Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I'm not a big fan of Upper Deck, especially after reading Card Sharks. But I absolutely loved their Masterpieces sets. And from what I've read on other blogs, there are plenty of other collectors that feel the same way. I like the cards enough that I've got not just the Cubs, but the entire sets from the two years it was released. The paintings look superb, the texture of the cards is great, the gold borders look classy.

The 2007 release had 90 cards, 87 ballplayers and three presidents. In this mid-western's eyes, the set was too New York heavy. There were 23 of the 87 cards that featured New York (Yankees, Mets, Giants, and Dodgers) teams; that's 1/4 of the set. Putting that many New Yorkers in a set sounds more like Topps, but that is exactly what Upper Deck did. The Cubs the the short end of the stick; the real short end. There was one whole Cubs player in the set!

The did come up with a great looking picture of Sutter. I love that '70s Fu Manchu! That is exactly the Bruce Sutter that I remember with the Cubs.

In 2007 the set grew by 30 cards to 120. The number of Cubs grew too, up to eight. The Cubs won their division in 2007, so that helped get four modern players (Lee, Fukudome, Soriano, and Zambrano) in the set.

Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg (twice), and Lou Brock were included too. If I were a Cardinal fan, I would be pretty ticked that Brock was shown as a Cub. As a Cubs fan I'm ticked that Brock was shown as a Cub....I don't need to be reminded to that horrible trade!

I never heard why Upper Deck didn't release a set in 2009. You would have thought that they would want to keep pushing a successful product. Isn't that what card companies do? You push it until it become stale, and then push in again anyway! I don't think Masterpieces had become stale in 2008. Were the production costs too high?


  1. Yes, production costs were too high. That was the excuse they used to stop the Masterpieces line.

  2. Straight from Upper Deck's mouth. "It just didn't sell".

    Ironically, when Masterpieces came out in 08 I didn't know there was an 07 version. The problem with 07 and more so in 08 was the terrible auto checklist thus making a box at msrp, around $96, much too much of a gamble.

    For example, in 07 you can pull Lincecum, Tulo, Cliff Lee, Zimmerman, Hamilton etc. Even with that 8 of the autos are $1-$3 autos. Additionally, for some reason the parallels never really caught on. Sure the stars will sell for a decent amount if a price war breaks out but when you weigh cost to acquire against sale price it's not even close. In 2008, the box toppers disappeared, 1 jersey per box and less packs. Problem was that the auto checklist got worse. Longo is the only rookie auto that sells and Moose Skowron is the only veteran auto that gets pulled with any regularity.

    With all this, these boxes are only worth about $20 in my opinion, they sell for more but sales are pretty stagnent. 2008 Masterpieces were under $40 within 4 months of release. Thus orders from distros and shops were bad. In fact, UD told me they had cases of the stuff laying around.

  3. Thanks for the great info. I never realized that it was that expensive. It sounds like another in a long list of card company great ideas, but poor execution.