Monday, December 05, 2022

Holo Back Y'all!

Was trying to reclaim some floor space in the card room this past week by cleaning up the 2/3 dozen boxes of hockey cards that make up my extras.  I ended up sorting them by company and then by year since I always tend to screw up putting all the '94-'95s together, e.g. there's always a few '93-94s in with them somewhere.

Anyway, I have a whole five row box of early 90's Upper Deck hockey that I was hoping to pull some complete sets out of to sell off, but it didn't work out.  The largest lot is '91-92, which is two and a half rows, but it's really only repetitions of about 40-50% of the set - there are sometimes dozens of copies of one card, but only about half of any group of ten sequential numbers and almost no big stars.

As I was going through them, I was tracking the hologram variations.   

Oh, you don't know about those?  

These are the kind of little details that give junk wax overproduction era stuff a little more interest.  I've spent a few days squinting at the backs of OE cards in the name of the hunt.  Same goes with Pro Set football variations, but that's a whole other thing...

Early 90's Upper Deck baseball, football, and hockey came with different holograms on the backs of the cards.  Apparently, they had some issues with consistency producing cards from a given year and getting the same hologram on them.  I won't go into a complete breakdown of all the sports, that has been done already.  

Here is part of the overview page from the TCDB:

Basketball was arranged in the same way.  I think the text here is incorrect when it says (1-700) for the high series.  I'm guessing that should be 501-700.  But I digress...

Football and baseball add a third variation.

So there are holograms from 1991, 1992 and 1990 on 1991 card sets.

The link above for the Junk Wax Gems page has some photos of the actual holograms, but I've only found a couple really good images of what they all look like.  So while I was fooling with these hockey cards, I then went to my other Washington team collection for football, I took my own shots of the holograms close up with my relatively new phone.

Here's what they look like with some magnification.

The actual colors differ a bit when these are turned in the light, so your results may vary.  For instance, the lettering on the '92 diamond logos will turn orange if tilted just the right way.  The others will turn shades of blue at the proper angles.  

Of course, the "16" seen in the middle one is an upside down "91".

These are actually the football versions - hence the shape.  Baseball primarily uses the home plate shape.  Basketball is a triangle that resembles a basket (maybe?).  Hockey is what I imagine is a puck, but reminds me more of a cheeseburger.

You get the idea.  All the diamond logo ones actually look like the football version, as do the "UPPER DECK" ones, etc.  I guess I might have committed myself to digging out my baseball sets and taking better images of those at this point.  I'm not going to have any basketball, so that's out.

But as far as the hockey box I started with...(yeah, I took the long and winding road around this post...)

So I managed to find all my Capitals in the diamond pattern out of that box lot except one.  And now I separated all the "UPPER DECK" ones from the diamond logos ones.  And then I put them back in the box.

If anyone is looking for older hockey...hit me up...


  1. Don't forget the Comic Ball versions.

    I have all my duplicates set aside from these sets to try and figure out what's what...someday.

  2. I've actually grown to looooathe variations like this and also resent TCDB for listing them.

  3. I hate that I am detailed enough that I can't NOT list them properly and look at all the holos to try and figure out which is which so I can enter them correctly on TCDB. Also, I do care enough for collecting the different versions of my Blue Jays and Maple Leafs....*sigh* forbidden shame...

  4. I've only know about these for a couple of years now, and do find the different holograms to be kind of neat, certainly more so than the various Donruss Inc./Inc variations.

  5. I may come calling... I hate the variations but my OCD side has to have them. I think I can probably help you with a card or two off your wantlists

  6. I've got mixed emotions about these variations. Part of me wishes Upper Deck was just consistent and didn't create these variations. It'd make things easier for my player collections. On the other hand, it adds variety to collecting and people can just choose not to chase everything.