By Linda Mankefors

We know the trend ever since the start of this new century; more jersey cards, more autographs and more rookies and lower serial numbers for each.

Anyone else but me quite tired of it?

Buying a box ”guaranteed” to contain two or three jersey cards, or even one jersey card per pack, frankly, is as thrilling as the little burp you allow yourself after breakfast at home. We’ve come to a point where a common game-used card simply is worthless. I suspect per paper weight, an envelope might cost more. It doesn’t matter if Beckett claims they’re worth $5 or $6 each, they’re not, some won’t even sell for one cent. Only truly rare jersey cards get some value, but not even then can you expect much.

Take a jersey card of a semistar legend like Dave Keon, make it serial numbered to only 9 and put it in the most expensive hockey product so far: Superlative. That should shake the foundations, rattle the bars, someone out there should be drooling. What does it sell for? A whopping $25. It’s saddening. But such is the world of capitalism combined with the new era of fast lane Internet, and we’re all part of it when we continue to buy boxes and stay away from complaining to card companies.

However, we are all hockey card lovers afterall, so let’s accept the situation as it is. It was fun when jersey cards were introduced, some of us quit the hobby alltogether, but the vast majority loved it.

So what is the next step of hockey card evolution? A product with 1/1 jersey cards only? Honestly I can’t guess. I fear the present trend of ”more but fewer” will continue a couple of years. Someone suggested recently they should make a base set with only jersey cards, but it’s almost been done already, and it’s not exceptionally exciting. What I would like to see though is this:

Stop producing jersey cards completely. I don’t want to see one more single jersey card, except if they’re used on rookie cards. Make a high-end product with ONLY patch cards, rookie cards, and hard signed autograph cards. I’m not saying it will save the hobby, it will not. I’m not saying the patch cards will be worth that much more, they won’t be. But for a serious collector, a patch card, even of a no name player, can be a work of beauty. It’s simply astonishing to look at. Single color patch cards exist, but if Superlative, the Cup, or another high-end product would strictly had used patch cards instead of jersey cards, a box or pack would for certain have contained one or two fantastic patch cards.

It is somewhat annoying to pay a small fortune for a pack or box, and get one or two good cards while the rest is packing material. What if you buy a pack of five to seven cards and one of them is a rare rookie card, two of them are hardsigned autos, and the rest is patch cards. If you add a good design to the cards (which certain brands has failed miserably with lately), it would be heaven to open such a pack, not to mention a whole box. It works on all levels. A low-end box with one game used card in it, such as Fleer Ultra, would automatically be so much more fun to open if there’s a patch card in there.

I honestly think and hope the introduction of patch cards replacing jersey cards will be here soon. That’s the natural step to take.

Now I hear a whole choir of you objecting: ”We don’t need even more extreme game used cards, go back to the old days.” Well I’m sorry but as all things in society, it will never go backwards, and the old days are long gone. Sometimes retro will become fashion, but as a whole the current situation is here to stay, and evolve further. Hopefully in a “for us collectors enjoyable” direction.