By Linda Mankefors

Collector’s obsession with pieces of game used materials has created a mass production of game used cards. Has it gone too far? According to many yes; the values are dumping, we are flooded with cheap game used cards we don’t know what to do with, and the thrill is really gone.
But I find another reason why it has gone too far: the card companies are producing quantity instead of quality. They have done so for several years, who can really blame them, they’re in it for the profit. Yet somehow, they’ve always managed to keep a few brands that ooze class, quality and style. However this year, it seems they’ve sacked every designer and qualified photographer.

I’m sure In the Game’s Superlative brand may take the prize as the ugliest ever. A year ago, everyone, me included, was anxious to see how it would turn out. They were going throw in everything including the kitchen sink, used jerseys and patches which should be in a museum instead, but let’s say we’re not opposed to that idea (which I personally am), how could it go wrong? A brand stocked full of patches, lowest print runs ever, no base cards. Sure ITG misses the license and lack the rookie cards, but still, this was supposed to be the best game used festival ever. It’s a sure hit right? Well it was, strangely, but something they shouldn’t have been able to screw up they still did. The design of many of the Superlative cards is simply hideous. Plain and simple are often good to go with, but take away player photos and use colors that I don’t even want as wallpaper is criminal. Someone with a 70’s colorblind taste must have been let loose in their lab. Especially when they’ve bothered to cut up these museum-worthy pieces and waste them all.

It’s ok, it’s just an exception, can’t do them all right. Right? Bring in Upper Deck’s flagship The Cup. Yes I know, very popular, and design-wise, they have done a good job on some cards, and a terrible job on others. For instance, they’ve done a terrific job with the patches. The ever popular sub-brand Limited Logos got better patches than ever; in fact it’s harder to find single colors then multicolored ones now. Good, that’s how a patch should be.

But they forgot to do quality control on photographs, how can this one even slip through?

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Kovy looks like he is saying: “oh my, are you taking a photo? Just wait until I’m finished taking a crap”.

Or this one with Grant Fuhr, looking like he’s falling asleep standing.

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Or why not Ovechkin, half looking like he’s dreaming about Russian women in a hot bathtub.

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I may be extra sensitive to this as a woman (always taking an extra long look at the players), but please, how can they do this to our heroes? For every player there are a number of fans, and we’re cursing the makers of this. Finally they’ve listened and did better patches, but some sick executive thought to himself “let’s screw with them!”?

No it’s worse, my opinion is they’re in such a hurry producing as many brands and cards as possible they don’t have the time anymore to take good photos, or do the quality control on which photos to pick. Because no one, believe me, no one can have used normal intelligence and eyesight picking these photographs.

Unfortunately, I expect to see more of this in the future. Let’s see how 08/09 turns out, my bet is, we haven’t seen the worst yet