Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013-2014 ITG Decades The 90s Review

ITG has made their way through the decades of hockey these past few years. They started in the 70's with their 1972: The Year in Hockey release, then they came out with Decades - 1980's, and have recently just released their trip back to the 90's with Decades the 90s. The 90's was a great decade, and many collectors remember it fondly. I myself got into hockey in the 90's! It should be pretty cool to see all the players I remember as a young hockey fan in this new set of cards from ITG.

Base Card Design -
The Decades 90s base cards come on medium foilboard card stock. The foil that ITG uses is reflective of light, but doesn't have the rainbow refracting effect that other companies like to use. Perhaps it was a nod to the 90's, when foil cards were a bit simpler... but then... Topps had their refractor cards already... so I guess that theory goes out the window! But these cards do have that 90's sort of look. The patterns and graphics employed do scream 'third-rate' 90's cards. For me, if this design was intended to be a bit cheeky, then I think this set wins. It's definitely throwing out a stereotypical 90's look. If it's supposed to be an elegantly designed 90's throwback, it misses the mark. I'm just going to assume that ITG was going for something more fun and cheeky... so in that case, it works! A funny design that pokes a little fun at how some used to make things look 20 years ago (WOW, can you believe the 90's were 20 years ago?!?!). The Lidstrom card above is from the International subset that makes up the first portion of the set. It looks just like all the other base cards save for the special International logo at the top and the year displayed above the player name.

The International card backs do not include statistics, but rather a write up of the player featured. All the backs are black and white except for the ITG logo (which has a bit of red). As usual, ITG does a wonderful job of giving collectors a nice write-up, but with little else to fire up the senses in terms of design. Standard base cards have a bit of a smaller font, but includes a career statistics bar and the player's vital information.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
Each pack/box of Decades the 90s comes with six hits. Collectors can look forward to getting three autographs and three game-used cards. The exciting thing with ITG is that all the memorabilia included should be game-used... none of that fuddy-duddy event-worn stuff! And autographs are on-card in this product! That's really awesome! Two non-hit insert cards round out the pack.

'Rookie' insert cards are non-hit inserts that celebrate players who had their rookie season in the 90's. Though the card have very little visual appeal to me, I do appreciate the game-date included on the front. The date is special in that it tells collectors the exact day that the player had his first NHL game. So for the card above, we can see that Chris Osgood made his first appearance on October 15, 1993. It's a small thing to add, but pretty significant I'd say. The back of the card goes into further detail about how Osgood came into the NHL and some tidbits on his games later that season. Great information on a card that could have looked much better. How about make a card that actually looks like it was designed in the 90's? Like a re-imagined rookie card. I'd like something like that!

Mask themed cards have always been popular, but the cards that come out of Decades the 90s fall flat in terms of their design. Like the rookie inserts, these just come off uninspired with no fun, glam, or glitz to them. If these mask cards even came half as close to how their foil goalie inserts looked in Between the Pipes, I think ITG would have an insert set that goalie collectors would love. I could really do without these cards as there are much better choices out there for goalie mask cardboard.

The standard jersey card from Decades the 90's comes on a very spartan, minimalistic card design. It's very simple... and it works well. I hesitate to call this a 90's style design, it actually feels more retro than 90's. But I won't complain too much as the card is well done. The 'borders' are so thick that I don't think you can say that this card has borders. It's more that the inner design is laying on a bed of white backing. The jersey size (relatively generous) matches the photo size and they stand one on top of another in the center of the card. Great design elements and choices. I have to say this is one of ITG's better looking standard jersey cards.

This Tom Barrasso jersey card is a part of the ITG Between the Pipes goalie line-up of cards. To me, the design is not as strong here as with the standard game-used jersey. I think it's the background that gets in the way of making this design stand out. If that blueish backing behind Barasso was gone and turned to white, this card (to me) would be so much better. It would mirror that standard jersey more closely and give these jerseys some continuity within the product. Aside from that, I am loving the fact that ITG boldly says that the piece of jersey included within the card is from a game-used Tom Barasso Pittsburgh Penguins jersey. Huge props for ITG being very specific and clear about what is on the card.

I'm typically not a huge fan of multi-swatch jersey cards, but the one I got today in my box of Decades the 90s was my favorite pull of the day. First off, the card features some great players... but secondly, the card has a very specific theme that makes it relevant. And the theme is stated clearly on the card! Thirdly, the card looks very good. I'm a huge fan of how this quad jersey is presented. The design is similar to the standard single jersey in many ways. And of course, the back states exactly where each swatch came from. Roy and Sakic from Avalanche jerseys, and Vanbiesbrouck and Laus both from Panthers jerseys. Collectors should find one quad memorabilia card per box.

ITG has typically done sticker autographs on their cards. Though stickers were employed, ITG had always done a great job of fitting them into the design of the card. Well... that's not a problem they had to deal with here... the cards are hard signed! Collectors will love the fact that these cards are all on-card autographs. My only issue here (and I guess it's a big issue) was that two of my autographs came out a bit smudged. And the third was a little faded. That's really too bad as these could have been really awesome. I'm not sure if many of these cards came out like this. I hope not! It was disappointing in a major way to have these autos like this.

Decades the 90s has a parallel gold base set to compliment the standard set. The cards are limited to a print-run of thirty.

My box of Decades the 90s was probably the most typical, average box you could get. Luckier collectors will find short printed autographs, dual memorabilia cards, or crazy limited patches. I have yet to pull one of the huge patches from ITG - they are quite rare. I imagine it would be an awesome feeling to get one!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
ITG has come out with a nice look back at the 1990's. For collectors who really enjoyed the players in the 90's, this is probably a good choice to buy. I'm not sure I can say the same for everyone else though. While there are many autographs to be found in this product, many are from players that people have most likely not heard of before if they didn't watch 90's hockey. And getting a star player can be rather difficult as the stars have been short-printed or even super short-printed.

At release, boxes are going for about $100. This amount for six hits is sounds pretty good... but for many boxes, the value and name recognition will not be there. So it's iffy in my opinion to go for Decades the 90s unless you really are a fan of the players that you can find here. ITG is further limited a bit by not having the best player ever in hockey available. Wouldn't it be nice to have Gretzky represented here in the 90's (and also in the 80's)? Without him, and some other choice players, the product does seem a bit diluted. Missing those key players is a tough blow to the product.

That being said, on-card autographs and guaranteed game-worn cards are to be had if you buy into this new ITG 90's themed release! If that sounds good to you... go for it! If not, you can definitely pass on this one.

Overall Rating:

Check out my break of ITG Decades the 90s from D&P Cards in Sacramento, Ca:


  1. Not a really big fan of this product, haven't really seen anything big come out.
    Youtube: Graboguru

  2. cool product like the triple jersey and base card design

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  4. To be honest the product dosent look that great to me i mean i like the base cards and all but dot think i will be getting this

    Youtube: iCollectBoston

  5. I don't like this product seems like they could make it a lot nicer

    Youtube Josh k

  6. Haven't tried this one yet, but I plan to get a box of it soon. Looks pretty much like every other ITG card product. Can't wait to try it and test my luck. If it's anything like Captain C or Canada vs. The World, I'll like it. Decades 80's wasn't so bad. Forever Rivals wasn't that good. And I didn't even care to buy Motown Madness. I'm familiar with the late 90's players, being born in '87. I started collecting in the 90's. I'm pumped to get this product actually.
    yt: ryannturnaa

  7. I honestly think they make it the same every year
    It's a weird product

  8. I think this product is really great. The 90s were a good time in hockey especially In 1993 up until the semi finals, the sole reason for this product being under the radar is because its made by itg


  9. Some pretty nice cards but I don't like how many base cards there are. YT BHawksFan45

  10. Cards look good, but I have noticed too the smudging of autos. Great review!
    YT- bmurphy1325

  11. I don't really care for this product although I did like that Iafrate auto you got. It would be cool to get a jersey or auto of Jagr, Lidstrom or Brodeur just to name a view legends from the 90's.

    YouTube: Brennan Osinski

  12. not very good i think i will stick to panni and ud but nice break

    youtube canucks rule

  13. I like the autographs, nice big ones but other than that not to much to say.
    YouTube: Christian Legault

  14. I think that itg is is the same old same old. In all products you get the felling like you have seen the card already in the older products from itg.
    Youtube- Irbehockey cardcolect

  15. I like this product just because i grew up watching hockey in the 90's so this why i love this product. The downfall is that stars are super hard to get. As always great review luke.

    Youtube: superryan3

  16. Cudos to ITG for taking a chance on the Junk Wax era of cards.
    Some good memories here - great review.

  17. I personally think itg is making too many products one pack products. They took a series of products that used to have 18-24 packs and changed it into a one pack product. Besides that, don't really like the design of the jerseys.

    YouTube: andicardsnstuff

  18. Nice break!!! I like the product!

    YT: desarge44

  19. Love the way the product looks this year. for some reason i dont like the box. It doesn't look asa retroy as 10 11 decades


  20. the cards look rilly good like the look of them the gold cards look nice same with the autos


  21. The only thing I like about this set is the base design. I really hate these 1 pack sets that ITG makes, with the lower end autos and the plain jersey cards. Also with ITG not having a license ruins this product. ITG needs to suck it up and get a license.

    YouTube micerule934

  22. Love the look and Hard signed autos ! Way to go ITG !

    Youtube - CJ Jasn

  23. not a big fan of the base card design but i do like how all the autos are on card
    youtube:alwamwejwemw breaks

  24. This product is excellent. The fact that all the base autos are on card and the opportunity to get autographs from players u normally wouldn't see autographed cards of. The mem is even better. Unlike upper deck and Panini, a lot of the jersey cards have patch pieces that the afformentioned companies would consider to be prime or patch. I paid $63 a box and busted 45 boxes and couldn't have asked for more. several one of ones, several sp autos, several material autos and the quad mem are just that great In itself. People say a lot of the autographs are of lower players but lets face it, its like this for any hockey product. Its $63 for a box of UD hockey and u get 2 plain white jerseys and possibly a decent young guns but no autos unless u are lucky enough to pull the one per case auto inserted. Anyone that thinks this product is trash is not a true card collector. good luck to those people whom don't like this product in getting the same value for the same amount of money.