One of my major assignments over the nearly five years I worked for Whitman Publishing was the compilation of a catalog/price guide of Canadian coins.
Throughout that period I immersed myself in both historical issues of the past and the current coin issues.
As a sports collector, I was especially interested in the many and varied commemorative coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint. There have been dozens of coins issued to honor the NHL, its Canadian teams and even individual skaters in recent decades.
By and large, however, these special coins and sets have been little noticed in the sports hobby -- at least in the U.S. Similarly, football fans in the U.S. have never shown much interest in the Canadian Football League, even when the NFL was on strike.
Most (I didn't) didn't know that 2012 will mark the 100th playing for the Grey Cup, symbolic of the CFL championship.
Today I received a letter from a collector in Calgary that was franked with a pair of stamps honoring Lui Passaglia, the best kicker in CFL history, and Geroy Simon, another BC Lion standout.
The stamp is part of an eight-piece set issued in August that features a color foreground image of one of the greats from each current team in the CFL, against a black-and-white background photo representing a key moment in the team's history.
Player selection is, naturally enough, Canadian oriented, though each of the featured players starred in the U.S. at the college level. Only one of those players ever played in the NFL, Michael "Pinball" Clemons, who was with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987.
Here's a list of the stamps in the Grey Cup series.
Geroy Simon (Maryland) British Columbia Lions
Tom Wilkinson (Wyoming) Edmonton Eskimos
"Thumper" Wayne Harris (Arkansas) Calgary Stampeders
George Reed (Washington State) Saskatchewan Roughriders
Ken Ploen (Iowa, 1957 Rose Bowl MVP) Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Danny McManus (Florida State) Hamilton Tiger Cats
Michael "Pinball" Clemons (William and Mary) Toronto Argonauts
Anthony Calvillo (Utah State) Alouettes de Montreal
There is also a stamp picturing the Grey Cup itself. Besides the individual stamps, which are designated as "Perpetual" first class postage, currently 61 cents within Canada, there is a line of team logo stamps, postcards, sets and stamp/coin sets that include a 25-cent coin with the team logo.
I looked over the Canada Post web site (http://www.canadapost.ca/shop/shop.jsf?execution=e1s1) briefly, but didn't quickly find information as to whether or how the stamps and gift items could be ordered directly from the U.S., but I'm sure there are lots of sellers on the internet offering the items.
Information on the many current offerings of Canadian coins with CFL or other sports themes can be found at http://www.mint.ca/store/buy/sports--entertainment_coins-cat210014 .