Is Upper Deck Headed to ‘Wax Heaven’?

Author: Mario Alejandro

As a collector of trading cards, it’s now almost impossible to not read about the almost guaranteed demise of the Upper Deck Company. Beckett Media and the New York Times are reporting on it, bloggers are having a field day, and even card shop owners can’t avoid the subject.

Alright, before we throw a sympathy party it should be noted that Upper Deck brought this on themselves. From the crazy stories in the book ‘Card Sharks’ to the Konami and MLB lawsuits, the more you play with fire the better your chances are of getting burned and boy are the flames high in Carlsbad, California right now.

While I would hate to see U.D. go, what happens if the company officially closes shop? Could we see a boatload of backdoored cards hit the secondary market much like in the final days of Pinnacle Brands? What if 2010 Goudey cards of Derek Jeter mysteriously hit eBay one day? What kind of demand would that card bring?

If Upper Deck doesn’t survive this storm (and it’s looking bleak), we could realistically see some unlicensed cards hit The Hobby at an alarming rate. Much like Dick McWilliams gave MLB the middle finger when U.D. lost the MLB license, a move to release cards through the backdoor could be Upper Deck’s final “F-U” to Major League Baseball.

Of course, this is just speculation from a Hobby outsider. For all we know, U.D could make amends with Major League Baseball, sit out for a couple of years and make a triumphant return someday but what if …?

How much would YOU pay for a Derek Jeter autograph from 2010 Goudey, assuming one exists? I know if the Goudey Jose Canseco ever hits eBay, it will easily hit $500+ dollars thanks to the insane Canseco collectors out there.


8 thoughts on “Is Upper Deck Headed to ‘Wax Heaven’?

  1. I don’t know whether to say “I think” or “I hope” UD will consolidate, ride this out, lean on UDA and make it’s triumphant return in a few years when it can get a few license back. I guess I’m going to go with both. I do think UD will get through this. UDA is still very strong. I have a few catalogs from UDA and if you look at the products, they are beautiful, highly desirable and command huge price tags. Some would say, “who can afford those expensive and profitable item?”. Certainly not me, but there are plenty of high end collectors out there.

    UD also has MJ. Remarkably, MJ drives much of the basketball market still. I haven’t heard good things about UD Greats of the Game, although I do like what I’ve seen on eBay and media images, I just haven’t personally opened a box to be able to comment on box breaks which I heard are hit or miss. That’s kinda how it goes sometimes. I am looking forward to seeing what 2010 UD Ultimate Basketball will be like, but I think UD will ride this out with MJ still in their pocket and UDA taking on a larger role…

    …At least I hope.

  2. Maybe its just me – but I wouldn’t ship two pennies to a crooked company that doesn’t pay its Taxes, Lawyers, Athletes and Licensing Fees.

  3. Excellent stuff welcome Mario! Send me your mailing new address I have something for yea.

  4. I hope UDA sticks around for a while – I”m funding with a few bucks a month a Pujols auto fund with the intention of getting something from UDA when I have enough saved. I don’t trust any of the pujols auto’ed stuff on the auction site and I haven’t pack-pulled a Pujols auto.

    Actually, it might be better if UDA went belly up. Maybe that’ll allow the Pujols foundation to start selling Pujols auto items again at reasonable collector prices instead of the exhorbinant UDA prices – and you’ll get to support a great cause at the same time!

    As for Goudey Jeter, I won’t pay one penny for one. I don’t go out of my way to buy Skankees autos. If I pack pull them, fine, but I don’t purposely buy them.

    If it was a Goudey auto or relic of any other club, I still won’t buy. There won’t be any company to back them up in case they are found out to be faked – I certainly couldn’t sue UD who probably has one foot in the grave right now — and make me a creditor if I won a judgement — and UD might not exist as a healthy company at whatever time I decide to have a backdoored item authenticated. I would rather buy cards from legit companies that I have recourse against if needed rather than fool around with backdoored items from shakey or out of business companies.

  5. Wonderful advanced prognostication regarding potential backdooring of unlicensed product. As to its supply, UD has the Ken Griffey rookie reprinting history, so I can see the very first backdoored 2010 UD Goudey Jeter Sport Royalty Auto, with a x/100 print stamp, initially selling for $500 … and the second selling for $480 … and the third selling for $50 … and the three hundred and twenty first selling for ??? …

  6. I’d say 500 is on the low end, I’m almost out of the canseco market at the moment due to the high prices.

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if that it came down to it, if UD actually had to stop doing business, that the notoriously loose hinges on the doors in Carlsbad would pop out once again.

    If we then saw Bizarro Upper Deck clone Razor / Leaf “buy” a back catalog of inventory from UD and then re-release it under some re-pack pseudo-set name, it should surprise no one.

    While their at it, if there are escapees from the card asylum, can I have a Griffey and Jeter auto from 2008 Documentary? I don’t think either of those exist, though they are promised on the packaging and show up in the checklist on the website.

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