot of fun to go through a blaster of Goodwin Champions. If you haven't gotten one before, I'd definitely recommend it.

Let's break this blaster open and find out what's inside:

Review -
This blaster was a ton of fun to break. I loved looking at all the cards. With 12 packs per blaster, there was plenty to see. In the blaster I got quite a few mini cards. Some years give you 6 minis per blaster but this one guarantees you 10. I counted only 9 minis in this box, but I did get a hit so I'm not too worried about it.

As you could see in the break there was a wide variety of different sports as well as history portrayed on the cards. I find it really fun to read about people who I don't know too much about or who I've never heard of before. It definitely widens my perspective on the greater sports world.

Here were my favorite three cards from this break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Bobby Hull Card No. 12
I just really like this card because it shows Bobby Hull with all his missing front teeth. This is such a normal thing for a gritty old school hockey player like Bobby Hull. 

#2 - Bobby Clarke Card No. 111
I got a bunch of mini cards but I really liked this one of Bobby Clarke. Like Bobby Hull, Clarke is an NHL legend, and it's always fun for me to get cool cards of NHL greats.

#1 - Earl Campbell Card No. M-EC
My hit this time wasn't of a hockey player, but I'm still very glad to pull it. Earl Campbell is a retired star from football. I've heard of Earl Campbell before and have seen people pull his cards. This is my first nice pull of his and it makes me want to check out his accomplishments on the field.

Overall Value -
For under ten bucks this was a stellar value. It was awesome to get a whole bunch of mini cards and even more awesome to pull a hit of a great player. I would say not to overlook Goodwin Champions when you see it at the store (retail or hobby). It's a great set of cards and worth your time to check out. Get some of it if you see it for a good deal!

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2016-2017 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Review

Upper Deck continues to fire up the card making machine with their release of 16/17 OPC Platinum. This brand has been around for a couple years now, but the concept of a premium version of a basic set has been around for much longer. These type of sets usually focus a lot of parallel versions of cards in a chrome format. Let's see what this one delivers.

Base Card Design -
The OPC Platinum base cards come on nice chrome cardstock. The design of the cards mimic the 16/17 O-Pee-Chee standard release from the beginning of the hockey card collecting season. The cards look very nice in chrome and have a clean look that is quite attractive. Each card has a nice feel and weight to them that give them a premium quality. The only concern I have about these cards is that they tend to bow. This problem is not something unique to this set, but really to all chrome sets like it.

The back of the OPC Platinum have a nice glossy finish rather than a cardboard one. The bright backs are nice in that all the text is easily read. Like the front, these backs are very clean looking. The fact that there is a nice color photo on the back elevates the card back as well.

The Marquee Rookies share a similar design to the standard base save for the bright 'Marquee Rookie' logo on the right border of the card. This is great as it gives you no doubt that you are getting a rookie card of the player on the front. The back of the card also states that the card is a rookie card.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Though boxes of OPC Platinum have 20 packs, there is only one hit to be found. That being said, the hit is a hard-signed autograph - so that's pretty good. The rest of the packs will have a variety of parallel and insert cards.

Here's an Ice Blue Traxx parallel card of Nathan MacKinnon. These parallels look good, but have been done before. I would have liked to have seen something different, but for people who enjoy this look, I guess they can be happy with it! In my video I couldn't find the name of the parallel on the back of the card, but that was my mistake, the parallel name is located towards the bottom of the card.

The OPC Retro cards can also be found in this set... and in many flavors! There is the standard chrome look, but also a good number of parallel versions. The Ekblad shown above is the gold rainbow foil variation numbered to 149. These cards have a lot of visual appeal as the rainbow foil stand out on its generous borders.

I was surprised to find so many die-cut inserts in OPC Platinum. I guess since there is no memorabilia to be found, Upper Deck had to fill in with something else. Die cut cards can be fun, but I really like them best when the die-cut makes sense. This card of Henrik Lundqvist has some nice detailed cuts, but there really isn't a reason why it should be die-cut.

Here's yet another die-cut card from my box. The one is of Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. These cards are named NHL Logo Crest so the die-cut here makes a little more sense as the cut is like the crest on a players jersey... kind of. Though it may be a little iffy, I think this particular card looks fine.

My favorite of the die-cuts was this Puck Personas card. The cut on this card is rather extreme and leaves only a small portion of an actual card left! That being said, it is shaped like a puck and looks cool to me. Getting an autographed version of one of these would be fun in that it would be very similar to an autographed puck.

I've covered most of the things you can find in OPC Platinum in this review. In terms of hits, they are just parallel cards of the existing base, rookies, and inserts. Like I mentioned before, these cards are hard-signed, which is a good selling point for them.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
OPC Platinum won't break the bank, but can provide collectors with some very solid value. Finding a rare parallel card with a very low serial number will probably be worth more than 'just a jersey card'. I like that Upper Deck has put in hard-signed autographs to give OPC Platinum a little more excitement. Just having rare inserts in a product just doesn't cut it anymore.

Though a very good product, OPC Platinum isn't going to be a huge wow factor for the general collector community. If hockey collectors began embracing parallel cards more this set would be all the more intriguing.

If you are like me and just like giving new things a try, OPC Platinum is a serviceable product to hold you over until the next card release.

Overall Score:

Check out my box of OPC Platinum here:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Retail Review #249 (14/15 Upper Deck Series One)

This morning I'm going with a blaster of Upper Deck from 14/15. I'll be looking for some fun inserts and a couple of Young Gun rookie cards in this box. There is no guarantee of a hit in these, but the quality you find in Upper Deck Series One is always rock solid. It's a product that just about anyone can enjoy.

Price - 

Packs - 12
12 x 14/15 UD Series One Blaster Packs

Upper Deck Series One is one of the most anticipated products to come out during the hockey season. Upper Deck must make an absolute ton of this stuff, but the cards hold their values well - especially the rookie cards. A player's Young Gun rookie card can be the most desired card of that player.

14/15 was a good year for Upper Deck Series One. It had a very nice design overall with the YGs having a clean and crisp look. The cards are nice to look at and collect. 

Let's see what I get out of this blaster:

Review -
This particular box was very nice. I was able to pull a couple of good Young Gun cards as well as 2 other insert cards. Opening this blaster I have to say that the photography from this year definitely stands out. There are so many great images that made me stop and just look at the cards. I think it's very impressive when a card set can do that. I really enjoyed this break and am glad I was able to find value in it eve though there was no jersey or autographed card in the box.

Here's the top three from today's break:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Martin Brodeur Card No. HH70
Hockey Heroes are not my favorite card, but I do applaud Upper Deck for creating a set that has spanned many Upper Deck sets throughout the years. It was astonishing to see that this card was number 70... I wonder who has been collecting all of them! 

#2 - Ryan Strome Card No. C55
This year's Canvas cards set has a classy look with strong alternate images to the standard base set. Recently I have been disappointed in some of UDs card designs. I hope that they can get some of their mojo in next seasons release.

#1 - Aaron Ekblad Card No. 225
Ekblad was a stand out rookie in 14/15 and had a good standing in the collector community. I was definitely happy to find his Young Gun in the packs that I got within the blaster today. This card sells for a decent amount on the secondary market.

Overall Value -
14/15 was a very good year for Upper Deck. I would definitely recommend this year's set if you're looking for great looking cards. There is always a lot to like when it comes to Upper Deck Series One, so if you can find some at a good price don't hesitate to pick it up!

Let me know what you thought of my break in the comment section below. Have you ever pulled anything good out of one of these? I'd love to hear about it.

Overall Value Score:

Look for a new episode of Retail Review every Sunday!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Retail Review #248 (12/13 Upper Deck Artifacts)

Have I even opened up a blaster of 12/13 Artifacts on Retail Review before? I've done a lot of Retail Review episodes, but this might be a first! Well, if not a first, then a rare opening at least. This morning I'm going to open up a blaster of 12/13 Artifacts and see if anything at all will come out of this box. Wish me luck!

Price - 

Packs - 8
12/13 Upper Deck Artifacts Blaster Packs

Artifacts blasters have never been kind to me. And I don't think I'm alone in that sentiment. It is very difficult to pull anything out of one save for a colored serial numbered card. I will say, however, that the base cards are of a nice quality. And there was a time when having base cards being nice might have been enough. But in an age with hits and inserts being so common, base cards have become less than common. They have really been relegated to 'throw-away' status - which I find sad. If they weren't in such a state, the Artifacts base might actually be kind of good considering how well done they usually are.

Let's open up this blaster and see what comes out:

Review -
OMG! This blaster was even worse than I could have imagined... well... I guess except for maybe getting damaged cards out of a box. There were absolutely nothing but base cards in here! That was a HUGE disappointment. Like I mentioned before, these base cards are great looking cards... but to only get base cards in a modern era box is really just not acceptable anymore. There has to be something to find when buying a blaster nowadays. Especially with a name like Artifacts, you've gotta give out something. Panini had at least a relic card in their blasters of Pinnacle, and they were the same price! Wow, just wow.

Top three? Well, there has to be three every week so here goes:

Top 3 Cards

#3 - Doug Wilson Card No. 21
I always like getting cards of retro players because I think the older look of the player images looks cool with the new designs. I chose Doug Wilson in this case because its fun to get cards of your team's GM! I just wish he had more cards with him in a Sharks jersey.

#2 - John Tavares Card No. 42
JT will also be a good pull for me because he was the hottest rookie when I got back into collecting hockey cards in 2009. He has had a great career thus far though the Islanders still haven't really done much. Hopefully he will continue to be a great player for years to come.

#1 - Larry Robinson Card No. 49
Larry Robinson is an NHL legend, and he looks really cool with his old school orange NHL all-star jersey on. Again, I like this card because of the contrast between the old school look with the new school design.

Overall Value -
For the ten bucks I paid for this box, it wasn't worth it. At all. It is really a terrible feeling to open pack after pack and only get base cards. I would be even more upset had I gotten this at its full suggested retail price. Avoid getting Artifacts if at all possible! It's nothing like the hobby version. Sure, base cards look nice... but they are base cards!

Let me know what you thought of my 12/13 Artifacts blaster box down in the comments below. Have you ever gotten anything good from a Certified blaster? I'd love to know!

Overall Value Score:

Every Sunday look out for another exciting installment of Retail Review

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2016-2017 Upper Deck Fleer Showcase Review

Upper Deck releases Fleer Showcase today, and its a set full of nostalgia. They have crammed in memorable inserts and card types from Fleer, Skybox, Ultra, and more. For fans of these cards, it's a pretty cool walk down memory lane. Collectors unfamiliar with cards from that era can still enjoy the sweet and colorful designs that made them so popular with collectors back in the day.

Base Card Design -
The base cards in Fleer Showcase are not my cup of tea. They remind me of a slightly duller version of older Ultra Gold Medallion parallel cards - which I didn't like. The copper/gold background just doesn't look good with hockey. I really wished Upper Deck chose a different brand like Skybox or Fleer to create base cards from. The Showcase base design is just unpleasing. From the scan above, you may think it is covered in gold foil, but in looking at it in-hand, the card is really flat without much texturing to enhance it. There really isn't much to like with this design. This is not a base set I would consider trying to complete.

The back of the base card is quite nice compared to the front. There are multiple design elements incorporated here. I especially like the graphical frame used for the player photo. The entire back, in fact, is very thoughtfully put together. Rarely do I like the back of the card more than the front, but this is a case in which that is true.

The rookies in Fleer Showcase are called Hot Prospects. There are a variety of different rookie card types to be found in the main set. Some feature multiple players, some feature autographs, and some don't. The bigger name rookies will likely be found in the autograph crop. Lower level rookies like the Nikita Tryamkin I pulled are numbered to 499. Rookies like Patrik Laine and Mitch Marner are numbered to less than that. They are numbered 299 and 99 respectively. The Tryamkin I pulled was a sticker auto, but the sticker has been applied very nicely as the sticker blends well with the card making it look like a hand-signed card.

Base Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Boxes of Fleer Showcase come with 18 packs with 5 cards per. In the box you are guaranteed one autographed card and a whole bunch of insert from Fleer brands of old. Boxes of Showcase are well under a hundred dollars. So if you're looking to get more cards for your buck, this would be a nice choice.

I received a few of these Red Glow parallel cards in my box. Like its name suggests, there is a red theme to the card. Replacing the hideous gold color is this matte red color. It doesn't glow... but these cards are a lot better looking than the base cards. These parallels make me wish that Upper Deck had gone with just about any other color than the gold they chose. Red Glow cards aren't too hard to find, there is a rarer parallel called White Hot that also exists. White Hot cards are numbered to just 25.

The card that stood out to me the most was this EX2017 insert card. It is meant to be like the EX2000 cards from the past. Upper Deck did a very nice job on replicating the card, though this feels thinner and flimsier than the originals. The foil really makes the card pop, and the see through background behind the player is pretty cool to see in person. Though its a repeat of an older product, I'm glad to see cards like this back in packs.

Another insert from yesteryear is this Scoring King card I pulled. It's tough to tell in the scan, but there is lightning in the background of this all foil card. In person, this card looks very nice - again, not quite the quality of the original versions, but a good attempt still. I got a couple of these cards in my box so they are not rare, but I chose to show off this Messier because I like seeing the Lady Liberty Rangers jersey back on cardboard. Those era of jerseys were not well liked... but everything old can be new (and popular) again!

Continuing on with the retro goodness are Flair Showcase inserts. Flair Showcase was a super premium card set on very thick card stock. Each card was fully foiled and looked stunning. I remember buying each pack that looked like a cigarette box. They were a thrill to open. The card above is Blue Ice parallel numbered to 199. It's a very good looking card with the foil having a sparkle to it.

From Fleer Ultra we have Fleer Ultra Rookies. I guess this is just a way to add more rookie content to the set already full of rookie content. Because this card isn't foiled, it does seem a bit lackluster in comparison to the other cards. It does, however, feature serial numbering to 599. Medallion variations of this set are also available either numbered to 99 or just 25.

A hugely popular set (especially in basketball) was Fleer Metal. These cards were a little like Black Diamond in that they were thin cards that featured radical foil designs. The design of these cards is definitely busy and has a good look to it. I'm not jumping out of my chair, but I'd have to say these cards are well-done. The Fleer Metal cards I got in my box all featured the same design. I think it would have been better if they really went for it and gave individual Metal cards different designs. But that would have probably been too much work for a set like this.

I did end up getting a Precious Metal Gen, or PMG, in my box. It's just a red numbered to 150. This card looks very nice though as the foil has a special shimmer to it. I'm sure all the PMGs do this. I definitely wouldn't mind having more of these, but they may be hard to find and afford as PMGs can sometimes take off in value. If you're interested in why these PMGs are so popular, go onto eBay and see the prices for some of the original PMGs. They can be insane!

I thought my box gave me a nice variety of cards, but there is so much more to find in Showcase. One card I wish I pulled was a Hot Glove insert. I'm sure they are not like the thick originals, but I think getting one of those die-cut cards would have been fun. Upper Deck has also put in buyback original Fleer Ultra cards. I really want the Pat Lafontaine buyback! I saw one on eBay but the asking price is way too high! Maybe I'll wait till it drops.

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Score -
I wasn't sure what to expect when Fleer Showcase came out today. The past few years have had it spit out patch autos at a one-per-box rate. This year Upper Deck has held back on those and featured non-hit insert cards much more prominently. I actually like the change quite a bit. I really love the older insert designs and brands. Hopefully the PMGs will be popular enough that people will want to buy more and more of this product. I think PMGs should be valued at higher prices than they are currently.

For hit collectors, this may be a tough buy because you only find one autograph per box. It may not be enough to satisfy those folks. For me, I thought that was ok because at least UD guaranteed me something along with all those insert cards.

I really enjoyed Fleer Showcase. There are really great looking cards in this set (besides the ugly base cards) that I hope can raise in value. The days of the high dollar insert card may be over... but that could just be for now.

I'm happy with how Fleer Showcase came out. I certainly recommend a box just for the pure joy of it. There's a lot of fun to be had with Showcase and I'm glad UD did it the way they did.

Overall Rating:

Check out my box of Fleer Showcase: