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An Exquisite look at Upper Deck basketball

Posted Oct 28, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Oct 28, 2013 at 08:30 PM

Upper Deck previewed its Exquisite Collection basketball set on Monday, and if you like high-end product with on-card signatures, this could be an enjoyable box to open when it becomes available on Nov 19.

Mind you, the box does not contain much in terms of numbers — each will contain one pack with six cards — but it’s the hit cards that will drive this product.

Each pack will have five on-card autographs, and the sixth card will be either a veteran or rookie card numbered to 99 or less.

Upper Deck owns a college licensing agreement (Panini America owns the exclusive card and sticker rights to players in their NBA uniforms), so the players you see will be NBA greats in their college uniforms.

And you know what? It’s not bad. Seeing Bill Russell in a USF jersey (that’s the Dons of San Francisco, and not the Bulls of South Florida — as if that really needed clarification) is cool, and so is Julius Erving, featured in his 1970s-style Afro and his Massachusetts jersey. LeBron James is featured in his high school jersey.

Upper Deck is introducing several new autograph sets, including Dimensions, College Signatures, Masterpiece Signatures booklet cards, NCAA Championship Signatures and Sports Signatures. The latter will include superstars outside of basketball, like Wayne Gretzky and Tiger Woods.

The most intriguing card is the 1/1 Exquisite 16, which will contain 16 different autographs. The prototype Upper Deck displays for this card reads like a Who’s Who of the NBA: Michael Jordan, James, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Erving, Karl Malone, Walt Frazier and David Robinson (to name half of the signatures I saw on the card).

Rookie cards will include both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 classes, and special UD Black Signatures will have parallels like dual signatures, Old School Signatures and Black Dual Leather Book signatures.

It’s going to cost some money for this set, but the potential for high rewards could be the reason for collectors to shell out the extra cash.

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