No company does the rookie card better than Upper Deck. I’m not talking the low-numbered, autographed, five-color jersey swatch rookie. I’m talking the basic rookie.
Young Guns are THE thing to hockey collectors. Yes, there are cards that are more valuable, but for as “basic” as Young Guns are, no other rookie cards in the hobby come close.
As of this writing, if you want a raw Auston Matthews Young Guns card, it’s going to cost you more than $150 at auction on Ebay. If you’re in the market for a Connor McDavid, you’re looking $250. If you’d like a sure-fire Hall of Famer, Sidney Crosby will set you back more than $600. You get the idea. (Prices are the most recent eBay completed auction of an ungraded card).
For years, you could compete a three card “rainbow” of Young Guns cards. You needed to get the unnumbered base, the Exclusives parallel numbered to 100 and the High Gloss Parallel numbered to ten. Depending on the player you’re looking for, you could consider the Canvas card a part of the parallel set.
Two years ago, Upper Deck added the “Silver Foil Board” parallel on ePack. If you acquired five copies of the base Young Guns card, you could combine them into the silver. Last year the gold rainbow version was added. To get that you had to combine five silver copies (so, 25 base) to get the card.
At that point (and still this season), that’s the potential of a six-card rainbow. Depending on your particular level of insanity it could be ten, should you also acquire all four printing plates.
“Rainbow” has become a generic term in our hobby that most know. When I think of a rainbow, I think of color. While I would have called a Young Guns Rainbow just that in the past, the cards all looked very similar.
I give you a “rainbow” of Nick Schmaltz from 2016-17 Upper Deck Hockey.
The cards, as though you’re reading a book, are the base, Exclusives, High Gloss, (ePack) Silver and (ePack) Gold Rainbow. The two ePack cards do look significantly different in person, but the other three look about the same, other than the flag with the parallel set name and the numbering. As a player collector you deserve to be proud when you complete a rainbow. It’s not a cheap task.
Panini and Topps have done a much better job with color over the last few years. Both companies have produced a multitude of colored parallels in their products. Some love it, some loathe it, but you can’t argue that they look impressive when pictured together. They were producing a better “look” but Upper Deck took the win.
Someone at Upper Deck either listened to others discuss this, or noticed it on my own. I give you the 2017-18 rainbow of Alex DeBrincat (there is no image of the Gold Rainbow available currently, so I have substituted another player).
Could it be even better? Absolutely. I would love to see the ePack versions use a different color than the same blue on the base. However, it is a much welcome change to this hockey collector. I would also love to see Young Guns as a Midnight Parallel (/25) distributed through the same channel as the base Midnight cards. I’d also love to see another layer added in as an ePack exclusive. It could be /250, it could be /5. It would just be something different. I can hope for small changes. I don’t know that adding two or three levels a year would make many happy, myself included.
In the last year, I’ve written a couple of posts that were not flattering of Upper Deck. I felt a bit burnt a couple of times. I’ve spoken with a company representative and felt fine after my discussion. I feel if I’m going to be critical, I have to be fair give them a pat on the back for this. I like what they did and I like Upper Deck. I don’t want to bury them.
I’m not writing as much on this blog these days, but if you want to follow my personal blog I Feel Like A Collector Again, I try to post a few times per week. Also, please follow me @beansbcardblog on Twitter!
***all images via upperdeckepack.com or comc.com***