Exquisite is live, and there are some breaks that are finally making their way onto message boards. It gives people a first look at box makeup, and results have been good and bad. I think the way the cards look are very much living up to the previews we got from Upper Deck during packout, but a few complaints are surfacing about a few things that seem unacceptable to me if true. Outside of these few complaints, I think that we are going to have a blast with the boxes that we will be getting, and hopefully the cards will equal the excitement that I have over the product in general.
The main complaint so far is that there seems to be a lot of chipping and damage to the cards in the boxes. I have commented numerous times how terrible this can be, especially for a card that is as rare as some of the chase examples are. My suggestion has always been encasement, but more than one manufacturer has expressed how costly and time consuming that would be when the issue has been brought up. Not that its an excuse for the damage displayed so far, but when the cards are put in cardboard boxes without holders and handled by a number of people, it increases the possible damage to the card. That sucks, bad.
I will say that this is nothing new for Exquisite and nothing new for hand packaged products in general. Its expected, as unforuntate as that is, and it doesn’t stop many collectors from buying the chipped cards because of the extreme rarity that characterizes the product. No one should be grading these cards, and I have said before that its more about the card itself than the condition with these. Regardless of collector's willingness to put up with chipping, it doesn’t make it any less of a crap oversight.
Another thing I noticed is a lack of a certain player in the set, something I talked about when the checklist was first released. The darlings of last year's season were definitely Drew Brees and Brett Favre, but only one is reflected with presence in the set. Brees has many cards in the product including cool inscriptions, but Favre only has 1 or 2 without a single auto. A rare materials was pulled on blowout, but the pic has him in a Vikings uniform, where the jersey swatches are from the Packers. I understand why this is the case (the cost of Favre stuff from the Vikings is astronomical), but I think a lack of Favre autos in this product will hurt a lot of prospects for Vikings fans and Favre fans.
Lastly, the box configuration seems to be more geared towards additional swatch cards than additional auto cards. I understand that cost is mutually exclusive to adding further auto content, but I dont think thats what people are thinking about when opening a box of this stuff. Much like Ultimate, the cool auto cards are awesome enough to chase a box or two, but the jersey ones have huge potential to kill a box. However, that is the nature of a product like this. At least you are guaranteed an extra auto in the bonus packs, and there are no more non-auto jersey cards, only patches.
Personally, I will hunt singles in this set like a shark, so I am definitely on board with this Exquisite. I guess we will just have to wait and see how everything turns out after a few more breaks before passing final judgement.