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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Mary Shelley's Hockey Cards

2006-07 Upper Deck Game Jersey Sergei Samsonov

Ah, the Franken-Card.  Or as some may affectionately refer to it...the Cardboard Abomination.

Those of you out there that collect trading cards are well aware of their existence and if I were to guess, mostly loathe them.  This is the trading card "phenomenon" where a player is pictured and has contradictory representation in their uniforms or team designation.  In my opinion as a "no-one ever proclaimed me to be a trading card expert" expert, I see there to be three basic levels of franken-cards.


The deal for Subban to Nashville took place June 29, 2016.  Upper Deck released 2016-17 Artifacts October 5, 2016, 98 days later.  No mention of a trade, or indication of a new team.
First, a level 1 franken-card can be broken down into two categories.  Category A generally features a player in a team uniform that they no longer play with, while not part of a tribute or throwback set, and released after their signing to a new team or being traded.  This is a fairly mild version and may be given a pass by many collectors because it does happen quite often.  Although it may seem like an easy fix in many collector's minds, when card companies get a design concept for a product, it is usually well in advance of an actual release date.  Personnel transactions between teams often occur after the card company's initial mock-ups are released and may never get updated prior to that date.  In the case of the example above, an Update set was later issued featuring PK in his new digs.

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Retro Erik Cole
Category B takes the card from Category A one step further by acknowledging that the player was traded or signed with a new club with featuring their new team name on the card.  However, the photo chosen for the card design, will still feature the player in their former uniform.  Again, it's a design process from concept to print and I'm guessing it's much easier to change wording than it is the photo.  In the example here, Erik Cole is featured cutting up ice in his Carolina Hurricanes jersey, however the card is identified as Edmonton Oilers in both the masthead and logo. I think this particular visual error is exaggerated a bit since the card design has a blue border (throwback to 79-80), the Oilers are blue, and the Hurricane red sticks out like a sore thumb.

2006-07 Upper Deck Game Jersey Bill Guerin

The level 2 franken-card will generally have the player photo showing them in one uniform and either the jersey/memorabilia swatch embedded in the card features team colors that just somehow don't belong or the team doesn't match.  That swatch may have colors that have arguably never been featured on the pictured team's uniform.  Other times, the photo matches the swatch but the team designation is incorrect.  For instance a team with mostly blue and white uniforms and a swatch featuring something yellow or green would probably be a dead ringer for franken-card status.  It's hard to know for sure with white, grey, or black patches since most uniforms have some shade of those, but when they are wrong...they are WRONG!  The exception to this would be if there is a special event type piece that may have been only used in an exhibition game, skills event, tribute night, or warm-up.  In the example here, Bill Guerin is pictured wearing a Dallas jersey, features a Dallas swatch (or could it be Bruins??) but this is designated as a St. Louis Blues card.

2007-08 Artifacts Treasured Swatches Patch #/25 Bill Guerin

A level 3 franken-card is by far the best (or worst as you can see by the first photo).  These cards will usually feature a player in one team uniform, a memorabilia swatch that features colors that are obviously NOT from that pictured team, AND will have a third team name or logo listed as the feature team in the set checklist.  It's just pure madness that not one, not two, but three things in the overall design of a trading card can be so far off.  Madness I say.  But it happens I think way more than it should.  In the example here we see Mr. Guerin again, this time as a Shark, with the patch from a Dallas Stars jersey.  However this is designated as a New York Islanders card.

From time to time, I will be adding to this ever growing list of sadness.  I have many cards in my collection that are like this, I just have to find them.  Stay tuned.

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