The O-Pee-Chee brand dates back to 1911 and was a candy manufacturer in Canada. The company’s involvement in the trading card market has been well documented with their first releases coming in the 1930’s in the form of sets for hockey, baseball and entertainment. The company produced a limited number of trading cards in the 1940’s but refocused their efforts significantly in the 1950’s after contracting with the American company Topps in a marketing and licensing agreement.
Developing the Brand
By the late 1950’s, O-Pee-Chee was producing hockey and Canadian football cards. These vintage sets are extremely popular with collectors and can command huge sums on the secondary market to this day. While the O-Pee-Chee brand became synonymous with hockey cards it was their eventual entry into the Major League Baseball card market in 1965 that the company really began to profit from its relationship with Topps. Starting that year, O-Pee-Chee branded baseball sets were produced exclusively for distribution in Canada. The cards themselves often mimicked if not entirely replicated the Topps designs sans the brand name which was always visibly noticeable on the card fronts.
In French S’il vous Plait
Due to regulations regarding language passed by Canadian Parliament in 1970, O-Pee-Chee, was required to produce all their trading card text in both English and French. This quirky subtly in the trading card market now provided a distinct difference to the O-Pee-Chee branded card from that of their Topps counterparts. As a result, collectors responded by treating the O-Pee-Chee products as entirely different sets, which correlated to an increased demand for the Canadian version.
Over the next couple of decades, the O-Pee-Chee brand name was utilized across a wide range of entertainment and sports genres. The company once again produced Canadian football cards, baseball sticker albums (with the stickers themselves manufactured by the Italian company, Panini), and when the upstart World Hockey Association (WHA), got its start in the mid ‘70’s, O-Pee-Chee quickly contracted to produces cards for that league as well.
The labor struggles that hit baseball and hockey in the mid ‘90’s were extremely damaging to the company. Coming on the heels of the era of over-production that saturated the trading card market with a number of new competitors in the market, O-Pee-Chee ceased producing trading cards at the end of the 1994-95 hockey season. However, due to some lucrative licensing agreements made between the itself and Topps and Upper Deck, the O-Pee-Chee brand was insured of being a notable commodity for years to come.
After the strained labor relations were resolved in the NHL, the number of licenses was contracted to a single licensee. The Upper Deck company was awarded that license and shortly after those events transpired, the company announce it had acquired the branding rights for O-Pee-Chee. Upper Deck has used the name on a regular basis, including, this season, in their hockey card portfolio. The name alone carries with it a great deal of nostalgia and equity, particularly in Canada where hockey is the national sport.
O-Pee-Chee Card Sets
Browse our database of O-Pee-Chee card sets, which feature product reviews, set checklists, expert analysis, price comparisons, and more.