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Retail Review: 2008-09 Upper Deck Ovation Series 4 Tin

January 12, 2011

Last week I was forced to take my car in to the dealership for a little “routine maintenance”.  At my dealership this basically means waiting more than 2 hours for the car to be done and bracing myself for the ugliness of the few hundred dollar bill that awaits me.

Thankfully my dealership is in an end of town with a decent number of distractions and time wasters in the form of coffee shops and retail outlets, one of which is Wal-Mart, a place that I can rarely resist stopping in to in search of discounted blaster boxes.

Back in December I had read on My Hockey Card Obsession that Wal-Mart had many of their hockey cards on sale, so I figured I would see if that was still the case in the New Year. 

When I finally found the aisle where their stock of cards was located (it seems to change every time I stop in) it was clear that while the sale was still in effect, the best of what they had available on sale had been cleaned out.

One thing that I did come across though, just like on My Hockey Card Obsession, were tins of Upper Deck Ovation from various years at just $10 each.  With a little digging I came across a few tins of Series 4 of the 2008-2009 release, so I decided to pick one up, knowing that the last series of Ovation tended to contain the bulk of the rookie cards found in the set and that Steven Stamkos was among those rookies.

Ovation’s distribution format is far from exciting and I am not really a big fan that aspect of the product.  A retail exclusive release, the 2008-2009 edition came in the form of four series of 50 cards, each series featuring a different player on the front of the tin, with a randomly inserted jumbo card in each tin as well. 

The 50 base set cards you get inside each tin correspond to the series number on the front of the tin (i.e. Series 1 contains cards 1-50 and so on).   There are also autographed versions of the jumbos available, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize they are not exactly easy to come by even though no odds of pulling one are shown on the packaging. 

Despite the fact that I am not big on the way the product is distributed, I have been a fan of the Ovation set itself since it was first re-released in 2006-2007 (the initial release happened during the 1999-2000 season).

The player photos on every card are close-cropped and embossed, with no imagery for your attention to be drawn to outside of the foil and simple background design with a gradient that makes the players seem to pop off the card..  As is typical of most Upper Deck products, the photography is great, catching players in some solid action shots that look great on cardboard.

The Stamkos rookie card was definitely the highlight of the tin, especially considering his torrid start to the season and his overall play the past couple of years.  Some of the other rookie cards to come out of this tin are pictured here with the Stamkos card:


I do have a couple of other gripes about the product outside of the boring distribution method though.  The first relates to the distribution somewhat.  Essentially Ovation is a factory set sold in four separate parts.  With that being the case, it is inexcusable for Upper Deck to insert the cards randomly and not have them in numerical order.  If the only cards I can possibly pull include one copy of every card numbered 151 to 200, then put the cards in order before they get packaged out.  I should not have to do any work in collating a factory set.

Secondly, the jumbos have always been a disappointment to me.  Pictured below is the Patrice Bergeron jumbo that I pulled from my tin.  I cannot understand why Upper Deck would put so much into the embossing and foil of the base set cards, yet neglect to do the same on the jumbos.  All you end up with is a larger, far more boring version of the base set card.

Outside of those two things I can find little wrong with my $10 purchase.  I like the look of the set, I got a great crop of rookies, and I did so for a minimal hit to the wallet.


At the same time I bought the tin that I reviewed today, I also picked up a Series 3 tin of 2009-2010 UD Ovation.  Look for a review of that tin next Wednesday. 

What are your thoughts on the Upper Deck’s Ovation product?  Do you enjoy the design as much as I do or do you disagree with my assessment?  What about the jumbos, collation, and distribution of the set?

Let me know what you think by posting a comment or sending me an e-mail at bb_bros [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Coming up on Sunday I’ll have the sixth article in my eight-part Toward Self Sufficiency series.  This week I will examine the importance I see in setting specific goals to achieve in pursuit of overarching objective, as well as outline what a few of my goals are for 2011.

Until then, all the best in your collecting pursuits!



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