Collectors willing to hit the road for Upper Deck sheets MEMORABILIA

MEMORABILIA

November 22, 1992|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Collect sports memorabilia and see North America.

That could be the motto of a growing group of collectors, fans of Upper Deck commemorative sheets. Sheets, produced by Upper Deck in limited quantities, are numbered and feature original artwork and/or reproductions of Upper Deck cards.

The challenge for collectors is that they are one-shot deals, issued in conjunction with games or events. Upper Deck issued its first sheet in 1989, and fans have been traveling for them ever since.

Alan Moore of Glen Burnie may be the mileage champ. Last year, he drove to Calgary (2,500 miles each way) and returned with 450 sheets.

"It was a hockey clinic and you had to pay a dollar to get in and you got a sheet for each dollar," he says. "I sold out the week I got back. . . . There's not many collectors in that part of Canada."

Moore got lucky with Washington Bullets draft sheets last spring. He says there were 7,000 printed, but only about 1,500 attended the Bullets draft party. He asked if he could take leftovers and left with 500.

Gary Oldershaw of Harford County has done his long-distance traveling by air. When air fares were low last summer, he made about eight trips.

Sheet collecting has also turned him into a hockey fan.

"Last year I went to my first game to get a sheet," he says. "I'd watched hockey on TV but never got the hang of it."

Oldershaw collects the hockey and baseball issues. He says the Orioles sheet from 1991 is one of the toughest to get because the game was a rainout and fewer people got them than the 17,000 produced. It is also the only one with no players' names on it.

For Oldershaw, part of the fun of collecting has been meeting other collectors through ads in the hobby press.

"Talking to the different fellas throughout the country, you develop a relationship with them," Oldershaw says. "You really get involved with them."

Jim Terzes in Detroit was instrumental in setting up the network. He compiled a computer listing of people advertising sheets in Sports Collectors Digest and sent a copy to everyone who dealt with him.

Sheet collecting has moved into the mainstream of the hobby with price lists published in Tuff Stuff and Legends.

According to Rich Bradley of Upper Deck, there have been 139 sheet issues not including the one that was inserted in Chicago-area CBS/Fox video packs.

The number keeps changing, and Upper Deck gets a lot of calls for sheet schedules.

"We're definitely aware of the interest," Bradley says. "I have a guy in Vancouver who's a huge collector who calls me every 10 days."

He says the company still views them as a promotional tool and a way of introducing fans to Upper Deck.

Oldershaw says he has heard from other collectors of problems with security people at arenas when they try to buy or swap for extra sheets.

Bradley says Upper Deck has no control over those things. "We do make cards available for teams to sell at the arena," which, he says, might make the collectors look like competition. But "we can't control what happens in the secondary market."

The next two sheet giveaways closest to Baltimore-area collectors are the Philadelphia Flyers game Dec. 17 and the Washington Capitals game Feb. 21.

MA For protecting sheets at home, try one-pocket plastic sheets.

Ballparks all year long

Bill Goff Inc. has a 13-month calendar (December 1992 through December 1993) featuring reproductions of its ballpark scenes. July shows Opening Day at Camden Yards. Calendars are $15 each plus $4 per order (not per calendar) shipping. Call (800) 321-4633.

Wild Card

Wild Card collectors who redeem their NFL Series I Surprise Cards will get a sneak preview of Series II subsets and a prototype card. The sample cards are from the new Field Force subset, the Red Hot Rookies subset, a silver or gold Field Force card and a Barry Sanders litho embossed foil card that creates a 3-D illusion.

Coming events

Today, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Sunday, baseball card show, Towson Sheraton (I-695, Exit 27A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Dec. 4, Orioles memorabilia sale as part of Moonlight Madness (toy donation requested), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 6-11 p.m., (410) 547-6150.

Dec. 6, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26 S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.

Dec. 6, baseball card show, Freedom District Fire Hall, Sykesville (Route 32 between I-70 and Route 26), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Dec. 12, baseball card show, Towson Sheraton (I-695, Exit 27A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

Dec. 13, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

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