Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Cup Has It Right

Yesterday I started watching some breaks of 07-08 The Cup Hockey, and yes, I enjoyed seeing those cards. It was interesting to watch, because I knew I didn’t know many players outside of the HOFers, Marian Gaborik, Patrick Kane, Carey Price, and handful of others, but also because I saw something nifty that Upper Deck had done.

Instead of the normal cards in the box inside a tin, it was a tin that contained an ultimate pack sized box inside. Inside of the smaller box was foam insulators that protected the cards. At 350 per pack, I expect the best packaging money can buy, and with the Cup, I finally saw something that was good at following through on that promise.

See, packaging is pretty underrated in my opinion, especially considering it has become the focus of a lot of products. Take, for instance, National Treasures football, which is known for its cigar box display. I love the outside of that box, as it is something cool to display once the fun is done. The problem with it, is that inside that box, the cards are not necessarily protected like they should be. Another cardboard box is not sufficient enough packaging, if not only because during shipping, they are not in there very tightly. This can cause nicks or worse in the card stock, and that really pisses people off.

Worse than anything was Topps Paradigm (or Para-dig-em for people who don’t know what a Pair-a-dime is), as its candy dish style packaging was more of a focus than the cards themselves. It came with a lucite like bubble containing the cards, and other than that, there was nothing protecting the cards. It was a condition sensitive set enclosed in awful packaging. Stupid.

Exquisite Baseball from Upper Deck did something that I never thought would or should happen to a high end product. They put the cards in the box in a fucking mylar "wax" pack! Yes, this is exactly what should happen with all 120 pt cardstock cards. Fucking unbelieveable.

Personally, as I have mentioned before, I think Sport Kings A had the right idea by encasing all their cards in sealed top loaders. Its not the best idea, but it’s a start. When you buy cards at THAT price, they should come in hard plastic holders. This would prevent damage and possibly counterfeiting by not allowing the collectors to take the cards out of the holders without drawing attention to that fact. I don’t know if it would be possible, but I think its worth some consideration at $500+ per pack.

As for lower end products, packs seem to do their job, MOST of the time. Yet, everything else in the industry has moved ahead of the current packaging due to thicker cards, innovative box shapes, etc, but the mylar packs have stayed the same. I think its time that companies re-thought the way cards are distributed and maybe came up with an idea to protect their condition sensitive products.

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