Those of us who live south of the Canadian border have probably never seen this pretty funny TV commercial for McDonald’s hockey cards: The McDonald’s issue has been a big hit in Canada for a number of years.
Football card collectors in the States probably remember the 1986 McDonald’s sets. They were team sets issued on a regional basis so you had to do a lot of travelling or a lot of trading through the mail to complete a master set. Some restaurants were generous with the cards while other stuck with company policy and only handed out a few at a time. Of course, some went out the back door and became plentiful.
To make matters worse for the obsessive-compulsive collector, Mickey D’s produced four different color scratch off tabs available in different weeks. If you were to be taken seriously by the premier collectors of the day, you have to have all four, even if there wasn’t any difference in the actual picture on the front. There were scarcities for some team and combination colors and the weird size made it frustrating to find plastic sheets to put them in. The cards were thin, so it didn’t take much for them to get dinged up. Some of the rare sets are a little pricey but for the most part, the 1986 McDonald’s football sets are as cheap as they can possibly be on eBay.
In 1993, McDonald’s entered the football card market again and put out uncut sheets–again on a regional basis and produced under the GameDay name. By then, there were a few people who had discovered the new phenomenon called the internet and trading became a little easier. The perforated sheets were the preferred way to collect them although a lot of kids tore them apart.
I love those ‘national/regional’ type sets but there weren’t very many done and now they’re all but extinct. Topps did its 1981 ‘home team’ 5×7 sets but only for teams in the biggest metro areas which had Major League Baseball teams. In ’78, Burger King did the same, after producing a Yankees set in ’77.
I remember trading with guys all over the country for those ’86 McDonald’s football sets. No memorabilia cards, no autographed cards; just something cool to look forward to when the mailman came every day.
Well, it was cool back then anyway.