The History Behind Futera’s Earliest Sets

Ranging from their Code For Collectors and Colour Grading services, Futera is a card manufacturer that should be used as a beacon to others when it comes to autograph and relic authentication.  The amount of documentation that goes into their products is something that collectors in the United States can only dream about.  Here in America, we get glimpses of services like this, but nothing that comes close to what Futera has built.

Everyone has to start somewhere.  Upper Deck wasn’t the only new card company to enter the market in 1989.  This is when Futera got it’s start too.  Futera was founded by two U.S. professional baseball players – Tad Powers and David Voit.  Both were sent over to play in the newly formed Australian Baseball League (ABL).  Two team sets make up their inaugural 1989-90 baseball release.  One for the Sydney Metros and the other for the Perth Heat.  Each set came packaged in a playing card style light blue box with the team logo printed in dark blue on the front.  2,500 copies of each set were printed.

Sydney Metros

  • Stuart Barlow
  • Chris Brown
  • Mike Dennis
  • Matt Everingham
  • Don Franklin
  • Darren Fullerton
  • Karl Hardman
  • Michael Hennessy
  • Nick Kalaf
  • Troy Martin
  • Mike Milmoe
  • Sean Mullins
  • Peter Munro
  • Brian Murphy
  • Jeff Pettett
  • Tad Powers
  • Ross Thomas
  • Greg Turner
  • David Voit
  • Justin Weaver

Perth Heat

  • Tony Adamson
  • Kimon Anderson
  • Lyall Barwick
  • Mike Borgatti
  • Ken Burden
  • Scott Cameron
  • Kevin Driscoll
  • Heath Gillard
  • Greg Harvey
  • John Hearne
  • Sean Jones
  • Andrew Kendray
  • Ron Malcolm
  • Trevor Malcolm
  • Steve Meloncelli
  • Ray Mitchell
  • Dean Moyle
  • Michael Moyle
  • John Moore
  • Shayne Ruscoe
  • Dave Rusin
  • Mark Scorer
  • Scott Steed
  • Shane Tonkin
  • James Waddell

According to Futera, when Tad Powers and David Voit returned to the United States they brought lots of these sets with them.  That’s why they continue to hold a high demand in Australia.

Before having to sell the company due to a lack of funds, Tad Powers and David Voit issued another series of team sets in 1992.  Unfortunately 50% of them were destroyed because of poor storage and inferior transportation.  It’s believed that what did survive was purchased by a well known dealer in Melbourne, Australia.  Key cards from this series include the Phil Dale and Jon Deeble no number cards from the Waverley Reds team set.  Another important card would be the first Australian card of David Nilsson, who actually went on to play with the Brewers throughout the 90’s.

Once Futera was sold, baseball sets continued to be released until 1996.  Many other sports licensed products followed.  Today they are one of the best soccer/football card manufacturers in the industry.

Futera’s 2017 Zou Shiming UNIQUE Collection

To the American sports card collector, Futera may not be the first manufacturer that comes to mind.  Even if you’re not into the sports that they make cards for, you seriously need to check them out.  Their designs are out of this world, and the amount of documentation that goes into each product is something U.S. collectors can only dream about.  Code For Collectors allows you to see behind the scenes footage, how many cards were issued, and the materials and processes that went into making that specific card.  Futera’s Colour Grading database breaks down the amount of colored swatches found in a product too.  Insanely cool!

Futera is preparing for a new season of their Soccer UNIQUE Collection.  In the meantime, they just released a product based on Chinese professional boxer Zou Shiming.  This too is part of their UNIQUE Collection line.  Its a high-end set costing $299 per box.  Only (750) boxes have been made.  Every box includes a 30-card base set and (1) Heritage parallel numbered to (20) Silver or (5) Gold.  You’ll also find (2) memorabilia cards or (1) memorabilia card and (1) Zou Shiming autographed/memorabilia card.  Relics include boxing gloves, fight shorts, Olympic tracksuit, sneakers, training jacket, t-shirts, and boots.  All memorabilia was personally obtained by Zou Shiming.

Some of the neatest cards that Futera makes are the ones featuring 24ct gold-plated frames.  We here in America have seen metal framed cards before, but nothing as ornate compared to what Futera makes.  Futera’s look as if they should be on display in a 1,000+ year old European castle.  You’ll find cards of Zou Shiming like this too.

Boxes, Minicases, and Master Cases are still available.