Archive for Collectors

Upper Deck would like to thank all the families who took time to recognize their dads during our annual Father of the Year promotion. We received an incredible amount of submissions this year with so many different worthy candidates. These stories demonstrated the power of collecting together as a family, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Upper Deck is proud to play a small role in making these special memories that bring fans closer to the game, but more importantly, closer to each other.

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Given how many worthy candidates we heard from in 2013, we expanded the promotion this year to recognize deserving dads in the United States and Canada.

In the United States we would like to recognize Nathan Goleman as winner of Father of the Year. Here was the submission we received for him:

“Nathan is a proud father of two children, Sarinna (age 5) and Ryan (age 1), and has taken a great interest in teaching them about the excitement of collecting! Nathan was an avid collector during his teenage years, and bought dozens of boxes of Upper Deck and Fleer products.”

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“Nathan is a fan of Upper Deck, especially with their 25th Anniversary Random Act of Kindness program, to which he has contributed several successful nominations. His favorite Upper Deck experiences include pulling a Russell Wilson patch autograph card from 2012 Exquisite Football, and assisting his favorite card shop owner in listing and selling a 1-of-1 Michael Jordan buyback autograph. Nathan constantly strives to give back to collectors he knows on Twitter, and has taught our son and daughter the importance of taking care of, not only cards, but other collectors with whom they will interact.”

In Canada we would like to recognize Mike Bodnar as our Father of the Year winner. Mike was nominated by his daughter, who told us why her dad was deserving of this honor.

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“I grew up in my dad’s card shops as this is where he spends ALL of his time. Collecting is not only a hobby or career, but a passion which has been carried on through generations. My dad works all day and night on keeping our sports card shop the best it can be! His main objective is to get as many people (especially kids) to enjoy the hobby as much as he does. He is a proud sponsor of our local OHL team and also provides packs of cards to all every kid who plays hockey in our CYO league. I look forward to every holiday as I know our tradition is to bust a box together regardless of what is pulled the company and memories will always last a lifetime.”

These deserving dads will be receiving a variety of special collectibles from Upper Deck along with a special trophy. Thanks to all the dads who take the time to share this hobby with their children, the next generation of collectors.

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My father has collected Upper Deck products exclusively for well more than a decade. During that time he has assembled some of the most amazing sets the Company has ever produced. Most notably was his completion of the 2009-10 Exquisite Rookie Flashback set. He has a loyalty and appreciation for Upper Deck cards and as his son, it has been a lot of fun to learn about the hobby from him.

Recently my dad learned of a set of cards that Upper Deck produced exclusively for partners at the Las Vegas Industry Summit. The Summit is an event held annually that brings hobby shop owners together with the distributors, leagues, supply companies, card manufacturers and other key partners to look at ways to make the business better. While attendees receive a variety of gifts during the event, one of the most anticipated came from Upper Deck in the form of black boxes which contained 1 of 17 different autographed cards (some multi-signed) commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Upper Deck. Some of the sets highlights include autographs of Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Ken Griffey Jr. and Michael Jordan. The set also included several multi-signed cards with two cards limited to just three total copies in the Tiger Woods/Rory McIlroy dual autograph card and the amazing quad autograph card with autographs from Wayne Gretzky, Ken Griffey Jr., Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

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My dad thought it would be an incredible set to put together, but given how rare some of the cards were and how high in demand they would be, he felt like it would be an impossible, or at least, very expensive set to put together. As he talked about the set with some friends, one of his close buddies challenged him to try to complete it, and my father just loves a good challenge. So he began the hunt and like most stories of putting together a set, it started off pretty easily, but then things started to dry up and it got much more difficult.

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Limited-edition promotional sets can be some of the most difficult to put together.

The chase was all consuming and involved scouring message boards, eBay and contacting anyone he thought may have attended the Summit. He was able to acquire the cards through traditional methods of either paying for them, trading for them or a combination of the two. He was able to score the two super rare cards limited to just three copies, but it then became some of the single signed cards that were difficult to track down.

Finally it came down to just one missing card of boxing great Oscar De La Hoya to complete the set. At the height of his frustration, my father noticed that Upper Deck posted a Cinco de Mayo giveaway on the company’s blog and ironically enough, the prize was the missing De La Hoya card.

With the taste of completion in the air my father left work and raced to the local costume shop where he got a traditional Mexican bandito costume. All he needed now was to pair the costume with an Upper Deck card featuring a Hispanic athlete, take a photograph and hope for the best. As luck would have it, my father won the contest and his set was complete.

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I guess the hardest part about starting a set is making the decision to chase it and getting that first card to signal the chase is underway. I am very proud of my father for the tenacity he shows in going after sets he wants. He has always shown me, either through card collecting or in his business endeavors, that if you want to accomplish something, you need to do is set a goal, make a plan and go for it. And when unexpected situations come along (like having to dress up to get the last card you need to complete your set), roll with the punches and give it your all. I’ll always think about the lengths my dad went to in order to put together this set and it is hard to think about it without a big smile.

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John Demchuk is a lifelong Philadelphia Flyers fan and also loyal Upper Deck collector. As a season ticket holder he was going to a Flyers game one night and he was stopped by a guy who works with the team who had interesting information for him. The gentleman said, “John, you’re on an Upper Deck card. I saw this card and said, ‘Wait, I know this guy!’” When John saw the card he was blown away.

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Next to the last night of the year, the Flyers have a night where the players give their game-worn jerseys to random fans right off their back after the game. John was thrilled to be selected and even more excited to have Scott Hartnell be the player he would receive a jersey from. Never in a million years though did he think an image of him would make it onto an Upper Deck card since he’s been collecting since the 1970’s.

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John proudly shows off the 2013-14 NHL Upper Deck Series One card #39 showing him getting Scott Hartnell’s jersey.

I met John at the NHL Draft recently and he shared how excited he was about being featured on the card. We are going to get him a giant blow-up version of the card to commemorate this awesome moment. And even though Harntell was traded, he remains a fan favorite in Philly and has a special place in John Demchuk’s heart.

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When someone talks about the sacrifices members of the United States military make, often they are just referring to that individual who is serving. What many people do not fully realize is that the real sacrifice is not just on the member risking life and limb when placed in harm’s way, but their entire family who has to work through having that loved one gone for long stretches and not being able to put their arms around them to get to share how much they love them. This is one of the reasons why charities like Defending the Blue Line are so great and why Upper Deck has made it a point to support them.

Sports are a great way for youngsters to stay healthy, but at the end of the day what they really provide is a distraction. One segment of the population that could use a distraction are kids whose parents are away serving on behalf of this nation. And that is what Defending the Blue Line really helps out with by making sure military children who want to play hockey can do so.

Each year Upper Deck gets the opportunity to make a young hockey fans dreams come true by working directly with a NHL® team at the Draft serving as a draft runner. Ultimately these kids end up having the time of their lives by feeling like a part of the team and meeting a variety of NHL icons. When that opportunity came up this year, Upper Deck decided to look to Defending the Blue Line and find a youngster from a military family to serve as our draft runner. And when Christian Placiente heard he would be Upper Deck’s draft runner for this year, he was ecstatic.

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Raymond Placiente is a Lieutenant Colonel with the United States Marine Corp and said, “Once he heard the news, Christian started reading up on all the potential prospects and has been so excited about potentially meeting some of his favorite NHL players. Our family is so excited for him.”

Christian is a dedicated young hockey player. He has worked very hard to hang with the best in his age range and when he isn’t on the ice, he is practicing his skating and stick handling on inline skates. Christian has tried other sports, but hockey is really his passion.

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As with most military families, frequent moves are just a part of life. Recently Lieutenant Colonel Placiente was transferred to the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. The nearest hockey program for Christian to take part in is an hour and a half away, but they make the drive twice a week just so he can play.

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This weekend, Christian will travel a little longer than an hour and a half, but it will be well worth it. Having the opportunity to not only attend the NHL Draft™, but to be on the actual draft floor and get a behind the scenes look at how it all works will be a memory that he will treasure for a lifetime. Who knows, if Christian continues to work hard, maybe he will get to go back to the NHL Draft™ one day, but next time as a player!

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My journey with Upper Deck trading cards began when I was a little girl. While everybody else my age was trading Pokémon cards, you could find me out in my cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids trading and collecting baseball and basketball cards. I always loved the challenge of starting new collections when I was younger. When all of my male friends would get together after school and enjoy their Capri-Suns and Nilla Wafers, while showing off their card collections, I would sit and watch from afar, longing to be included in the camaraderie.

I played sports my whole life, and was always a big sports fan, so my male counterparts always respected me as an athlete, sports fan, and card collector. I loved collecting with my family and creating memories with them.

Growing up, we would spread our baseball and basketball cards out on tables and have monthly “trading” parties, where we would try and convince one another to trade certain cards that were missing or would add value to our collections. Those poor boys didn’t know who they were dealing with! They were ill prepared to say no to my puppy dog eyes.

Obviously the “collecting space” is overwhelmingly dominated by males. I only know of one other female card and memorabilia collector, who happens to me a neighbor of mine. She was able to use trading cards to bond with her father, who was an avid collector and sports fan. She now has three sons who are also passionate about sports and trading cards. She and I make up the 7% of Upper Deck card collectors who happen to be female. She still has boxes full of the carefully protected cards she grew up collecting and we have sat down together and reminisced about our comparable stories of wanting to fit in with the boys.

She still treasures her cards to this day. I do not have such luck. When I was in high school, my parents decided to have a garage sale… Can you see where this is going? Yes, you guessed it! My mother sold my shoebox full of trading cards and memories for a whopping $5. Did I mention she was not a sports fan? I was crushed! After that point, I basically gave up on collecting for some time.

A few years ago I began dating a guy who had collected hundreds of Upper Deck trading cards. On our second date, I mentioned the tragic garage sale incident. I guess I made such a great first impression on our date, because he showed up at my apartment with a handful of trading cards a week later. He gave them to me, and encouraged me to start over and continue collecting cards. Seeing all of them lined up put an enormous smile on my face, which brought back such fond memories of my childhood. It was like my collecting journey had gone full circle.

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Every girl wants to fit in with the boys. So one final note for my fellow female fanatics; collecting trading cards is a fantastic way to celebrate memorable moments in sports, support your favorite athletes and teams while you create a bond with important people in your life!

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And by the way, if anyone reading this bought some sweet Upper Deck cards at a garage sale for $5 about ten years ago, hit me up, I want them back!!!

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