Hockey Card Collecting: The Industry Staples

Every year Upper Deck comes out with hockey hobby boxes which already have a presence in the hobby community. These products are well known and are considered staples in the collecting community. Collectors look forward to their release every year. This article focuses on the mid to high tier products that will come available in the first half of the hockey season. Also highlighted are some of the finer points which collectors look forward to every year.

1. Upper Deck Artifacts

Normally releasing in late October, the Artifacts hockey hobby box is loaded with treats for the junior all the way to the more seasoned collector. Each hobby box contains ten packs and every pack has an insert card hit. You’ll also find one autographed card per box, a few different types of patch and/or jersey cards, a few rookie cards with players debuting late in the previous year, and one rookie redemption card for rookies debuting in the current year. Parallels are the name of the game for Artifacts with virtually every card in the set having copies with different print runs. It’s a huge set to collect if you consider parallels, but one of the most fun breaks of the year due to the number of hits received per box.

2. Upper Deck Series 1

Upper Deck Series 1 hockey hobby boxes are generally the most anticipated releases of the hockey season. Series 1 is the first set of the year to feature true rookie cards of players that debut on opening night. The set has some cool hits such as jersey cards and hard to get autos. Case hits include oversized swatch cards and multiple jersey cards. The real draw for series 1 though is the rookies. The set normally has between 40-50 rookies and each hobby box will produce 6 for the collector. It’s always a fun break and the best rookies of the year are normally up for grabs. UD1 is usually released in early November.

3. Upper Deck Black Diamond

Upper Deck Black Diamond is generally thought of as a higher end set than UD1, but is not considered a high end product by usual standards. BD features tiers of cards they call diamond cards. There are single, double, triple and quadruple diamond cards in the set. The single diamond cards are the most common with quadruple diamond cards falling 1-3 per box. The best rookies of the new season are generally featured as quadruple diamond cards. There are also jersey cards in the set falling 1-3 per box generally featuring four pieces of jerseys. Autographed cards fall as 1 in every 2 boxes. Parallels are prominent in the set as well in ruby, gold and onyx versions. Cool case hits can also be found. There are definitely lots of hits to be had in the set. Upper Deck Black Diamond generally is released by mid-December.

4. Upper Deck SPx

A higher end product, SPx is the first set to include autographed rookie jersey cards during the hockey year. SPx is always a fun set to collect with dual and triple jersey cards available. Rookie jersey cards are normally found as well as one autographed rookie and photo shoot jersey card per box. Other usual features of the set are flashback fabrics cards which could contain an autograph of a past great star or a grizzled league veteran. Special insert cards highlighting superstars in the league are also found. A great set for the more value minded collector. SPx is generally released by late December or early January.

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