Friday, February 11, 2011

Box Break - 1995-96 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey - The First Couple Packs

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:

(Click for larger image)
The odds are pretty clearly stated on the back of the wrapper. 270 card base set. Electric Ice parallels fall one per pack. On average you can expect roughly one Gold Electric Ice, one Freeze Frame and one Predictor card per box. Every fifth box or so will contain a pack composed entirely of Predictor cards. Enough with the boring stuff, let's check out the first pack:

#234 - Mike Milbury's Scouting Report - Alexei Zhamnov

Another reason to like 1995-96 Upper Deck, Jets and Whalers cards.

#251 - Mike Milbury's Scouting Report - Brett Hull

#7 - John LeClair

#136 - Kirk McLean

What a card! As usual the horizontal cards look best in this set.

#128 - Ken Klee

#106 - Patrick Flatley

Okay, so not every card can be a winner...

#14 - Brian Rolston (Electrice Ice)

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.

#6 - Patrice Brisebois

#189 - Mariusz Czerkawski

#115 - Tom Barrasso

#179 - Theoren Fleury

#192 - Peter Popovic

Best card in the pack:

#136 - Kirk McLean

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...

#194 - Mikael Renberg

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...

#36 - Brian Savage

#34 - Nicklas Lidstrom

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.

#72 - Mike Sillinger

#119 - Dave Karpa

#19 - Gary Roberts

#90 - Ray Ferraro

#163 - Pat Peake

#9 - Todd Krygier

Great photo on this one, it's in the running for best card in the pack...

#170 - Chris Chelios

#252 - Mike Milbury's Scouting Report - Wayne Gretzky

#233 - Brett Hull 5th Anniversary (Electric Ice)

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:

#170 - Chris Chelios

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!


Michael said...

Great idea, since it's National Hockey Card Day tomorrow I was gonna pick up a box and kinda do the same sorta thing. Nice of you for repping the McLean card as your favorite card for the first pack!
I would have probably picked the Gretzky card for pack 2 (just because it's Gretzky) but the Chelios card deffs looks better.
Again nice idea! Mind if I do the same sorta thing on my blog? :)

shoeboxlegends said...

Not at all, I'd love to read some posts like this on Collecting for Kicks!

Captain Canuck said...

the last time you did this I said I hate you and I'm saying it again this time. I would love to build these sets that you keep coming up with but boxes around here are in the $89 to $119 range. and buying on the bay doesn't work because most idiots try and charge me $30-$40 shipping.

sure! show every pack. rub it in. ;)

TheRealDFG said...

There are three of these at my LCS. I've always been tempted but never pulled the trigger. I think you have inspired me.

thosebackpages said...

NICE! keep this going.

1995 is a great year for Upper Deck Sports Cards. All Four Sports are represented beautifully.

Baseballislife1984 said...

congrats on a great deal for a tough to find box. I LOVE anything 95-96, the UD set is a beauty! I look forward to your posts!

Anonymous said...

Awesome, vintage mid-'90s Upper Deck greatness. The Electric Ice/Diamond/Court cards are an oddity to me. The little foil stamp of nothingness type of parallel bothers me to no end when topps does it (usually a non-sport thing, but the '06-ish Football RC Special Edition thingamabooobles probably qualify), but their Electric Upper Deck predecessors are some of my favorite parallels ever, even though they are basically the exact same thing. Granted, the Electric Court was a sparkly lil foil stamp of nothingness IIRC, but I dunno. Maybe it's just the nostalgia filter I have for most things from the '90s.

Word Verification: imsest o_O

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