Archive for Collectors
Upper Deck has long been thought of as the “Collector’s Choice,” but a major focus for UD in the last few years has been to become the “Military’s Choice” when it comes to trading cards. Being that Upper Deck is based in San Diego, adjacent to a variety of military instillations, our leadership believes it is important to do everything we can to show appreciation for the men and women who serve and defend the U.S.A. Whether it be through donations to organizations like Operation Gratitude or just by sharing military themed packs at local parades, Upper Deck is dedicated to be the trading card company that best supports our troops.
And as we engage more and more military fans, we come to find how meaningful trading cards can be to those who serve. For those who serve, trading cards can be a distraction, an activity to help families grow closer or an investment. Trading cards can trigger memories of great sports moments and provide our troops with a meaningful piece of home while they serve on the other side of the world. Upper Deck trading cards have been all these things to Mark Wardlow of Farmington, Missouri. Mark served three tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq and as an organization we would like to thank him for his service. Here is his story:
“I recently started collecting again now that I have the free time to do so. One of the main things that I enjoy about collecting cards is all the stories I have tied to so many of my collectibles. Almost every card has a story and ties to a nice memory so while values on trading cards are always fun to check out, there is a sentimental attachment to many of the cards you can’t really put a value on. I still remember the first cards I ever purchased. While they may not be very valuable to most collectors, they are almost priceless to me.
“While deployed I found there are a lot of people in the service who love collecting sports cards. We would talk for hours over there about our favorite cards, players and sports. It was fun discussing the cards we had and the cards we wish we had. It was also a bit nerve racking for some hoping their families were taking good care of their collections while they were away.
“Beyond the sentimental value, I really appreciate the overall beauty and appeal of the cards. Still to this date, my favorite cards Upper Deck put out were the Diamond Vision cards from the late ‘90’s where the players actually moved across the thick lenticular cards. The Michael Jordan cards from that set are my favorite with Shaquille O’Neal running a close second.
“I also think the UD Black cards are very appealing to the eye. They are just beautiful and I was very excited when I pulled a gold autograph of Jerryd Bayless and D.J. Augustin limited to just five copies and a Richard Jefferson autograph limited to just 25 copies. My best basketball pull of all-time would be from SP Game-Used Basketball where I scored a Jordan/LeBron/Magic triple memorabilia card numbered to 25.
“I collect a bit of everything from all the sports. I love some of my UD Marion Barber autograph and memorabilia cards and my all-time favorite is the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. I have two right now, but wouldn’t mind picking up more, they are an all-time classic!
“While I was deployed in Iraq you have a lot of time where you are just alone with your thoughts. Thinking back on the fun I had while collecting was a really nice escape as different events from recent pulls to collecting while I was a kid passed through my head. Visiting my local card shop and getting grab bags the hobby shop owner put together along with my mom were some of my best memories for sure.
“If you are in any branch of the service, I would highly recommend you get involved in collecting Upper Deck cards. Not only will you enjoy the hobby as you collect, but it is really cool to have a nice legacy of awesome collectibles to pass on to your children or loved ones some day. It is a hobby you can also enjoy with your kids.
“Nothing can erase the great memories you make while collecting cards. Making good memories is something I don’t take for granted these days. Something the service has taught me is that life is short so it is important to make lasting memories while you can. I’m appreciative to have a great wife who understands my passion for the hobby. I’ve got a whole room in our home dedicated to my collection which is pretty awesome. I am very blessed to have found a partner who is supportive of the hobby, now if I can just get her collecting…
“Thanks to Upper Deck for allowing me to share my love for the industry and I hope you continue to keep making great cards for all my favorite sports!”
I collected cards as a kid and spent hours with them all sprawled out on the floor, yelling at anyone who dared walk into the living room. I look back fondly on those times where I organized, sorted and even priced cards in my collection. Collecting taught me a lot and it was a fun way for me to get closer to my dad and the sports he loved.
In my time working with Upper Deck it has been great to see the role that trading cards have with parents and their children coming closer together. At Upper Deck we try to interact a lot with our fans and through that we became aware of how Autistic kids and children who have Asperger’s Syndrome enjoy collecting as it takes them to “their happy place.” I thought that was really cool and wondered if trading cards could help any other special needs kids, but didn’t actively research anything as I became busy with normal job duties.
And then came National Hockey Card Day which is a day in particular where Upper Deck encourages families to collect together as we provide free hockey packs to fans throughout the U.S. and Canada. We asked fans to share images of their adventures during the festive day and one photo stood out to me in particular that just kind of warmed my heart. I reached out to the mother of this collector to see if we could put together a care package together for him and she happily agreed. We began some back and forth dialogue and I found out more about her son Brandon and his fledgling collection.
Here is what his mother shared:
“I am using the cards to teach him the players, putting names to faces and their numbers. So far he likes to flip through the pages and stare at each card like he’s taking in all the detail. He will say the players he knows (Quick and Kopitar) like he was at the game. I use things like that to help him remember. Quick because we have the empty Quick Championship milk bottles so I show him Quick on the bottle and then Quick on the card where he’s holding the cup in the air.
“It’s the hands on with the visual and verbal that gets his brain ticking. Once he saw the Stanley Cup in person and was able to touch it, that’s when he really started paying attention to the sport. These cards are another piece in the NHL puzzle for my son. It helps him bring it all together.”
And then we heard about another collector with Down syndrome.
“Shannon’s brother Brian was a long time collector and Shannon started when she was about 8-years-old. Since she grew up in Anaheim it naturally made sense she began collecting trading cards of Angels players. When she was in elementary school she would always take her baseball cards when it was her turn to at show & tell. She also went to card shows and got autographs of several players.
“This hobby helped her interact with others. Her brother took her to see the Angels when they were in the World Series with the Giants. She was really jazzed when they won. At 28 she still likes to go see softball and baseball at her former high school and may go to an Angels game once in awhile. Today she is more into her acting as a career, but she still has her cards and other baseball memorabilia with fond memories of them.”
Today, Thursday, March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. It is a day to raise awareness about Down syndrome and celebrate how special many of those are who have it. Most everyone knows a family who has someone in it with Down syndrome. We encourage you to share some trading cards with them. The results may surprise you, but more than anything you may find it to be another bridge to help them relate to sports, the world and you!
If you have any stories as to how trading cards have helped someone you know who has Down syndrome, we would love to hear your story!
Earlier this season I tuned in early to watch the Montreal Canadiens vs. the Florida Panthers. I like to tune in early to see them introduce the goalie matchup where they show both netminders (usually unmasked) so I can pick the one who is cuter and cheer for his team during the game. This strategy makes watching dozens of games for which I have no personal investment in the outcome suddenly more entertaining and recommend more women hockey fans give it a try.
Analyzing the looks of each team’s starting netminder is a perfectly acceptable means of selecting a favorite to win the game. I’m having a hard time convincing my dad and some of his friends of this however. This particular matchup was a tough one, because Carey Price in my opinion is the best looking goaltender in the league (excluding some of the hot AHL goalies that get called up) and currently I have over 268 of Carey’s trading cards. I like Carry not just because he’s a hottie, but you never know what you are going to see from him on the ice. I’d like to see Upper Deck make a trading card for this memorable moment.
Now on to the Panthers goalie; Jose Theodore. A few months ago, I saw a photo of Jose Theodore that made me rethink what he is all about. Since finding that photo I have collected 131 Jose Theodore cards to add to my cute goalie card collection.
This game posed quite a dilemma for me and I wasn’t able to choose between Carey and Jose. I wasn’t surprised the game went into overtime with both goalies earning regulation shutouts.
Some people laugh at my interesting selection criteria for picking favorite teams and what cards to collect. Right now I primarily just collect cute goalies and Taylor Hall (I know he’s not a goalie, but he’s still a hottie. One person who isn’t critical of my cute goalie card collection is my Dad. That’s not to imply he’s an aficionado of good looking goalies, he’s just glad I’m collecting something I enjoy.
I was raised in my parent’s sports card and memorabilia store and was working the register at six-years-old. One question people always asked my mom and dad at the shop was, “What should I collect?” Their answer hasn’t changed in over 30 years, they say “Collect what you like. Buy what makes you happy and if the market takes a turn, your collection still holds value to you.”
I’m fairly sure this is why my Dad supports my collecting of cute goalies and even helps contribute to my collection. My mom on the other hand is glad I’ve taken up collecting something other than shoes, purses and Couture clothing, often expresses some concern. Especially when it comes to my collection of game-used goalie gear.
Speaking of game-used goalie gear, a lot of the new hockey cards have swatches of game-used jerseys, patches and sometimes sticks from players. Goalie cards often have swatches of game-used goalie pads, blockers and gloves. These are really fun to collect. I should also point out they are much less expensive and portable than collecting actual full sized game-used hockey gear.
My mom threw a fit when I walked into her store and showed off my recently acquired game-used Bryzgalov autographed goalie pads, especially after my previous purchase, an autographed game-used blocker & trapper set from Khabibulin.
She’d much rather I collect cards with game-used goalie gear and I’ll admit, she did have a point about me not having an appropriate place to keep Bryz’s pads right now.
I do get some slack from my dad and his friends about my Marc-Andre Fleury collection. Apparently we’re not too fond of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Philadelphia area, but I don’t think inter-divisional rivalry impacts how hot Marc-Andre is. My Dad won’t even let me wear a Fluery shirt to hockey games. I explained I don’t want the Penguins to win the game, I just want Marc-Andre to know I think he’s cute. This issue has yet to be resolved.
Jersey Girl runs the goalie stick blog and is always on the lookout for cards of her favorite goaltenders.