Good: Future Watch Auto's, Future Watch Patch Auto's, Thick and Hearty Patches, Thick Stock, Clean and Crisp Card Design, 3 Auto's per box, HoloFX inserts, Rookie Review Auto's and Patch Auto's
Bad: SP Essentials Parallels are annoying at times, not much else
The Bottom Line:
Upper Deck may be going through some problems as a company, but you wouldn't know it by ripping a box of 2009-10 SP Authentic. Like every other Upper Deck Hockey card offering, SP Authentic is an amazingly well done and well conceived product. The Future Watch Auto's are consistently among the best rookies auto's in the industry, if only every company could establish a theme for each of their products as well as Upper Deck does with each one of their hockey products.
2009-10 SP Authentic is filled with awesome rookie auto's of the NHL's best rookies like Tavares, Duchene, Tyler Myers, and Niemi. On top of that, no mid-level card offering in the world provides collectors with better patches. All in all, SP Authentic is amazing product that carries a perfect box price and is sure to please any hockey card collector, it might even surprise collectors who haven't ventured into the hockey portion of the hobby yet.
Design - 4.5/5
The design of this year's Future Watch rookies and base cards are as sharp looking as ever. This year's SP Authentic has a wonderfully smooth, flowing symmetry to it's card design . As I mentioned above, no mid-level product on the planet puts heartier and thicker patches into their cards than SPA does. I pulled a John Scott Future Watch Patch Auto Numbered to 100 and it had a 5-color patch in it! I didn't even care that Scott is a 27-year old defenseman who might be one of the worst rookies in the product, my Patch contained part of the Wild symbol on the Sweater! Another thing SP Authentic does well is take some of the best parts of 90's card design into the 21st century, as it does with SPA's HoloFX inserts, which also come in die-cut parallel versions!
Checklist - 4.5/5
SP Authentic's checklist offers collector's everything you could want out of a hockey product. It doesn't overdue it with retired players, it stacks the base set with an insane amount of Rookies and Rookie Auto's, it offers awesome Veteran and Retired player Auto's, and limits the amount of inserts per box to avoid insert overload. The thing I love about this product is that it actually means something to get an insert! It's refreshing to get only 8-10 cards per box that differ from a base card.
Value - 4.5/5
Hockey may be my 3rd or 4th favorite sport, but when it comes to return on investment, no sport comes close to Hockey in the hobby. There are so many cool cards that can be pulled from a box of 2009-10 SP Authentic that even the worst of boxes is far better than a bad box by any other name.
Enjoyability - 5/5
I got a pretty bad box and I still thoroughly enjoyed opening 2009-10 SP Authentic. I seriously could stare at the Patch on the John Scott Future Watch Auto I pulled for days on end. This is just a really cool product, the card design is great, the patches thick, the future watch's are plentiful, and it reminds you of why you started collecting in the first place.
The highlights of my box break:
Review Box Courtesy Of A Trusted Hobby Store:
Billy's Sports Treasures
4809 W 123rd St.