The 2008-09 Champ’s Hockey set was one of the strangest releases in recent memory. The cards had a design harkening back to the original Champ’s set from the 1924; they came in both standard and smaller, “cigarette” sizes; and had an odd, 192-card “Natural History Collection” subset, featuring animals like the Great White Shark and the Carrier Pigeon. But hands down, the weirdest thing about Champ’s was the one-per-case “Fossil Cards.”
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to get one of these. No, it wasn’t something cool like a Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth or a Wooly Mammoth tusk – just a Neolithic Stone Tool. As Charlie Brown would say, “I got a rock.” Although – as cliched as it sounds – it is kind of cool to own a piece of history.
The card is thick-probably two or three times thicker than your standard jersey card. The front has clear plastic from top to bottom. A window reveals the “slice” of tool behind it, making this card resemble a very small shadow box frame.
The back of the card offers some insight, in teeny, tiny text. For those who hate to squint, here is what it says:
These artifacts were used by the earliest food-producing communities in the lowlands of northern Europe, called the Linear Pottery Culture, more than 5,000 years B.C.
Further down, it elaborates:
CONGRATULATIONS! You have received a trading card with a piece of a Neolithic stone tool. This fossil artifact, dating to the Neolithic Period, has been certified to us as having come from St. Geertruid in Holland. We hope you enjoy this piece of history, as we continue to keep you as close as you can get!
What does Upper Deck keep us close to? Holland? The Stone Age? FYI, the Neolithic period was considered the “end” of the Stone Age, from 5500 BC to 4500 BC. So the little nugget mounted to the card is likely around 7,000 years old.
Suddenly, Chris Chelios doesn’t seem so ancient anymore. ■