Collector Interview: Ben Upshur

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Almost everyone knows the rift between modern jersey collectors and vintage jersey collectors.  You may have seen posts between myself and Ben Upshur in the past bantering back and forth regarding the wear on modern jerseys against vintage jerseys.  We had an opportunity to get inside his head a bit and learn more about Ben.

GameWorn.us: What do you do for a living
Ben Upshur: I manage e-commerce for a local small business.

GW: What is your favorite beer?
Ben: I haven’t had a drink in 3 years now, but when I was drinking honestly it was Miller Lite. Loved Jack Daniels and Jim Beam as well.

GW: What is your favorite team?
Ben: Philadelphia Flyers, started watching hockey heavily while I was living there and never left my blood.

GW: Who is your favorite player?
Ben: Current Player: Mark Streit
Past Player: I have a lot of guys that I loved the way they played, can’t pick just one!

GW: When and how did you get started collecting?
Ben: When I started watching hockey I was immediately drawn to how unique the uniforms were. I started collecting replica and authentic jerseys along with hockey cards in 2008, and stayed relatively focused on authentics until 2011. After buying a few gamers for good prices from eBay searches, and never ending issues with getting customization on authentic jerseys correct, I figured I would just get what they actually wore on the ice so I wouldn’t have to worry about the small customization errors anymore.

GW: What makes up the bulk of your collection?
Ben: late 1980’s and early 1990’s jerseys of guys who were leaders and solid two way players.

GW: If money was no issue, what is the one jersey you would want?
Ben: probably a Joe Sakic 1991-92 Blue Nordiques. Owen Nolan 91-95 Nordiques is pretty close as well.

GW: What is your favorite jersey in your collection?
Ben: tough to narrow down, but my 1996-97 Sylvain Lefebvre Avalanche White Set 2. I searched for about a year and a half for one before buying it from a collector I had reached out to through another collector I consider a friend! It’s hard to detail what actually makes it the most meaningful, but growing up before I started seriously watching hockey, I collected the cards when they were still cheap and such.. I was always fascinated with the Avalanche jerseys, the fact that they had such a cool logo, and that their “A”s and “C”s were so unique. I had a Lefebvre card and when I switched to gamers I figured it would be an awesome one to have. When I was offered the jersey, I actually had a picture saved with a mark in the crest from March 1997, I asked the seller for pictures and the jersey was the same as in the picture! Needless to say I bought it and I don’t see it leaving my hands.

GW: What is your favorite thing about the hobby?
Ben: it’s a combination for me, I’ve built several awesome relationships with guys I consider to be good friends, so that’s number one, but being able to own a personal museum and these beautiful artifacts from guys who most only watch on TV is close up there. I also love seeing jerseys dug up from many years ago and added to the hobby.

GW: Do you go to or have you gone to any Expos/Shows?
Ben: When I was in Pittsburgh, I went to both the 2014 and 2015 expos, and while interning with MeiGray I was at the 2014 expo. Once I move back out east I hope to attend more.

GW: What would you like to see for the future of the hobby?
Ben: a database of jerseys would be great, as it could really aid in authentication and knowing what is out there. Also more long hidden jerseys coming out for sale, and all teams developing a program that ensures equal availability among collectors. While I am not a huge modern collector, I don’t like seeing collectors unable to buy jerseys because they live in another country or because the team does auctions at games or only sells to season ticket holders or something of the like.