Review: 2004-05 Upper Deck All-World

2004-05 UD All-World #36 Patrik EliasPatrik plays Charades. His card reads: Snowman on fire.
2004-05 UD All-World #36 Patrik Elias
Patrik plays Charades. His card reads: Snowman on fire.

The homeless scuffle over crumbs, the poor haggle over bites, and the millionaires and billionaires?

The latest NHL lockout is proof, once again, that we’re just people and pie. No matter the size, there’s always going to be a fight for a larger slice.

With that in mind, whenever the NHL starts play again, I’ll be back. Castigating men for greed is better left to a monk.

What I do hope is that this lockout produces a curiosity as memorable as this one from hockey’s last nuclear winter.

2004-05 UD All-World #5 Milan Hejduk
2004-05 UD All-World #5 Milan Hejduk

Milan Hejduk looks as befuddled by this color “scheme”—”scheme” implying actual forethought—as many collectors were when Upper Deck released 2004-05 All-World.

In the midst of a lockout that would eventually see the entire season wiped out, a number of NHL stars played overseas to stay in shape and in the black. Upper Deck capitalized on the now apparently once-in-a-decade opportunity to capture familiar stars in unfamiliar surroundings. Continue reading “Review: 2004-05 Upper Deck All-World”

Review: 1997-98 Pinnacle

 1997-98 Pinnacle #93 - Curtis JosephIn the quest to put out product quickly and cheaply, sports cards manufacturers, like drug dealers, have consistently undervalued the power of quality.

Of course, it’s because they know the junkies will keep buying.

This doesn’t mean that the addicts have lost all discernment, however. Personally, I fiend for powerful sports photography in my cards.

Granted, investing in sports photography is not a moneymaking venture for card companies.

 1997-98 Pinnacle #171 - Kevin HatcherBut occasionally, those of us who appreciate a beautifully-photographed set are given a treat. From the first years of Upper Deck to Topps’s Stadium Club, and even now, with Upper Deck’s annual flagship release, we see cards that capture the grace of Sergei Fedorov gliding and the crunch of Rob Blake hitting and the explosion of 16,000 fans screaming.

Pinnacle, which debuted so ignominiously by having different sports share the same funereal design in 1991and 1992and 1993, finally chucked the black for sun dresses in their 1994-95 flagship release, continuing this theme until their last release in 1997-98 (before the brand’s recent revival by Panini).

1997-98 Pinnacle was one of my first boxes ever because of its affordability and stunning photography. I also pulled one of my first big pulls from it. But before we get to that, let’s spotlight a few of those wonderful pictures: Continue reading “Review: 1997-98 Pinnacle”