Basketball card collectors can't get enough autographs, so a few years ago Upper Deck came up with SP Signature Edition as a high end way to give them their fix. While the market has changed so that a $50-60 pack is far from the most expensive one out there, the brand still focuses on serving up signatures.
2006-07 SP Signature Edition Basketball comes packaged in metal tins that contain a single pack of three cards. Each pack contains one autographed card and two base or parallel cards on average.
Every base card in SP Signature Edition is numbered to 499. The 142-card set consists of 100 NBA veterans and 42 2006-07 rookies on a card design that features a color photo on a ghosted-out background. Player and position info runs along the bottom with the player name in silver foil along the left side.
There are also gold parallels to all of the base cards, with veterans numbered to 25 and rookies limited to 14 copies each. Unlike many of this year's products, the rookie cards are all printed in the same quantity, meaning your chances of pulling, say, Brandon Roy are no worse than pulling Steve Novak, which is a nice touch.
Both of the base cards in my sample tin were regular veteran cards: Mike Miller of the Grizzlies and Joey Graham of the Raptors.
This is what SP Signature Edition is all about. With one autographed card in every tin, your chances of finding a signed card numbered to 50 or less is pretty good - but not guaranteed, as there is one autographed insert, SP Signatures, that is not numbered.
As for who you might find, the subjects range from rookies to legends and everyone in-between. It's nice to see that kind of variety, but from a value standpoint, it also means that almost every tin you open leaves you with the feeling that you either got a lot more or less than you expected for your money, with very little middle ground.
There are 16 autographed insert sets in all:
- INKredible INKscriptions - Level 1 (23 cards #'d to 100)
- INKredible INKscriptions - Level 2 (24 cards #'d to 50)
- AKA Signings - Level 1 (24 cards #'d to 50)
- AKA Signings - Level 2 (22 cards #'d to 25)
- SP Signatures (98 cards; gold parallels #'d to 10)
- Rookie GRAPHiti (25 cards #'d to 50; gold #'d to 25)
- Hoops Inc. Auto (22 cards #'d to 50; gold #'d to 25)
- Signs of Success (49 cards #'d to 25; gold #'d to 10)
- Two Star Autographs (43 dual autos #'d to 25)
- Three Star Autographs (22 triple autos #'d to 25)
- Four Star Autographs (10 quad autos #'d to 15)
- Five Star Autographs (eight quintuple autos #'d to 10)
- Six Star Autographs (five six-player autos #'d to 5)
- Alumni Associations (19 dual autos #'d to 50)
- Signature Style (30 cards #'d to 25)
- Marks of Distinction (48 cards #'d to 50)
The About.com review tin produced a Rookie GRAPHiti card of Boston Celtics rookie Rajon Rondo numbered 02/50.
The Last Word
For fans of autographed cards, there's something to be said for a product that has one in every pack. When SP Signature Edition was first created, this was still a fairly novel idea, but that's no longer the case.
With much higher end products costing hundreds of dollars per pack and offering a lot more content, SP Signature is now competing against mid-range boxes of basketball cards that often contain an autograph of their own in addition to rookies, memorabilia cards and a lot more base cards. There are some nice signed cards available in the 2006-07 set, but you can't help but feel that a few tweaks could help restore a little bit of the luster to this brand down the road.