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When Upper Deck first announced the company’s new Random Acts of Kindness program as a part of Upper Deck’s year-long 25th Anniversary celebration, collectors were buzzing about it. The program is designed to reward those individuals who give back to others, who are helpful and who make the hobby of collecting trading cards and memorabilia so much fun. Upper Deck began monitoring Twitter, Facebook, message boards, chatrooms and talking with industry insiders to begin compiling an ever-growing list of individuals worthy of a personalized mail day they would not be expecting.

As these surprise packages began arriving, people started getting very excited. We are only a month into the program officially, but collectors are beginning to realize, if they do good, they may be rewarded for it. That being said, it is our hope here at Upper Deck that collectors will look to do good deeds because it makes them feel great and because it is the right thing to do. The opportunity for a surprise mail day would just be a cherry on top of an already excellent sundae.

Here are just some of the responses from unsuspecting do-gooders thus far:

Trevor Cunningham (Montreal Canadiens Fan)
So Fedex arrived very early today, but I was not expecting a hefty box from Upper Deck. I opened the box with the Upper Deck Logo on it it says “Random Act of Kindness.” No idea what this is about, so I open it up and find some cool 25th Anniversary Promo stuff from Upper Deck: a pen, a little box cutter for busting boxes, a t-shirt and warm-up jacket. When I unrolled the shirt a team bag of cards fell out. I opened them up to find some 25th Anniversary promo cards and this for my personal collection!

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This Montreal Canadiens collector scored a rare Galchenyuk autograph card that any Habs fan would covet!

@BrandonLawson87 (Florida State Fan)
Still tripping over the awesome #mailday from@UpperDeckSports #UDRAK

Big thanks to @UpperDeckSports for the best #mailday ever with the giant @Jaboowins card

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UD created a special blow-up card of Jameis Winston to share with one of his biggest fans!

@jdetter23 (Upper Deck Black Basketball Fan)
WOW. I am blown away @UpperDeckSports by the #UDRAK . Thank you so much!!!

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Jeffrey Detter was disappointed he couldn’t get any of the new Upper Deck Black Basketball, so when a free box showed up at his door he was shocked!

There are some others who have received surprise mail days from Upper Deck who many would argue are just as deserving as the collectors above. The only thing really different about them is that they happen to be famous.

First up was a former NHL® player and now analyst for the NHL® Network; Jamal Mayers. He saw a collector bragging about a 2013-14 NHL Black Diamond Championship Rings insert of Mayers and he shared he would love to get one of the cards. Upper Deck went ahead and sent him a care package with some of those cards along with a special oversize version of the card. Jamal was all smiles upon receiving that surprise mail day.

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We supersized the Upper Deck card Jamal Mayers was trying to track down.

Then there is actor, director and Hollywood icon Kevin Smith who has been a good friend to Upper Deck over the years. As an incredibly passionate Edmonton Oilers fan, we just had to hook him up with the new Edmonton Oilers Collection product when it was released. To say he was excited about it is a bit of an understatement.

@ThatKevinSmith
Gonna roll around in the contents of this @UpperDeckSports box like Suvari in AMERICAN BEAUTY.

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Kevin Smith is a great guy and a great fan so of course it is fun to share items with him from the team he loves.

Then you have a fun story with pro football Hall-of-Famer Barry Sanders. When he saw he was paired with Tiger Woods on a dual autograph card in the Tiger Woods Master Collection set, he was blown away as he knew his kids would love it. Unfortunately the card was a one-of-one and not something that even he could easily own. That’s when Upper Deck jumped in and created a special blow-up version of the card and then we had Tiger Woods sign it and include a personalized message to Barry which read, “To Barry, Thank you for all the unforgettable moments! – Tiger Woods”

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Upper Deck’s Marketing Manager shows off a special Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness piece for Barry Sanders that Tiger Woods signed and inscribed to him.

And lastly you have a situation where both the athlete and the collector mix. Michael Doffing is a die-hard Ken Griffey Jr. collector who we recently featured here on the Upper Deck Blog for his birthday. Knowing how much Doffing enjoys Griffey and also knowing how much he has given back to fellow collectors over the years made him a perfect candidate for the Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness promotion. We had Ken sign a personalized blow-up card to Doffing and sent it off to him along with some other limited-edition collectibles and promotional items we knew he would enjoy. We enjoyed reading his excited post on Facebook where he shared his excitement about receiving this unexpected package.

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Ken Griffey Jr. signed a special 25th Anniversary blow-up card specifically for one of his biggest fans for Upper Deck’s Random Acts of Kindness program.

If this shows fans anything, it is to expect the unexpected with Upper Deck’s Random Acts of Kindness program. You don’t know when we will strike or where, but if you end up receiving a package with this special sticker on the outside, odds are you are in store for something you will thoroughly enjoy as we work to thank all those fans who helped make this such a memorable 25-year run for Upper Deck!

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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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