Archive for Collectors
Upper Deck loves hearing about our passionate fans collections. And if the collections are interesting enough, we will feature them here. Such is the case with Danny Hamill who we have grown to know better with each Team Canada Hockey product we have released. With the 2013 Upper Deck Team Canada Hockey set releasing this week, we felt compelled to share his amazing collection. Danny, like many Canadians, has a tremendous appreciation and respect for the National Team. And he has amassed some items you just have to see to believe. This is his story:
I first starting collecting hockey cards when I was a young boy. I can still remember buying my first packs of 1969-70 O-Pee-Chee NHL cards. In those days I was just buying cards simply because they made watching the games on television more interesting as I got to know the players better. It was not long after this when O-Pee-Chee released a sub-set of cards from the famed 1972 Summit Series (commonly referred to as the ‘floating head’ design). I suppose that this was the very beginning of my collection of Team Canada cards as I still have those exact cards that I pulled from packs more than 40 years ago.
By 1979 I had stopped collecting cards and never really got back into hockey cards until the 1990-91 season when Upper Deck came on the scene to make collecting exciting again! I fell in love with the Upper Deck 1990-91 Team Canada cards and was once again bitten by the collecting bug. I have not stopped collecting since, but at times need to be a little selective with my collecting to allow it to fit in my budget.
My goal in the early 90′s was to attain every card that pictured a player wearing his or her Team Canada jersey. Although this was a daunting task with so many parallel cards starting to show up at that time it was a goal one could accomplish. At least I thought so. Then I started to discover the European cards of Team Canada players that I had no idea were out there. Consequently, I now have cards of players wearing their Canada jersey from international countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France, Russia, Czech, and Austria among others. A major hurtle for me was finding out what international cards really existed for Team Canada Hockey players.
One of my biggest challenges was to find a very small card of Team Canada that appeared in Sweden way back in 1936. I know of only two of these cards that still exist, one is in my collection and the second is in a collection housed in Sweden. Another of the great hunts that I had to go on was to find the four different 1926 Willard’s Chocolates cards of Team Canada players. This was a larger set that featured all sorts of people from different walks, including these four hockey cards. After many years of searching, Harvey at AJ Sports here in Toronto was the one who came up with these cards for me. After he told me he had these cards “somewhere,” I had to remind him for a few years to get searching for them. He finally did and now they are my treasure!
For me much of the success I’ve had with putting my collection together has come through the help of many dealers and collectors I have shared my collecting goals with. It is amazing to me how helpful collectors can be in helping another collector put together a set or trying to track down cards you really are not sure exist. I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me build the collection I have today. You really make this hobby so much fun and rewarding.
My collection is now 45 binders full and has become more than I ever could have thought possible. With all of these cards and stickers I do have some absolute favourites such as; 2004-05 Upper Deck Summit Superstars Legendary Signatures which is a small collection of 20 beautiful cards containing authentic hard-signed autographs. Another favourite in my collection is the 1999 Upper Deck Jersey cards of Wayne Gretzky. Now I have many Gretzky Canada jersey cards from Upper Deck and this still remains number #1 in my heart, although the 2011-12 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Jersey card of Gretzky comes in a close second!
Another favourite of mine is the 1990-91 Upper Deck World Juniors. Not an expensive set, to be sure, however I still remember being blown away by the idea of the Team Canada Juniors having a card set! I also love the 2013 Upper Deck 5×7 cards which were produced for Hockey Day in Canada. While the set was great, the jumbo cards were super cool! The 1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond release with the gold parallels was awesome too, especially with the inclusion of the gorgeous Joe Thornton rookie card. I also loved the 1998-99 Upper Deck Team Canada Jersey cards of the World Juniors, including the hard-signed version of a young Vincent Lecavalier. I also really love the Upper Deck 2009-10 Clearly Canadian cards which were a set of 42 clear acetate die-cut cards.
Destined to be a huge favourite will be the new 2013 Upper Deck Team Canada collection! I am very excited about this massive collection by Upper Deck! I can’t wait to add these cards to my collection! From what I have seen in early pictures, these cards look awesome!
Other favourite cards from North America are the 1997-98 Valu Net phone cards, a collection of 24 phone cards that came in multiple variations, including 22 hard-signed versions and two versions of a Gretzky card from Japan. The 1994-95 Score Platinum parallel cards of seven Team Canada players are not supposed to exist, but with help I was able to track them down along with the 1994-95 Donruss Elite set of 22 cards commemorating the Juniors fourth consecutive gold medal. A really big favourite of mine is the 1997-98 Esso set of authentic autographed cards. My collection of these cards doubled when a fellow collector in Calgary gave up on trying to finish the set and sold me his autographs.
Some of my favourite European cards include the 1969-70 Swedish Mastar-Serien set containing 23 cards (that I know of) including card #192 of Ken Dryden that is not supposed to exist, but does in my collection. I have added the 1936 Swedish ALFA card of Team Canada to my collection as well. Other favourite European cards include the 1997-98 Eurotel set containing eight Team Canada cards, the 1994-95 Finnish Kiekko card set containing 38 Team Canada cards and the 1994-95 set of Swedish Semic Sport cards containing 27 Team Canada cards, as well as the 1992 Finnish collection of Team Canada hockey stickers.
Another grouping of cards that are a lot of fun are Upper Deck’s Priority Signings autograph cards that are available through the wrapper redemption programs at the semi-annual Sports Cards & Memorabilia Expos in Toronto, Ontario. One of the reasons that I go to the Expo is expressly to track Team Canada versions of those cards. Right after the redemption program ends I really love running around that big room like a kid to see who has them available for sale or trade. It is so much fun!
After all of these years of collecting, I still have not found all that I am looking for, but my want list is not very extensive. Here are the top five most desired cards on that list:
1) 2004-05 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures, Summit Series #CDN-T Tony Esposito
2) 1997-98 Upper Deck Black Diamond QUAD #105 Alex Tanguay
3) 1997-98 Zenith Impulse GOLD #Z79 Alex Tanguay
4) 2006-07 ITG International Ice GOLD parallel #67 Bill Ranford
5) 2010-11 Upper Deck Team Canada Die Cuts GOLD #TC-WG Wayne Gretzky
I would love to hear from any fellow collector who can help with any of these five cards. If anyone is interested in seeing my fulfill want list, please contact me at email@example.com. I am always interested in networking with any other Team Canada collectors out there – perhaps I can help you out with your collection!
Thanks for sharing your story and your collection with us Danny! And good luck with future Team Canada Hockey sets from Upper Deck!
Recently Upper Deck ran a promotion with fans challenging them to use hockey cards to transform an ordinary room in their home or office. Upper Deck received dozens of responses from excited fans and it was amazing to see the lengths each collector went to in order to give their rooms a new look with hockey cards. Take a look at some of our favorites! Who knows, maybe you will get some inspiration to use hockey cards to makeover a room in your house?!?!
The collector who most skillfully transformed their room to be the ultimate hockey card hangout however was Richard Sandanam. He was very creative in creating unique themes for areas in his transformed room as you can see below:
It means a lot to player collectors who invest their time and money into a company’s trading card releases to know the company appreciates their efforts. Which is why Upper Deck spent some time talking with two established online hobby communities (Hobby Insider and Cloutsnchara) before the 2013 Fall Sports Card & Memorabilia Expo to find out which hard-core player collectors would be at the show. We indentified three fans from each community and created special blow-up cards from their favorite players to surprise them with at the show. This proved to be a little difficult as we had to hand carry them all the way from San Diego to Toronto in order to make sure they were not damaged, but seeing their smiles at the surprise made that small hassle all worthwhile!
Our favorite story was the fan that came all the way from Sweden for the show. He was speechless when we shared the Jakob Silfverberg card we created for him. Shortly thereafter he sped off to find a holder for it so he could get it home without damaging it.
The best part of the weekend for us was a special surprise to Jeffrey Griffith who is one of the world’s most well-known Wayne Gretzky collectors and now is working on an impressive Hockey Hall-of-Fame collection. Jeffrey actually wrote the book called “Gretzky Cards” showcasing his amazing collection of trading cards of “The Great One” with most cards coming from Upper Deck. Given the fact Upper Deck has an exclusive relationship with Wayne Gretzky, we thought someone like Jeffrey deserved to be honored for his long history of chasing Gretzky cards with something special. So Upper Deck worked to get a one-of-a-kind blow-up card made and signed by Wayne at a recent signing session. And then we surprised Jeffrey with it in front of about 250 collectors at the Fall Expo in Toronto. Check out how it went down!
It was great to be able to say, “Thank you,” to these great fans throughout the weekend and we look forward to surprising more loyal Upper Deck fans in the future. Stay tuned!
Upper Deck’s Marketing team has been busy running a variety of promotions dedicated to engaging the future of the hobby over the last few weeks in particular. Upper Deck believes it is absolutely critical to look at new ways to involve the youth of today in all the fun aspects of the hobby and the company believes strongly these initiatives will help to develop the next generation of collectors.
First and foremost, Upper Deck continues to be a huge supporter of the Cards2Kids charity routinely working with them, sending donated product to the organization and even recognizing their founder at the National Sports Collectors Convention. Upper Deck also donated thousands of packs of new trading cards to teachers who shared lesson plans with the company about how they use cards in the classroom as a fun way to start off the school year. For the Halloween holiday Upper Deck shared thousands of packs with two great charities in Rady’s Children’s Hospital and law enforcement & fire departments in the county who got the packs into kid’s hands. And then most recently UD donated over 6,000 new hockey packs to Defending the Blue Line which is a charity that donates hockey equipment and experiences to the children in military families.
So it was not a surprise that when it comes to trade shows like the Sports Cards & Memorabilia Expo in Toronto, Upper Deck also pulled out all the stops to make sure kids in particular had a memorable experience throughout the show!
Upper Deck had a variety of giveaways throughout the weekend and kids almost always found their way to the booth to participate and usually score some sweet items. Their smiles made the weekend memorable for everyone involved when their numbers were called for daily raffles.
Upper Deck also ran coordinated bubble hockey tournaments each day of the show, but more often than not, kids found their way to the table to play their own impromptu tournaments. It was a lot of fun for kids, but also for parents to see their children having fun and winning items like packs of cards, UD branded knit caps and memorabilia items.
Upper Deck also worked with adult collectors who were participating in case and box break promotions to donate their extra cards to one of the company’s Certified Diamond Dealers and Authorized Group Breakers; Breakaway Cards. Upper Deck collected several thousand new cards from fans and shared them with Breakaway Cards who are in turn donating them to McMaster’s Children’s Hospital. Providing sick kids with a nice distraction through trading cards to take their mind off their health concerns is something everyone can get behind.
Even when there wasn’t something planned, Upper Deck relished any opportunity to engage these youngsters by coming up with fun games they could play together to earn new UD cards. Check out this video of UD staff playing an exciting trivia game with two children who are obviously pretty hardcore hockey fans already!
Upper Deck staffers also took time out to explain the fun of collecting cards with super young fans.
Staff also took the time to make sure younger collectors who were engaged had some great Upper Deck gear to show their support for the hobby.
By in large though our favorite moment was towards the end of the show where Upper Deck staff invited kids on the floor to join us for ice cream. It was fun to see the smiles and create some great memories with kids who may one day open the next great trading card shop or come to work for Upper Deck and build the next great trading card. At Upper Deck, we are all excited to see what the next generation of collectors bring to the hobby!
Recently I was chatting with a dad who had the really unique idea of creating time capsules for his kids when they were born that they would open on their tenth birthdays. He and his wife included items from the year they were born along with some items they thought they would find interesting when they were old enough to appreciate it. They enclosed newspapers from the day they were born, uncirculated coins from their birth year, ultrasound pictures, birth announcements, baby pictures and some hockey and baseball card packs.
“The packs of cards were in there because my wife and I love sports and I used to collect cards when I was younger,” shared David Owen. “The card collecting was passed down from my dad to my brother and me. We included a letter to each son explaining our feelings about becoming new parents. And then it was put away, until their 10th birthday which for my son J.T. came just last week. We had a family dinner and after that he opened up some of his presents and the time capsule we had waiting for him. He acted like everything in there was super old which was funny as it seems like just yesterday to me. My son is just getting into collecting now so having the packs in there was perfect.”
As a parent, I think it is pretty awesome to be able to do something simple that shows your kids just how much you love and appreciate them. And the coolest part is that even if you missed it for your kids initially, you can always find older packs from their birth year to put it together before their tenth birthday. So take a little time to do something special like this for your kids, as you can see from J.T.’s expression, it is obviously something that meant a lot to him and will be something he remember for a long time.