1999 UD Ionix (Box 1)
When I think back to my favorite product of 1999, my first reaction is to say Ionix by Upper Deck. Everything about these cards is likable, from the thick stock, the colors, the refractor parallels, and the best high end insert made by Upper Deck, the Hologrfx. As you can see by the title, this will be the first Ionix box out of at least 3 that I will be reviewing. I have another en route that came at only $20, so I’m pretty excited to see what hidden treasures await in the future as well.
Price: $32 (20 packs per box, 4 cards per pack)
There’s a great story that goes with my love for this set. I remember when the sell sheet came out, and there was a Ken Griffey Jr. card on it. I told myself it’d be awesome to find that card one day. I was able to buy 2 packs of this at a card shop in Anchorage, and as fate would have it, there was a Griffey in one of the packs. Now back then a base card of Jr. was worth a lot to me and my friends. Safe to say I never stopped loving this set.
Here is what was in box #1, which came from a Canadian card shop:
Base: 71 (18 duplicates)
With a small base set of 60 minus the SP’s, it’s not uncommon to pull a bunch of dupes in a box, even if you’re only getting 80 cards. What’s really neat about these is that the technology used to make the “bubble|” effect on the background gave each card a unique look to them. This J.D. Drew was worth a pretty penny when he was on fire on his rookie season with St. Louis.
Techno (1:4 Packs)
These are part of the complete base set, but are short prints, so they fall at 1 per 4 packs. As expected, there were 5 Techno SP’s in this box: Derek Jeter, Sammy Sosa, Mo Vaughn, Mike Piazza, and Barry Bonds. These can also come in rarer versions #d to 100 which I will get to later.
Hyper (1:9 Packs)
Man the inserts from Ionix look sweet! There’s something about a glossy, thick baseball card that just makes me love each and every insert set! Unfortunately, there was only one in this box, Chipper Jones.
Nitro (1:18 Packs)
Out of all the insert sets, these “pop” the least due to their darker backgrounds. I was pretty excited to get the player I did though 😉
Reciprocal (#d to 750, no stated odds)
If you are a refractor lover, then these cars will make you smile! They sure stand out amongst the base, as these are parallels of the base set, but also feature a different action shot of the player. Here’s a comparison of the Glavine and a look at the Tino that also came in this box:
What wasn’t pulled:
Ionix has three REALLY TOUGH cards to pull, and up to this point I’ve opened 5 boxes of this and have never seen these come from a pack. We also didn’t find a Cyber insert which come in at 1:53 packs.
Techno Reciprocal (#d to 100)
If you want to see what these bad boys look like, take a look at this one currently on eBay: Alex Rodriguez Techno Reciprocal. It’s a little overpriced but there are only 2 on eBay, this one and a Nomar. I’ve rarely ever seen them on eBay which shows you just how tough they are to come by. I’ve never seen one with my own eyes, but I imagine they really stand out, just like the regular Reciprocal parallels.
Warp Zone (1:216 packs)
These are the best looking inserts in the set, even more so than the next insert set I’ll cover. The white border, foil text, and rainbow colors make this stand out more than any other insert I have of Alex Rodriguez. I payed a pretty penny for this, but it was definitely worth it! I’d really like to put this whole set together 🙂
HoloGrFx (1:1500 packs)
Here’s the crown jewel of 1999 Ionix. Can you imagine what it would feel like to see one of these come from a pack? To add to how amazing these are, I used to have a Rodriguez and I’m still VERY upset at myself for not keeping it before I moved to teach 5th grade. If anyone knows where an A-Rod exists, I will pay a finders fee before I purchase it! Here’s an example of the Griffey that I found on photobucket:
Yeah….I literally pulled a duplicate two packs after pulling the same base. How does this even happen with such a small base set, that quick into the following packs lol? At least the inserts were all different right?
Two key elements in finding cards in good condition, 17 years later: Thick card stock, and no sticking cards. These didn’t stick together that much and the corners were all very sharp. Really happy about this even though the packs were all shifted to the top of the box.
Nothing major to note, and while there was two A-Rod base cards, and a Rodriguez insert, there was no Griffey. Was hoping to have one to show off to go with my childhood story. Next box hopefully.
I’m not going to base this solely off of the fact that there wasn’t anything that had a high resale value, but the cards are all in excellent condition. If one were to be into grading cards, these would all grade extremely well. The B grade is simply for the fact that not inserts were pulled that are considered “high-end”.
BONUS: There was an original price tag of $136 on this box!! Now while this is Canadian currency, that still comes out to $105 in U.S. dollars when this set first dropped. Yeah, these were highly desirable cards in 1999 🙂