Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"But is it art"? (2007 UD Masterpieces)

Upper Deck did a nice turn in 2007 with these pastoral, brushed-up cards. Available in slim packs of 4 (corrected from 6), UD Masterpieces captured memorable moments on roughened, canvas-like stock with gold foil framing. Loaded with parallels and other inserts as modern sets often are, I see its artful look as competing with Topps' 2006 resurrection of Allen & Ginter.

2007 UD Masterpieces (Ryan Howard and Chipper Jones):

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter (Ryan Howard auto & Chipper Jones):

My handful of cards came from a Wal-Mart repack, but I enjoyed the artistic style enough to consider buying more. (As a 99% vintage collector, not many current-day sets grab my attention.) People willing to pony up for a hobby box can score unusual cards like 5"x7" inserts, black borders, and other curiosities. Back in 2007, A Pack A Day blogged their box break live and included a number of nice scans; the affecting "Lou Gehrig Day" is my favorite.

2007 UD Masterpieces reverse:

OK, there's one obvious weakness, the repeated back photos. I assume the painting "treatment" came from a reusable series of Photoshop filters, so why not pick out a nice player profile shot and run them again? Adding more variety would nail it and could even be superior to A&G's "foggy nostalgia" look.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, I assumed incorrectly--the pictures used are real paintings and thus closer to "art" than one might suspect. What to do about the backs, then? They still seem unnecessarily repetitive. How about a painting of the home park for all members of a given team?

More UD Masterpiece links!


Wrigley Wax said...

Actually, it is artwork and you can buy the originals on ebay and from Upper Deck

Anonymous said...

Actually, 07 Masterpieces came in pack of 4.

I'm in the process of opening a hobby box now (I open just a few packs a day to make them last!) and I agree - they're pretty awesome. Lots of hits in the hobby 07 boxes, not sure about retail.

Matthew Glidden said...

Thanks for the corrections, the article's updated to reflect 4-card packs and actual paintings.