The ULTIMATE prize!February 18, 2010 at 12:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
One of the reasons that I wanted to start blogging again was to show off some of the amazing new Evan Longoria cards that I’ve added to my collection recently. None of them is more amazing than this one, which I’ve been waiting to show off for more than a week after winning it on eBay. It finally arrived yesterday, and it is simply awesome.
As you can see, it is an “Ultimate Patch” card from 2009 Upper Deck Ultimate, #27/35, and in my opinion it is the best looking Longoria patch from Ultimate that has shown up on eBay so far. Many of the patches on eBay feature letters from the back of the jersey, and this is one of the few that are from the Rays logo on the front. Perhaps the only thing that would be cooler would be a patch that included the yellow starburst from the “R” in Rays. And yes, I would shell out a ton of money if that card exists and if it shows up on eBay. I did have to pay quite a bit of money for this card, but I believe it is well worth it. I own 366 different Longoria cards, but only one other patch card – a small patch from 2009 Spectrum. I absolutely love the jumbo patches that are included in 2009 Ultimate, and knew that I had to add one to my collection as soon as I saw them. I think this one was a great choice.
Most of the time, when I get a new Evan Longoria card, I quickly add it to the list of Longoria cards that I own, then put it in either a penny sleeve and top loader or a magnetic holder, and put it in my box of Longoria cards. That’s not the case with this one. I’ve been keeping it on my coffee table and looking at it every chance that I get. Have I mentioned how much I love this card?
Despite Ultimate being unlicensed by MLB, the card design is excellent. These cards look a million times better than the jumbo patch cards from Topps Unique, which feature a player picture that’s smaller than the size of a dime. It shows once again that Upper Deck is the undisputed king of high end cards.
As you’ve probably heard by now, there has been controversy about some of the patches that were included in Ultimate. There is some doubt about the legitimacy of some of the patches from retired players, and that is very unfortunate. But I don’t think that there’s much to worry about when it comes to current players, especially guys like Evan Longoria, who has only played two seasons in the Major Leagues. It’s not like Longoria jerseys have been sitting in storage units for decades. They’ve all been recently used, and unless Upper Deck is acquiring them from really shady sources, there’s no question about their authenticity.
Another problem that Gellman from SCU has been talking about is fake patches – when scammers remove an unimpressive patch from a card, and put in something fake that looks even better. Because of this, I checked out all of the cards being sold by the seller that I got this from, and everything looked pretty legit. The fact that there other patches from the same part of the jersey being sold on eBay also allays any concerns that I might have had. I do agree with Gellman that it’s smart to buy patches soon after a product comes out, before the scammers have had a chance to saturate the market with fakes.
Anyway, another aspect of Ultimate that I want to address is that part of the reason why Upper Deck was able to provide so much value in the product was because of the fact that it is unlicensed by MLB. Due to the incredibly high cost of the license, the card companies have not been able to spend as much on acquiring jerseys and autographs from top players in recent years, and as a result, the quality of the top cards and the value of the cards pulled in most boxes has suffered. With Ultimate, we are beginning to see how great an unlicensed product can be.
And that brings me to the point that EVERY collector, no matter what they may think of Upper Deck itself, should be rooting for Upper Deck to win the lawsuit against MLB Properties in April. If Upper Deck wins, then not only will they be able to continue producing great unlicensed products (without airbrushing) but it opens the door for other companies to make deals with the MLBPA to do the same thing. And when more companies are out there producing better and better products, and they’re able to put more value into the products without the burden of the oppressive MLB license, then all collectors win.
Let’s go Upper Deck!