By Alan Dobbins
The NHL’s All-Star Weekend is full of constant media and event appearances for the 44 players selected and that wouldn’t be complete without a stop with Upper Deck – the NHL’s only officially licensed trading card company.
Upper Deck, which appeared at the ASG Beach Festival and sponsored a couple events like Fastest Skater and the Mascot Showdown this weekend, used part of its time with the athletes to acquire some signatures for their upcoming card sets.
Alex Ovechkin signed a few himself and Upper Deck featured a video on their socials.
Seeing these cards are about to debut is exciting, and here’s why.
These cards pictured will be released in the upcoming set, 2021-22 Upper Deck Stature. Stature is a 1-pack box featuring thicker cardstock and embossed foil that debuted its unique design at the end of the 2019-20 season and was a hit amongst collectors. The product features beautiful on-card autographs of rookies, legends, and star veterans.
Here’s a close-up example showing the detail on the foil and texture which makes it really stand out vs other card sets.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Upper Deck products have seen a rise in sticker autographs which we saw up close this year at the NHLPA showcase, where players sign away on endless sheets of stickers to be later applied to the cards. While these get the job done, many collectors don’t view them to be the same quality as a signature directly on the card.
Ovechkin’s signature, which is already a rarity in products, has mostly been seen as a sticker autograph as of late. Supply chain issues have also affected the card industry massively since 2020 as product schedules have shifted dramatically. These cards are actually a part of a set built for last season but as Upper Deck has delayed it, they have used the time to focus on the quality of the product by capturing players signatures directly on to the card as opposed to releasing the set with sticker autographs or redemptions (a card equivalent of a IOU in a pack.)
This will be huge for Ovechkin collectors and one of the very few times we have seen on-card Ovechkin autographs in the past few years. Ovi is seen holding a 1/1 signed game-used patch card that features a beautiful cut of the weagle shoulder patch. This will be the most limited variant of the Ovechkin patch/autograph combo cards in this set and whenever pulled from a pack could easily fetch a couple thousand dollars. In the video on the second slide, the black variant he signs is also limited to 1 copy followed by the blue and green variants which are also serial numbered to very low print runs.
These by no means will be easy to find as it appears according to the early product details that the green cards will be limited to no more than 50 copies and is the most common of the color variants.
Ovechkin looks to be joining a star-studded checklist as last version of Stature featured signatures of legends such as Bobby Orr, Patrick Roy, Steve Yzerman, and soon to be 2nd greatest goal scorer of all-time Wayne Gretzky.
21-22 Stature currently does not have a release date as it was initially slated for January release, but hopefully will release in the coming months at a hobby shop near you.
Headline photo courtesy of @upperdecksports/IG
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