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Is 2022-23 SPx Hockey Worth The Sky High Price Per Card?

2022-23 hockey upper deck spx release

The SPX Hockey release is its own thing. It usually included a mere four cards per box, all within one pack. This time, they expanded the contents all the way to five cards per box.

Therefore, we are talking about a high-risk and high-reward proposition. The main attraction is the gorgeous black patch on-card autos,

But is it worth the relatively high entry price? Find out in our 2022-23 SPx Hockey Review

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History of the SPx Hockey release

The SP line was Upper Deck’s attempt to up the game after its rivals had integrated most of the innovations the company had introduced with its groundbreaking 1989 Upper Deck Baseball release.

The 1993 SP Baseball product was seen as a new level of high-end cards and had a good deal of success in its early years. Upper Deck first released its SP product for hockey in 1994. The SPx line was designed as a higher-end expansion of it.

The inaugural version of SPx Hockey saw light in 1996-97. It was a small set with 50 base cards and a gold parallel card for every base card. It was a hobby box-only release with 36 foil packs.

Amazingly, that first release did not have any rookie cards in it. Still, it did well enough to launch a product that is still around over 25 years later.

The secret was the gorgeous die-cut design of these cards and their unique colors. The number of cards in each box has decreased over the years. But, the emphasis has remained on cutting-edge designs.

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The 22-23 SPx Hockey release date

Like so many releases nowadays, the date for this one is not great. It comes out on September 27, 2023. That is a bit less than a month before the 2023-24 NHL season is set to start.

It is hard to generate excitement for cards from the previous season right before a new one. We would all be grateful if Panini and Upper Deck found a solution to this problem.

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2022-23 SPx Hockey release formats

SPx Hockey is a hobby-only release, and 2022-23 SPx Hockey is no exception. Here are the specifications for a box of this product:

  • 5 cards per pack
  • 1 pack per box
  • 20 boxes per case
  • Look for 1 autograph card, 4 memorabilia cards, and/or tech cards per box on average.
  • A box is currently preselling for $124.95
  • A case sells for $2,499.95

2022-23 SPx Hockey pros

Upper Deck has some great-looking premium cards in its products. But they seem to save their best designs for SPx Hockey. This product delivers with its production values, especially if you enjoy more cutting-edge and modern-looking designs.

Another advantage is that an increasing portion of collectors (especially the younger ones) are not interested in valueless base cards taking up valuable space at home.

Honestly, when I look at my shelves of worthless cardboard, they may have a point. This release gives you a few select hits without frills or filler.

The return of the UD Black brand to SPx Hockey is a big deal and dramatically improves these boxes. The unique design of these cards stands out among the flashier cards in this release. They have a classy look and maintain better value than most cards in this release.  

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2022-23 SPx Hockey cons

The weak point for this release has always been its resale value, which has never been particularly strong.

If you are a set completist or enjoy getting many cards in your products, you won’t enjoy this one. And, of course, it takes a lot of the fun out that the hits are not likely worth all that much.

While the designs are still nicer than most, in my opinion, a lot of hockey collectors are displeased with the direction designs have taken. If you look at the reviews on various forums, the designs have become less popular.

There is undoubtedly a feeling that Upper Deck has focused on its more prestigious releases like Upper Deck The Cup.

Finally, this is a pretty inexpensive product, which is great. But we have gotten used to picking up boxes of SPx Hockey for under $100. So, the current price point of $130 does seem expensive to some. But that is more a reflection of the waning popularity of this release than anything else.

22-23 SPx Hockey checklist

The base set for the SPx Hockey is kind of beside the point. Nonetheless, it does exist. There are 200 base cards, 100 of which are for veterans and the rest allocated to rookies.

But there are no unnumbered base cards in this set. The lowest-numbered base card is to a /299.

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Parallels

The base cards come in four levels of parallels. Here are the details:

  • Colored Holofoil – /149
  • Radiance – /100
  • Grand Finale – /50
  • NHL Shield Hologram – /25

The last one here, the NHL Shield Hologram, is an excellent addition. These cards are cut to look like the iconic NHL logo.

Other parallels include the Spectrum parallels:  (/65, /35, or /25), Patch (/35, /25 or /15), and Patch Spectrum 1/1 cards. Meanwhile, holograph cards are a new edition of this year’s product.

They include the HoloGraphs and Rookie HoloGraphs. Each has a serial number, including the coveted Red, Gold, and Blue 1/1 parallels.

2022-23 SPX Hockey inserts

The SPx Hockey line is best known for its modern and cutting-edge designs. But in either a lovable bit of nostalgia or as an exasperating sign of a lack of ideas (it depends on your perspective), they have looked at previous releases for insert inspiration.

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2002-23 SPx Retro

The 2002-23 SPx Retro is the main thrust in this look to the past. As you can tell from the name, they have never been included in this release. The base versions of these cards are numbered 199 copies, but the cool-looking Gold Spectrum parallels are numbered to a lower /99.

There are also some excellent autographed versions of the 2002-23 SPx Retro cards, such as the Lunar Waves (1:25 packs, Rookies 1:15 packs), and the 1/1 Gold Whirlpool.

SPx Force

SPx Force is an old favorite, with holograms ahead of their time in the early 1990s. Each card features four players, and there are 10 team versions you can collect.

You could find these in some of the earliest releases, and now they are back with a vengeance. But they can be pretty hard to land. The base versions are already very rare and appear in 1:100 packs.

Of course, the Red Holo (/30), Gold Holo (/15), and Blue Holo (1/1) parallels are even harder to get. The hologram element also features in an assortment of SPx Force parallels, such as:

  • Hologram Shadow Box (1:25 packs, Rookies 1:10 packs)
  • Gold Spectrum (/99)
  • Black Gold (/10)

Also new are HoloChampions (/299). These have a Red Holo (/65), Gold Holo (/35), and Blue Holo (1/1) rainbow. Some cards also get autographs that have Red Holo (/10), Gold Holo (/5), and Blue Holo (1/1) parallels.

However, if previous years are any indication, you can’t expect much value from these SPx Force cards.

There is a massive Gretzky card among recent sales and a couple of other strong cards. But most of these do not sell for over $100, even when they feature a strong rookie.  

Radiance FX 

I’m not really sure what the concept of Radiance FX is supposed to be. Stars with laser beams in the background? I don’t know. But there is a decent resale value for some of these inserts if you get a low-numbered parallel of a strong rookie.

Keep in mind that the base card has the highest print run of any insert here at 1,299. So, you will want a low-numbered version for sure. Speaking of which, here are the parallels you can get for this insert:

  • Blue (/499)
  • Red (/249)
  • Gold (/99)
  • Green (/10)
  • Purple Autographs

Finite Rookies

The Finite Rookies insert celebrates the best young talent in the NFL. However, these cards are more common than most of the items you can find, with a base card numbered /999. That will do little for the value of these inserts.

But there is a large selection of parallels for this insert that may garner higher market value:

  • Gold (/499)
  • Green (/199)
  • Platinum (/99)
  • Silver Spectrum (/49)
  • Gold Spectrum (/25)
  • Green Spectrum (/10)
  • Platinum Spectrum (1/1)

Indeed, some of the lower-numbered Finite Rookies cards have sold for a few hundred dollars.

UD Black

We already discussed UD Black and its advantages. The biggest cards from UD Black go for thousands of dollars, which is rare for cards from SPx Hockey. That makes this a real plus.

The Obsidian Rookies (/499) is the basic form of UD Black here. But there are several varieties:

  • Base /499
  • Gold /99
  • Purple /25
  • Jerseys /499
  • Gold Patch /35
  • Purple Patch 1/1
  • Obsidian Jerseys /399

SPX Hockey 2022-23 Autos

Not every base card has an auto version, but many do. The veteran autographs come in about 1:8 packs and the rookies 1:10.

But the most loaded versions are the auto patches and the 1/1 Auto Premium Memorabilia versions. The Rookie Auto Jersey is numbered /375, /175, or /75 copies. You can also get Jersey cards in 1:25 packs, but only for the veterans.

But those aren’t the only autos available for this product. You can also land the Superscripts (1:12 packs), Rookie Superscripts (1:10 packs), and White Out Rookie Autographs (1:20 packs).

In addition, there are White Out Autographs /25 in packs. And if you are lucky, gold editions for these autos are available.

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Meanwhile, the Lustrous Rookie Signatures has the following varieties:

  • /299
  • /199
  • /99 copies
  • Gold /25
  • Green 1/1
  • Auto Patch /125 or /75
  •  Clarity Variants /15

Pride of a Nation Auto Patch

If you are a sucker for patriotic cards, and I know I am, you will enjoy the Pride of a Nation Auto Patch. It has a signature and a patch of the home country of the relevant player.

However, remember that these are manufactured patches and not legit game-worn items. You can get these as /99 or /25 parallels, and the best are the 1/1 Spectrum parallels.

2022-23 SPx Hockey value

Boxes of 2022-23 SPx Hockey are not particularly expensive. Therefore, the bar they need to clear to have some value is not exceptionally high.

Nonetheless, SPx has struggled with its popularity in recent years, and it’s unclear if it can even clear that modest bar. But there is only one way to find out: crunching those darn numbers.

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Wax

Box prices have increased by about 30% in recent years. Does that reflect a rise in its resale value? Or is it just general inflation doing its thing? We looked at the importance of current boxes to get a general idea.

ReleaseValue
2017-18 SPx Hockey Hobby Box$175
2018-19 SPx Hockey Hobby Box$235
2019-20 SPx Hockey Hobby Box$219
2020-21 SPx Hockey Hobby Box$174
2021-22 SPx Hockey Hobby Box$110

The dive in the value of boxes post-Covid is pretty noticeable. Last year’s package is worth less than the starting price of the current release. That is usually a bad sign. Nonetheless, I expected things to be considerably worse.

The cost of some of these boxes has increased significantly over the last couple of months. So, if any of the rookies in 2022-23 really pan out, the boxes could eventually be worth over $200. But the ceiling for this product is not very high nowadays.

Singles

The great thing about SPx Hockey is that you get some really cool cards for a meager price. The return of UD Black is an excellent example of the kind of cards I mean.

But even when you pull something that looks cool and is low-numbered, the actual resale value of the card can sometimes be quite disappointing. So, we looked to see how much some of the more valuable single cards in this release currently sell for.

CardValue
1997 Upper Deck SPx Hockey Mike Modano UD #13 Grand Finale /50 SSP Stars (PSA 8)$660
2006-07 SPx Hockey Winning Materials Sidney Crosby Dual Jersey /10 (SGC 9)$380
2021-22 Upper Deck SPx Hockey Radiance FX Connor McDavid Auto /15$359
2020-21 SPX Hockey Mitch Marner Finite Die Cut Gold Platinum Super Auto #ed 1/1 (Raw)$266

As you can see, the upper limit for these cards is not all that high. So, even when you get a big hit, the chances are that it will not resell for all that much. Nonetheless, the boxes are $130 each, and you can always hit a card that covers the chest.

I have certainly seen worse odds to do so in some of the more significant sports releases, especially in basketball. But by the relatively high standards of value set by Upper Deck, this box does not offer as good a deal as many other hockey products.

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Final Word on SPx Hockey 2022-23

The main advantage of the SPx Hockey line is the design. They remain pretty strong, although there has been some erosion in quality over the last few years.

But as hockey fans increasingly turn to other releases, the product has lost some of its value. We can see it in the sale price of wax and singles alike.

Nonetheless, this release has some advantages. The return of UD Black is excellent news and will make this a far better rip than some of the other boxes. Meanwhile, some of the boxes have gained a bit of value over the last few months.

That means that you are unlikely to lose money on stashing one of these $130 boxes. However, there are certainly better investments out there in the hockey space.

Indeed, that is the main issue for SPx Hockey. While the value offered here is decent enough, Upper Deck has far better investments. They will need to improve this release more to make it worthwhile again.

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Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
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