Box Break: 2016-17 Artifacts Hockey

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Upper Deck issued its new Artifacts Hockey set at the start of this season, making it one of the earliest releases for 2016-17. A box costs around $85 to $90 online and has eight packs. Each pack has four cards. The box states that you can get “3 Autograph, Memorabilia or All New Aurum Cards & 4 Serial Numbered Cards!” in the box, on average. I recently busted a box of 2016-17 Artifacts — here’s what I found:

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Puck Junk Podcast #18 – Oct. 18, 2016

…with Sal Barry and Tim Parish.


Player not working? Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.

What a week for hockey collectors! In this episode, Sal and Tim (@TheRealDFG) discuss the new “Topps NHL Skate” digital trading card app, Connor McDavid’s exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck Authenticated and Jack Eichel’s arrangement with Leaf Trading Cards — and how collectors can get non-Leaf cards signed by him. Lots of awesome stuff here, so kick back, grab a beverage and hit that play button!

Total podcast time is 39 minutes 41 seconds.

Kickin’ theme music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

What do you think of the new Topps Skate digital trading card app? Or the Connor McDavid exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck? Or with Leaf charging $75 to $125 for Jack Eichel to autograph your hockey cards? Leave a comment and let us know! ■

Box Break: 2015-16 Champ’s Hockey

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I’ve always had a fondness for Upper Deck’s Champ’s cards; they have a very unique and classy look about them, especially since they’re rather low-fi with only a light gloss coat over a picture that is suppose to look more like a portrait rather than a photo, and an O-Pee-Che-esque brown cardboard back.  They’ve also always included strange insert cards such as historical figures, high adventure locations and animals. OK, it’s interesting to ME, but I’m a scientist, so maybe I’m just weird and you all think it’s a waste of space where yet another Hal Gill common card could be hiding.  You can voice your disagreement in a comment below.

Champ’s had been sleeping since 2009-10, so I was excited to see it return. Being burned by sets that had almost no cards featuring my favorite team, I did wait until a full checklist of the set and subsets came out before buying a hobby box at $100.  If there’d been a famine of Carolina Hurricanes cards, I would have waited until a sale and then gotten them for 25% off.  Thankfully that was not the case.

A box contains 20 packs. Each pack has six cards. A box averages one autograph, two memorabilia cards, four high series cards, six inserts and nine parallels/variants. I don’t know if it was just my box or if it is because this is one of the last sets put out for the season, but if you like rookie cards, then this box is your jam because I pulled 22! There are so many crazy things about this set that I’m getting lost in the details just trying to write about it, so let me back away and get down strictly to what popped up in the box break.

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A Look Back at the 1991 Canada Cup

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Twenty-five years ago today, Canada won the 1991 Canada Cup Tournament when they beat the United States. It would be the last Canada Cup, as the tournament would be renamed the World Cup of Hockey in 1996.

A few months after the 1991 Canada Cup, Upper Deck released its 1991-92 hockey card set, which included a Canada Cup subset. This was the first time that a set of trading cards would feature pictures and players from the Canada Cup. These Canada Cup cards were also the first hockey cards for many of the European players — some who would go on to lengthy NHL careers.

Here’s a look at how each of the six teams, as well as many of the players, performed at the 1991 Canada Cup.
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Puck Junk Podcast #13 – July 25, 2016

…with your hosts, Sal Barry and Tim Parish.


Player not working? Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud.

In Puck Junk Podcast #13, we talk about ten years of Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee hockey cards…or as I like to call them, “Faux-Pee-Chee.”

Also, since 13 is allegedly an unlucky number, there were a few audio glitches in this recording. Still, it is a fun listen, as we look back at the past decade of O-Pee-Chee cards.

Total Time is 38 minutes.


Podcast Intro and Ending Music Credits

“Rockin” by Tony Bullard (tonybullard.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/


Puck Junk Podcast #11 – June 22, 2016

…with your hosts, Sal Barry and Tim Parish.


Player not working? Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud.

It’s long overdue, but Puck Junk Podcast #11 is finally here. In today’s episode, Tim and Sal talk about the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup Championship — on Tim’s insistence, of course. Then they go retro and talk about the 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey set.

Before you click that play button, be sure to check out the images after the jump.   Continue reading “Puck Junk Podcast #11 – June 22, 2016”

An Interview with Hockey Card Photo Editor Austin Castillo

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Upper Deck photo editor Austin Castillo, left, poses with Philip Pritchard and the Stanley Cup. Among other duties, Castillo selects photos shown on Upper Deck hockey cards.

A few weeks ago, Puck Junk got some internet buzz with our Best of the Worst article about this year’s Upper Deck Series Two. That caught the busy eyes of our cardboard muses at Upper Deck, who enjoyed the light-hearted ribbing we gave them. We asked if we could interview one of their photo editors, because we want to know what goes into the production of hockey cards. What are some of the challenges that Upper Deck employees face to make cards that they’d be proud of?

Fortunately, Upper Deck photo editor Austin Castillo was kind enough to play Twenty(ish) Questions with us via email, and provided some pretty insightful and provocative things about the world of cardboard sports icons. Where do their new product ideas come from? What kind of guidelines do they follow for selecting card photos? Let’s find out!

Jim Howard: What is your job and what are your duties with Upper Deck?

Austin Castillo: My job title is Photo Editor. I maintain a huge archive of digital and film assets (slides and negatives) and pick the photos that go on cards, as well as some Photoshop work (CMYK conversion, color correction, etc.).

JH: How did you find your way into this field?

AC: I studied photography in college and then found the job via Indeed.

JH: To what extent do you edit the pictures?  Obviously color, contrast and brightness are tweaked as needed, but I’ve seen older cards where the ads on the boards were removed or altered.

AC: We generally don’t retouch the image too much, but we’ll airbrush out Continue reading “An Interview with Hockey Card Photo Editor Austin Castillo”

Your e-Pack Trash is My Treasure

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Earlier this month, blogger Kin Kinsley asked the pointed question “Is Upper Deck e-Pack Killing Card values?” It is a great article worth reading, and much of my article here draws from the research Kin conducted earlier. In summary, the droves of collectors opening “virtual packs” of 2015-16 Upper Deck Series One and Series Two at the e-Pack website, coupled with the convenience of physical inserts already being housed at Check Out My Cards, has led to a glut of inserts listed on the COMC website for dirt cheap.

This is either awful or awesome, depending on your point of view.  Continue reading “Your e-Pack Trash is My Treasure”

Box Break: 2015-16 Upper Deck AHL

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For a third year in a row, Upper Deck has produced a set of trading cards of American Hockey League (AHL) players. The AHL is the top developmental circuit for the NHL. Many players who play in the AHL go on to play at least a little bit in the NHL, making this a sort of future prospects set.

The 2015-16 Upper Deck AHL Hockey set came out in April of 2016. A box costs around $65 and has 20 five-card packs. Being a fan of minor league hockey, I could not wait to get my hands on this product, and recently busted a box. Here is what I found inside:

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Box Break: 2015-16 Fleer Showcase Hockey

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Fleer is quickly becoming that go-to set that Upper Deck puts out when they want to infuse some 1990s nostalgia into the hockey card market. In the past, they released a set called Fleer Retro, which played heavily on 1990s base card and insert designs. The 2015-16 Fleer Showcase set is sort of their retro set of this year, with designs from two decades ago. A box costs around $110 online, and has 12 five-card packs. Here are the results of my recent break of Showcase.

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