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The Upper Deck Deck Company LLC. was founded in 1988 in Yorba Linda, California, US (now headquartered in Carlsbad, California, USA). They are primarily known for producing trading cards but also have their tentacles in figurines and die-cast toys.
On 12/23/1988, Upper Deck was granted a license by Major League Baseball to produce baseball cards, and just a few months later, one of the most iconic cards in all of the hobby was born!
The Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr Rookie Card was a true game-changer… every kid wanted it, and those that had it were neighborhood rock stars.
And then, to top it off, kids were willing to pay an industry-first $1 a pack! Until then, packs of cards were .50 cents and were most likely damaged by some old ass piece of stale gum.
Upper Deck changed the game for better and worse (they printed way too many cards and flooded the market, making most of the cards today worthless). Imagine how much the 89′ Griffey Jr. rookie card would be worth it there weren’t billions floating around out there.
Well, enough with the history lesson. Let’s look at some of the most memorable, iconic, and valuable cards Upper Deck has printed.
Please note this list is based on a variety of factors, including card value, rarity, card image, staff opinions, player popularity, and card popularity… and in case of debates (we conducted an in-office vote) this is not a straight-up and down list based on which card is the most expensive so opinions can and will vary.
Please note once a player has been named, we will not use him again. For example, more than one Michael Jordan Upper Deck card could have easily been used. But then we might have all MJ cards.
Please note if you feel we left one out, please comment and tell us which card you would replace it with. This list is meant to be fun but adds value to your sports card investing portfolio, as these cards are big-time money-makers.
10. 2015 Connor McDavid Young Guns RC #201 (SHOP EBAY)
9. 2005 Sidney Crosby Upper Deck Young Guns RC #201 (SHOP EBAY)
8. 1991 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Baseball #SP1 (SHOP EBAY)
7. 2000 Tom Brady UD Upper Deck Black Diamond #126 (SHOP EBAY)
6. 2016 Luka Doncic Upper Deck Euroleague Patterned Rainbow #23 (SHOP EBAY)
5. 2005 Alexander Ovechkin UD The Cup Rookie Patch Auto #170
In a hobby dominated by baseball and basketball cards, a hockey card managed to squeeze its way onto our list… pretty impressive considering a football card couldn’t cut.
Some may argue a Kevin Durant, Yao Ming, or Connor McDavid Upper Deck Card should be here instead of Alexander Ovechkin, but we disagree. We feel Ovi is the best player to lace up the skates besides Gretzky and he finally won his first Stanley Cup in June of 2018.
The card is scarce in high grades, has an autograph, a patch, and looks super cool… it is one of the best-looking cards we have ever laid eyes on… all these factors placed it number 5 on our list… us being big hockey fans also might have something to do with it eh 🙂
4. 2003 Kobe Bryant Exquistive Collection Limited Logos #LL-KB
RIP, Black Mamba… let it breathe… it seems Kobe cards have gained immense value since his tragic passing. Not only is the 2003 Kobe Bryant Exquistive Collection Limited Logos card one of the best Upper Deck cards ever printed, but it is also probably our favorite Kobe non-rookie card.
What makes this card so special is the game-used letter patch… these patches drive collectors wild. It also had a Kobe Bryant autograph. The only thing stopping this card from being higher on the list is the small Kobe image.. only a headshot? It could have come a bit harder on that front.
3. 1997 Michael Jordan UD3 Season Ticket #MJ
This is by no means the most expensive Michael Jordan basketball card and is maybe not even his most expensive Upper Deck card… but for us, it is the most coveted.
Something about this card oozes BUY ME! We love the card layout in place of mimicking a ticket, plus the fact it has an MJ autograph and a cutout picture of Michael in his classic jump shot form…
Overall just a very unique card with vintage undertones… we love it… G2G!
2. 1993 Derek Jeter SP FOIL Rookie Card #279
Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching, and CHA-CHING!
This bad boy will be the most valuable card topping $100k in PSA 10 condition. On March 18, 2020, a PSA 10-graded 1993 SP Derek Jeter FOIL rookie card sold for a mind-bending $140,400! Value alone makes this card worthy of a sport on this list, but it also has an unspoken beauty that shines in specific lighting… truly a masterpiece of a card.
1. 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Rookie Card #1
The Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Upper Deck Rookie Card isn’t the most expensive card on the list, but it is the most iconic. How can you go wrong with The Kid grinning back at ya with the bat swung over his left shoulder… you can’t! This card got a generation of kids into the card-collecting hobby; without it, the hobby may not be where it is today.
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