I was going to title this “I hate The Cup,” but I really don’t. Even if it embodies everything I don’t like about the hobby at the moment (artificial scarcity, hit mentality, denigration of the basic set, big money speculation), I can’t say I hate it. It is far more accurate to say I simply don’t get The Cup and other high-end products like it. I can’t fathom spending that kind of money on the off chance of getting something really awesome when the likelihood is getting a bunch of stuff I neither like nor want.
I do try my hand at it from time to time. Just recently, I decided I’d like a Sundin autograph and there were a half-dozen patch cards available from the latest Cup release. I picked the one with the second-most interesting patch, made my bid and won. A week or so later it got to me. I opened up the envelope, took the card out and had the the same reaction I’ve had with every other Cup card.
Overall, the design does next to nothing for me. There’s very little colour and far too much white space. I get that Upper Deck wants the patch and signature to carry the card, but when the patch itself has a lot of white, the card comes out really bland,
The thickness is irritating. There is no valid reason for this card to be an eighth of an inch thick other than to make people say, “Wow, that’s really thick!” I like cards in binders. It’s nice to flip through and convenient to store. These things are not convenient. They need to stay in their holders.
I’ve watched enough box breaks to know that the people who love these things love them a lot. When they finally get to that Crosby/Lemieux dual-patch auto thing and they’re happy, power to them. It’s just that at $400 per box, I think you could do better.
In 2012-13 The Cup, your money ($500 retail!!) gets you 7 cards (from the UD site):
1 Numbered Rookie Autograph Patch Card
1 Numbered Autograph Patch Card
1 Autograph, Memorabilia or Parallel Card
2 Numbered Base Cards
Ultimate Collection Bonus 2-Card Pack, with 1 Autograph or Memorabilia Card
The following are things that have come to my door in the past 12 months, and they total less than one tin of the Cup:
First, you need some kicking rookie card – the hope being, of course, that you get a Hall of Famer, such as this guy:
For “a numbered, autographed patch card,” there really isn’t a dead equivalent. I’ll go for a really solid card of someone pretty special:
The “Autograph, Memorabilia or Parallel Card” to me represents the big hit, so I’ll save it till the end. The next things would be the two base cards. They are numbered, so they aren’t dead easy to find, plus they’re thick and annoying. In that light, let’s take two base cards from sets that are not the standard 2-1/2 X 3-1/2.
They’re not both Johnny Wilson by design, but that’s just how things went.
Upper Deck throws in this bonus pack that offers one good card and one regular. I don’t know what those retail for, so I’ll go with one decent but not expensive HoFer and a nice auto card that cost a lot less than Mats did above:
Anyway, like most of the breaks, you get to the end and then get the hit, or at least you hope to. Too many times in the comments of the box breaks, you see things like “I don’t know whether I made my money back.” That’s the good thing with vintage. It tends to hold its value. Anyway, this would be my pack hit:
To each his or her own, of course, but I’d feel a lot better about what I got with this lot than a tin of The Cup. What’s more, I was basing this off the $400 eBay price. I didn’t realize that $500 was the retail price. That would get a bonus card, like this one:
And you’d still have cash left over for shipping.