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It was with great disappointment that I read Upper Deck plans on discontinuing the Masterpieces brand. It’s a shame as it was one of the few Upper Deck releases I actually looked forward to in 2008.

Really, it’s just another in a rash of bad decisions by Upper Deck — not that Topps was innocent of such things themselves — Moments and Milestones, anyone? That they’re bringing back the widely panned X, A Piece of  History/Artifacts, Opening Day, and adding updates to Documentary and Yankee Stadium Legacy. Add to that the decision to discontinue Masterpieces and Sweet Spot, arguably two of their most popular products, and you’ve some seriously senseless decisionmaking.

But as industry insider Steve Judd asks succintly, you have to wonder what this means for the card industry. Can Upper Deck and Topps afford to keep flooding the market with garbage releases and expect to be profitable during these economic times?

As a post-mortem to Masterpieces, here’s a few of the bonus cards that came with the last of my Christmas presents from DACW.

01092319

My hope is that these boxes will bring me that much closer to set completion on their respective fronts. However, I won’t be breaking these boxes until next week — busy weekend and all. Sadly, my last two weekends were far busier than my last week — work has slowed considerably, but predictably. Hopefully things’ll pick up again — I’d like to get in on the early 2009 releases, not to mention do things like pay the bills!

biggio

This card is exactly why I love Masterpieces so much. Awesome photo, and although it isn’t a painting necessarily, the expression on Biggio’s face, the gold border, really, everything comes together so well and makes this such an aesthetically pleasing card.

morneau

And it wouldn’ t be a modern set without all the pointless, stupid parallels, now would it? Here’s Morneau, framed in Green Linen (I think).

jackie

I have three copies of this card — one with my 07 Masterpieces set, another in my Dodger binder, and now this one. And what a beautiful moment to immortalize — Jackie signing on with Branch Rickey and the Dodgers. This was actually one of the first Masterpieces cards I owned, having found it while rummaging through the massively unorganized piles of cards at one of my favorite shops.

And of course, the “hit,” an on-card auto from Padres 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

gonzalez

I think it’s strange that I’ve managed to pull lots of Rockies, Padres, and especially Giants when it comes to autos and gamers.

I think it’s strange that in one pack, all the cards were vertically oriented, and in the other, they were all horizontally oriented.

I think it’s strange that both bonus gifts I received from DACW contained autos.

And I wish that I hadn’t haphazardly ordered from DACW, since combined, my orders would’ve qualified for something a lot nicer than Matt Cain and Adrian Gonzalez autographs!

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4 Comments

  1. I liked Masterpieces, but I don’t think that it’s a bad idea to discontinue the brand. I can’t tell the 2007 and 2008 designs apart without flipping them and reading the card back. Would there really be enough of a market for the same basic set in 2009?

    Masterpieces might work better as an insert set going forward.

    Less is better… now if Upper Deck would also be kind and finish off Documentary, X, Spectrum, SP Authentic, Timelines, and First Edition they’d be doing something.

  2. I have noticed the large number of Giants auto pulls in various box breaks of Masterpieces. What’s the deal?

    I’m not broken up about the departure of Masterpieces. Although the Martin card is amazing and a few others are great, I dislike others that do not capture the featured player at all. And I get what Steve is saying. It’s too costly for Upper Deck, compared to some other brands. I don’t have enough money to buy all the brands anyway, so this will only help me.

  3. Certainly UD has a glut of product out there, but I would’ve preferred to see any number of other sets go before Masterpieces. But it’s not as though Masterpieces is without its problems too. I mean, for starters, what the heck is going on with its price point? It was reasonable in 2007, but in 2008 it was ridiculous.

  4. WTF!! Masterpieces was my favorite set of 2008. So much so that searched out and bought boxes of last year’s product so that I’d have a complete collection of sets from the beginning. They canned this set in favor of garbage like X and Documentary? Do they do any market research? Masterpieces was the ONLY UD product I bought this year. I guess I won’t be buying any next year. Nice strategy for keeping customers.


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