I will never forget the bike ride I took in 1997. I was 13 years old and had been in search of the final NHL hockey card that would complete my Upper Deck collection for whatever series of cards I was currently obsessed with. It had escaped my grasp a few times already, but this time was different. My friend Tommy down the block had confirmed my prized possession was in his hands, and all I had to do was provide him with a card (one I had a few of) to complete his collection. This would be a one-for-one trade that would allow us both to celebrate a complete set.
Anyone who collects things can probably understand the excitement of completing a set, the joy of searching and ripping into the blind pack fervently with hopes of a new piece.
Upper Deck has been a worldwide leader in premium sports and entertainment collectibles and memorabilia for 27 years. It specializes in trading cards, games, and authentic memorabilia. Upper Deck recently announced their entry into the coin collecting world with their new Grandeur Hockey Coin Collection.
The Grandeur Hockey Coin Collection is a series of limited-edition coins in partnership with the National Hockey League Players’ Association with 20 superstar hockey players on the face of the coins. The most intriguing aspect is that they are releasing all of the coins via blind packs, which is groundbreaking for the coin collecting market.
The coins are available for 20 players with a mix of past and current greats:
- Patrice Bergeron – Boston
- Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg
- Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh
- Jack Eichel – Buffalo
- Wayne Gretzky – Edmonton
- Jaromir Jagr – Florida
- Patrick Kane – Chicago
- Dylan Larkin – Detroit
- Henrik Lundqvist – New York
- Erik Karlsson – Ottawa
- Connor McDavid – Edmonton
- Sean Monahan – Calgary
- William Nylander – Toronto
- Alex Ovechkin – Washington
- Carey Price – Montreal
- Patrick Roy – Montreal
- Daniel Sedin – Vancouver
- Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis
- John Tavares – Brooklyn
- Jonathan Toews – Chicago
I recently had a chance to sit down with Upper Deck president Jason Masherah about the new Upper Deck Grandeur Hockey Coin Collection.
GeekDad: What you are doing with the coins is groundbreaking in releasing the coins via blind packs. How important were the blind packs for delivering the Grandeur Hockey Coin Collection?
Jason Masherah: If you look at our heritage and history of Upper Deck, you will see that most people who buy Upper Deck are used to getting a blind pack product with their trading cards. If you look from a broad perspective of what’s going on culturally, you can see the shift toward blind packs with many products. People subscribe to services where they get blind fashion boxes or blind themed boxes.
The coin market parallels the trading card market in many ways. We saw the ability to take what we do well, move it over to coins, and give the same excitement of ripping into a blind pack of trading cards to coin collectors. I really saw the opportunity to do to coins what we did to trading cards in 1989.
- GeekDad: Counterfeiting is a problem in any collection market, so what steps have you put in place to make sure the coins are easily identifiable as originals?
Masherah: One of the things that was important to us in this release was to have our trademarked anti-counterfeiting hologram on it. If you look closely at the coin, we were able to put our hologram on it and carry it over from the trading cards. Each coin also has a serial number.
GeekDad: There are so many great hockey players in history along with the current greats, so where do you even begin on deciding who to feature on the coins?
Masherah: Whenever we do anything, we start with with our exclusive spokesmen, which are NHL Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Patrick Roy. Being as ingrained in Canada as we are, we make sure to have someone from each of the major markets. From there, we mix the biggest and brightest in the league. It’s always hard because we only have 20 players in the set, so we will most likely be doing an update in the future on who is included.
GeekDad: As the biggest Montreal Canadiens fan on the east coast of Canada, I was happy to see Carey Price included in the set.
Masherah: It’s a great time to be a Canadiens fan! You can double dip because we have Carey Price and Patrick Roy!!
GeekDad: Are the coins going to be brought to the Upper Deck e-Pack platform?
Masherah: What is wonderful about e-Pack is that it allows people to open up a pack 24 hours a day from a phone, tablet, or computer and get into the Upper Deck collector community and be able to trade. One of the wonderful things here, and revolutionary for coins, is that there is a community of collectors that you can actually trade with. If you open a pack and pull a William Nylander coin, which you clearly won’t want because you are a Habs fan, you can go and trade that with someone for a Carey Price. That kind of marketplace has never existed for coins.
GeekDad: What I love about e-Pack is that the physical card and coin exists with Upper Deck and you can order the physical item whenever you decide you want it.
Masherah: e-Pack solves a lot a problems. Not every community is blessed with a hobby store. There are a lot of collectors in rural areas that might not have a store. They now can order packs digitally and trade with a community. It solves the storage problem as well! Many of us have significant others who complain about the size of our collections, and now there is no physical collection in place unless you want it to be. It was so important to us to have the cards and coins not just exist digitally. You can’t replicate authentic jersey cards or coins in a digital experience, so you can have them digitally and also keep the physical item with us until you need it.
GeekDad: How has the reaction been thus far in the coin collecting world?
Masherah: It has been phenomenal! Once you see the physical product, you are just blown away by the quality of the coins. Some coin collectors still need to get used the blind pack nature of it, but they didn’t expect the quality of the coins to be as nice as they are.
The coins are available in four finishes, and there are a total of 5,000 colored silver; 1,000 high-relief silver; and 500 silver frosted for each player in the collection, as well as 100 24-karat gold coins.
Grandeur Hockey Coins may be purchased individually in a sealed blind pack for $100 or as a collector box with four randomly inserted coins for $499. The collector box includes one of three rarer coins and comes with a display that holds up to 20 coins.