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Things have been busier than normal at Upper Deck headquarters. Not only is the company ramping up in anticipation of the new exclusive agreement between Upper Deck, the NHL® and the NHLPA, but we are also in the midst of a variety of celebrations tied to the company’s 25th Anniversary. Given the strong tie fans have to that 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, there has been a lot of attention to that milestone bringing reporters out of the woodwork to find out what Upper Deck has been up to since then. Now collectors of course know what has been going on at Upper Deck and recently fans shared some of their favorite cards and moments from the last 25 years at Upper Deck, but most of the public isn’t as aware.

Upper Deck has made the most of the opportunity by doing a number of interviews with different media across the United States and Canada in particular. It is our hope that we can maximize this opportunity to share what has been happening in collectibles to potentially re-engage lapsed collectors and reach new potential fans. Check out just some of the stories and interviews we have done as of late:

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CBS Morning News in San Diego stopped by corporate headquarters to interview staff and see how UD brings cards to life!

The Coast News pays a visit to Upper Deck headquarters and talks trading cards with UD’s President Jason Masherah.

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Cynopsis Sports asks Jason Masherah about some of the key happenings at Upper Deck these days.

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Baseball superstar Ken Griffey Jr. did a variety of media about Upper Deck’s 25th Anniversary.

ESPN talks with Ken Griffey Jr. about his 1989 Upper Deck rookie card and collectibles.

Upper Deck’s President Jason Masherah gives some updates on the company to the Sports Business Journal.

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Upper Deck is featured in Non-Sports Update talking about the company’s entertainment offerings over the last 25 years.

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Upper Deck also had a HUGE spread on the cover of the San Diego Union Tribune’s Sports section.

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It has been important for Upper Deck to do some special things to thank shops for their support we embark on our 25th Anniversary. There were some surprises right out of the gate that were a lot of fun, but now Upper Deck is preparing to thank shops in person at the 2014 Las Vegas Industry Summit.

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Upper Deck looks forward to spending time with shop owners as the show floor is open on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We had secured a huge booth space front and center at the show where we will have plenty of amazing items on hand for shops to check out including a sneak preview of the World War I artifacts that will be inserted into the 2014 Goodwin Champions Museum Collection.

The first 100 Certified Diamond Dealers who visit the Upper Deck booth on Sunday can score a FREE Upper Deck t-shirt by writing their well wishes on a large Upper Deck 25th Anniversary graphic in the booth. Then the festivities shift into high gear on Sunday night as Upper Deck partners with Sports Images and Ultra Pro who are also celebrating their 25th anniversaries with a special welcome party at DB’s Pong & Pool at the Planet Hollywood Hotel.

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On Tuesday, March 18, Upper Deck has a big promotion designed to say, “thank you,” to shops during the company’s Diamond Dealer meeting. After the company goes through new products and programs with exciting interactive elements where shops can score prizes, every Certified Diamond Dealer in attendance will score a special 25th Anniversary pack. Inside shop owners can find single, dual or even quadruple autograph cards signed from the biggest names in the game who have played such a major role in Upper Deck’s success over the years. Take a look at some of the cards!

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Additionally, some packs will have special instant redemption cards available for limited-edition signed Upper Deck Authenticated memorabilia that can be claimed on site. Autograph pieces from Rory McIlroy, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Take a look at just some of the items up for grabs there!

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And lastly, shop owners are encouraged to bring any expired redemption cards they may have as the Expired Redemption Raffle will take place on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Shops can submit up to five expired redemption cards to win one of 100 prizes.

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Fans have done a variety of tributes to show their love for Upper Deck cards over the years, but nobody does it like Tim Carroll who does the unthinkable to trading cards; he butchers them. That’s right, when Tim is feeling inspired he cuts up trading cards, but it is all in the name of art.

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Tim’s creations have become well known in the industry, but it is his piece titled, “The Kid” that stands out for us as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary this week. For this piece Tim recreated Ken Griffey Jr.’s memorable Upper Deck rookie cards using 1989 Upper Deck trading cards entirely. And it is a piece that is amazing to behold. Tim is offering it to Upper Deck on loan for the next few months to share with fans at trade shows and other events so we are excited to see reactions to the piece.

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A close up of the piece shows the incredible detail that goes into bringing it to life.

Recently we had the opportunity to check in with Tim about creating the piece and what that 1989 Upper Deck Baseball set meant to him.

UD: What do you remember about the 1989 Upper Deck Baseball set when it first came out?

Tim Carroll: I was 11-years-old back in 1989 when I first heard about the Upper Deck set. Dealers at shows were abuzz about some new set that had some sort of counterfeit-proof holograms on the back and tamper-proof packs. A few months went by before I was able to actually get my hands on some. We were lucky to be at Wal-Mart right as an employee was cracking sealed cases. My brother and I only landed a couple Griffey Jr. rookies, but we made a killing on the Jerome Walton, Dwight Smith, Nolan Ryan (throwing the football), Jim Abbott (3D), and Todd Ziele to name a few. The Griffey is so iconic, but my secret favorite is the Gary Pettis card. A picture on a card of the player holding the same card? Genius!

UD: Do you still have one of those Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Upper Deck rookie cards?

Tim Carroll: I still have the one Griffey rookie from the set I cut to recreate his rookie card and I still have one from that fateful trip to Wal-Mart 25 years ago.

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UD: When did you start doing this unique form of art?

Tim Carroll: I started making the card art pieces back in 2009 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Honus Wagner tobacco card. A few months later, I created “The Kid” in honor of the 20th anniversary of that historic card. I have since created over 30 pieces in which I used cut baseball cards as my medium. Although I like to make portraits of athletes, musicians, and celebrities from items tied to the star, the cut trading cards have become my niche.

UD: Can you share a little bit about how you brought “The Kid” to life?

Tim Carroll: Making the Griffey out of one set was a bit challenging, as I wasn’t sure in the beginning if I had enough of a “palette” within the set. It all worked out, however. Some of the details that I think showcase what the piece is all about are: the bat and necklace made from some of the common Star Rookies; the Star Rookie logo and Seattle logo made from “Award Winners;” and the many, many names that make up the white area of the piece. The whole point of the piece was to highlight that – no matter how hot many of the cards were in that set – the Griffey is a card that has withstood the ups and downs of the card-collecting hobby.

Thanks again for including my work in the celebration. I grew up with that card being one of the modern “Holy Grails” of collecting. To have you showcase my art for the anniversary is extremely humbling.

For more on Tim Carroll’s art, please visit www.timcarrollart.com.

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For the last 25 years Upper Deck has worked hard to bring fans closer to the game and players they love. As we begin to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, fans have shared some of their fondest memories of collecting Upper Deck during that time. Here are just a few we enjoyed:

“The great photography, I loved the 1993 set.” – Andrew P.

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The photography in the 1989 Upper Deck set was really groundbreaking. Is that Gary Pettis actually holding his Upper Deck card on his actual card? You bet it is!

“Pulling an Eric Staal and Jordan Staal jersey card. Made my day.” – Ben B.

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Game-Worn Jersey cards have been super popular with fans since Upper Deck debuted them back in 1996.

“Pulling my Michael Jordan autograph card numbered to five.” – Steven S.

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Upper Deck’s exclusive deal with Michael Jordan makes opening basketball packs from Upper Deck a real thrill for collectors.

“The 2002 Upper Deck 40-man Lumber Yard cards. Love those wood cards!” – Steve N.

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Upper Deck has produced trading cards on a variety of substrates over the years, including wood.

“Buying a $4 pack of 2002-03 Upper Deck Hockey after not collecting for 10 years and pulling a Datsyuk Young Guns rookie card.” – Ryan B.

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Young Guns rookie cards have been wildly popular in the hockey market for Upper Deck.

“My favorite card, the 1991 Deion Sanders card showing him running from baseball to football.” – Scott P.

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Upper Deck loves making fans stop and take notice of the images on the card. This one definitely accomplishes that goal.

“Chasing a 1989 UD Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card when I was a kid growing up in the 90′s. It was my holy grail at age 12.” – Jeremy N.

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This card continues to be one of the most iconic rookie cards in baseball history.

“My 1993 Derek Jeter rookie card and my 1994 Michael Jordan baseball rookie.” – Del C.

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Most baseball collectors do not consider you a serious collector unless you have this card in your line-up.

“Pulling this.” – Mark G.

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Adding autographs and memorabilia together on a trading card makes pulling them a lot of fun for fans!

“Pulling a dual patch of Lemeiux and Jagr.” – Logan G.

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Patch cards are also a big draw for fans and nobody does them better than Upper Deck!

“In 2001 Upper Deck Ovation I received an Ichiro card that had a chance to evolve. I inputted the code and it evolved into an Ichiro jersey card, awesome memory, thanks!” – Shaun J.

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Always trying to bring something new to the table, the E-Cards were a big hit with fans back in 2001.

“Opening up a 1999 Upper Deck Baseball box and getting a Babe Ruth ‘Piece of History’ bat card. It was 1 in 10,000 packs odds.” – Joe M.

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This is probably one of the most iconic memorabilia cards in baseball history.

“I bought a box of 2001 SP Legendary Cuts and pulled a Lou Boudreau bat card, Jackie Robinson bat card, Bobby Thomson jersey card and a cut autograph of Lloyd Waner.” – Mason S.

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Upper Deck grew in fame by always bringing fans the biggest and best players.

“The inaugural Upper Deck Hockey set for 1991-92! I still have all the great rookies and star cards from Upper Deck’s first hockey release! It was all about the hologram for me! There was something very authentic about that hologram! You knew you were getting the real deal!” – Clayton H.

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Upper Deck’s first hockey set signaled a changing of the guard for hockey cards.

“I used to collect a lot of hockey and baseball cards in my early teenage years of 1990 to 1994 and gave up the hobby for quite a while. The National Hockey Card Day and McDonald’s Hockey card promotions brought me right back into the hobby over the past few years.” – GN H.

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Events like National Hockey Card Day where fans can score free Upper Deck hockey packs is a great way to welcome in new and lapsed collectors to the hobby.

“In a single year pulling Jordan, LeBron, Kobe and Gretzky autographs.” – Doug C.

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By signing big name players to autograph deals, Upper Deck was able to produce some big-time trading cards like this one!

“My favorite UD moment was opening up my first and only box of Exquisite. I have bought up tons of singles from the product, but nothing compares to cracking one open on your own.” – Lewis V.

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Who wouldn’t get excited about the prospect of opening up a $500 pack of cards. Especially if you find a rare player pack like this one featuring all LeBron James autograph trading cards!

Nolan Ryan throwing a football. My first Upper Deck card.” – Adam J.

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This card was a little controversial at the time. “What’s Ryan doing with a football?” fans asked. It was part of his work out routine and Upper Deck documented that with this card.

“Buying and opening multiple packs to get Shaq‘s rookie card. It was worth the $$$!” – Andrew B.

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This was actually the first redemption card in the industry and one many fans still love.

“1993 SP Authentic Football… I wanted that Bledsoe so bad as a kid!” – James B.

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Using technology to continually create compelling new trading cards is what Upper Deck is all about.

“When I busted my UD Brett Favre autograph card limited to 25 copies!” – Vince A.

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Quality and value are things fans love about opening Upper Deck packs.

“Purchasing my 1994 Upper Deck Griffey/Mantle dual autograph card!!! Best card of the 1990s!” – Eric M.

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This card commands big bucks today and was a groundbreaking insert when it debuted!

“Winning your giveaway a couple years ago. It was the World of Sports Tiger Woods/Michael Jordan dual autograph card number to 5!! Absolutely amazing! Thanks Upper Deck!” – Kheva E.

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Can you imagine winning this card?

“Joking with a fellow collector about pulling a Jordan autograph card from 2008-09 Radiance. I bought a pack and then my hands were shaking for the next half hour when I actually pulled an on-card Signature Flight card from the pack!” – Todd S.

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Shaking hands are a symptom of opening Upper Deck packs and discovering cards like this.

What is really interesting to note is how many fans responded sharing that collecting cards had made them closer as a family. Trading cards really provide meaningful quality time between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, siblings and more. Take a look at some of those comments:

“The day you sent my Autistic son cards for the story my husband wrote for your blog. Shawn is still enjoying those cards. Thank you again.” – Danyel P.

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Upper Deck helps fans find their happy place.

“First few packs my dad bought in ’89. I remember the Griffey rookie and a reverse negative Dale Murphy.” – Eric S.

“Sharing a hobby with my mother…” – Jason L.

“Me and my brother opening boxes!!!” – Scott Y.

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Upper Deck has created thousands of wonderful memories for brothers who collect together.

“Seeing my wife’s face when she pulled a Luongo Milestone jersey last weekend at my local card shop!” Greg B.

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Who wouldn’t be excited about pulling a card like this!

“My very first game used card I pulled was from 2001 Upper Deck Vintage. My best autograph I ever pulled was from 1999 Upper Deck Retro (Walter Payton). Upper Deck kept me opening packs and boxes for years. Then you released the University of North Carolina Basketball set and I have opened so much of that product and never get tired of it. I was born and raised a UNC fan and pulling autographs of the guys I grew up watching and rooting for with my grandpa brought back very fond memories of my time with him.” – John J.

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Collecting Upper Deck is a family affair!

“Probably the first card show I brought my daughter to in 2011. You guys gave her a box of cards and a t-shirt, she was soooo happy! Then I took back last year and you guys gave her the mike to call out the raffle winners and again you made her day! She also won a signed puck of Seth Jones! You guys do the greatest job at keeping your fans happy, thanks so much!” Cindy-Lee V.

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Fans really score when they see Upper Deck at trade shows.

“There have been so many, but I think the fondest memory is now was the look on my baby daughter’s face when I came home with a bunch of free National Hockey Card Day packs. Her face just lit up.” Will D.

Thanks to everyone for sharing. It is an honor to have played a small role in these memories that are so special to our fans. We look forward to making more memories over the next 25 years!

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It’s Throwback Thursday so let’s go back through Upper Deck’s trading card history and come up with a fun giveaway. Recently Derek Jeter surprised everyone by announcing on Facebook that 2014 would be his final year. Derek Jeter has served as a spokesman to Upper Deck and a friend over the years so everyone here at headquarters took a moment to reflect after seeing the message on Jeter’s great career, but for us, it all started with his rookie card. And while his 1993 SP Authentic Jeter Rookie card is probably his most beloved card, most people have his 1993 Upper Deck Rookie card in their collection. Please share your comical caption to this card for your opportunity to score a FREE baseball mail day from Upper Deck!

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Do you have this card? You should. Give it a funny caption and you could score a baseball mail day from Upper Deck!

Important Promotion Guidelines:

  1. You can only submit one comment per email address so think about it before you post.
  2. Comments are moderated so keep them clean and in good taste as we have a lot of youngsters on these pages. Comments deemed inappropriate will not be posted or eligible to score a pack.
  3. Make sure to review other caption before you post. If you have the same comment as someone else or make slight improvements to it, the credit will go to the first person who posted the comment.
  4. You have until Friday morning, February 14 at 8:00 a.m. to post your caption before this promotion is closed.
  5. Upper Deck will review the captions posted and select the one (1) fan who most skillfully shares a comical comment to coincide with this card.
  6. Only the customer selected to receive the mail day will be contacted via email, so please make sure to provide an accurate email address when you leave your comment.
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