Archive for Collectors

As we saw fans sharing images with us from their National Hockey Card Day experiences, we noticed a nice trend with significant bump in the amount of young female hockey collectors. Many were collecting with their families and we were very happy to see so many passionate female hockey fans out there.  Here were some of our favorites!

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Many collectors keep their favorite Upper Deck cards in a closets, displays, safety deposit boxes and safes. There are some collectors however who like to take their favorite cards with them wherever they go and share them with those they meet. The industry term for the cards these types of collectors carry is the wallet card (#walletcard).

During Mardis Gras this year we saw a collector on Twitter who goes by the handle @Teejnola having a lot of fun with his 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card in New Orleans. We asked T.J. to share his story on his wallet card along with some of the fun pictures he took during the annual Mardis Gras party and parade. This is his story:

“Being that I live in an especially photogenic city I like to get pictures and having my favorite card in the photos seemed like a no brainer. For my wallet card I chose what is universally considered among the greatest modern-day baseball cards ever produced; Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card. I catch a little flack for picking a card with real monetary value as my wallet card, but I just couldn’t imagine using any other card.

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“I live in New Orleans, but my most popular wallet card post so far was that from my trip to the Canadian Yukon where my wife and I went in search of the Aurora Borealis. I have shots of the Griffey on a snowmobile, ice fishing, miles above snow-covered mountains, and with the world’s largest collection of Donald Duck figurines. We finally got a glimpse of the Aurora on our last night there, and while the pictures are a little blurry (photographing the Aurora is hard, it turns out) you can tell it’s the Griffey.

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On the chair is T.J.’s Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie wallet card that he takes with him EVERYWHERE!

“Only weeks later began the Carnival season here in NOLA which is just the sort of thing wallet card was made for. You probably know that this season is defined by massive parades and weird traditions that culminate in the big party on Mardi Gras Day. This year was unique in that I was actually riding in a parade for the first time in several years, but I did manage to make it to sixteen other parades including the ‘superkrewes’ of Endymion and Bacchus.

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“Simply put, Mardi Gras is a two-week city-wide party. The day before Mardi Gras (Lundi Gras) the King of Rex literally asks the Mayor to suspend law, tax, and business for one day in the name of frivolity, and the mayor ceremonially obliges. Of course the parades last for weeks before that even happens. It’s so ingrained in our culture that I was ten before I learned that this was not a national holiday.

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T.J. shows off his Griffey wallet card at Mardis Gras!

“Each parade is put on by a ‘krewe’ and consists of floats, bands, marching groups, and fleets of shriners in dune buggies. Highlights include the Budweiser Clydesdales, The Citadel, the U.S. Marine Corps marching band and color guard, and countless jazz bands, horses, cheerleaders, and fire-wielders (which we call flambeaux).

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“Of course Mardi Gras is probably best-known for the float riders hurling free stuff into the screaming crowds. Go to any parade and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to go home with a bag loaded with beads, candy, trinkets, doubloons, clothing, and even rubber dog poop. At least I hope it was rubber.

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Don’t throw them the Griffey card T.J.

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“In the two weeks of Carnival I took 1,500 wallet card photos, not counting the much bigger number I deleted. I’m now in the process of whittling them down to a digestible group to be showcased on my card blog, The Junior Junkie (thejuniorjunkie.blogspot.com). The blog has been on a bit of a hiatus (understandably) during the two-week Mardi Gras season. I’ve also posted a lot of #walletcard shots on Twitter on my account and I will continue to do so all year long. So make sure you give me a follow so you can see where Griffey goes next before he heads to Cooperstown in 2016!”

Thanks T.J. We love this idea and want to encourage more fans to have an Upper Deck wallet card and share images of it using the hashtag #walletcard and tagging us @UpperDeckSports on Twitter and Instagram. Think you can outdo T.J.? We’d love to see you try. Pack up your Upper Deck wallet card, have some adventures and share what happens with us. You could score an Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness mail day for your efforts!

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For nine-year-old Aiden McAfoose, the game of hockey has been a nice distraction and way to keep him busy while both of his parents serve in the military (Air Force). Aiden wrote an essay on why he loves the game so much that his parents submitted on his behalf for an Upper Deck promotion. Upper Deck partnered with the NHL® and the Defending the Blue Line Charity to surprise one youngster with an incredible weekend of All-Star activities. Aiden’s essay made him the clear choice. Here are some portions of his essay:

“Both my mother and father are in the military. Being a military dependent makes me feel proud.  I really miss them when they get deployed.

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“My biggest passion has always been hockey. As long as I can remember I have wanted to play. My mom started teaching me how to skate when I was two. I started to learn how to play ice hockey when I was four, but before that I played at home every day for hours. My favorite team is the Pittsburgh Penguins and I have attended many of their games since I was a baby. My favorite players are Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evegni Malkin, David Perron and Max Pacioretty.

“I have a lot of hockey cards and memorabilia. I have three books and also signed jerseys, pucks, mini helmets, sticks, hats and posters. My dream is to become a NHL® star.”

Aiden will get the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a NHL® All-Star this weekend. He came out with his grandfather under the guise they would try to scalp some tickets for some of the events, but when he arrived, Upper Deck and Defending the Blue Line staff let him in on the surprise. This weekend, Aiden and his grandfather will enjoy complimentary tickets to the NHL® All-Star Fan Fair, Skills Competition and All-Star Game. On Saturday he will go behind the scenes with a special VIP locker room tour. Additionally, Upper Deck took care of their hotel accommodations and gifted Aiden with some collectibles that will surely become the centerpieces of his collection.

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From left to right: William Csaszar from Defending the Blue Line, Aiden McAfoose, Jack Yackovich (Aiden’s grandfather) and Chris Carlin from Upper Deck.

Upon hearing the news Aiden simply said, “Wow, just wow. All I can say is thanks! This is like a dream.”

Check out the video of Aiden being surprised with the news.

Aiden ended up having the time of his life with one of the best moments coming from meeting many of the players. Upper Deck had him over to the player’s hotel and helped him meet his heroes. The best moment came when he happened to be at the Upper Deck booth and met his favorite All-Star Marc-Andre Fleury. His mother said, “He came home and talked about it for hours. He couldn’t even remember all the stories because he said so much happened.”

This is not the first time Upper Deck has worked with helping out the military. Upper Deck partnered with Defending the Blue Line for the NHL® Draft and during the holidays while also doing activations around Veteran’s Day, Operation Gratitude, and more. It is just part of the company’s continuing effort to be recognized at the military’s choice for trading cards.

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We’ve talked before about why mothers should encourage their kids to collect sports cards. Recently we found a “hockey mom” from St. Albert, Alberta named Cheryl Stuart who loves the hobby and enjoys collecting with her kids. We think the bonds she is creating with them will last a lifetime and we asked her to give a review of Upper Deck’s Black Diamond Hockey. Here’s what she had to say:

“Being a ‘hockey mom’ is one of the best parts of motherhood as it is great to see my children grow up around the sport. My youngest started on skates at 14 months in our backyard rink and now at 19-years-old playing men’s hockey in cold arenas late at night. I’m not sure which I dislike more…the very early morning games in minor hockey or the very late nights in this beer league hockey – but I still attend whenever I can and will never tire of watching him play. Being a ‘hockey mom’ not only means buying the necessities of hockey like skates and sticks, but also all the extras including hockey cards every year.

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Here’s a vintage shot of Cheryl exposing her son to the game of hockey at a very early age!

“Upper Deck has always had the best quality cards which we have always collected together. Stored now in boxes and albums are years of hockey cards which have been carefully opened, examined and organized as we work to build a set. Hockey and Christmas has always been a big part of our celebrations – between playing a yearly road hockey game, the Junior Hockey Championships  and opening the hockey cards that Santa always remembered to put in my youngest son’s stocking has been part of the excitement.

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Fun Fact: Santa Claus LOVES opening packs of Upper Deck NHL cards with his elves. Hockey is HUGE in the North Pole!

“This year not only did he get to open a box of cards, but so did I thanks to Upper Deck who sent me a box of Black Diamond cards to open and review.   I drove my son nuts not opening on Christmas or even the following week as I was working long, very tiring 12-hour shifts but when I finally sat down and opened them together.

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Waiting is the hardest part! Cheryl’s son was all over her to open up the box of Upper Deck’s Black Diamond Hockey cards!

“I was very impressed with the quality and overall look of the cards. I especially liked the 3-D effect of the player’s pictures on the cards. I don’t know what it is about opening hockey cards, but it is exciting ripping open each package hoping to find either a special card or a player we like.

“These cards have it all. There are Rookie Gems, Championship Ring Cards, special numbered cards, Double Diamond Jersey cards and a few old time hockey player cards to boot. Each card is marked with either one, two, three and if you’re lucky four diamonds (the rarest cards of the best players). These cards did not disappoint. They are produced on heavy card stock with beautiful foil on the front of the cards that makes them sparkle under the light. Within the box I opened I only had minimal duplicates, which was a good sign. As a consumer I feel these are certainly well worth their price and will likely continue to increase in value as the players themselves continue to play at high levels. As a ‘hockey mom’ it would be a set I would purchase for my son to open together.

“In the box I was lucky enough to open I managed to get a special Championship Rings card of Tyler Toffoli from the Kings which fall 1 in every 60 packs! There was also two Double Diamond Jersey cards!

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“I know from years of listening to my husband and son talk and examine rookie cards that they are always a special bonus and these Black Diamond Hockey cards have a stunning set known as Rookie Gems.  We got our fair share of those in the box as well!

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You’ve really got to hold these cards in your hand to see the beauty of them as they shimmer in the light.

“One of my special gifts this Christmas was a sweatshirt proclaiming for to know all that I am a ‘hockey mom.’ Now that my son is so much older we haven’t spent as much time pouring over hockey cards, putting them in albums and reading up on the various stats as we used to. I must admit however, I enjoyed the opportunity of re-visiting this hobby with my son. Collecting cards is the perfect family activity, even if you are not a ‘hockey mom’ like me. Pick up some packs today and share the hobby with someone you love!”

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You will likely see Cheryl sporting her top Christmas present at hockey games around Alberta this season!

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It can be frustrating pulling a redemption card sometimes for collectors as there can be delays with them and obviously we would love to deliver the experience of pulling a live autograph from packs, but that is not always possible. So, as part of Upper Deck’s Random Acts of Kindness program we decided to spread a little holiday cheer to 25 random collectors who had redemptions shipping out in December as a way of also celebrating our 25th Anniversary.

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Recently they received their redemptions with a FREE hobby box inside and letter thanking them for their support. Here was some of the feedback we received so far:

“Just wanted to take a minute to say Thank You!  I received a nice gift today along with my redemption…a box of 2012 SP Authentic Golf.  Cannot tell you how much I appreciate the thought.  In this day and age, high level customer service is paramount and you have shown yourself to be ahead of the curve with gestures such as this.” – Rod K.

“I recently redeemed a couple of cards nothing spectacular. I received my cards really quickly. I was told it would take up to 12 weeks which was fine. To my excitement the cards arrived today, only 2 weeks after I emailed through my redemption. So thank you very much for the quick response and quick delivery. Living in Australia it’s hard to find anywhere decent to purchase Basketball cards so I have found a good shop in the US to buy them from. When I opened the box you sent to find a box of North Carolina Basketball and a greeting card I was ecstatic. So thank you very much!” – Adam F.

“A simple thank you for the package I received today (box of Goodwin Champions).  Very nice of you and the UD team.  Right in time for Christmas!” – Luc O.

“I just received my redemption for my 13-14 SP LaPhonso Ellis By The Letter card as well as your Random Act of Kindness 14-15 Letterman box. I can’t thank you enough for your generosity! I’m a long time collector and obviously a big fan of Upper Deck. This proves why Upper Deck is the best.“ – Justin S.

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Thanks to all the fans who have offered Upper Deck your support this year and over the last 25 years! We are excited to share we will be continuing our Random Acts of Kindness promotion into 2015 as fans have really enjoyed it. To see more of the fun stories the program brings to collectors, search #UDRAK on Twitter!

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