Upper Deck

My Upper Deck Collection (Updated December 28th, 2021)

1991 Upper Deck: “Joey Browner” #52

1993 Upper Deck: “Jamie Dukes” #105

1995 Upper Deck: “Larry Centers” #115

Upper Deck, which mainly did baseball cards, received a license to produce football cards in 1990. And in 1991, Upper Deck entered the foray. And what an entry they had. The cards had a small unobtrusive border that did not take away from the player's photo, had very good use of team colors, a complete card back, and superb photography. And, most importantly, had a massive 700 card offering, (See the 1991 Upper Deck "Joey Browner" #52 left). Although, some of the cards in '91 release weren't the best, (I thought the Team MVP and Season Leader cards were rather redundant. I mean, those cards are just another way to get that 2nd and 3rd Dan Marino card. Dumb.), but still 700 cards over 2 series is rather impressive. So impressive, in fact, that the 1991 Upper Deck set is on my list of "Favorite Sets" at #8.

The 1992 set picked up right where the '91 set left off. I really liked the border with its stone-work like appeal, (See the 1992 Upper Deck "Pat Swilling" #188 right). The '92 set was another huge release by Upper Deck, a 620-card goliath over 2 releases. Upper Deck also made another big leap; they may have taken their card set down by 80 cards, but they increased their insert sets from 3 to 7.  It was at this stage that the other card manufacturers began to take notice that Upper Deck was going to be a major player in the hobby.

The '93 set was another masterpiece; unique photography was a staple for Upper Deck releases in the early 90s as were cards for Offensive Lineman, (See the 1993 Upper Deck "Jamie Dukes" #105 left). Upper Deck followed the same path as many of the other card manufacturers did as the 90s wore on and dropped its set size. The '93 release was the 2nd straight drop for Upper Deck, from 620 in '92 to 531 in '93. But the abundant number of cards per team and of course, the rookie cards, are what really kept the collector interested.

In 1994, Upper Deck continued doing what they had been doing each and every year since they entered into the hobby and that is design and release another phenomenal set, (See the 1994 Upper Deck "Vencie Glenn" #137 right). The '94 set also continued a trend for UD and that is drop the # of cards in its release yet again. Now Upper Deck was down to 330 cards. Three hundred 

1992 Upper Deck: “Pat Swilling” #188

1994 Upper Deck: “Vencie Glenn” #137

cards were almost a set standard for card manufacturers in the mid-90s. But regardless, of how many cards UD had in their sets, their product was 2nd to none. The only drawback from the '95 release, the Hobby Predictor insert sets. There were 4 sets, Predictor Award Winners and Predictor League Leaders, one each for hobby packs and retail packs. Very confusing and a waste of time too.

 

Now it wasn't as if I didn't like the '95 set, I actually liked it a lot. It's just that, I thought it looked quite a bit like the '95 Pinnacle set, (See the 1995 Pinnacle "Hardy Nickerson" #118). So the question that remains is, which set came out first? Pinnacle or Upper Deck? They came out in the same year. They had the same front-side layout. Something stinks in suburbia. I don't know who copied off of who, but if your gonna copy somebody, at least do it on a good year and copy a good design. Ever wonder why nobody ever copied Collector's Edge? Regardless, the 1995 Upper Deck base set release was another masterpiece, (See the 1995 Upper Deck "Larry Centers" #115 left). Four of the 5 insert sets included with the '95 release were nothing special, but the 5th set, called "Special Edition" a 90-card giant, was amazing!! 

 

1996 Upper Deck: “Orlanda Thomas” UCE #197

1997 Upper Deck: “DeWayne Rudd” RC #18

1996 Upper Deck: “Barry Sanders” Game Jersey #GJ9

1997 Upper Deck: “Herman Moore” Game Jersey #GJ10

1998 Upper Deck: “Ahman Green” RC #27

1998 Upper Deck: “Andre Wadsworth” Game Jersey RC #GJ8

1999 Upper Deck: “Ellis Johnson" #91

1999 Upper Deck: “Terrell Davis” TD Salute #TD1

The '96 Set was another stroke of genius. Yes, the base cards were as good as any other season, (See the 1996 Upper Deck "Orlanda Thomas" UCE #197 right), but the real gem was the first-ever Jersey cards, (See the 1996 Upper Deck "Barry Sanders" 

The '97 Set was another great release by UD. In particular, I really enjoyed the rookie cards. Talk about innovative and fun, (See the 1997 Upper Deck "DeWayne Rudd" Rookie #18 above left), Upper Deck really left the hobby wanting more after inserting those rookies into their base set, (Note: Upper Deck wasn't alone either. Topps also had some amazing photo ops with their rookies too. See the "Never Compromise" set from their Stadium Club title.) Upper Deck also stayed firm at the 300-card level for the 3rd straight year too. 

 

The 1999 set may have been the first release by Upper Deck that I wasn't too high on. Sometimes I can definitely say why I liked or didn't like a set, but when it comes to the '99 set, I just don't know why. Maybe it was the bottom border, but for whatever reason, it wasn't one of my favorites, (See the 1999 Upper Deck "Ellis Johnson" #91 right.).  However, UD still had a solid collection of insert sets; 8 in all. The Game Jersey insert set was back, in addition to, a Game Jersey Patch parallel set. This marked Upper Deck's first foray into the Game Jersey

But the real winners were the two amazing insert sets called, "MVPs" and "Game Jerseys". The MVP insert set is a very low #'d set of 20 cards. Very difficult to complete. Then there is the 2nd release of the "Game Jersey" cards. Another classic set and just as tough to complete, (See the 1997 Upper Deck "Herman Moore" Game Jersey #GJ10 above left.). Two very different, yet very difficult insert sets to complete. By this time, everyone else was playing catch-up to what Upper Deck was doing.

 

By 1998, the hobby must've been wondering what else can Upper Deck do? The answer to that question; the "short-printed Rookie" cards, (See the 1998 Upper Deck "Ahman Green" RC #27 right).  The "short-printed Rookie" cards added a whole new fervor to the world of "Rookie Card" collecting. Nobody needs a reason to collect rookie cards, but now that they are "Short Printed"? Oh my. That just adds to the rush. In addition to that, the 3rd year of the Game Used Jersey cards were included, (See the 1998 Upper Deck "Andre Wadsworth" Game Jersey R #GJ8 left).

 

 

#GJ9 below right). The '96 Game Jersey set is one of the hobby most monumental sets in the last half-century. First sets normally are the most collectible, but when your first set includes a jersey of Marino, Montana, and Sanders it's going to be memorable. The only miss was including Rashaan Salaam, but I'm sure the hobby forgave UD for that one. The '96 set also included those pesky Hobby and Retail predictor sets. Ugh. I couldn't wait for those cards to fade away into oblivion. Also, can anyone answer this question for me, why is it every card set had Mr. Thomas' first name was Orlanda? Upper Deck, Bowman, Bowman's Best, etc. Only Pacific had it right with Orlando. Odd.

One of the more intriguing insert sets from the '99 release was the "Terrell Davis TD Salute" set, (See the 1999 Upper Deck "Terrell Davis" TD Salute #TD1 left).  Terrell Davis was all-world for a few seasons in the 90s and this set was a great 

parallel sets, which became a common theme as we entered the 21st century.

way to remember his dominance. Very few players get their own insert sets; This one was Terrell's. Although I haven't gotten the 2000 Upper Deck base set yet, I have attacked plenty of the insert sets. The 2000 set gave the hobby a plethora of memorabilia sets, (6 in total), and a few of those have autographs included,  (See the 2000 Upper Deck "Thomas Jones" eCard Prizes #TJ-J right), with the eCard Prizes set being one of my favorites.

Although I haven't gotten the 2000 Upper Deck base set yet, I have attacked plenty of the insert sets. The 2000 set gave the hobby a plethora of memorabilia sets, (6 in total), and a few of those have autographs included,  (See the 2000 Upper Deck "Thomas Jones" eCard Prizes #TJ-J right), with the eCard Prizes set being one of my favorites.

In closing, the "Upper Deck" brand is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Other than the horrible correlation issues that I've mentioned before, their cards are amazing. From the photography to the layouts to the pictures, Upper Deck just doesn't miss. And I could care less if the sets don't carry a large book value because their cards are high quality and I always feel as if the design team put in a lot of work to get it to where it is. In other words, they took more than 5 minutes to come up with the design. And I can't say that about everybody. I highly recommend Upper Deck to anybody who wants to get into collecting.

2000 Upper Deck Thomas Jones e-Volve Aut

2000 Upper Deck: “Thomas Jones” eCard Prizes #TJ-J

I have complete sets:
 

Upper Deck:

1) 1991 Upper Deck Set

    A) Game Breaker Hologram Insert

    B) Montana Hero Insert

    C) Namath Hero Insert

2) 1992 Upper Deck Set

    A) Coach's Report Insert

    B) Fanimation Insert

    C) Game Breaker Hologram Insert

    D) Gold Insert

    E) Marino Hero Insert

    F) Payton Hero Insert

    G) Pro Bowl Insert

3) 1993 Upper Deck Set

    A) America's Team Insert

    B) Future Heroes Insert

    C) Pro Bowl Insert

    D) Rookie Exchange Insert

    E) Team MVPs Insert

    F) Miller Lite Super Bowl Insert

4) 1994 Upper Deck Set

    A) Predictor Awards Winners Insert

    B) Predictor League Leaders Insert

5) 1995 Upper Deck Set

     A) Joe Montana Trilogy Insert

     B) Predictor Awards Winners Insert

     C) Predictor League Leaders Insert

     D) Pro Bowl Insert

     E) Special Edition Insert

6) 1996 Upper Deck Set

     A) Game Face Insert

     B) Game Jersey Insert - Incomplete ( 10 / 11 ) *

     C) Hot Properties Insert

     D) Pro Bowl Insert

     E) Proview Insert

     F) Team Trio Insert

     G) TV-Cels Insert

7) 1997 Upper Deck Set

     A) Game Jersey Insert

     B) Memorable Moments Insert

     C) MVPs Insert - Incomplete ( 17 / 20 )

     D) Star Crossed Insert

     E) Star Attractions Insert

     F) Team Mates Insert

8) 1998 Upper Deck Set

    A) Constant Threat Insert

    B) Define the Game Insert

    C) Game Jersey Insert - ( 20 / 22 )

    D) Super Powers Insert

9) 1999 Upper Deck Set

    A) 21 TD Salute Insert

    B) Game Jersey Insert ( 22 / 26 )

    C) Highlight Zone Insert

    D) Livewires Insert

    E) Power Deck Insert

    F) Quarterback Class Insert

   G) Strike Force Insert

10) 2000 Upper Deck Set - Do Not Have

    A) eCard Insert

    B) eCard Prizes Insert - Incomplete ( 13 / 18 )

    C) Game Jersey Insert ( 33 / 35 )

    D) Game Jersey Auto's Gold Insert ( 13 / 21 )

    E) Game Jersey Auto's Silver Insert ( 3 / 27 )

    F) Headline Heroes Insert

    G) Highlight Zone Insert

    H) New Gaurd Insert

    I) Proving Ground Insert

   J) Strike Force Insert

   K) Wired Insert

11) 2001 Upper Deck Set - Incomplete ( 276 / 280 )

    A) Classic Draft Jersey's Insert - Incomplete ( 9 / 10 )

    B) Constant Threat Insert

    C) eCard Insert

    D) eCard Prizes insert - Incomplete ( 5 / 13 ) **

    E) Game Jersey Autographs Insert

    F) Power Surge Insert

    G) Premium Patches Insert - Incomplete ( 7 / 20 )

    H) Rookie Threads Insert - Incomplete ( 14 / 15 )

    I) Running Wild Insert

    J) Starstruck Insert

    K) Team Mates Jerseys insert

    L) Super Bowl XXXV Jerseys Insert

12) 2002 Upper Deck Set

    A) Kick-Off Classic Insert

    B) Rookie Futures Jerseys Insert

    C) Stadium Swatches Insert

    D) Uniforms Insert

    E) Wild Card Insert

13) 2003 Upper Deck Set - Incomplete ( 264 / 285 )

14) 2004 Upper Deck Set - Incomplete ( 273 / 275 )

    A) Rookie Futures Jerseys Insert

15) 2005 Upper Deck Set

16) 2006 Upper Deck Set

   A) 3,000 Yard Passing Club Insert

   B) 1,000 Yard Receiving Club Insert

   C) Future Rookie Jerseys Insert

17) 2007 Upper Deck Set

17B) 2007 Upper Deck Exclusive Edition Rookies Set

   A) Future Rookie Jerseys Insert

18) 2008 Upper Deck Set

    A) College to the Pros Insert

    B) Rookie Jerseys Insert

    C) Potential Unlimited Insert

    D) Team Color Jerseys Insert - Incomplete ( 9 / 20 )

    E) Team Color Jerseys Gold Insert - Incomplete ( 2 / 20 )

19) 2009 Upper Deck Set - Incomplete ( 326 / 328 )

    A) 3D Stars Insert

    B) Game Day Gear Insert

    C) Game Jersey Insert - Incomplete ( 29 / 30 )

    D) Rookie Jerseys Insert

    E) Rookie Sensations Insert

20) 2010 Upper Deck Set - Do Not Have

21) 2011 Upper Deck Set - Incomplete ( 149 / 218 )

    A) 20th Anniversary Insert - Incomplete ( 174 / 175 )

    B) Class of Insert

    C) Conference Clash Insert

    D) Dream Tandems Insert

    E) Historical Programs Insert

    F) Rookie Autographs Insert - Incomplete ( 18 / 150 )

    G) Saturday in Action Insert

 

*Note: This set includes the Jerry Rice error card GJ4E. Beckett calls out the GJ4 card as being a white jersey. However, I've discovered a Red GJ4 card to go with the Red GJ2 card.

 

**Note: I have my personal complete set at 13-cards now. The Beckett checklist shows 12 cards, but I found an unlisted Peyton Manning jersey card #'d to 200. It looks like its part of this set.