Being a collector could mean so many bloody things. Now I’m not talking in the strictest of senses, such as a pure definition of the word. Nah, this is more about the general vibe that anyone who chooses to collect brings to the table with them. At the end of the day, it is what we make it, gifting us an insane amount of freedom to shape our hobby to our liking. Pick your poison and run with it!
My poison? I’ve dabbled in more than a few over the years, and still do to be honest, but my main go to has been as follows: hockey as a sport and cards as a target. Now even at that, though, there’s a whole other level of how one approaches the whole idea. Am I collecting sets of hockey cards? There are also those who may collect a specific player or team. Others are into completing variation sets (each version of a series of parallels for a particular card, sometimes referred to as “Rainbows” given many variations can differ based on colour), or even every card of a short-print (e.g., each of the 10 cards for card X, individually numbered from one to ten). I could go on and on with this and still only be scratching the surface. End of the day? People come at their collections in many different ways!
I’ve never really had an approach per se, in the sense that I have just always been into collecting cards overall, with no specific angle on how I do so. That being said, I’ve had one idea on my radar for years that I’ve never pulled the trigger on. I think of it as my “Ultimate Set Build”! A lofty name for sure, but perhaps more understandable if I explain what it is I picture for this: a collection comprising of one card from every set ever produced, covering not only base cards but the parallels and inserts comprising the issue as well. I see it as almost an encyclopedia of the hockey card hobby, giving the ability to have a reference card for the differing versions of what comprised historical sets compiled and available for viewing. While the challenge of being able to build such a set (if it’s even possible) is part of the draw, it is mostly the informational piece for me: learning what is out there, how they look, what makes them unique, and sharing that with others in the process.
Today is my “trigger pull” I suppose, in that I’ve finally decided to put up or shut up on doing this. My hope is that the fine folks of Hockeybuzz, collectors or not, may feel like coming along for this crazy ride, learn a bit about what is out there, and take in some eye candy along the way! Each week I will take a specific card from a set to focus on and meander on a bit about. Along with this I will provide the specifics of the overall set and subsets to give a context for what the specific card exists within, while also teasing a bit about some of the cards we’ll eventually highlight later along the journey. As we go I’ll compile a list of which sets and cards we’ve looked at to date so people can jump around and look at what has come before as this “set” is assembled. Sound alright? I hope so as it would be cool to journey with some fellow travelers!
So where to start? It actually didn’t take too much in the way of personal debate! As a long suffering Leafs fan, I landed on the 2017 Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial release from Upper Deck as my launch pad. The card? This one:
This card, sporting Kirk Muller, is part of the Maple Leaf Marks Autographs subset. This subset is comprised of 87 cards, each of which sport a single player and autograph, making it, for lack of a better description, the “entry level” autograph option from this release versus the dual, triple and quad autographs. There was some variation within this set in terms of rarity, however, with players falling in groups “A” through “G” having differing odds of being pulled (Group A = 1 in 1513; B = 1 in 983; C = 1 in 689; D = 1 in 229; E = 1 in 107; F = 1 in 27; G = 1 in 37). Mr. Muller here was a member of group “E”, so while not the easiest pull, this was not the rarest by a long shot (Group “A” players included Matthews, Gilmour, Belfour, Fuhr, Marner and Kelly).
As a Leafs fan, what’s not to love here! Have a nice, classy looking card with the silver Centennial maple leaf prominently featured in the separation between player and design. The name banner is simple but cool, while doing a great job of framing in and highlighting the unique aspect of this set overall, which is the “service years” with the club. The cherry on top for me is that this was a hard signed autograph, not a pre-signed sticker applied to the card, which is more the norm these days. The card back is nothing mind blowing above many of the design aspects I already highlighted (apologies for the crack case!), while also providing the catch-all authenticity statement of Upper Deck we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. The great thing about landing this card is that I got it from a re-packaged individual pack hanging up in a neighourhood pharmacy at a cost of $2.99! Bang for the buck all!
As for the rest of the set, and what you may be in for next time we circle back around to this release, here are the deets:
Base Set = 100 cards (1 to 100 in the set) with four different parallels
1) Blue Die Cut (1 in 2 packs hobby/blaster/retail/tin)
2) Gold Exclusives #’d out of 100 (Hobby)
3) Blue Exclusives #’d out of 99 (Blaster)
4) Green Exclusives #’d out of 25
Base Set Short Prints = 100 cards (101 to 200 in the set) across six different embedded themes, each with three different parallels
1) Gold Exclusives #’d out of 100 (Hobby)
2) Blue Exclusives #’d out of 99 (Blaster)
3) Green Exclusives #’d out of 25
The themes for the short prints are:
1) Captains 1937 to 2016 (9 cards)
2) Trophy Winners (13 cards)
3) Retired Numbers (12 cards)
4) Record Holders (15 cards)
5) Hall of Fame (19 cards)
6) Memorabilia Moments (32 cards)
Autographs can be found in 1 in 12 hobby packs, 1 in 24 retail, and 1 in 48 blasters. Variations are as follows:
Maple Leaf Marks Autographs (single autographs) = 87 cards, with differing rarity across groups of players (Group A = 1 in 1513; B = 1 in 983; C = 1 in 689; D = 1 in 229; E = 1 in 107; F = 1 in 27; G = 1 in 37).
Maple Leafs Dual Marks (8 cards #’d out of 35)
Maple Leaf Triple Marks (9 cards #’d out of 15)
Maple Leaf Quad Marks (4 cards #’d out of 5)
Maple Leaf Cut Signatures (14 cards #’d out of 5 or lower; Hobby only)
AKA Autographs (11 cards; 1 in 510 hobby packs; Group A = 1 in 6206; B = 1 in 801)
Maple Leaf Materials (25 cards; 1 in 93 hobby packs; 1 in 193 retail; 1 in 158 blaster; Tin rarity divided by group – Group A = 1 in 4587; B = 1 in 1193; C = 1 in 209; D = 1 in 204. Parallel versions (Hobby exclusive), called Premium parallels (26 cards), are #’d to 25 or less.
Maple Leafs Materials Duos (7 cards; 1 in 792 hobby/retail packs; 1 in 346 blaster; Tin rarity divided by group – Group A = 1 in 10296; B = 1 in 5148; C = 1 in 1030. Parallel versions (Hobby exclusive), called Premium parallels (8 cards), are #’d to 10 or less.
Maple Leafs Materials Trios (3 cards; 1 in 2376 hobby/retail packs; 1 in 4039 blaster; Tin rarity divided by group – Group A = 1 in 8712; B = 1 in 3267. Parallel versions (Hobby exclusive), called Premium parallels (4 cards), are #’d to 10.
Treasured Relics (8 cards), Hobby exclusive, #’d to 25 or less.
Championship Banner Manufactured Patch (13 cards)
Positive vibes to you all. Take some time to care for yourselves and one another (family, friend or stranger)! The positive impact we can have on an individual level, even in what can feel like the smallest of gestures, is far greater than we give ourselves credit for. My best your way…
Do you have a piece of treasured memorabilia that has a great story behind it? Let me know and you can be featured in an article. Doesn't matter how big or small the piece is, how valuable it may be, or whether it's a common item or more oddball. If you think it has a story, contact me via the information below and we'll chat. In the meantime, check out some previous "Display Case" articles via the links below to see what others have submitted in the past...
Previous “Who Am I?” Articles
Previous ”The Display Case” Posts
#1: The “Frankenstick!”
#2: Your desk has the right to remain collectable!
#3: Have Pads, Will Travel
#4: Pick a Pekka (Rinne) Autographed Mask
#5: Ted Lindsay Gets Kronwalled?
#6: The Only Thing We Have To Fehr Is Fehr Himself
#7: “Hungary” For Team Canada Swag
#8: The Soldiers Kid and “The Kid”
#9: Fan Appreciation & Player Humility Via The '72 Series
#10: Bobby Orr and....Birth Control?!?!?!
#11: Johnny Bower The “Portrait” Of Health At 88!!!
#12: Scotty Bowman – Stick Detective!!!
#13: Touch 'Em All Joe!!!
#14: Joey and Sergei's European (Lockout) Adventure!!!
#15: I’d Give The Jersey Off My Back For You…
#16: The Case Of The 1940’s Era Leafs
#17: Scrapping The History Of The Isles...
#18: Gretzky “Re-Signs” in Edmonton
#19: Gilmour Is Such A Caricature!!!
#20: Toys In The Attic
#21: The Right King Place At The Right King Time
#22: Momma Bear Takes On A “Killer”!!!
#23: Leafs Lunch Stool
#24: The 50 Goal Stub
#25: Scoring From The Rafters
Previous ”Random Hockey & Hobby Randomness” Posts
Gump, Game Used Beer, Ebay & Hevy Devy
Previous Random Hockey Musings
Oh? Canada? A Hockey History…
Previous “Top Shelf Cards” Articles
Auston Matthews UD Premier Mega Patch
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