With the major boom in sports cards trading throughout 1980 to the early 1990’s, three major publications dominated the market; Topps, Upper Deck and Panini America.
These trading giants kept the market alive and have ventured into other segments of entertainment since.
Not sure what brand to trust when collecting sports cards? This guide details one of the major players in the trading card market and whether this is a brand you should be spending your hard earned cash on.
History Of Upper Deck
Created in 1988, Upper Deck was rather late to the trading card market. With competitors such as Topps introducing trading cards as an incentive to purchase chewing gum in 1950.
However, collecting trading cards was not regarded with as much fondness or warmth as it is now. With cards often being ruined in bicycle spokes or thrown in the garbage by the mothers of newly formed college kids.
Once the act of collecting and trading sports became popular in the 1980’s more companies began printing cards, introducing Upper Deck. A private company with one goal; revolutionize trading cards across the globe.
In 1992 Upper Deck introduced Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA), a process which ensured the authenticity of their trading cards.
As the market was heavily concerned with forgeries, the UDA process allowed collectors to know they were getting the real thing.
This protective measure put Upper Deck on the radar of not only fans but superstar athletes such as Tiger Woods and LeBron James.
Throughout the 1990’s, Upper Deck have continuously brought new ideas to the sports trading cards market like including a game jersey from the specific player or an autographed card.
Adding value to individual cards and the trading card industry overall. The company swiftly moved into other sports including being the first to print Hockey trading cards.
Upper Deck Today
With the production of digital e-cards to “Hair-cut Signature” cards, Upper Deck has kept innovation at the forefront.
Today the company has evolved from a trading card manufacturing company to a worldwide sports and entertainment company.
With licenses from the likes of Marvel, Hello Kitty and Thomas & Friends, Upper Deck continues to provide entertainment in the forms of trading cards sets, trading card games and fun, entertaining diversions.
As competitors such as Topps and Panini America is still active within the trading card industry, Upper Deck have had to create enticing ways for the company to remain attractive within the trading card market.
Upper Deck Authentication (UDA)
To ensure the buyer is 100% satisfied with their cards, Upper Deck created UDA. A five step process which protects the originality and authenticity of the trading card in question. Specifically autographed cards.
- Every autograph is witnessed by an Upper Deck Authenticated representative. This ensures the authenticity of the signature and limits speculation about the legitimacy of the card.
- The signed piece of memorabilia is then stored with a signatured record. This is signed by both the athlete and the Upper Deck Authenticated representative.
- Each autographed card or piece of memorabilia is provided with a serial number which is attached to the holographic section of the card.
- Each item is then paired with a certificate of authentication which also contains the holographic serial number attached to the signed memorabilia.
- Due to the holographic serial number and the signed record of the item, once sold the owner is provided with a registration card. If the item is then transferred to another owner, the registration card allows the card’s information to be available.
This process has credit Upper Deck cards and furthered the company’s image to new heights.
All- star athletes sign deals with Upper Deck knowing their signature is going to remain authentic and true for their fans collecting trading cards.
Best Upper Deck Cards To Collect
Depending on where you look, who you talk to, the “best” Upper Deck cards to collect varies. Below is a collection of some of the most valuable cards to collect on the Upper Deck stacks.
Not valuable in terms of profit but always in sentimental value.
1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Rookie Card #1
Beloved baseball star Ken Griffey Jr. is a thirteen time all-star from the MLB. With over a 20 year baseball career in Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds and even a short time with Chicago Red Soxs.
As well as being a Hall of Fame worthy outfielder, Griffey was also known for being an exceptional Defender, going on to be awarded with a Golden Glove.
Whilst not the most valuable card to collect in terms of monetary value. Ken Griffey Jr. was, and still is, loved by the masses, making this card have extreme sentimental value to baseball fans and sports cards enthusiast alike.
1993 Derek Jeter SP FOIL Rookie Card #279
Beginning his career with the New York Yankies in the major leagues in 1995, Jeter quickly became known for his shortstop and leadership skills.
The The five-time world series champion is regarded as the key factor for the major success of the New York Yankies throughout the late 90’s to the early 2000’s.
Graded with a PSA 10, this 1993 Derek Jeter rookie card is one of the most valuable cards from the 90’s.
1997 Michael Jordan UD3 Season Ticket #MJ
Playing in fifteen seasons of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and winning six championships, Michael Jordan is a household name.
Jordan won his championships as a member of the Chicago Bulls and aided in the globalization of the NBA throughout the 1990’s, making himself into a cultural icon in the process.
Whilst not being the priciest of cards on the Upper Deck roster, this card is printed in the form of a game ticket.
Creating a sense of nostalgia for Jordan fans, the card is autographed and is held high in regards of authenticity and ingenuity.
Now you are less likely to get your hands on the original signed value, however, the die-cut insert is more available and budget-friendly.
Upper Deck since the late 1980’s has worked to create a company which has its customers interests at the forefront of their mission. Producing cards which are authentic, original and exciting for their market.
The major league trading card producer revolutionized the trading industry by generating a new form of connection between collectors and sports enthusiasts.
Upper Deck with its UDA is now branded as a trustworthy card producer and therefore, is a good brand in which to purchase collectable sports trading cards.