Product Review: 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends

I had a chance to bust this nice box a little while ago and am finally getting around to writing up the review. The box contained 24 packs of 5 cards each for a total of 120 cards. This was a high-end product back in 1999 (retail price was $167), but being a decade late to the party, I only had to pay $76 to for this box (free shipping). This breaks into a $0.63 price tag per card, which is 2-3x the per card price of the other products I’ve reviewed so far here. It is definitely still higher end, but not Exquisite-esque.

Click image for full sized scan

The 180 card base set essentially consists of 5 subsets. Card 1-50 feature sepia-toned action shots of the Top 50 Players of All Time, per The Sporting News. Cards 51-100 feature full color action shots of Upper Deck’s Top 50 Contemporary Players. Cards 101-130 feature current players and legends in an All-Pro Rewind (APR) subset. Cards 131-160 are “21st Century Phenoms” rookie cards. Cards 161-180 are a Century Memories subset and feature great games, moments, and achievements. It should be noted that cards #4, 6, 14, 26, 31, 38, and 43 were never produced (see explanation card below that was included in the box on top of the packs).

This product features some great inserts, including 10 Epic Milestones – the 10 most impressive NFL milestones ever reached (1:11), 10 20th Century Superstars – incomparable superstars of the NFL (1:11), 10 Tour de Force – The 10 most important players in the NFL from the last century (1:23), 180 Century Collection – Die-cut and sequentially numbered parallel #/100 (no stated odds), Epic Signatures – autographs of the greatest NFL players of the century (1:23), Century Epic Signatures – hand-numbered autographed insert #/100 (no stated odds), 8 Jerseys of the Century – game-worn jersey cards (1:418), 15 Legendary Cuts – limited edition autograph cuts (no stated odds), and 1 Walter Payton autographed game-worn jersey card (34 total produced). Now, let’s finally get to the per-pack breakdown:

Pack 1: Terrell Davis (APR), Ronnie Lott, Herman Moore, Sedrick Irvin (RC), and Jerome Bettis

Pack 2: Merlin Olsen, Kordell Stewart (APR), Jeff Paulk (RC), Curtis Martin, and Donovan McNabb (RC)

Pack 3: Joe Montana (CM), Deion Sanders (APR), Night Train Lane, John Elway, and Jack Youngblood (Epic Signatures – AUTO)

Pack 4: Marion Motley, Raymond Berry (APR), Barry Sanders, Amos Zereoue (RC), and Steve Young

Pack 5: Terry Bradshaw, Steve Largent (APR), Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, and Doug Flutie

Pack 6: Sammy Baugh, John Hannah, Troy Aikman (CM), Rob Konrad (RC), and Jerry Rice (CM)

Pack 7: Sid Luckman, Brett Favre, Ricky Williams (RC), John Elway (Epic Milestones), and Steve Young (20th Century Superstars)

Pack 8: Steve Young (APR), Steve Young (CM), Bob Lilly (APR), Jimmy Smith, and Peerless Price (RC)

Pack 9: Gale Sayers, Marshall Faulk (APR), EMMITT SMITH, Jake Plummer, and Champ Bailey (RC)

Pack 10: Dick “Night Train” Lane (APR), Herman Moore (CM), Roger Staubach (CM), Joe Montana (Epic Milestones), and Randy Moss (20th Century Superstars)

Pack 11: Terry Bradshaw (APR), Earl Campbell, Warren Moon, Troy Edwards (RC), and Corey Dillon

Pack 12: Jim Brown, Reggie White (APR), Joe Namath (CM), Jevon Kearse (RC), and Ricky Watters

Pack 13: Bob Lilly, Brett Favre (APR), Andre Rison, Chris Aiborne (RC), and Steve McNair

Pack 14: Willie Lanier, Bart Starr (APR), Dick Butkus, Jim Brown (CM), and Michael Irvin

Pack 15: Alan Page, Ken Stabler (CM), Jerry Rice, Kordell Stewart, and John Elway (CM)

Pack 16: Alan Page (APR), Raymond Berry, Otto Graham, Akili Smith (RC), and Tim Couch (Tour de Force)

Pack 17: Dan Marino, Ronnie Lott (APR), Peyton Manning, Brock Huard (RC), and Warrick Dunn

Pack 18: Ray Nitschke, Willie Brown, David “Deacon” Jones (APR), Steve Largent (CM), and Terrell Davis

Pack 19: Mark Brunell (APR), Paul Warfield (CM), Randall Cunningham, Charlie Batch, and Andy Katzenmoyer (RC)

Pack 20: Forrest Gregg, Earl Campbell (CM), Kevin Johnson (RC), Andre Reed, and Michael Cloud (RC)

Pack 21: Deion Sanders, Walter Payton (APR), Johnny Unitas, Shannon Sharpe, and Dan Fouts (CM)

Pack 22: Joe Montana (APR), Anthony Munoz, Bart Starr, Derrick Thomas, and Napoleon Kaufman

Pack 23: Fran Tarkenton (APR), Herb Adderly, Thurman Thomas, Aaron Brooks (RC), and Garrison Hearst

Pack 24: Marcus Allen (CM), Mel Blount, Terrell Davis, David Boston (RC), and Antonio Freeman

Click images for full sized scans

1st Down,
Design: As a higher-end product, there is no surprise that this is a beautiful set. The base cards are very clean and classy and the inserts are very well crafted (read below). The numerous subsets are interesting, but well done. One drawback was the airbrushed college helmets and jerseys in the 21st Century Phenoms (RCs) subset. I guess UD couldn’t or decided not to obtain collegiate rights. Why they didn’t opt for profile shots without helmets I don’t know. I did however particularly like the sepia-tones used for the initial 50 cards, the 50 greatest players of all time. The entire set just has a certain elegant feel to it — fitting for a “century legends” title.

2nd Down, Inserts: This product does not have a plethora of inserts like some modern sets, but there is certainly enough to keep the collector excited. The Epic Milestones and 20th Century Superstars are very nice. I do have a problem with the Tour de Force set though. I pulled a Tim Couch. Granted, he was a very highly touted rookie in 1999, but this insert set was supposed to feature the “10 most important players in the NFL from the last century” (directly from the box). Really?!? Tim Couch is one of the most important players in the last century? He wasn’t a top ten player in most of the games he played in, let alone the year, let alone the CENTURY! This is proof of why certain insert concepts should be strictly reserved for superstars and legends. The autographs and game worn jersey cards are AMAZING though! They may not have been seeded 3 per box, but there is no doubt they were better designed than most of the “hits” collectors go after today.

3rd Down, Collation: The collation was hard to complain about. In 120 cards, I pulled no doubles, so that is always a good sign. Also, for the box as a whole, I pulled the inserts as expected per the stated odds. However, I am a little concerned about the fact that I pulled an Epic Milestone insert immediately followed by a 20th Century Superstars insert in two separate packs. I’d rather see the inserts spread out a little, especially if there are only a handful in the entire box. One personal issue I had was the high number of 49ers I pulled. Granted, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Steve Young will naturally get a lot of recognition in a set like this, but pulling so many from one team (2 Steve Youngs in one pack!), gets a little tiresome if it is not your favorite team.

4th Down, Overall Value: This is the hardest area to judge on. The price was certainly higher than most sets from 1999, however, the set is absolutely gorgeous and gives collectors a great way to integrate modern players with the legendary heroes of yesterday. Also, the possibility of pulling on-card autos of some of the greatest football players of all time certainly adds value. If you were fortunate enough to pull one of those very rare jersey cards, you would have yourself a GREAT value box, hands down.

RED ZONE RESULTS: FIELD GOAL This is the first product to score some points in First and Goal’s Four Downs. I wanted to give this set a touchdown, but the 7 missing cards and the questionable insert checklists were big drawbacks for me. Overall though, this was a great set and the box was a blast to bust. So while this box couldn’t find paydirt, it did get on the board, giving its team a crucial lead late in the game. Only time will tell if it can maintain that lead, but in a defensive struggle, those 3 points could be huge.


5 Responses to Product Review: 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends

  1. Ricky says:

    I’m not into football cards, but that was a really solid, thorough, unbiased review.. Funny about the Tim Couch card – I saw the pic and I’m like Couch, wait I very vaguely remember that name, lol.

  2. Hey great review! Its cool to see a box break from an older year.

  3. jamoke says:

    I too was baffled when I saw the Couch Tour de FARCE card. I had to scroll back to make sure i had not missread the supposed goal of that insert set. Great review. I will come back to read the reviews that is certain.

  4. Tim H says:

    I have a set of these and I was impressed with them. I had pulled a Sam Huff auto and was pretty stoked cause it was a GIANTS player!

  5. Tim H says:

    Also pulled a Andy Robustelli too!

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