In The Game News
From In The Game:
The photographs gracing C56 card fronts speak volumes about the foundation of hockey at the professional level, and the development of the game itself, and offer a crash-course in hockey history: Newsy Lalonde (#36) scored the first ever goal for the Montreal Canadiens franchise, and would later score in the first six games in the history of the NHL. Fred “Cyclone” Taylor (#15) was named to the first All-Star team in eighteen consecutive seasons from 1900-1918, he was one of the game’s first true superstars. Frank (#1) and Lester Patrick (#26) were instrumental in the foundation of the PCHA, which was home to the Seattle Metropolitans – the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. The Patrick brothers also actively promoted women’s hockey, and organized an international championship which was played in 1921. Each name on the C56 checklist made a notable contribution to the game, and today, twenty players included in the set are honored in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
In the technology driven 21st century, we are privileged to collect a dazzling array of hockey cards, where autographs, game-used memorabilia swatches and limited editions are commonplace. While today’s cards certainly boast features that bring collectors closer to their heroes, the spirit of collecting lies in C56s, the first known set of hockey cards. Released one hundred years ago, C56s put the game of hockey on the map in the collecting world. A glance at this timeless set takes the modern collector on a journey through hockey history, and strengthens the love for the game that defines avid collectors worldwide. For the 2010-11 season, collectors will get In The Game like never before as we celebrate the centennial season of hockey cards.
By the time Imperial Tobacco’s C56s were released in 1910, “Cigarette Cards” had already made the transition from mere packaging tools – blank pieces of cardboard which were inserted to reinforce thin cigarette packages – to full-scale marketing devices. Cigarette manufacturers began including advertising on the cards, and eventually created full sets of individual colour photographs depicting popular themes in society. Some of the earliest sets, which date as far back as the mid-1870′s, featured castles, airplanes…even clowns! So began the phenomena of card collecting! To the benefit of cigarette manufacturers at the time, customers who were interested in completing these sets didn’t have as many collecting tools as we do today. Online auctions and hobby forums being unavailable, collectors in the early twentieth century could trade for cards they needed… or they could buy more cigarettes!
The C56 checklist is comprised of 36 cards, and includes players who starred in the blossoming NHA (National Hockey Association) or its rival leagues such as the PCHA (Pacific Coast Hockey Association). C56 singles are aesthetically perfect in their simplicity. Cards feature a full colour portrait, the player’s name and team centered across the bottom, and card number in the top left corner. Card backs prominently place the words “Hockey Series” beneath a crossed hockey stick design, the player’s name is then complemented by a list of his club teams and seasons played. One of the most intriguing inclusions C56s offer affects only four cards. Art Ross, who has two cards (#8, #12), Bruce Stuart (#17) and Riley Hern (#22) had their occupations listed on the backs of their cards - imagine that, a professional hockey player with a day job! A 37th card featuring Newsy Lalonde, one of the set’s most popular names, also exists. It is not included on the checklist, and was distributed by sales representatives to promote Imperial Tobacco’s products. It is believed that only two copies of that particular card have surfaced, one of which sold for an astonishing $100,000 in 2007 – the card had been graded a 3 out of 10 by SCG (Sportscard Guarantee Corporation).
C56s hold a very special and deserved place in hobby history. It is important to consider that these cards have survived recessions, epidemics (even that which caused the 1919 Stanley Cup finals to be cancelled), World Wars… and NHL work stoppages! C56s prove that even in their earliest, simplest form, hockey cards are, and always have been “more than cardboard”. For generations they have captured our imaginations, teaching us about our game and our history. More importantly, they have provided a solid foundation upon which lifelong friendships between collectors worldwide can be built.
Join us throughout the 2010/11 season as we celebrate a century of hockey cards with pride, passion and enthusiasm, beginning with the revolutionary In The Game Ultimate Memorabilia series, tenth edition. ITG UM-10 will include an eye-catching C56-style base set and special redemption cards for graded original C56 singles! Escape into the annals of hockey history – honor the legends of the past, today’s stars and tomorrow’s phenoms. Rediscover the spirit of collecting with the only company that truly honours the great sport of hockey – In The Game hockey trading cards.
In The Game Ultimate Memorabilia 10th Edition will be available for pre-order soon from Canada Card World.