1995-96 Upper Deck is one of my all-time favorite sets, one I've wanted to put together for a long time now. It's got everything going for it in my opinion. The 6th flagship hockey set released by Upper Deck, it was the first to feature full bleed photography. It contains a guilty collecting pleasure of mine, the Electric Ice parallels. Most importantly, the set is right in my wheelhouse in terms of time period/player selection. I was 13 when this set was released, and had been a rabid hockey fan for a few years prior, ever since I began playing the sport at a young age. By the mid-90's I was obsessed, and it was a great time to be a hockey fan. Even though the Whalers' days in Hartford were numbered, there were so many exciting teams, like the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche that seemed to battle it out in epic playoff match-ups every season.
The thing is, I really want to hand collate the set, and believe it or not I found wax boxes somewhat difficult to come by. A couple of weeks ago a Series 1 wax box went up for auction though, and I was lucky enough to win it for less than the price of a blaster ($18).
I like this set so much that I'm going to try doing something a little differently here. I'm going to try to show every card I pull from the box, a couple of packs at a time. There are 36 packs in the box, 12 cards per pack (how refreshing!), so we'll see if I can keep up with this or not. Since there are so many cards to show, and since the photography is so great, I'm going to try keeping commentary to a minimum and let the images speak for themselves. After each pack I'll pick my favorite card, if you disagree go ahead and leave a comment. If you think this is a terrible idea you can leave a comment about that too. Here's the first couple of packs:
Gretzky graces the box top and the wrappers. As you can see, every pack contains one Electric Ice parallel. Here's the back of the wrapper:
Another reason to like 1995-96 Upper Deck, Jets and Whalers cards.
What a card! As usual the horizontal cards look best in this set.
Okay, so not every card can be a winner...
Alright, here's the Electric Ice parallel. Exactly the same as its regular base card counterpart, except for the foil "Electric Ice" running along the edge of the card. I can't explain why I generally detest parallel cards, yet like these. Normally I would rail against the manufacturer for robbing me of a base card in every pack but I just can't do it here. In fact, one of the best things about opening a pack of this stuff is discovering who the Electric Ice card is. What can I say, I'm a hypocrite I guess. Besides, this box contains 432 cards and inserts are kept to a minimum, so unless there are serious collation problems I should hopefully be able to complete a set, or at least get close despite these one per pack parallels.
Best card in the pack:
That was a pretty easy decision. This card's got it all. A Hall-of-Famer getting (presumably) robbed, a St. Louis Blues Busch beer advertisement on the boards, and a kid and his father in the crowd wearing terrible 1990's shirts.
On to pack 2...
Believe it or not, I half collect Renberg. Because he played on the Legion of Doom line on a stacked Flyers team, and had a killer rookie season I thought he was destined for stardom. Unfortunately the 38 goals, 44 assists and 82 points he registered in his rookie season would all end up being career highs...
The backs of the cards look pretty good as well:
Another very large photo, always different from the one on the front, which was the norm for Upper Deck and is appreciated.
Great photo on this one, it's in the running for best card in the pack...
There is a 5th Anniversary subset that highlights cards from the company's inaugural release in 1990-91. Seems like an anniversary subset to celebrate just five years of existence is overkill but whatever.
Best card in the pack:
Future Hall-of-Famer, Little Caesars advertisement, and an impressive group of Red Wings in the background including Sergei Fedorov, Paul Coffey (I think?), Kris Draper and Darren McCarty.
More packs to come soon!
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