2013-2014 Upper Deck Exquisite Football Preview
Quantum Football released a few months ago to mixed reviews. Collectors unanimously applauded the inspired card design throughout the set, most notably the “Signature Patch” cards. However, it is tough to convince collectors to purchase 2013 releases now that the 2014 products have hit store shelves.
There’s really only one product that could put up a fight this late in the card-collecting-calendar, and that product is Exquisite. Exquisite is held to such esteem within the card-collecting-community that it doesn’t seem to matter who is in the rookie class, when the product is launched, or what licenses Upper Deck features. The product sells. But still, the 2013 rookie class [although years down the line it could turn out quite good at the WR and RB positions] has been a relative bust with collectors. Exquisite would have to be pretty special to take money away from the 2014 rookie class…unless Upper Deck was to market the product as a 2013 slash 2014 product…
Quantum actually caused some confusion in the hobby. Upper Deck is notorious for providing little information about their products in advance. Combine that with the fact that Quantum was packaged identically to Exquisite and had a similar box configuration (RPA, XRC rookie cards, on-card autos, etc) and you’ll understand why many collectors believed that Exquisite was replaced by Quantum this year. This would make sense, too, since Quantum was at a high price point ($300) and launched so late in the year.
However, we already have proof that Exquisite Football will release for the 2013 rookie class. Several months ago Justin Hunter posted this picture on his Instagram. That’s really all the proof we need.
But Upper Deck decided to put all the rumors to rest.
Earlier today, Upper Deck uploaded a slew of jaw-dropping images into their Sports Card Album account. One of the most incredible aspects of this product, and the feature that will cause it to fly off store shelves, is the fact that Upper Deck is including autographed XRC cards of the top 2014 rookies! They already have on-card autographs of Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, and the rest of the top names from the 2014 NFL Draft. How they accomplished this is anyone’s guess. But all of a sudden, the “late” release date is almost an advantage. Whereas other brands are launching their low-end 2014 products right now, UD is launching autographs of the 2014 rookie class in their most high-end product. It could be months before there is a hotter card than Johnny Manziel’s first Exquisite autograph.
The rest of the cards are simply stunning. We are posting a few of our favorite images below…Click on any of the images below to see the card in full-size. Otherwise click here to check out the entire gallery on Sports Card Album, where you can easily get IMG codes for each of these cards in order to share them with your friends on the forums. Upper Deck appears to have hit a home-run with this product. Mixing the 2014 rookie class in with their high-end 2013 release is brilliant, but I am most impressed with the upgraded designs and incredible new inserts, which you will see below. There is going to be something for everyone in this product…assuming your wallet is fat enough.
I am insanely excited that Upper Deck is bringing back the gorgeous “Rare Materials” subset. Back in 2008 and 2009 these were the most beautiful memorabilia cards in the business, even though they weren’t autographed. The 2010 set was equally stunning, although the vertical orientation wasn’t as appealing to me. This year, Upper Deck doesn’t just bring back the set, they add autographs to it and include not just rookies, but veterans like John Elway and Jerry Rice and Barry Sanders!!! This will be an expensive chase set for the collectors with big pockets.
The “Limited Logos Signatures” cards feature a mix of rookies and veterans as well. Although they look similar to the “Rookie Signature Patch” cards, they are different in that the patch is always a rare logo, the patch (and entire card) appear to be covered by a layer of acetate, and the player signs directly on the acetate over the logo patch. Despite the fact that these are “event-worn,” the set looks incredible.
The base “Rookie Signature Patch” cards look as beautiful as ever. The “platinum” variation appears to be out of 20 this year, rather than previous iterations which were limited to 10 copies. Base RPAs look like they are out of 99.
Upper Deck has completely overhauled the look of their Shadow Box cards. This year’s design looks almost holographic, with a foil logo stamp on the left side of the card and the player’s image on the right. Limited to just 25 copies, cards like this Peyton Manning are going to create some serious bidding wars on eBay.
The “Triptych” set is a new one. A triple-vertical-booklet card reminiscent of the popular “Masterpiece” design, in which the photography is edited to look like an oil painting. The triple-vertical-booklet orientation allows for incredible imagery and often depicts a panoramic view of a play unfolding during the athlete’s college career.
Finally we get to the XRC rookie cards…before I show you that gallery, I want to let you know that Upper Deck will include LEBRON JAMES rookie cards in this year’s Exquisite Football set. That’s right, King James will have a rookie card in a football product. Check him out in his high-school uniform…
And finally, I present you with a few of the top XRCs…high-end rookie autograph cards from players who haven’t even played a game in the pros yet. The Manziel and Bortles are sure to command top dollar. There will be base versions /99 as well as hand-numbered variations /10 and 1/1 foil-stamped versions.
If you want to check out the ENTIRE gallery of 2013-14 Exquisite Football cards, visit Upper Deck’s Sports Card Album page HERE.