O-Pee-Chee

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O-Pee-Chee (OPC): A Canadian company that produced, under a sub-license from Topps, bi-lingual baseball and hockey cards for the Canadian market.

From 1965 until 1992, O-Pee-Chee produced an annual baseball set that was identical in design to that particular year's Topps baseball set, but with French and English text on the back. In most years, the size of the OPC set was about half that of Topps, with a heavy bias towards players from the Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays.

In 1968, Topps and O-Pee-Chee expanded their relationship to hockey cards, which lasted until 1993. Like the OPC baseball sets, the OPC hockey sets used the same layout of the Topps hockey set, only in two languages. Unlike OPC baseball, the OPC hockey set was (in most instances) larger and more comprehensive than its Topps counterpart.

Beginning in 1991, O-Pee-Chee produced it's first all-original product when it unveiled its "Premier" line, and in 1993 OPC ended it's relationship with Topps. Unfortunately, the baseball strike of 1994 coupled with the hockey lockout was a 1-2 combination that hit the company hard. OPC went out of business in 1995.

In the year 2000, Topps purchased the rights to the O-Pee-Chee name. With Major League Baseball having abandoned Montreal, the market for French language baseball cards has all but disappeared. As a result, Topps now makes the same baseball cards available to Canadian hobby dealers as they do to American ones. On the other hand, Topps did continue to produce separate hockey sets. That is until the 2004-05 hockey lockout which caused Topps to drop their NHL license. It will be a while before we see the OPC name again -- if ever.

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