Hobby Outposts from The North: Last-minute gift guide – Last week, when getting ready to send off some holiday cards, I encountered the truth about the Covid-19 holidayseverything is going to be delayed.

The lineup just to put my mail into the hands of Canada Post was longer than at the McDonald’s drive-thru, a sign of the times. Because travel is restricted, either unofficially or formally, people are using postal services to send gifts and cards to loved ones.

If you’re a late shopper, this actually works to your advantage. Now, you have a built-in excuse for a package arriving late, so you can shop as late as you want; even Christmas Day!

So with that in mind, here are a few items to consider for the collector on your list.

Let’s start with the sport that is getting revved up – basketball. The 2019-20 campaign yielded some ultra cool cards. Panini Mosaic is the perfect example of a set that struck it big out of the gates and has had sell-outs at hobby shops and mass retailers.  But there’s one particular auction I suggest you look at – a dual jersey of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan which is going to, in part, benefit St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

Let’s stay with basketball for the next item on your list – Santa hats! Over the years a few companies have produced cards of hardcourt heroes in the famous chapeaus, namely the 2007-08 Upper Deck Star Rookie Santa Hat variations. Panini took this a step further, of course, cutting hats from photo shoots and making cool memorabilia cards.

The same tricks came in football, but there’s a different card I’m going to encourage for your gridiron shopping. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, there was a company that was famous for all the wrong reasonsPro Set. Chock full of errors, the Pro Set football (and hockey) products were understandably disappointments. For all the company did wrong though, they were very innovative in their efforts, including creating cardboard of Jolly Old St. Nick.

To take Santa in another direction, let’s venture to New York.

In 2007, Topps produced a set of Santa Claus trading cards. The product had some interesting elements, not the least of which were autographs from Kris Kringle himself. Now, far be it from me to be skeptical as to who really did the signing, but I do have to wonder whether there was an autopen used

Switching to something hockey-centric, Upper Deck continues to dominate shinny and they’ve had a tremendous program over the years with their Winter cards. These cards have traditionally been offered as bonuses around events such as Singles Day, and while the set has featured spokespeople from multiple sports, the ice warriors have been centric to the product.

Now there may be no company more associated with Christmas season than Hallmark. Cheesy movies are more the signature of the greeting card magnate, but the company has also produced ornaments a plenty over the years, including lines for sports. Everyone from Jackie Robinson to Mario Lemieux have been created over the years, and in truth the likenesses are pretty impressive – somewhere between Starting Lineups and McFarlane Toys. Though all sports have been produced over the years, the baseball figurines stand out.

As cool as these sports collectibles are, we don’t want to forget that the entertainment sphere has provided plenty of holiday-themed prizes as well. Among them are Cryptozoic’s DC Bombshells Holiday Edition vinyls. These figures were produced in 2017 and featured heroes like Wonder Woman and anti-heroes such as Harley Quinn in holiday-themed attire.

I’ll close this view with one other holiday special. Being card companies, most of the manufacturers will give their employees special, limited cards for the holidays. Upper Deck has gone one step further, crafting postcard-size cards that they send out to dealers, hobby media and other parties. Over the years this has included both sports and entertainment properties with unique designs; but the one that sticks out to me more than any other is the LeBron James “Winter League” card, complete with a custom jersey. I wonder how this rookie card would do at auction…hmm…

No matter which collectibles you buy for your loved ones (or yourself), this is the time of year to settle in and take time to relax in comfort. This has been a very different year and now, perhaps more than any other in our lifetime, is a time to rest and recuperate. Don’t forget to make the holiday special for someone you don’t know – so many charities are operating at high demand. Consider dropping a tin in the bin or contributing to toys for kids programs. It will warm your heart and theirs.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Hobby Outposts from The North: Last-minute gift guide – Image Gallery

Hobby Outposts from The North: Last-minute gift guide
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