By Karine Hains aka Pheebs888

Redemption. The mere mention of the word often suffice to send shivers down collector’s spine. Why you ask? Well, simply because pulling a redemption is by no mean a guarantee that you will get the card described on it. Think about it, you pull a card it’s there in your hands but if you pull a redemption you still have to redeem the code and hope (pray) that the athlete will a)sign the card and b)return it to the card company. Then, you have to hope that it will be shipped out promptly to you and that it will not get lost in the post…So many obstacles…

Yet, especially for us player collectors it is hard not to try to grab everything we see of our favorite player, redemption of not. Case in point; I do most of my trading/buying online on Sports Card Forum and I have built up somewhat of a reputation as a Patrick Roy collector. In fact, most of the time I do not need to check the box breaks to see if anyone has pulled a Roy card, people have come to send me a private message right away when they discover some Roy goodness in their boxes. About a year and a half ago, I got one of those message in which a fellow member informed me that he had pulled a redemption for an OPC Premier dual autograph of Patrick Roy and Carey Price numbered to 75. Being addicted to Roy cards and a die-hard Canadiens fan, I didn’t have to think for long before making him an offer and as per usual, the dealing went swiftly and I redeemed the code that very evening.

Once I redeemed it, the status of the redemption was updated to: “Athlete committed to signing please be patient”. Clearly, Upper Deck doesn’t know me very well…I am anything but patient. Nevertheless, I did my best to wait without complaining but about a year later, I figured it was enough. However since the redemption was for a big time PC card, I thought I would make enquiries to Upper Deck to find out what was happening with it rather than send a replacement request right away. I decided to send Chris Carlin (Upper Deck’s Sports Marketing and Social Media Manager) an email enquiry, having met him at the National Sports Collector’s Convention in Cleveland 2009 I was confident he would do his best to address my concern and I was not wrong. Within hours of emailing him, he came back to me and confirmed what I was dreading; there had been a problem with the card. Unfortunately, my precious PC card had been lost by one of the two athletes. He did say that the card would be reprinted eventually but that there was no set timetable for the reprint yet. After reading his email, I thought that I could wait some more and hope for the best.

So, the second round of waiting started. That was in early May 2010, four months later though the status was still the same on my redemption. As I’ve said, I suffer from a chronic lack of patience and I decided that was it…Time to email Upper Deck and request a replacement taking advantage of the Redemption Exchange program they announced back in 2008. In my email, I was quite clear about the fact that the card would have been a personal collection item for me and I also stated which players I collected (Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur) and that I was a die-hard Habs fan. I received an email acknowledgement and the status of my redemption changed to “Replacement Requested”. Having never tried the Redemption Exchange program I was a tad worried, after all this was quite the gamble. I was turning down a PC item in the hope that they would find something comparable to send me. Just like that, the third round of waiting started…

Fast forward to the 6th January 2011 (4 months later) and an envelope from Sea Otter Place turned up in my mailbox. As I knew I didn’t have any redemptions marked as in stock and shipping soon, it could only be the requested replacement. Almost fearful, I ripped opened the envelope and I was overwhelmed with a mix of relief and enthusiasm; in my hands I held two cards. Both of these cards are now part of my private collection; a Patrick Roy Ultimate Signatures from 2008-2009 (which I have since discovered is a super short printed card) and a 2008-2009 OPC Premier Trios autographed card numbered to 35 only and featuring Martin Brodeur, Carey Price and Marc-André Fleury.  The Trios card is made even sweeter by the fact that all three goaltenders put their number next to their autograph!

To be honest, I think I am happier with the replacements than I would have been with the original redemption. I have a few dual autographs of Roy and Price already so I seriously think I did better opting for the exchange program. I thought I would share my story with you all because we often complain about Upper Deck’s (and other companies) customer service and people do have a tendency to share their negative stories and keep quiet when something good happens. Call it my new year’s resolution, I’m trying to have a positive outlook on the hobby! In closing, a big thank you to both Chris Carlin and Upper Deck’s Redemption Exchange program for making sure that my story had a happy ending.