Make that 54 packs, to be exact
The Tim Hortons Collectors Series produced by Upper Deck is back for another hard-hitting and infuriating release, and let me say it is a widely popular event around Canada that brings out the best and worst of the collecting world.
The configuration is simple $1.99 ($1 with a warm drink purchase) for a three-card pack. I tried to influence the cashier to get the packs for the cheaper price by saying I was writing review piece on the cards, but she scoffed at me and muttered something about the cash-register auto inputting the discount based on drink sale. No harm in trying!
You can also purchase the collectors series album for $14.99 (if you can find one).
Each pack contains two base cards and one insert card.
The base set contains 120 of your favorite NHL players and a hefty amount of inserts to chase.
There are six main insert sets:
Clear Cut Phenoms (1:12)
Game Day Action (1:4)
Gold Etching (1:8)
All-Star Standouts (1:3)
Super Star Showcase (1:6)
Top-Line Talent (1:24)
Also in the mix are Jersey and Autograph Cards, plus special Sidney Crosby and Brad Marchand autograph cards. The stated odds for any of these cards are so high that I will not even include it here.
So what did I get with my 54 pack pick up?
Let’s take a look!
The first thing that strikes me a few packs in is just how atrocious the collation of the cards are. Within the first four packs I “hit” three Crosby All-Star Cards, and it didn’t get much better from there.
I finished with 77/120 of the base cards which equals 64% of the set and hit the following inserts:
5/5 All-Star Standouts
9/15 Game-Day Action
8/15 Superstar Showcase
1/12 Top-Line Talent
4/15 Clear-Cut Phenoms
As you would expect my doubles are plenty:
31 Base set
14 All-Star Standouts
3 Gameday Action
2 Superstar Showcase
4 Gold Etching
Suffice it to say after all the pack ripping I am still over 100 cards away from completing the set. Given that I needed over 100 cards, I decided to look on eBay, and found a listing for $50 that included a complebe base set and all the insert sets, minus the Top-Line Talent and the Clear Cut Phenoms.
I did the math and pulling the trigger on the listing made the most sense. The time and effort saved chasing down the base cards and inserts was worth the cost of the set. In addition, I should be able to sell what cards I currently have to help finish the other two insert sets.
I have heard rumblings in some locations that boxes can be tampered with as the packs are shipped in generic brown cardboard boxes and do not contain the high protection measures usually accompanied with Upper Deck products. Some franchise owners also give collectors early access to packs and boxes, which may explain why many collectors fail to hit many quality cards. That theory may also explain why the cards appear on eBay well before the release date. While all of that is just conjecture, it still leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth.
At the end of the day, chances are I will continue to collect the Upper Deck Tim Hortons each year they are produced. One thing is for sure is that my pack-ripping days are over.■
A collector since the explosion of 1990, Rob Joncas can usually be found scouring bargain bins at card shows for Pittsburgh Penguins cards and hopes to add the Pro Set Holy Grail to his collection one day- the Stanley Cup Hologram. Follow him on Twitter @RobJoncas.