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As Upper Deck’s Customer Care Manager, it is my goal to help educate our collectors and fans so they can have a better experience with our collectible products. I’ll routinely post updates about what we hear on the phones and through e-mails from customers in segments called Ask UD. I hope you find this information relevant and interesting. If you have questions yourself, please feel free to leave a comment and “Ask UD!”
There seems to be A LOT of excitement around National Hockey Card Day this week so I’ll address some of the questions we are getting on that program here first:
Ask Upper Deck: How do I find a list of retailers participating in my area?
Nick Leslie: “Great question. We just updated the list of hobby retailers who are participating and that can be found here. Additionally, packs will be available at retailers like Jean Coutu, PharmaPlus and Rexall.”
Ask Upper Deck: All I need to do is just walk in the store and I’ll get a free pack of cards?
Nick Leslie: “That’s right! In order to complete the entire set however you may need to make a purchase at that store or visit it more than just one location. Additionally, this year there is a special 16th card available only in hobby shops as a gift with purchase. This 16th card features Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time and is short printed.”
Ask Upper Deck: Last year you randomly inserted Sidney Crosby autographs into the set. Will you be doing that again for 2011?
Nick Leslie: “That was an unannounced surprise insert last year exclusive to hobby packs. Collectors seemed to get a kick out of that so, yes, you may find surprises like that in some select packs this year.”
Ask Upper Deck: I don’t have any shop near me, so can I still get the cards? Or… I live in the United States, is there a way for me to get the cards?
Nick Leslie: “We are only delivering them through these select retailers. It is basically our way of thanking those retailers for their efforts with our products throughout the year. If you have a hobby shop near you that chose not to take part, encourage them to do so next year. Also, this is always a very popular set so there will no doubt be cards available for trade through online trading communities or for sale via online auction sites like eBay. You can also find National Hockey Card Day sets from previous years online as well.”
Ask Upper Deck: What else is happening on National Hockey Card Day?
Nick Leslie: “Yes! Most shops have a variety of fun things planned so make sure you give them a call before you set out on Saturday to get your free packs. Also, we will be giving away a variety of great NHL items through our National Hockey Card Day Facebook page found here. Make sure to “like” that page and I’d recommend you have a camera ready to take pictures of you with your cards and at shops you visit for your chance to win! Here’s just one of the cool items we’ll be giving away.”
Ask Upper Deck: What is a short-print card? Why doesn’t Upper Deck release print run information on non-numbered card?
Nick Leslie: “Short-printed cards (sometimes called SP’s) are cards that have fewer copies printed of them than other cards in the same set. Just like their name indicates, they are short printed.
“Short-printed cards create a fun chase element to completing a set. If there are less cards out there, there is more demand for them and thus, they are more collectible. The market will determine the value of these cards as collectors try and snatch them up.
“We do not share print-run information on these short-printed cards for a couple reasons. First and foremost, it makes the other cards in the set seem less desirable. We want to encourage our customers to collect all the cards so by releasing that information on what is short, it also shows that others are more readily available and hence, less desirable. Next, we believe it is best left to collectors and the secondary market to determine what is short-printed. That’s the fun of collecting. There are times where we will go out with short-print lists, but that usually doesn’t happen until the product has been in the market for a bit.
“For a list of other hobby phrases you may find helpful, click here.”
Ask Upper Deck: I pulled a redemption card from a pack, but I also found a live autograph online. How is that possible?
Nick Leslie: “This can happen on rare occasions where an athlete only returns part of the cards we send him back to us. We insert those into packs and then have to issue redemption cards for the ones not yet returned. It is rare that an athlete will have both a redemption card and live autographs in a product, but it can happen. Usually they are pretty quick to return the rest of the cards in that set.”
Ask Upper Deck: I saw your post about the Tiger Woods/Michael Jordan Dual Autograph Box Topper Redemption and have some questions. Do I need to send in hobby or retail box tops to participate? How many can I send in? And why were they not inserted into packs?
Nick Leslie: “This has been a pretty compelling promotion that collectors seem really excited about. You can send in either hobby or retail box tops. And there is no limit to the amount you send in, they just need to be received by the time we draw on April 7, 2011. Don’t risk waiting until the last minute!
“As to why these cards were not included in packs, there are a few reasons. We really want our biggest fans to have the opportunity to own these cards. A lot of times people open packs and don’t think they have the chance to own a card like this because there are just too many boxes out there. Well now we’ve made your chances better by only allowing those who want to participate in the chase for them to have the opportunity to own them. We don’t want these sitting in packs waiting to be found. We want to award them to fans how are very desirous of owning them. There have been a lot of allegations recently about some manufacturers not including high-value cards like this in packs. We want everyone to know these are being rewarded through an actual sweepstakes program where people will be able to see exactly who received them in time. It’s an exciting way to deliver a high-end item to our most loyal fans.”