Friday, October 10, 2014

OPINION: Parallels

The hockey season is in full swing and I'm holding my own in the one and only hockey pool I entered.  I'm banking on the Sedin/Sedin/Vrbata line to do well this year.

And with a new NHL season comes some new card products to rip and chase.  The first big one (for me anyways) is Artifacts.

And what do I think of when I hear the word Artifacts?

Parallel hell.

And Upper Deck has done it in spades this time around.

I get that Artifacts' niche is its parallels, but there's got to be some kind of limit.  I took a peek at the checklist and was shaking my head at the damage.

First of all, let me say that this design is one of my lesser favorites.  It's not bad (I've seen worse from Artifacts), but last year's foray into the black background and darker design would've been more preferable for a Linden onslaught.

So let's take a look at the checklist run.

Base Card

Ruby  /599
Emerald  /99
Sapphire  /85
Gold Spectrum  /25
Black Auto  /5
Silver Material (Jersey/Jersey)  /125
Emerald Material (Jersey/Patch)  /75
Gold Spectrum Material (Patch/Patch)  /15
Black Material (Patch/Tag)  /5
Silver Material Auto (Jersey/Jersey/Auto)  /12
Emerald Material Auto (Jersey/Patch/Auto)  /8
Gold Spectrum Material Auto (Patch/Patch/Auto)  /3
Black Material Auto (Patch/Tag/Auto)  /1

That's 14 cards (so far) and more than half of them are numbered to 25 or less.

Now if that was all that Artifacts was offering, I'd be pretty good with it.  But they had to dip into the pool once again.

Yeah, the "ever popular" (NOT) Treasured Swatches dual memorabilia offering.  Why?  Why not I guess.

Treasured Swatches

Base (Jersey/Jersey)
Green (Jersey/Patch)  /36
Red (Stick/Tape)  /12

We're up to 17 cards now with 9 of them limited to 25 cards or less.

These three cards are just an overkill in my opinion.  They really serve no desirability for me other than a push for more, more more in the Linden market.

Dual jersey?  Already in the base version.

Jersey/Patch?  Same deal.

Yes, the stick card is a switch and I would have preferred the Treasured Swatches concept to be a stick card of some sort.  Change it up.

But....we are not done yet.


Tundra Sixes
(Yeah, that's six pieces of memorabilia on each card).  That equals cheap and common right?

Players include: Trevor Linden, Richard Brodeur, Markus Naslund, Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin, Alex Edler

Bizzare grouping.

Green (6 Patches)  /6
Black (6 Tags)  /1

If you're keeping score, that's 19 cards total and 11 limited to 25 copies or less.

Now if the base parallels were to be trimmed down to say 7-10 cards and the redundancy of the Treasured Swatches concept ditched, I can get on board with a 12-15 card release.  But 19 cards is overkill.

I can't wait to see some of the spectacular asking prices from ebay listings. (extreme sarcasm here)

The nice thing is that historically, these cards go from the feature table to the discount box pretty quick, so a lot of these cards (even the slightly tougher ones) will drop in price sharply.

But my beef (and my opinion) is that while the concept of what Artifacts does is strong, I think they could maximize their return and excitement by scaling back just a hair.  At the end of the day though, I guess they are only concerned with the initial sales and not the secondary market.

I will be looking on the secondary market....seeing as I've got a much bigger checklist to chase now.

So what are your thoughts on the parallel world of Artifacts?  I'm sure many of you have experienced it (or experienced the parallel world in other releases or other sports).  How do you approach a release like this?


  1. Wow. Makes me glad that I'm not a super-collector of any given player. As a team collector who doesn't "need to have" all of the different versions, I'm not affected too much. But if I were a player collector, I wouldn't be amused.

  2. welcome to baseball card collecting.