The History of Vintage Sports Images
Vintage Sports Images is a special place where art and sports collide. Current owner, Blair Peters, played sports all his life and then went on to a career in animation. The original owner, Eric Olsen, who appeared on Dragons’ Den on CBC Television, also played sports and was an avid collector.
One day, Eric was “asked politely” by his wife Andrea to get rid of his memorabilia that was stored in the home, to make room to raise their three young children. Eric decided to try his hand at online sales of the images and found his way to eBay and he did well. On the other side, he also became popular with people who wanted to get rid of their own sports negatives and slides. From there, the Vintage Sports Images library was born.
Eric and Blair were friends because their eldest daughters played fastpitch for the North Shore Stars, one a pitcher, one a catcher. Blair and Eric, being sports nostalgia fans, found much in common – including that they both had places on BC’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. At that point, Eric couldn’t say too much about Vintage Sports Images because he was scheduled to appear on Dragons’ Den in the fall of that year. Blair watched in anticipation and cheered on his pal at the Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club, where he, family and friends watched Eric sweat it out until three dragons made him an offer! The whooping and hollering could be heard up and down the Coast.
As often happens, the Dragons’ Den deal did not result in a final agreement. So Blair, who had recently sold his animation company Studio B Productions to DHX Media, proposed to Eric that they become partners.
The Vintage team includes print and web and graphic designers John and Roberta Ridd of Tophelf Creative in Gibsons, BC, Paul Holman of AHA Creative Strategies, who manages PR, Ken Dyck from Urban Pictures in West Vancouver scanning the negatives and slides, and printer/canvas magician Martin Mavko of Vancouver’s Rocket Repro. The rest of the Vancouver team includes Krischan Grohne as the IT whiz, Chris Mizzoni as our sports historian, Rachelle Lupton in social media and sales, and Blair’s wife Lisa Mervyn. Oh and Cal Ripken, our black lab who greets everyone at the door with a wag and an optimistic drop of the tennis ball at their feet.
Vintage Sports Images also actively engages the community of North Vancouver through a range of events at the gallery, partnering with companies like Hearthstone Brewery, MAN UP Grooming, and specialty hat purveyors The Nine O’Clock Gun Company.
Vintage Sports Images has donated prints to the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation’s Hope Centre for its Youth Mental Health Initiative, Hockey for the Homeless, Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Association, and various fastpitch teams. The plan is to continue to give back and foster community in North Vancouver as much as we can. We hope you will visit our gallery, and if you can’t, follow us here and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Whatever your tastes, if you are a sports fan, or you need a gift for a loved one, Vintage Sports Images is your one-stop shop for sports history happiness.
Blair Peters, Owner
The Vintage Sports Images Team