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Cutting up a battle flag

Article about: I was also a bit upset about the German Government destroying all the Third Reich buildings and bunkers. Its a different story as compared to Upper Deck but, I think History should be preser

  1. #1

    Default Cutting up a battle flag

    Hi All,
    This article is US Civil War related, but is a very good debate/discussion and read for all collectors, Upper Deck put out a set of cards this year for the 150th anniversary of the civil war, amongst the items in the set are pieces of an actual Union Battle Flag, it has caused alot of controversy but once you read the article you can understand the reasoning behind it, and see it was done with the upmost of respect, some may agree some may not, but I felt this was a really neat item to own so I purchased one, here is the one I have, just a piece of blue and white with stitches, they also have pieces of the stars as shown but that is wayyyyyyy out of my price range, here is the article about it.

    My name is Rob Ford and I have been working with Upper Deck for over ten years. My current role with the company is that of a sports coordinator and part of my job besides creating checklists is acquiring key components for certain brands. In 2011 Goodwin Champions the “Museum Collection” cards featured a variety of artifacts like a chair from Napolean and wood from the White House. For 2012, our hope was to focus in on one historic period for this insert series and with it being the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, that seemed to be the perfect period for Upper Deck to target.

    I am a huge aficionado of history so it was really exciting for me as I began to work with vendors to acquire authentic artifacts from the Civil War we could preserve and celebrate with the “Museum Collection” series. It was my goal from the start to respectfully show each piece and to minimize any damage to the pieces that may come during the production process. Therefore when first approached with the idea of doing flag cards from a vendor, I shared that we wanted to pass.

    However, once I saw pictures of what was left of the Union battle flag that was being sold in pieces, I agreed to take a look at the flag in person. Perhaps if Upper Deck were to use it in the set, we could give it a second life by presenting it in an attractive fashion and sharing it with history lovers.

    Once the flag arrived it was in a sad state both ripped and cut. The pieces missing had already been cut by the vendor and sold. The stripes were already cut away and all that was left was a narrow strip of red, white and blue. The process of cutting the flag to share with other collectors had already begun and I realized it would continue even if Upper Deck wasn’t involved in acquiring the piece. The flag was in fact so fragile that some of the rips became larger with every handling. Does it belong in a museum? Based on the current condition of the flag, I couldn’t imagine it would be something that anyone would want to see. Looking at it in this condition made me sad that it had not been better preserved. Still I had my reservations about altering it further.
    Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Union Battle Flag

    After much thought and weeks of discussion which included talking to a history professor from the Universityof San Diego and a number of veterans. From these discussions I learned that it was common for soldiers themselves to cut up their own flag for souvenirs. We all know there are proper ways to dispose of a flag, but this was not a flag that was accidentally left out in storm on a long Fourth of July weekend, this is an artifact that people should see.

    I began to think not only could we do this, but this might be something that we should do. My position here at Upper Deck sometimes gives me a chance to do things that people will enjoy and appreciate. Sometimes it is rewarding a deserving player by including them on a checklist or acquiring unique new memorabilia to be used in a memorabilia card, but I had never had an opportunity like this to help preserve an item by actually altering it and presenting it in a new way.
    2012 Goodwin Champions Museum Collection Battle Flag

    Finally, it came down to not the bottom line. It wasn’t about creating buzz and it certainly was not profits on the product, but just one simple thing; I had the opportunity to save this piece from slowly disintegrating and to make something to honor our veterans, not disgrace them. As an organization we hoped we could create something that would be collected and cherished by patriotic Americans like myself. And because of that we moved ahead with the project.

    Our intention was never to upset any veterans or patriotic Americans. Upper Deck has a strong heritage as one of the only trading card manufacturers who actively partners with military charities like Operation Gratitude. We know there are a lot of men and women in the military who are collectors. In fact, we even created a different insert series in the product paying tribute to the “Military Machines” used by our armed forces. As an American company we look to celebrate the men and women who have served our country, not disgrace them.

    For those who were upset about the decision to use this flag in the product, I apologize, but I do believe it was the right thing to do. So many collectors will get to experience and appreciate this artifact, in fact the professor we brought in shared he hoped to use one of the cards in his class with his students. For that reason alone I was encouraged to proceed with the use of this flag. I understand and appreciate people’s strong feelings on this issue and again I am sorry to anyone who may be upset by the use of this flag in this set. Our intention was to honor this flag, never to desecrate it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag


  3. #3

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    The entire flag in pieces could have been 'saved' by mounting it in a frame,
    leaving gaps in the areas that were missing - regardless of how much or
    how little was missing. I've seen this done with Revolutionary War flags.

    Each of these scraps are being sold off - likely for a greater sum than
    the shredded flag was worth - for monetary value rather than
    collector value. Do these tiny little pieces really hold
    that much worth or interest ?

    As a collector, I would have preferred to keep all of the original
    bits together to preserve the history that remains.

    Sad and a shame, but what's done is done.........


  4. #4

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    Shocking act of vandalism just to generate a greater income by parting it out, these people need to be horsewhipped in my opinion.


    Whatever its just an opinion.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    Quote by Jerry B View Post
    Shocking act of vandalism just to generate a greater income by parting it out, these people need to be horsewhipped in my opinion.
    I agree, but none of us individually can make a point.
    Perhaps creating and relic preservation organization or something that can make a political point on this.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    Sad, but unfortunately true-this was,indeed,a habit of the times. If you look at the famous Fort McHenry American flag-the "Star Spangled Banner" of song and legend, you'll notice the atrocious condition it is in. This is mainly from souvenir seekers being given pieces of it by both the official and the nonofficial caretakers of it. One entire Star was cut out and removed to be given to a visitor on one occasion, said the story. When restoration efforts began to preserve this historic flag, the call went out to anyone having a piece of it to please send it to Washington to be reunited with the main body again, and many pieces were returned this way. Today, this custom is thankfully no longer much seen, but it is simply something that was once a common practice in another era and not much to be done about it today. It basically is no different than the famous photos we've all seen of mountains of German material being destroyed and disposed of after the war...Only in the case of the flags, the people doing it thought that it was a fine idea for everyone who wanted one to have a piece of History in their hands to hold and respect.

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    im not in favor of this myself such a shame ,forgive my ignorance but i wonder what veterans rob ford refers too

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    Hmmm, typical marketing 'spin' to explain away what is sheer exploitation of history for the sake of cash under the guise of 'preservation'...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    At the end of the day, Mr. Rob Ford and his friends at the Upper Deck Co. would have been held in far higher regard if ALL the profits from this flags sale were given to a forces charity, say the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, (a similar thing to the U.K.'s Help for Heroes) rather than a mere donation to such a cause. His pathetically long winded, vacuose monologue trying to justify this vandalism in the name of profit and wrap it up in false patriotism sickens me, what a bunch of lying, money grubbing scumbags.


    In my mind he's trying to defend the indefensible, and that ain't gonna hunt, I hope he chokes on his bonus, the scabrous leper.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Cutting up a battle flag

    i dont really get y everybody is upset about this i of course understand it was a piece of american history but it was not connected to any historical event other then it being a union flag it was ripped up and in bad shape !! i think that instead of one greedy collector owning a beat up flag that they would put in a box or bag/ frame maybe !! now many people can enjoy a little piece of it !! and cherish that piece much more then one greedy guy would cherish the flag !!! for example if you have a box of chocolates it is much more meaning full to give a chocolate to each of your mates or family members then to keep the box all for yourself !! i do not see this as being disrespectful as it already was not a whole flag, other people had cut it !! my great great great grandfather was a union soldier and i dont not see this as disrespectful to his memory at all!!! i dont understand how so many of you not even americans can take so much offense to this practice of saving history in its own way !!! and as for making a profit goes don't we all want to make profit when we sell stuff, especially when you have a multi- million dollar company !!

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