The hobby has changed a great deal since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this weekend’s Sport Card and Memorabilia Expo at the Toronto International Centre reflects that.
But despite the hoards of new collectors, the thousands that came back to the hobby during the various lockdowns, and the new ways collectors can buy and sell cards, there is a distinct old school feel to the show on the floor.
With Upper Deck Tim Hortons as the only 2021-22 NHL hockey card set that has been released so far this year, collectors are wandering from exhibitor to exhibitor looking for singles to complete their sets. Some are doing it the 1990s, way, with a notebook or clipboard and a list of card numbers. Some have printed off copies of the checklist and are working off that. Others are a little more current, using apps or lists on their devices.
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“There is a lot of interest for the Tim Hortons hockey card set and we expect it to be popular on the floor throughout the weekend,” said Steve Menzie, owner and promoter of the Expo, which is considered the world’s largest hockey collectibles show. “It’s a set that a lot of collectors are trying to complete, and the Expo is the perfect place as there will be a lot of singles available at the show.”
While the Fall Expo has traditionally seen new card sales driven by the release of Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey at the event, the delay of that product has given the Tim Hortons set more attention. By the volume of packs alone, it is Upper Deck’s largest annual Canadian release. The exclusivity to Canada makes the set a hot commodity among American collectors and dealers who will be at the show looking to take cards home.
Menzie said the show dealers are aware and prepared for the above average demand for the Tim Hortons cards.
“Over the last couple of weeks, I met with some of the dealers who are at the show,” Menzie said. “I met each one at a local Tim Hortons, and every one of them bought as many packs as they could before we sat down for breakfast,” he said.
While any American visitors coming to the show can simply drive through Tim Hortons to get their own packs, the product expected to move will range from singles and variations to inserts to bulk pack lots and completed base sets and master sets completed in Tim Hortons 2021-22 binders. Some of the rare cards in the product will also likely be found at the show.
Collectors and dealers selling singles and sets will not be the only ones interested in Tim Hortons cards. With COMC at the show as an exhibitor, odds are that they will be taking in a lot of this year’s Tim Hortons cards for their Canadian warehouse.
COMC is here at the 2021 Toronto Sport Card Expo!👀🙌Be sure to come by our booth #149 for onsite submissions, fun contests and free giveaways. 🎟️🔥
— COMC.com – Safe & Easy Trading Card Consignment (@CheckOutMyCards) November 12, 2021
The Upper Deck Tim Hortons hockey card set released Oct. 27 across Canada, and it is being supported by a national TV advertising campaign featuring product spokesmen Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon. Three-card packs include two base cards and one insert or parallel card. Packs are 99 cents CDN with the purchase of a drink, or $1.99 each with no drink purchase. You can see single cards, packs and sets on eBay here.
Of course, there’s plenty other stuff to see at the Expo, with the usual complement of Gretzky rookie cards…although some booths are more well stocked than others.
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Upper Deck has a wrapper redemption program and other promotions at its booth.
The Expo continues through Sunday.