He’s part artist, part scientist and part curator. For one Upper Deck employee, assembling the company’s new history-oriented inserts requires a lot of concentration.
When Martin Welling, Upper Deck’s vice president of Creative Services, first heard about the company’s new line of insert cards featuring cut autographs and actual hair from historic personalities, he was very excited. He remained enthusiastic about the release of these highly collectible cards until he learned he would be the one assembling them.
The documents the autographs came from were extremely rare and valuable and the legendary locks of hair used with the cards are irreplaceable. Upper Deck realized great care would need to be taken and Welling seemed the obvious choice for the task with years of experience in trading card production. Most importantly, he is known for his steady hands.
One of the first cards he set out to assemble was of the famous Native American leader of the Apache tribe, Geronimo. First the hair strand was carefully encapsulated in the card and second came the moment to add the signature. The native American warrior’s ‘autograph’ is actually a block-letter method of writing his name, a skill learned later in life.
Welling’s hands gracefully applied the signature to the card perfectly. From there the top piece was carefully shifted over locking the hair and signature in place.
“I was surprised by the level of reverence we felt, even keeping our voices down during the assembly process,” said Welling. “I don’t know if it was out of respect to the legendary individuals or if it was tied to the extremely delicate nature of the assembly. I do know I’m glad it’s over and I’m even more pleased with how amazing the cards turned out.”
After the cards were assembled the cards were carefully trimmed to their final size and a “1-of-1” marking was added.
“We didn’t want to take any chances with something potentially happening to the cards as they are inserted into packs,” said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck Baseball Brand manager. “We used exchange cards for them so we can send them immediately to the lucky collector who pulls them.”
Ten total “Hair Cuts” cards are available in 2008 SP Legendary Baseball which releases June 11. The product carries a suggested retail price of $9.99 per four-card pack.
2008 Upper Deck products on eBay