Sunday, 19 July 2015

In The Game...but Without a League License - (Volume 1 Addition)

When collecting Canadian football themed material you sometimes come across a few items that aren't strictly speaking CFL items, but are still related to the sport and its history, so on that basis I will be adding a few cards from the set described below to the eventual planned update of Collecting Canadian Football Volume I.

Dr. Brian Price originally re-licensed the venerable Parkhurst name (for hockey card issues) during the early nineties of the sports card boom, and subsequently went on to form his own company called In The Game. Initially licensed by the NHLPA he was eventually forced out by Upper Deck's exclusive licensing agreement and subsequently began to market cards that were not licensed by the league or players association, but were contractually connected with the athletes themselves. You can read an interesting summary of his company's struggle at his blog.

So having a lot of experience at producing this type of collectible, in 2011 the company issued a Canadiana set featuring Canadian athletes, entertainers, inventors, politicians and so forth. The set has a couple of items in it that tie into Canadian football athletes or personalities, but are not affiliated with the CFL or CFLPA in any way.

Above are pictured two of the Hall of Famer Edmonton Eskimo place kicker Dave Cutler cards from the set. Cutler appears in about five different cards and there are multitude of different limited versions of many of them, some of them one of one, so good luck collecting all of those. As you can see no team or league logos appear on any of the cards or pictures. Cutler's base card picture was taken from the Early 70's Edmonton Eskimos team issue media photo set as listed in Collecting Canadian Football Volume 2.

  The set also includes the "Rookie" card of Canadian Governor General Earl Grey who donated support and his name to the iconic trophy for the Rugby Football Championship of Canada. Multiple chase cards here as well, naturally.

There are lots of different autograph, memorabilia and patch cards for Cutler in the set, strangely enough all of the patch cards (any person) seem to share the same distressed markings on the card borders, so this must be intentional. There is also supposedly a Russ Jackson autograph card in the set (+ chase variations) but I have not been able to find any images of any of those cards. All of the various versions and limited prints will eventually be detailed out in the Volume 1 update.

Now if you read the update provided by Dr. Price at his blog he touches on the entry of Italian sticker conglomerate Panini into the North American sports card and memorabilia industry and how it had affected his operations. I also mentioned in an older blog post how Panini's entry into the market might have affected Upper Deck's interest in producing Canadian Football League cards. Well it seems that Panini is not too concerned about borrowing the use of a player's image from a league that they do not license for memorabilia products either. They issued this unusual card of Chad Owens in their 2014 multi-sport set that is tied to a major Black Friday marketing initiative.

  While the card is listed as a Jacksonville Jaguar issue and has the appropriate Jacksonville colour scheme, the image of Owens is clearly as an Argonaut with the helmet logo and jersey advertising patches photoshoped out. In fact this is the same image as was used on a very attractive Panini special Toronto Fall 2013 sportscard & memorabilia expo glossy photo premium (apparently unlicensed by the league or the CFLPA) that Owens and quarterback Ricky Ray (his own photo) were in attendance to sign.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Panini expands their reach towards the CFL with any officially licensed products in the near future. CFL stickers anyone?

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