Looking for something a little different than your average autographed hockey card? 2006-07 Be A Player Portraits Hockey just might fit the bill, as it features one 8 x 10 autographed card per pack.
Along with the oversized signatures, each pack also holds one base card, one memorabilia card and one rookie card. Boxes of BAP Portraits Hockey come with six packs, and one of the 8x10's in each box is a combo autograph card with anywhere from two to ten signatures.
The veterans of the NHL are the subjects of the first 100 cards in the BAP Portraits base set. Photos are borderless except at the bottom, where simple silver and white stripes contain the player and team information. With only six commons per box, collectors who want to compile the entire set will have some work to do.
A total of 30 rookies appear on the Portrait Premieres cards which fall one per pack. The rookie cards have an extra splash of color at the bottom and the player photo pops out against a grey background. Rookies from products with a high pack price generally hold their value well, so these could be popular on the secondary market despite being unnumbered.
My review box produced the expected six veterans and six rookies, including Pittsburgh Penguins shorthanded scoring whiz Jordan Staal.
Signatures are unquestionably the focus of this set, and though there have been hockey card products with an autograph per pack in the past, the 8x10 Signature Portraits make this product unique. The oversized cards share the same simple, understated design as the base cards with the prominent addition of the Signature Portraits label at the bottom.
The actual autographs are on transparent stickers in the bottom left corner of the card, but since the stickers are much larger than the stickers used on normal sized cards, the players have plenty of room for a full signature. About.com's sample box held six single autographed cards (one pack had two oversized cards stuck together): Roberto Luongo, Steve Sullivan, Brendan Morrison, Nikolai Zherdev, Lee Stempniak and Markus Naslund.
Each box also contains a multiple signature card, most of which are the Dual Signature Portraits that are inserted 1:7 packs. There's also a chance at a card with anywhere from three to ten autographs, though those are tougher pulls with print runs ranging from 25 to three copies each.
My box produced a Dual Signature Portraits card of Dallas Stars teammates Mike Modano and Marty Turco.
A single memorabilia insert called First Exposures makes sure there is a jersey card in every pack. The checklist spotlights 42 young NHL players, most notably super sophomores Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Dion Phaneuf.
My box was right on the money with six jersey cards, including a two-color Thomas Vanek and duplicates of Jeff Tambellini. One thing to note is that the swatches on the cards are from event-worn photo shoot jerseys, not sweaters worn in NHL games.
The Last Word
Upper Deck has done products with 8x10 autographs before, but there seems to be a much stronger effort with BAP Portraits to add something extra to each pack. Some collectors will undoubtedly prefer regular sized autograph cards, but that's a matter of personal taste.
The only factor keeping me from giving this product an even higher grade is some lesser names on the autograph checklist, which makes it a little bit of a gamble to buy by the pack. The real value seems to be in a whole box to assure yourself of getting the dual or multiple signature, but the high price tag - likely $200 or more - could make that a little tough to swallow for some hockey card fans.
Even so, there's a lot to like about 2006-07 BAP Portraits Hockey, and anyone looking for something different or cards that make nice display items should give this set a look.