Guest article by Pheebs888 

When I first started collecting in the late 80s early 90s, the hobby was quite different. Back then, you could chose between Pro Set, Pro Set Platinium, O-Pee-Chee, O-Pee-Chee Premier, Upper Deck and Parkhurst. Today, the market is really dominated by Upper Deck and the only other alternative really is In the Game. There is a lot less choice when it comes to brands, but now there are a multitude of insert sets which were not around in the good old days. What is in store for collectors this year? Well let me do a quick run down of my favourite 2007-2008 products….

Upper Deck Series 1 (Hobby box 24 packs/8 cards per pack)

The standard Upper Deck this year comprises 200 base cards as well as 50 SP cards which are the now well established Young Guns. The ones to look for this year, according to Beckett value, are: Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner, Carey Price, Erik Johnson and Niklas Backstrom. As for the insert sets, UD of course brings back the Hometown Heroes series, very nice looking cards but not exactly high value. The Game Used Jerseys are back as well, and as they have become a regular occurrence, their value has gone down, the best pull to hope for is Sid the Kid who books at a strong $20. Interestingly, there is also an insert set of Game Used Patches, these do not have a book value due to their low print run of 15, so get ready for some serious negotiations if you pull one and intend to sell/trade it. New this year, the Big Playmaker jersey insert set and the equivalent patch set. Nice cards with 4 swatches on them, the jerseys have a print run of 50 and the patches of only 10 which again means that you will be left to your own device to figure out a trading/selling value for those. Amongst the notable big playmakers, we find Lemieux, Roy, Sakic and Crosby. Overall, this year’s UD offering is a solid product with plenty of inserts and some rookies highly sought after. Great for rookie collectors or fantastic trade bait for others.

UD Artifacts (Hobby Box 10 packs/4 cards per pack)

The 2007-2008 edition of the Artifacts series brings us a 242 base cards, the rookies being from 141 to 242. Many of those had yet to be made by the time of release and Upper Deck used their “wonderful” redemption system. The Upper Deck website lists them as for release by the end of February, let’s hope that is in fact the case and that everyone will get what they were promised. The Artifacts series is particularly strong on parallels, every base card is available in standard, blue, bronze, gold, silver and silver rainbow parallels. As you will have guessed, the different versions indicate a different print run from. From Silver with a print run of 100 to Silver Rainbow with a print run of 1. This is a wonderful feature for the chasers amongst us but I personally fail to see the attraction of parallel base sets. Artifacts also includes many insert sets, the Auto-facts, the popular Frozen Artifacts, the Gold Rainbow Autographs, the Treasured Swatches, the Tundra Tandems all make a welcome return from last year’s edition with the addition of the Tundra Trios Blue. Overall this is a great set in my opinion, and it will get even better once I receive my redemptions. The one little issue I have with it is the incredible amount of parallels, to me, this looks like an attempt to get people to spend more and more money trying to get each and every version of each card. However, if people fall for it, good for Upper Deck I suppose.

SPx (Hobby box – 18 packs/4 cards per pack)

The last set I will look at today is the Upper Deck SPx 2007-2008 edition. I have so far only busted one box of this product, but I was quite impressed with the amount of memorabilia, autos and rookie cards I got. Very nice looking cards, with the usual X pattern. From the breaks posted on sportscardforum.com, it also appears that most boxes are hot, which is always good news for the collectors! The base set includes 236 cards with the rookies from 151 to 236. Cards 181 to 200 are rookie game used cards and 201 to 236 are rookie autographed game used cards. Amongst the base set there is also the highly sought Flashback Fabrics (101-125) and the Autographed Flashback Fabrics (126-150). As for the inserts, the Winning Materials and Winning Combos sets both return with two parallel versions each. Another popular insert set is the spXtreme, which is of a limited print run. Highlights including Carey Price (BV $30), Patrick Kane (BV $40) and Jonathan Toews (BV $40). But by far my favorite new insert set is the SPx Force Quad Hologram. The set numbered F1 to F5 includes five X shaped cards with an all-star line up, with an excellent choice of Patrick Roy/Martin Brodeur/Roberto Luongo and Jean-Sebastien Giguere featuring on F2. I have recently ordered another box of these, and I cannot wait to receive it.

There you have it, these are my top sets for this year. Of course I am also intrigued by the SP Game-Used set and the Between the Pipes ones but I have yet to get my hands on any so I cannot comment on them…yet. Comments on these later this year!