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Upper Deck Exquisite
One of the undeniable themes of the last decade or so in the world of sports cards has been the rapid evolution of its most expensive products – call them high-end, super premium, or any similar term. In 1999, the thought of someone paying $100 for a single pack of modern cards would have been laughable, but just a few years into the new millennium, card manufacturers had not only reached, but blown by that price point.
Just when it appeared that trend couldn’t possibly continue, Upper Deck seized upon a unique opportunity to push it even further. Spurred by the incredible demand for the 2003-04 NBA rookie class headed up by LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, the company introduced Exquisite Basketball at the eye-popping suggested price of $500 for a single pack of five cards.
To be sure, the content of that first Exquisite set was like nothing that had come before. Each pack held an autographed patch card numbered to no more than 100 copies, an autographed rookie memorabilia card from that deep crop of newcomers, and the potential to pull truly limited cards from UD spokesmen like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Even so, there was a healthy amount of skepticism about whether the market would accept a product so expensive.
That fear proved unfounded, as the LeBron rookie card from Exquisite’s debut went on to become the most valuable modern rookie card in any sport, and several others broke the $1,000 mark. Today, packs of 2003-04 Exquisite Basketball (if you can find them) , go for several thousand dollars each.
Upper Deck continued to manufacture Exquisite sets in the years to come and even took the brand to football and (though it went by the name The Cup) hockey, however it made it’s most profound impact on the basketball card hobby. Read our list of Top 10 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball Rookie Cards.
2014 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Football is back one more time as a fully licensed NCAA product delivering five high-end autographs per box. Also included are cards of players slated for the 2015 draft.
2013-14 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball marks a decade since the original ultra-premium brand debuted. Boxes come with five on-card autographs including a Rookie Autographed Patch card.
There’s high-end and then there’s Exquisite. 2013 Upper Deck Exquisite Football delivers five low-numbered autographs per box including signatures from 2014 rookies.
2012-13 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball continues with the brand’s history of offering ultra high-end signatures. Boxes include five autograph cards, all signed on-card.
The high-end beauty of Exquisite returns. 2012 Upper Deck Exquisite Football combines young stars with current and past greats. Every six-card box delivers 5 autographs including one Rookie Auto Patch.
2011-12 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball marks the return of one of the most popular high-end hardcourt brands in hobby history. Every box promises a total of five autographs.
2011 Upper Deck Exquisite Football sees the return of the super premium brand. Seven-card boxes boast five autographs, including many key names from the 2011 NFL rookie class.
Upper Deck’s legendary high-end brand enters its freshman season with the NCAA football license. The latest Exquisite Collection promises the same craftsmanship collectors have come to expect with a few new twists including Tri-Fold Signature Book Cards. 2010 Exquisite Collection is scheduled to hit hobby shop shelves on March 31st, 2011.
2009-10 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball Card Set Details, Reviews, Box Price Comparisons, and Auction Tracker.
2009 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Football continued with the brand’s focus on ultra high-end hits. All cards are numbered and all autographs are on-card. Key rookies include Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.
Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love lead the rookie charge in 2008-09 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball. The ultra high-end set features one of its strongest lineups with lots of rookies, autographs and patch combinations.
2008 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Football features one of the strongest rookie lineups in the brand’s storied history. Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden and Joe Flacco are among the high-end highlights.
2006 Upper Deck Exquisite Football Cards Set Info, Reviews, Auction Tracker and box buying guide.
Although it has one of the weakest rookie crops in the brand’s history, 2005-06 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball still packs a punch with its high-end lineup of autograph and memorabilia cards.
2004-05 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball may not be as strong as the legendary debut from a year earlier, but it’s no sophomore slump either. Dwight Howard leads the list of rookie cards.
One of the greatest sets of all-time, 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball redefined the high-end sports card market. The set includes the top rookie cards of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.