Operation Gratitude is a non-profit organization dedicated to saying, “thank you,” to active and retired U.S. military members throughout the world by delivering free care packages to them. The group works with a variety of companies to get donations to include in the care packages and also funds to ship them to locations all over the globe. Upper Deck has been an active supporter of the charity for a number of years now and as they embark on an impressive milestone this weekend by shipping their millionth care package.
To help commemorate this accomplishment and the organization’s dedication to showing appreciation for U.S. military members, Upper Deck called out some help from the company’s exclusive spokesman; Tiger Woods. At a recent signing session with Upper Deck Authenticated, Tiger Woods signed an item exclusively for the millionth package recipient and added a nice personalized message to go along with it.
Dear One Millionth Package Recipient,
Thank you for all you do to protect and defend the USA!!
All the best,
This signed memorabilia piece will be presented for the recipient during a volunteer packaging drive taking place this Saturday. To volunteer to help assemble care packages for the troops and see the presentation of the millionth package this weekend, visit this link: http://opgrat.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/celebrate-with-us-on-december-7th/
Upper Deck sent this unique collector’s item to Operation Gratitude along with hundreds of sealed packs of trading cards to be inserted into care packages going to service men and women. This is just part of the company’s continued effort to be viewed as the military’s choice for trading cards, collectibles and games.
Upper Deck loves hearing about our passionate fans collections. And if the collections are interesting enough, we will feature them here. Such is the case with Danny Hamill who we have grown to know better with each Team Canada Hockey product we have released. With the 2013 Upper Deck Team Canada Hockey set releasing this week, we felt compelled to share his amazing collection. Danny, like many Canadians, has a tremendous appreciation and respect for the National Team. And he has amassed some items you just have to see to believe. This is his story:
I first starting collecting hockey cards when I was a young boy. I can still remember buying my first packs of 1969-70 O-Pee-Chee NHL cards. In those days I was just buying cards simply because they made watching the games on television more interesting as I got to know the players better. It was not long after this when O-Pee-Chee released a sub-set of cards from the famed 1972 Summit Series (commonly referred to as the ‘floating head’ design). I suppose that this was the very beginning of my collection of Team Canada cards as I still have those exact cards that I pulled from packs more than 40 years ago.
By 1979 I had stopped collecting cards and never really got back into hockey cards until the 1990-91 season when Upper Deck came on the scene to make collecting exciting again! I fell in love with the Upper Deck 1990-91 Team Canada cards and was once again bitten by the collecting bug. I have not stopped collecting since, but at times need to be a little selective with my collecting to allow it to fit in my budget.
My goal in the early 90′s was to attain every card that pictured a player wearing his or her Team Canada jersey. Although this was a daunting task with so many parallel cards starting to show up at that time it was a goal one could accomplish. At least I thought so. Then I started to discover the European cards of Team Canada players that I had no idea were out there. Consequently, I now have cards of players wearing their Canada jersey from international countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France, Russia, Czech, and Austria among others. A major hurtle for me was finding out what international cards really existed for Team Canada Hockey players.
One of my biggest challenges was to find a very small card of Team Canada that appeared in Sweden way back in 1936. I know of only two of these cards that still exist, one is in my collection and the second is in a collection housed in Sweden. Another of the great hunts that I had to go on was to find the four different 1926 Willard’s Chocolates cards of Team Canada players. This was a larger set that featured all sorts of people from different walks, including these four hockey cards. After many years of searching, Harvey at AJ Sports here in Toronto was the one who came up with these cards for me. After he told me he had these cards “somewhere,” I had to remind him for a few years to get searching for them. He finally did and now they are my treasure!
For me much of the success I’ve had with putting my collection together has come through the help of many dealers and collectors I have shared my collecting goals with. It is amazing to me how helpful collectors can be in helping another collector put together a set or trying to track down cards you really are not sure exist. I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me build the collection I have today. You really make this hobby so much fun and rewarding.
My collection is now 45 binders full and has become more than I ever could have thought possible. With all of these cards and stickers I do have some absolute favourites such as; 2004-05 Upper Deck Summit Superstars Legendary Signatures which is a small collection of 20 beautiful cards containing authentic hard-signed autographs. Another favourite in my collection is the 1999 Upper Deck Jersey cards of Wayne Gretzky. Now I have many Gretzky Canada jersey cards from Upper Deck and this still remains number #1 in my heart, although the 2011-12 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Jersey card of Gretzky comes in a close second!
Another favourite of mine is the 1990-91 Upper Deck World Juniors. Not an expensive set, to be sure, however I still remember being blown away by the idea of the Team Canada Juniors having a card set! I also love the 2013 Upper Deck 5×7 cards which were produced for Hockey Day in Canada. While the set was great, the jumbo cards were super cool! The 1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond release with the gold parallels was awesome too, especially with the inclusion of the gorgeous Joe Thornton rookie card. I also loved the 1998-99 Upper Deck Team Canada Jersey cards of the World Juniors, including the hard-signed version of a young Vincent Lecavalier. I also really love the Upper Deck 2009-10 Clearly Canadian cards which were a set of 42 clear acetate die-cut cards.
Destined to be a huge favourite will be the new 2013 Upper Deck Team Canada collection! I am very excited about this massive collection by Upper Deck! I can’t wait to add these cards to my collection! From what I have seen in early pictures, these cards look awesome!
Other favourite cards from North America are the 1997-98 Valu Net phone cards, a collection of 24 phone cards that came in multiple variations, including 22 hard-signed versions and two versions of a Gretzky card from Japan. The 1994-95 Score Platinum parallel cards of seven Team Canada players are not supposed to exist, but with help I was able to track them down along with the 1994-95 Donruss Elite set of 22 cards commemorating the Juniors fourth consecutive gold medal. A really big favourite of mine is the 1997-98 Esso set of authentic autographed cards. My collection of these cards doubled when a fellow collector in Calgary gave up on trying to finish the set and sold me his autographs.
Some of my favourite European cards include the 1969-70 Swedish Mastar-Serien set containing 23 cards (that I know of) including card #192 of Ken Dryden that is not supposed to exist, but does in my collection. I have added the 1936 Swedish ALFA card of Team Canada to my collection as well. Other favourite European cards include the 1997-98 Eurotel set containing eight Team Canada cards, the 1994-95 Finnish Kiekko card set containing 38 Team Canada cards and the 1994-95 set of Swedish Semic Sport cards containing 27 Team Canada cards, as well as the 1992 Finnish collection of Team Canada hockey stickers.
Another grouping of cards that are a lot of fun are Upper Deck’s Priority Signings autograph cards that are available through the wrapper redemption programs at the semi-annual Sports Cards & Memorabilia Expos in Toronto, Ontario. One of the reasons that I go to the Expo is expressly to track Team Canada versions of those cards. Right after the redemption program ends I really love running around that big room like a kid to see who has them available for sale or trade. It is so much fun!
After all of these years of collecting, I still have not found all that I am looking for, but my want list is not very extensive. Here are the top five most desired cards on that list:
1) 2004-05 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures, Summit Series #CDN-T Tony Esposito
2) 1997-98 Upper Deck Black Diamond QUAD #105 Alex Tanguay
3) 1997-98 Zenith Impulse GOLD #Z79 Alex Tanguay
4) 2006-07 ITG International Ice GOLD parallel #67 Bill Ranford
5) 2010-11 Upper Deck Team Canada Die Cuts GOLD #TC-WG Wayne Gretzky
I would love to hear from any fellow collector who can help with any of these five cards. If anyone is interested in seeing my fulfill want list, please contact me at email@example.com. I am always interested in networking with any other Team Canada collectors out there – perhaps I can help you out with your collection!
Thanks for sharing your story and your collection with us Danny! And good luck with future Team Canada Hockey sets from Upper Deck!
Upper Deck would like to thank our network of Certified Diamond Dealers and collectors throughout Canada for making the 2013-14 NHL® O-Pee-Chee wrapper redemption program in Canada such a great success over the last two years. Demand this year FAR exceeded our expectations, likely because of the buzz around the new rookie class with many key rookies appearing in the 2013-14 NHL O-Pee-Chee release. Upper Deck’s fulfillment center in Canada recently reported they have now depleted inventory on the 2013-14 NHL O-Pee-Chee wrapper redemption packs after receiving record numbers in this season.
As we initially reported when we announced this program, once the supply is depleted, the promotion is over. We want to thank everyone who sent wrappers in through their Certified Diamond Dealers and we hope you enjoyed the special red-bordered cards we created for you!
Most people often dream of playing professional sports, but for the 99.99% of us who never make the pros, the next best thing is working in the sports industry. One of the ways sports fans can scratch that itch is by opening up a sports collectibles store and Upper Deck is excited to see numbers are on the rise with regard to new shops opening throughout the United States and Canada. To celebrate some of the newly opened shops over the last year, Upper Deck is partnering up with our Authorized Distributors to offer free prize support for these shops to run events around Small Business Saturday.
Many brave shoppers will wait in huge lines at large retailers on Black Friday hunting for great deals, but on Saturday Upper Deck encourages you to think small. Everyone has a sports fan on their holiday gift list so make sure to get out on Saturday, November 30 and give some support to those smaller local sports collectible shops in your area.
As we previously mentioned, Upper Deck is sending the shops below some really cool prize support like t-shirts, autograph trading cards and autograph memorabilia to run events around Small Business Saturday. Upper Deck’s distributor partners will be working with them to provide refreshments for guests. If you are in an area where one of these new shops are located, pay them a visit on Small Business Saturday to win some great prizes and help support a small business owner during the holidays. Don’t miss Upper Deck’s Small Business Saturday; it’s going to be HUGE!
Central Sports Cards
791 Central Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02861
1824A Merrick Road
Merrick, NY 11566
Cardman Sports Cards
322 D Wanaque Avenue
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
B&B Sports Cards & Collectibles
1500 West Chestnut Street #0753
Washington, PA 15301
Kams OTW Cards
825A South Green River Road
Evansville, IN 47715
Through the Decades
9008 Taylorsville Road
Louisville, KY 40299
Triple B Sports
1635 Triplett Street Suite A
Owensboro, KY 42303
105 North Market Street
Chatham, IL 62629
115 Susan Drive Suite G
Normal, IL 61761
Lower Level Sports Cards & Collectibles
189 Henderson Highway
Winnipeg, MB R2L 1L7
1505 West 66 Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6P 2R8
Penticton Sports Cards & Collectibles
288 Westminster Avenue
Penticton, BC V2A 1J9
Pax of Wax
2210 Avenue C North
Saskatoon, SK S7L 6C3
Hero Video Games (Gaming & Entertainment Products)
870 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M9V 1V7
584 Upper James Street
Hamilton, ON L9C 2Y6
Out of the Box Sportscards & Collectibles
2194 Robertson Road
Ottawa, ON K2H 9J5
Fan of the Sport
571 Talbot Street
St. Thomas, ON N5P 1C5
286 Lake – Unit 2
St. Catherines, ON L2N 4H2
108 Niagara Street
St. Catherines, ON L2R 2B4
Maxxblankk Hobby Et Coll.
24 Rue St.Pierre Local #3PT#22
Rimouski, PQ G5L 1T3
John F. Kennedy was one of the most polarizing presidents in American history. His youthful exuberance and charismatic nature inspired people around the world. He left us far too early, but there are still a great many ways to remember him. One of those ways is by collecting trading cards of JFK and Upper Deck has certainly created a few over our history. Below is a gallery of some of our favorites, a trading card tribute to the late, great JFK:
Another great one came from Upper Deck’s 2011 Goodwin Champions set where we had ten hand-painted trading cards done of Kennedy. And collectors who were lucky enough to score one were obviously thrilled.
Upper Deck has also created some really remarkable cut signature cards of John F. Kennedy over the years that feature an authentic signature actually embedded in the trading card. These are very rare and many have moved into private collections, but from time to time you will see one up for sale at auction sites.