Contours is a new hockey set that came out towards the end of April 2016. It is a “hit-based” product, meaning that it is meant to appeal to those who like high-end game-used cards and autographed cards more than building large sets. A box costs around $100 and contains four five-card packs. Each pack is guaranteed to contain one hit. Here is what I pulled from a recent box I opened:
15 Base Cards
Ah, the base card; the oft-unloved byproduct of “hit-based” products. As its’ name implies, Countours base cards are die-cut, resulting in a curved top border. They also have a generous amount of silver foil at the top and bottom edges. The background of the photograph is blurred, drawing your eye to the player. There are 100 base cards to collect.
The back side is your standard fare for Upper Deck; minimal stats, biographical data and a short paragraph about the player. But those who really crave stats tend to gravitate towards more comprehensive sets, so no foul here. Contours’ base card design is at least something unique. I cannot recall a set that looks like this within the past decade, so it gets points for uniqueness.
2 Blue Parallels
Of course a set like Contours is going to have parallels. The blue versions of the cards raise the stakes by adding — wait for it! — contoured left and right die-cut borders. I pulled two blue parallels, numbered to 499: Kyle Turis and retired star Jeremy Roenick.
1 Red Parallel
A bit harder to acquire are the red parallels, which are limited to 99 copies and fall one per box. Like the blue parallels, the red parallels also have die cut “curvy” sides.
1 Rookie Resume
Rookie Resume cards are inserts numbered to 399 copies. The background of the photo is a shiny silver color, making the player’s photo pop.
And now, onto the hits.
1 Show Me Some Glove
While I am not big on memorabilia cards personally, this one seems to have all the right bells and whistles. It uses a colored swatch from a game-used jersey, which is always preferable to a white swatch when spending an average of $25 per pack. The background is shiny, and the card is super-thick. And the name “Show Me Some Glove” is actually kind of a funny name for a goalie-themed insert set; it’s way better than Panini’s “Leather Larceny” from a few years back.
1 Fanatics Event-Worn Jersey
The Fanatics “hit” seems like it would be truly hit or miss for most collectors, depending on who they get. If you pull someone like C.M. Punk or Kevin Smith, awesome! But I never heard of Lindsey Vonn, who turns out to be the most accomplished female skier of all time. Maybe I’d be more excited if she was actually wearing the Avalanche jersey that was cut up in the photo instead of baring her toned midriff. Jeez, that makes me sound like a total dork…
1 Contours Rookies Signatures
This rookie card of Canucks d-man Ben Hutton has an autograph on a sticker that was unfortunately cut off at the bottom. The card is numbered to 499 copies and has die-cut contoured sides like the red and blue parallels.
1 Rookie Auto Jerseys Redemption Card
My fourth and final hit was a redemption card for a Robby Fabbri autographed jersey rookie card, numbered to 199 copies. While getting a redemption instead of the actual card lessens the excitement, Upper Deck has always done a good job of honoring redemptions — or going the extra mile when they can’t, like they did for me in 2013.
What I like about 2015-16 Upper Deck Contours Hockey: You get one hit per pack in the four-pack box, and at $100 per box it won’t break most collecting budgets. The base set is unique enough to at least stand out from the numerous other 100-card, high-end base card sets.
What I do not like about 2015-16 Upper Deck Contours Hockey: Not all of the hits are serial-numbered, but perhaps at this price point, they should be. The Fanatics could be great or could be forgettable, depending on your feelings about “celebrity fans” and the one you happen to draw.
Upper Deck Contours Hockey is for people who like higher-end stuff, but maybe don’t want to pony up $250 for a box of this year’s Black Diamond. It has a decent amount of variety, making for a fun break. ■