Upper Deck released a more affordable hockey card set in the mid-1990s called Collector’s Choice. At 99 cents per pack, the set was aimed at kids who weren’t mature enough to collect “grown up” Upper Deck hockey cards at $2.49 per pack. Since Collector’s Choice had to be “kiddified,” some cards included a crudely drawn mascot named Chippy.
In the 1997-98 Collector’s Choice Hockey set, the last 8 cards are checklists featuring Chippy. On each card, Chippy offers collecting advice. My favorite tip is on card #316:
Chippy on taking care of your cards…The better shape your cards are in, the more fun they are. It’s a good idea to keep your cards in clear plastic sheets in a binder. That way, you can enjoy your collection while keeping it in mint condition.
I did not know that keeping my cards in “mint condition”–as if there was truly such a thing–made my cards more fun. In my “pre-collector” days, I used to tape cards to my notebook, or play a game of “flips” with them, or throw them at my friends like Gambit throws playing cards in the X-Men comic books. That was way more fun than putting them in a binder…though in retrospect, I wish I didn’t tape that Brett Hull rookie card to my notebook. If only Chippy existed in 1989 to stop me from my fun.
And why can’t Chippy just cut through the B.S., level with us and say that keeping our 1990s hockey cards in mint condition will make them worth lots of money, while also making us smarter and more likeable to girls? Of course, I’d be happy if one of those things were true.