In the sports card business, everything old seems to be new again and those who love a certain 1990s brand are going to see it reincarnated through Upper Deck.
The company is dusting off the Skybox Metal Universe line for a new set and the original designer returned to help make it happen. It’ll be a multi-sport set that has elements of the 1997-98 Metal Universe set but with some new card designs. It’s set to be released on Wednesday after a lengthy delay. The revival was first announced at the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.
Boxes of Metal Universe Champions will have 15 packs with seven cards per pack. A typical box will have at least one autograph, PMG, rare insert and/or a low numbered parallel.
Autographs of Upper Deck exclusive athlete Michael Jordan are possible.
The new release will include a 150-card base set that will showcase the work of Arena Design, the original husband and wife team that produced the designs for the original set 24 years ago. Jean MacLeod, who was an integral member of that team from Fleer/SkyBox, is known for designing memorable inserts like Jambalaya and Platinum Portrait that will be revived in the new product.
Collectors can build up to eight parallel sets of the complete base set, including six serial-numbered Precious Metal Gems (PMG) parallels and two autograph parallels that each showcase MacLeod’s original designs.
The Base Set Retro 1997-98 collection features the top athletes from the Base Set, with serially-numbered Red and Green PMG parallel cards in the mix. The original Red and Green Metal Universe cards from the 90s–especially Jordan– are among the most sought after in the hobby.
“We are thrilled to see that collectors still enjoy the designs that we worked on back in the 90’s,” MacLeod remarked. “It is great to see the hobby growing and thriving, and to be able to be a part of that again has been exciting.”
“With the excitement around Upper Deck’s multi-sport products like Goodwin Champions, collectors have been clamoring for more diverse content,” said Upper Deck’s Executive Vice President of Sales, Mike Phillips, who worked with MacLeod at Fleer/SkyBox back in the 1990’s. “We are thrilled to expand the Skybox portfolio while paying homage to the original 1997-98 designs.”
With the Blast Furnace insert set, collectors will find Tiger Woods alongside rising talent like Sabrina lonescu. There will be low-numbered
Gold and rare Gold Auto parallel sets possible.
The Fresh Foundation inserts focus solely on new breakout stars. It will offer six serially numbered PMG parallels and two autograph parallels, including the low numbered Gold Auto version.
The Skybox Premium offering includes serial numbered parallels, highlighted by the 1-of-1 Star Diamonds and a pair of variant sets sporting the 1997-98 Skybox Premium Star Rubies design, including autographed versions.
Jambalaya will be crafted with lenticular foil treatment and is dedicated to top tier athletes, such as Woods and Wayne Gretzky.
Skybox Metal Universe Champions boxes are online now.
About Rich Mueller
Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for over 35 years and a collector for even longer than that, he’s usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected]