Mixing vintage theme and design elements with modern NFL rosters, Upper Deck has produced 2009 Philadelphia, a retro themed set that borrows heavily from the 1960s Philadelphia sets, as well as the historic 1935 National Chicle set. The product is available in boxes of 20 packs with 8 cards each. 2009 Philadelphia features a 300-card base set designed to mimick the 1964 Philadelphia set.
Like other retro themed products, 2009 Philadelphia features many inserts, including NFL Stars in Action and 1935 National Chicle, which was designed to be an exact replica of the historic first football set produced, right down to the unique card size. There is also an oversized 5×7 parallel set to the 1935 National Chicle insert. Autographs can be found on both the 1935 National Chicle and 5×7 parallel sets, as well as the Philadelphia Signatures insert. It should be noted that all autographs in this product are on-card. 2009 Philadelphia also delivers game used memorabilia cards in the Philadelphia Fabrics insert. Additionally, this product features four non-sports short-printed sets, including The Story of Barak Obama, Woodstock 40th Anniversary, The Vietnam War, and The Election Years. To add more bang for your buck, Upper Deck has also included original Philadelphia buy back cards.
Per Box Breakdown: 20 packs of 8 cards each (160 total), including 1 autographed card (on-card), 2 memorabilia cards, 15 base set short prints, 1 5×7 1935 National Chicle box topper, and 4 1935 National Chicle inserts. Each case of 14 boxes will include 1 5×7 1935 National Chicle autograph, 1 1935 National Chicle Autograph, and 2-3 Original Philadelphia Buy Backs.
My first reaction to seeing this product was that bringing back the classic Philadelphia designs was great because I feel they are often over looked by modern collectors. However, I will admit it’s a bit odd seeing such crisp photography on a vintage card design. I also liked that Upper Deck was paying homage to the very first all-football set ever produced in their 1935 National Chicle insert. However, I am starting to believe that the hobby is being inundated with retro-themed sets right now. Recently, the big card producers have been hammered by critics of their seemingly lazy card designs. This year, there are some great looking sets being released, but a lot of them are simply borrowing designs from vintage sets. Is this just laziness in a different way? I tend to think so. Another thing I do not like at all is the non-sports cards. I am a football card collector, not a classic car card collector, a music festival card collector, and am sure as hell not a political figurehead card collector. I will join the plethora of other collectors when I say: I DO NOT WANT NON-SPORTS CARDS IN MY SPORTS CARD BOX! On the other hand, I do really like that all of the autographs are on-card. I realize it’s probably nearly impossible to completely avoid sticker autos in every set produced, especially given modern collectors’ demand of “hits” per box; however, it’s great to see that Upper Deck put forth the effort to bring at least one full product of all on-card autos. A box of 2009 Philadelphia will set you back around $60-$70, which is not a bad price point. You will certainly not get the same quantity of cards per dollar as say 2009 Score or 2009 Topps, but the quality appears to be on the right track.
What are your first reactions? Should Upper Deck be praised for releasing a well-designed retro themed set that features all on-card autographs, or is this just another sorry excuse for a lack of design creativity and non-sports cards?