Pay attention to Upper Deck 2008-09 Basketball, if you’re a fan of that side of the hobby. Whole boxes are coming out dirt cheap. It’s a 200-card base set without many bells and whistles — great for a younger collector or just a really good basketball fan who wants to collect a whole set easily. I cracked a square hobby-edition box with 24 packs of 18 cards. It’s very easy to form the whole set.
There are much better options on the football side of things with Upper Deck Icons 2008. Boxes are going for $75-$100 with 10 packs of six cards in each box. You get two jersey cards and an autograph in every box, so if you’re at the card store and pull a pack of these, there’s about a 1-in-3 chance that you’ll get something good.
On the cheap side, get 2008 Upper Deck Football First Edition. You can get a box for $20, and you get a Starquest Foil insert in every one of the 36 packs of 10 cards. The base set is 225 cards, and you will probably make it with one box. The big draw with this set is that it has 75 rookie cards.
If you’re a huge Peyton Manning fan, I’d spend the $20 on the box and just leave it sealed because he’s on the cover.
If you’re really all about the rookies, for under $10 you can get 2008 Upper Deck Football Rookie Premiere. It comes in a 30-card box set including Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed from my always-using-their-draft-picks-well Steelers, and some guy named Darren McFadden.
I didn’t even crack open my box. It’s a set, and I’m holding onto it.
Remember, you’re buying these cards because you enjoy the hobby and love the sports. Cards aren’t worth anything anymore, and unless you get lottery-ticket lucky and pull a super rare card, don’t expect to turn a profit on your cards. And if you do get a super rare valuable card, sell it right away or end up like all those guys that held onto Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens rookie cards (or worse, bought it at their peak) and now have some useful toilet paper.