Before National Treasures, Immaculate Collection, Flawless, Topps Five Star or Topps Dynasty, there was just Exquisite Collection. The original ultra-premium release was the undisputed option for rookie collectors for many years. Quality designs, on-card autographs and impressive patch pieces make these high-end cards some of the most-chased rookie and first-year cards in the entire hobby.
Exquisite Collection made its debut in basketball during the 2003-04 season, and what a year to kick things off. The historic rookie class, headlined by LeBron James, made everyone take notice and Exquisite was at the forefront for collectors. While some originally scoffed at the high price tag, it did not take long to see the shift in the hobby to a new level of card collecting.
Basketball still remains the sport most synonymous with the brand, but the line was carried over to other sports, including football, baseball and golf, with varying levels of success. Baseball was more of a blip than anything else. The dual rookie cards in 2006 and sticker autographs did not help. The football rookie design has been fairly consistent outside of the first year in 2005 and remains a popular option. Golf is the newest inclusion, but the 2014 debut was very well received.
It is important to note that 2009-10 Exquisite Collection Basketball and 2010 Exquisite Collection Football saw the shift to a college theme when Upper Deck lost the pro licenses. While the cards have still continued to enjoy the brand recognition and a strong base of collectors, they are no longer considered true rookie cards. Since then, the college focus has continued, but it remains to be seen how the brand will be utilized for football and basketball now that Upper Deck has lost the college license.
Exquisite has started including the upcoming draft class in their recent products. For example, 2013-14 Exquisite Collection Basketball features the 2013 NBA Draft class as part of the main set, but also includes the 2014 NBA Draft class in an autographed insert. However, only the cards for the current rookie class are shown for each year.
The following guide looks at the Exquisite Collection autographed patch rookie card designs from each year. The listings are broken down by sport and linked directly to the available shopping options on eBay. Detailed product profiles are noted when available. While some releases include multiple rookie designs, the focus of this guide is the autographed relic cards. When no autographed patch cards were issued, such as 2011-12 Exquisite Basketball, the primary design is shown.
Exquisite Collection Basketball Gallery
*Exquisite Collection Basketball was not produced for the 2010-11 season.