Upper Deck Exquisite Delivers Pull of a Lifetime for California Collector
by Bob Williams
July 14, 2004
The Upper Deck Company broke new ground in June of this year by introducing the trading
card industry’s first $500 per pack product with the debut of 2003-04 Exquisite Collection
Basketball, a product distributed in 5-card packs packaged in a wooden box. This one-of-a-kind
product is geared toward the serious collector looking for unique cards of today's past, present
and future stars.
Exquisite offers collectors a wide range of unique one-of-a-kind memorabilia, autograph and
combination cards. However, one unique insert set immediately caught collectors' attention -
the All-NBA Access Pass cards, also known as dual NBA Logoman patches. These 1-of-1 combination
cards feature the NBA logo patches from the jerseys of superstars such as LeBron James, Kobe
Bryant and Michael Jordan.
Fueled by national coverage in newspapers such as USA TODAY, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San
Diego Union-Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times and stories on large sports and hobby web sites
such as ESPN.com and Beckett.com, Exquisite quickly created a fire within the hobby and beyond.
When the Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant and Kobe Bryant/LeBron James versions of the All-NBA Access
Pass cards were pulled and then sold for over $27,000 and $62,000 on eBay during June, prices for
packs of Exquisite skyrocketed up to $650 and more as collectors were searching for that elusive
key card - the LeBron James/Michael Jordan All-NBA Access Pass card numbered 1 of 1.
Then on July 2nd, just 3 days before his 26th birthday, Orlando Macias of Santa Rosa, CA, became
the big Exquisite winner. Macias, a Recreation Coordinator and Teen Center Director for the City
of Novato, CA, has worked with teens for a number of years, even establishing the Teen Center in
Windsor, CA as a teenager himself. He comes from a large family and has been collecting for over
15 years. "My older brothers hooked me on the hobby and I have not stopped since. Basketball
is my sport of choice, but I like to collect rookies from all sports. I, as well as my family, are
diehard fans of the Los Angeles Lakers and players like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Magic
Johnson. I am also a huge fan of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. These new rookies
have caused me to spend more then I ever have on cards as this year was definitely the year to
In fact, Macias had spent $1,500 to purchase a 3-pack case of Exquisite from a card shop in Rohnert
Park, CA. "Initially, I was upset with the Exquisite product. The first case only had one
card worth more than $800 and the other cards from the case did not even come close to covering what
I had spent." Macias continues, "Luckily, I was able to buy more packs by selling the one
nice card from the first case." Those additional 2 packs were purchased for another $1000 at
The Strike Zone in Novato, CA, a card shop in Northern California where Macias is a regular customer.
After spending a total of $2,500 on the hot Exquisite product, Macias was still hopeful. "I was
standing to lose quite a bit of money. I was looking for a LeBron James rookie autograph, a Carmelo
Anthony card or a Dwayne Wade card - anyone that would be worth the money that I had spent to that
"I did not open the packs right then and there. I took them and pulled over on my way home,
cracked them open and, out of frustration with my continued bad luck, almost threw the cards out
of my car until I saw the back of one card. I saw LeBron's face and knew it was a good card. I then
noticed Jordan's face and thought 'cool, a dual-jersey card probably worth about $1000'. Then I looked
at the front and saw the card - the card everyone was talking about. In fact, my dealer had showed me
the advertising sheet sent by Upper Deck, so I knew that this card existed and what it looked like, but
I never thought I would get it," says Macias recalling the moment he opened the lucky pack to
find his pull of a lifetime shown here (click each for larger image).
The LeBron James/Michael Jordan (NBA-JJ) All-NBA Access Pass 1/1 card was in a pack along with a Chris
Webber Regular Jersey card, a regular Jerry Stackhouse card, a Kendrick Perkins Autographed Rookie Patch
Parallel card and an Antonio McDyess Autograph Patch card. The other cards combined to be valued at
approximately $75-$100. Macias continues, "If I did not get the card that I did, I would have been
at a huge loss. I knew that would not be the case when I saw this card though. I was shocked and in
disbelief. I drove home very slowly and even found myself checking to make sure nobody was following me
since it felt like I was carrying around $100,000 in cash. I still couldn't completely believe it."
After getting home, Macias started describing the incredible pull to his wife. "She didn't believe
me at first. Once I went on eBay and showed her the Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant and Kobe Bryant/LeBron
James cards, she almost fainted. She called her parents at midnight to tell them the good news. The next
day, I also took a picture of the card back to The Strike Zone to show them what I had pulled out of a pack
from their store." He also created scans of the card and took more pictures and then placed the card
in a safe deposit box.
Macias was a little torn about what to do with this one-of-a-kind card. "I was going crazy trying
to figure out what to do with it." After going over the various options, he decided to offer the
card for sale on eBay. Macias explains his decision by saying, "I am not so sure about selling this
card and that is one of the reasons why I put a reserve on the auction. I figure if someone wants to pay
more than I would for the card, then they should have it." The card is still pulling at him though
as he adds, "I think to myself, this card is at least worth $100,000, but if I keep it for 10 to 20
years, its value could even triple or quadruple. I can't stop thinking about what might happen and all
of the possibilities."
After an initial unsuccessful attempt to sell the card on eBay due to a non-paying buyer who had used the
Buy It Now option, the card was relisted on July 12th and thirty bids in just over one day quickly took
the auction to over $58,000. Click here to view the second eBay auction which ended on July 22nd with a high bid
of $150,100. However, the final high bid was below the reserve, so it is unclear at this time as to the
outcome of this auction.
So, how much is this card worth? Most industry experts, collectors and even Upper Deck believed all along
that the Exquisite card that would likely fetch the most in an auction was the one Macias pulled. Early
June estimates from hobby dealers and industry price guide experts had the possible value of this rare,
1-of-1 card at anywhere from $10,000 to over $20,000. However, those estimates were made before the other
two patch cards sold for much higher than originally expected. Based on those previous All-NBA Access Pass
card auctions and the early bidding on this card, there is a strong chance that this card will become the
largest single basketball card sale for all modern-era releases, passing the first BGS 9.5 Jordan RC that
sold for between $75,000-$80,000.
Macias explains his thoughts on the card's value by saying, "I have heard from numerous experts, dealers
and other members of the media that this is something with an unknown value. Like all trading cards, it is
only worth what people are willing to spend on it. I do have a feeling though that someone is willing to
spend a lot just to be able to own this card."
He then adds, "I do know that this card is easily worth 100 times more than anything else I have ever
pulled. It is definitely in a league of its own. This is the card to have right now. The quality is awesome.
Upper Deck put some serious thought into the Exquisite product and this is something that will not be duplicated.
Just like the famous PSA-graded Honus Wagner card that sold for $1.265 million years ago, this card is a
one-of-a-kind item and part of hobby history. You might even call this the Mona Lisa or Van Gogh of modern
When asked about his plans following the auction, Macias responds, "About 90% of the money will go to
enriching my family's future. Then, 10% will let me continue to enjoy this hobby that I love. I don't think
that this is a completely life-altering experience, but I'm not going to complain about any extra money. Plus,
all of a sudden, my wife doesn't mind my hobby interest or the money I've spent on it quite so much."
This 26-year-old collector from California wraps it all up by adding, "It has been an unreal ride, but
it will all be worth it."
About the author
Bob Williams is the owner of TradingCardCentral.com, the one stop site for
sports and non-sports trading card enthusiasts. He has been collecting
sports, non-sports and gaming cards for over 20 years and has a personal
collection of over 0.5 million items.
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