Each month Upper Deck spotlights one of its valued collectors to showcase their collection. The great thing about sports collectors is that they are all very different in what they collect, how they collect their items and what they do once they have them. We first came across Michael Wilkie through the Upper Deck Facebook page when he began posting some images of his amazing collection. I spoke with him a little more about his collection on Card Corner Club’s online radio show and couldn’t wait to see more images of what he had put together. So without further adieu, get to know Michael Wilkie and his collection.
My name is Michael Wilkie and I live in the Minneapolis area. I have been collecting trading cards since 1977 when I built my first baseball set of 1977 Topps Baseball. As a huge fan of the games of baseball and football I was interested in sports cards at a very young age and I loved the thrill of finding rookie cards. My brothers and I used to go to the corner store once a week and buy two packs each for 33 cents a pack just hoping to find the missing cards we needed to complete the set or a great rookie card. To this day that excitement and fun still stick with me as I collect.
When I first discovered Upper Deck I was immediately impressed. I remember the card designs always seemed just a bit sharper, cleaner and more appealing than the other brands. It seemed like the card stock was brighter and stronger too. I first started buying Upper Deck products around 1991. One of my first favorites was the 2003 Upper Deck SP Football set. When the inserts started showing up it was like finding a little slice of heaven. The die-cuts, holograms, holofoils, etc., were really spectacular.
Michael’s 2003 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Baseball Sets
As card technology continued to advance followed by game-used materials and autographs becoming more commonplace, it became very apparent to me that I was a set collector. While I do enjoy a few select players in my personal collection, nothing really fills the need for the “hunt” than to pick out a subset from a new product and go for the complete sets. Personally, I think Upper Deck produced three of the greatest products ever with the 2003 Ultimate Collection Baseball, 2008 Premier Football and 2008 SP Rookie Threads Football. I set out to complete many of the subsets in these products and accomplished those missions.
The simplicity, yet amazing designs of each of these sets, along with the presence of unbelievable patches fueled my desire to complete each of them. Not to be outdone I also chose the 88-card set of 2008 Icons Rainbow Autographs Football to help round out my insane love of patch cards.
Michael’s Icons & SP Threads Sets
A huge part of my current love of collecting is the development of sports cards “communities” such as the expansive group of people found within YouTube. There are thousands of collectors there and the opportunities for box breaks, trades, “maildays” showing cards, set building displays, mystery packs, subscriber contests and countless other creative presentations of cards are plentiful. In a couple short years I have grown my subscriber base to nearly 2000 YouTubers (you can find me under screen name Arfalc77 on YouTube with the nickname “7’s”). The ability to find cards through networking in this venue is simply awesome. Promoting collecting as a hobby among friends and family on YouTube has been a thrill to say the least. All of my completed Upper Deck sets have been shown on YouTube via video at some point or another.
Also, within this community we have built a kind of language all our own to describe the cards. This includes, but is not limited to the following adjectives often used to describe cards: SICK, EPIC, DISGUSTING, FATAL, DISEASED, STRONG, FILTHY, DIRTY and NASTY just to name a few!! This is truly the medium that took my collecting to the next level and Upper Deck has emerged as my favorite brand. While there are other forums, social network sites and live online venues such as blogtv and blogtalk radio that all feature the hobby of sports card collecting, YouTube truly reigns supreme for me.
I share the hobby of collecting baseball and football cards with my 8-year-old son. It’s a great way to start a family tradition and share time on something special in place of video games or television. It’s important to me that this hobby continues to find its way to young people to help keep the business alive. In a world full of so many technological distractions, card collecting really presents a simple and basic opportunity for bonding and sharing a love for sports. I’m passionate about this. I’m also thankful for the wealth of friendships I’ve found through this hobby. I fully intend on continuing to build sets and increase the size of my personal collection for years to come. I look forward to Upper Deck being a part of that!
Thanks for sharing Michael, we’re excited to continue providing you with the highest-quality, most-innovative releases in the industry. Michael is still looking for a number of cards from the 2003 Ultimate Collection Baseball set in the silver, copper and gold sets. If you have any of those cards, shoot him an email at ARfalc77@aol.com.