Archive for Collectors
Can you believe it has been 25 years since Upper Deck delivered the first case of 1989 Upper Deck Baseball to a hobby shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma? How much innovation has Upper Deck brought to the industry since those first packs back then? From autograph inserts to memorabilia cards to video trading cards, the journey Upper Deck has taken collectors on as the hobby has evolved has been amazing to watch.
One constant that has made collecting Upper Deck trading cards a hobby that has endured over the last 25 years is the kindness of collectors. We have talked before about how collecting trading cards is one of the friendliest hobbies in the world. It is important for the future of the hobby that we do things to encourage that kindness in the collecting community, especially as we look to develop the next generation of collectors through kids. Upper Deck has spent a lot of time working to make the hobby of collecting cards something kids will be interested in, but as we look back at our 25-year history, we think it is important to thank the good guys (and girls) out there who helped make this hobby so kind.
Throughout Upper Deck’s 25th Anniversary Celebration (beginning now through the end of 2014) we are excited to announce Upper Deck’s Random Acts of Kindness program (#UDRAK) where we will surprise loyal fans and supporters with packages that contain trading cards, packs, boxes, Upper Deck Authenticated memorabilia, personalized collectibles, UD apparel or tickets to events. And when we say “surprise,” we mean it. These special packages will be sent out as a surprise to collectors meaning that FANS CANNOT REQUEST THEM FOR THEMSELVES OR HAVE OTHERS REQUEST THEM ON THEIR BEHALF.
Upper Deck is watching hobby message boards, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube while also talking with loyal shops about who some of their best customers are. We are not necessarily looking for the collectors that spend the most with those shops, but rather fans who have been positive advocates for Upper Deck and the hobby throughout the last 25 years. We want to tell some good stories of giving back to great fans. Upper Deck’s Customer Care, Sales and Marketing teams will be the primary eyes and ears for the program who will work to share that nice collectors finish first by sending out these surprise mail days.
Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealers are invited to nominate one (1) customer or family they feel is worthy to receive a Random Act of Kindness package from UD. To do so they simply need to email us and share the following information:
- Contact information for the individual (Name, home address, email and phone number).
- Why they are deserving of a Random Act of Kindness package and what they like to collect.
- The Certified Diamond Dealer contact information for the customer referring them.
Upper Deck will review those submissions and schedule worthy requests between now and the end of the year. There is no telling when it will happen or what will be contained in this special mail day from Upper Deck, but it will be fun to watch throughout the year. Fans who receive a package will find an Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness sticker on the outside and are encouraged to share what they receive using #UDRAK on Twitter in particular.
In the meantime we encourage fans to also look at how they can make the hobby better by helping other collectors. If you hear of a collector who is one card short of completing a set and you can help, reach out to them. When you hear of a kid who could use a wholesome hobby, share some of your extra cards with them. If you can help a shop run an event to get more collectors excited about the hobby, do so. Give back to the hobby you love and you may be surprised by how good you feel about what you get back. And maybe, just maybe, you may earn a surprise mail day from Upper Deck’s Random Act of Kindness program. Imagine the difference you could make and remember, we are watching!
They say the path to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Some savvy ladies know there is another path; through his collection. When Upper Deck shared with fans we were looking for a way to make Valentine’s Day memorable for collectors, we received quite a few ideas from fans, but two ladies in particular stood out with us and we wanted to do something to make today special for them.
Brittany Shepherd was saddened to find out she would not be able to spend Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend Pete as he would be traveling for work. Wanting to do something special for him, she knew he would enjoy adding some NHL® cards to his collection and hopefully pulling one of his favorite players like Nail Yakupov. Upper Deck hooked her up with a sweet mail day that she snuck into his bag before he left. He was thrilled when he discovered the contents.
“Upper Deck always goes above and beyond for their collectors,” said Brittany. “Valentine’s Day will be extra special for Pete with three boxes of Upper Deck products to open!”
Meggin LeVeaux’s husband is a big fan of the Colorado Avalanche and in particular, red hot rookie Nathan MacKinnon. Upper Deck had shared some promotional items signed by MacKinnon with shops in the area that her husband had tried to win through various promotions, but to no avail. She contacted us about buying a MacKinnon signed item for her hubby, but we wanted to do something special for her. So we shipped her out an Upper Deck Authenticated MacKinnon signed puck and needless to say when she gave it to her husband, he was overjoyed. And now she will simply be known as, “BEST WIFE EVER!”
Happy Valentine’s Day to Brittany, Meggin and all the girlfriends and wives who care enough to give the very best; Upper Deck!
Kids certainly do enjoy trading cards, but often when they get engaged with the hobby, they get frustrated they cannot try some of the super premium releases from trading card manufacturers. Upper Deck believes strongly that kids are the future of the hobby and while we don’t believe all of the brands we produce are designed for kids, it is clear that many kids would love the chance to open a high-end release.
Take for example Upper Deck’s most premium hockey release of the year; The Cup. It is a product that is loaded with autographs and rare memorabilia cards, but at several hundred dollars per pack, well that is just out of most kid’s budget. Upper Deck wanted to do something different however by working with parents to give some deserving kids the opportunity to open up a pack of The Cup and add to their collections the most premium hockey cards on the planet. We screened some candidates and came up with two very worthy families to share this opportunity with.
Steven Schaffer has been collecting cards for over twenty years and he is sharing the hobby with his son who is now 7-years-old. Steven served honorably in the U.S. Army and unfortunately was deployed for a lot of his son’s early years. Upper Deck also believes strongly in supporting the U.S. military so these two were the perfect fit. And what better way to get some great father & son time then by opening up a pack of The Cup?
The father/son duo got their pack and headed over to their local card shop (Finnigan’s) to open the pack. Here’s what Steven had to share after they opened it and discovered a Wayne Gretzky autograph card!
“My son loved it! All the patches were multi-colored which he loved. He really loved the Wayne Gretzky Brilliance autograph card and kept asking how you made it. You can tell the design team really took their time with those. If we had to give this product a grade out of 10, it would get a strong 10 for sure!”
Next up was Heather Meade who is a self professed hockey mom who loves watching her son play. He decided he wanted to play the sport after an ice skating party when he was just 5-years-old and has been a passionate fan ever since. He really got into the sport when the Blackhawks made their memorable run to the Stanley Cup Final securing their first championship in decades. Kyle started collecting hockey cards when he was just 6-years-old after attending the NHL® Fan Fair in Raleigh, North Carolina. Upper Deck has a big presence at the show and he actually got a personalized card made at our corporate booth. His love for the hobby has been going strong since!
When his mom surprised Kyle with the pack, his excitement was palpable. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well here are six thousand words for you about what he thought of the experience of opening up UD’s most premium hockey product of the year.
How much does Heather love the hobby? Well she has started a petition to get moms to stop throwing away their children’s trading cards. How awesome is that? We are hoping a lot of hockey moms sign up! We have only sponsored a Father of the Year promotion to date, but Heather makes us want to run a similar program for moms! Thanks for the support Heather!
And check out the video from the experience:
One thing I have always marveled at about the trading card industry is how willing hobby shop owners and collectors are to frequently “pay it forward” to other collectors they have never even met in person. I frequently hear stories about collectors sending free cards to other collectors they need to fill in their sets or of players they collect. And with more and more collectors meeting online, it seems to be happening more frequently.
But why are collectors so friendly to people they don’t even know? I believe it stems from the understanding by most collectors of just how difficult it is to complete a set. It’s a great feeling to complete a set so to be able to help another fan do the same, you get to share that feeling with someone else. With “mojo” being such a frequently used term in the industry, perhaps some collectors feel that by doing good to others, it will somehow have a karmic role in what they find in future packs. Whatever it is, it continues to happen and it is really something that is unique to the hobby of collecting trading cards.
Recently we asked fans on the Upper Deck Facebook page, “What is the kindest act a collector you had never met in person before has done for you and your collection?” In less than six hours, more than 60 comments came in from fans sharing stories of good deeds done by people they didn’t even know. Here are some of the stories:
“I put a post up about my Ovechkin collection on one of the trading forums that I used to live on, with a story of how I got to go see him for my Make-A-Wish. A guy I’d never had contact with before asked for my address and said he had something he thought would look good in my collection. He sent me a 16×20 autographed framed photo of Ovechkin holding his ’50 Goal’ puck with a note on the back saying, ‘Rob, Hope you like this. You have an amazing Ovie collection and I wanted to add to it. Hope you are feeling better. Take care, Mark.’ Hand down the nicest thing any stranger has ever done for me.” – Rob T.
“A collector on a few forums jumpstarted both my Bouwmeester and Noreau personal collections. After that there was another collector who, while I was sick, sent me a really nice Bouwmeester patch/jersey card for my personal collection and also sent a card to Bouwmeester through the mail that he signed and sent it on to me. I’m grateful for bother of those people and countless others that have sent me unexpected little surprises. Thank you!” Griffin G.
“I asked on a forum what product I should start my son on who wanted to start collecting baseball cards and Chris Olds sent my son his very first autograph card of Johnny Cueto.” Rich C.
“I once had a fellow Robin Yount collector send me two huge boxes of extra graded and oddball Younts for my collection. Most incredible thing and he never asked for a thing in return.” Mark E.
We want to encourage collectors to continue to keep this hobby so friendly. Do a good deed for a collector you chat with online or see in the shop. It may give you good “mojo” for your next purchases, but more than anything, it will make you feel good helping others. Let’s continue to shine a light on all the good in this hobby!
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!