Sunday, October 28, 2018

Oui, Et Vous?

Though it's fairly unlikely to happen, the one thing I'd love to see at a card show or shop that I've never seen in-person before is a sealed box of O-Pee-Chee, even if it's a "junk wax" O-Pee-Chee box from the late 80's. So long as it's still old enough to have part of the card backs in French.

Granted they weren't produced in the United States, but I can't help but wonder why I've never seen an O-Pee-Chee box in person. The more I think about it, the more intriguing it becomes to test my knowledge of the French language while ripping open these packs. 

Though I have a couple handfuls of these cards scattered throughout my player collections, it's nothing too major. A brief eBay search delivered some results including boxes from 1986 for around $40, but that's a lot given that I paid $5 for a box of 1991 Topps at a card show in the past. At least for me, it doesn't seem worth it to pay all that much.

Despite not having a crazy number of O-Pee-Chee cards in my player collections, I always like testing out my French by attempting to translate the French writing into English before reading the entire back of the card. Typicaly, the back includes a blurb or 2 written in French (or is it French-Canadian) while the rest of the card back appears virtually the same as Topps Flagship. 

Thankfully, O-Pee-Chee isn't the only brand to feature French on the card backs. There's one more that I know of, and there must be some other ones out there. For now, let's take a look at these Zellers panel cards featuring Canada's own, Montreal Expos.

With 3-cards included, each of the same player, the Zellers Baseball Pro Tips panels became a part of my collection at a card show many, many years ago. I don't think the entire set was available, but I grabbed every one of these panels that I saw, making it so I have most of the entire set. 

Although I'm uncertain of the year this set was produced as well as what the Zellers brand is, I have to give them points for creativity in this set. They designed the cards so they can stay as a panel or be broken off into individual cards, and players are included more than once in order to give different baseball tips.

In Gary Carter's case, this means being included over 4 times, and that's just the panels that I have.

Like O-Pee-Chee, parts of these cards have writing in French in addition to having them in English. In the case of the front of the panels, the Baseball Pro Tips logo and the tip at the bottom of the page are also written in French while the backs, although boring, elaborate on the aforementioned tip in 2 different languages. 

Of all the things that both of these brands having going for them, I'd have to say my favorite would be the simple design and format of the Zellers cards. Since the O-Pee-Chee set takes on the same design is regular Topps, it's not something we haven't necessarily seen before, and that can be a good thing.

However, having a totally unfamiliar set and have part of it written in French is the best combination. Even if I never find another product with French on the card backs or fronts, I'll always have my Zellers panels and scattered O-Pee-Chee cards to practice my French with.

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