SEARCH THE UPPER DECK BLOG
As Upper Deck’s Customer Care Manager, it is my goal to help educate our collectors and fans so they can have a better experience with our collectible products. I’ll routinely post updates about what we hear on the phones and through e-mails from customers in segments called Ask UD. I hope you find this information relevant and interesting. If you have questions yourself, please feel free to leave a comment and “Ask UD!”
Here are some of the questions we’ve received recently in Customer Care:
Ask Upper Deck: What is an error card? Are they considered more valuable than the regular version on the cards?
Nick Leslie: “Error cards have always been an interesting topic in the trading card industry. Bloggers are usually all over the latest error cards and there is no shortage of error cards throughout the history of trading cards. Traditionally an error card contains some sort of mistake like a misspelled name, a reversed negative photograph, the wrong signature on the card, incorrect statistics, etc.
“In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s manufacturers would sometimes correct these variations which led to premium prices being paid on some of the rarest versions. The 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken card with a profanity on the bat knob is perhaps one of the most famous of these cards.
“Today errors are generally not corrected like they were at this time. In fact, as a manufacturer, Upper Deck considers many error cards factory damaged cards and is willing to replace them. There are isolated situations where cards can get out to the market with either the wrong autograph label or with an upside down autograph label or without factory numbering and other issues that Upper Deck will replace for a comparable version of the regular card. Some collectors like to hold on to those however as they consider them more rare. Although there are collectors who love error cards, it is seldom that these versions are valued much more than the correct version.
“If you pull a card you believe to be an error card from a current Upper Deck product, give our Customer Care group a call so they can review options for you at (800)873-7332. Oh, and have we ever intentionally inserted error cards into product? Perhaps… Can you remember any examples of those?”
Ask Upper Deck: How does Upper Deck replace factory damaged cards that are sequentially numbered?
Nick Leslie: “I remember when I was growing up I would frequently get damaged cards from new packs of Topps, Donruss and Fleer cards. There wasn’t really anything you could do about it however. It wasn’t much fun, but they certainly didn’t offer replacements back then.
“Things are different today as Upper Deck realizes how passionate its fan base is and how important the condition of cards is to our collectors. We strive to deliver trading cards in excellent condition to our customers, but it is important to remember that putting them in packs is a mechanized process and damages can sometimes occur at the factory. We produce an overrun of cards to use specifically for replacement in the event you pull one that is factory damaged. Make sure you take some time to review our replacement policy in the event you pull a factory-damaged card.
Regular cards are pretty easy for us to replace, but we can also replace most autograph and memorabilia cards as well. Please note, if you send in a memorabilia card for replacement, you will not get a card with the same swatch back, especially in the case of patch cards. Most of the more elaborate patch cards pack out so if you pull an amazing patch card with slight damage, it might be in your best interest to hang on to it since we will replace it with a patch that is most likely less compelling.
“We can even replace cards that are crash numbered. We produce versions that are not numbered. When we receive your damaged submission in, we will pull a non-numbered version and number it the same as your original card. We then destroy your original damaged card and send you the new version. One very important thing to note: DO NOT just send your cards in. You need to contact us beforehand so we can assign you a case number; that way we can track the status of your cards throughout the replacement process.
“Unfortunately we cannot replace every card. We offer replacements for a year on factory damaged cards; after that time we destroy the replacement stock to maintain the item’s collectibility. We cannot offer replacement for cards that were not damaged here at the factory or that have minor imperfections or flaws. If your dog chomps on your cards or if you are trying to get a graded card from a BGS 8 to a BGS 9, we cannot assist. Also, we are unfortunately unable to replace 1-of-1 cards, cut signature cards and sketch cards, in most cases.”
Ask Upper Deck: I’ve opened some Upper Deck World of Sports Blaster boxes that indicate there is one autograph card in every ten packs. I opened all 11 packs and sometimes I don’t get an autograph card and on rare occasions I’ve gotten two. What’s up with that?
Nick Leslie: “Autograph cards, memorabilia cards and other chase cards are inserted into packs through random sequencing. We’ve found collectors prefer random sequencing as opposed to inserting cards into packs using certain patterns. It helps in making sure collectors receive a better mix of cards.
“We share ratios on packaging regarding the odds of finding certain insert cards, but those are over the entire production run. So if you are opening 10 blaster boxes you may find eight that have an autograph in every box, one that does not have an autograph and one that has two autographs. If you opened the entire run, however, you would find that there is one autograph card for every 10 packs you opened. None of the ratios are guaranteed to exist in an individual box as they are taken from the entire course of the production run.”
Ask Upper Deck: What’s up with Vince Carter and Oscar Robertson’s autograph cards?
Nick Leslie: “We are happy to report we recently got autograph cards back from both athletes. Unfortunately not all of the Oscar Robertson cards were received as some were lost, but we will be working on replacements for those soon and all the cards received in should ship in the next couple weeks.”
Ask Upper Deck: What about the Champ’s Museum Pieces redemption cards? Any news on when those will come in?
Nick Leslie: “We have shared some images of the cards on our Upper Deck Facebook page as they’ve neared completion. We are happy to report they have been completed and are en route to us here in Carlsbad. We should get them in Thursday or Friday and will share more images from there. We’ll need a little time to check them for quality and package them up, but they should all be out in March.