Deja Vu Tuesday: Felix Potvin

1991-92 Upper Deck #460 - Felix PotvinThis is one of my all-time favorite hockey card photographs. On the front of his 1991-92 Upper Deck “Star Rookies” card, Felix Potvin is shown hoisting the trophy he won as the MVP of the 1991 QMJHL playoffs. Everything about this photo is excellent, from the elated look on Potvin’s face as he proudly hoists the trophy, to the crowd of cheering people who have flooded onto the ice behind him.This picture successfully captures a moment in time.

It also succeeds in explaining why Potvin is a “Star Rookie” without saying a word. We don’t even need to read the text on the back of the card. Using this picture was a great choice by Upper Deck, and says more about Potvin than a staid draft day photo or a shot from Maple Leafs’ training camp. But Upper Deck wasn’t the first company to use this picture on a hockey card.

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1993 Action Packed Holiday Card

This holiday card was sent to shop owners in 1993. [Click to see larger]

This holiday card was sent to shop owners in 1993. [Click to see larger]

All right, the holiday season is still a ways off, but I couldn’t wait until December to show you this awesome, oddball item I recently acquired. Sharp-eyed collectors will recognize the Bobby Hull card above as a promo for Action Packed’s ill-fated 1994-95 Hockey Hall of Fame set, which was advertised but never produced.

But what really drew me to this is what the card came with: a holiday card! How about that? A holiday card that included a promo card. But this was the early 1990s, so putting a promo card inside of a Christmas card was just as good as putting a wrinkled $20 bill inside. Of course, looking back I’d rather have the $20. The Hull card can be found easily for around $5.

In 1993, Action Packed sent this to card shop owners. The holiday card measures 5″ x 7″ and included the Hull promo, which can be removed. It is the same Hull promo card that was given out in gold-foil promo packs.

At the bottom, the card greeting card reads “Happy Holidays from everyone at Action Packed.” To the right of the Hull card is two lists of Action Packed employees, noting 13 of them as “Naughty” and the other 13 as “Nice.”

Also notice the small tear in the holiday card, right above the Hull card. I asked the dealer who originally owned this if he tried to remove the Hull card. He informed me that he did not remove the Hull card, and that his holiday card came with the small tear already in it. An Action Packed employees may have torn the greeting card while trying to slide the Hull card in — it was probably one of the naughty employees.

Vintage Puck Haul

group_of_pucksI am not really a collector of pucks, even though you think I was, considering that this blog is called Puck Junk. Pucks are an iconic and necessary part of hockey. But pucks are also hard to collect. They are heavy and take up a lot of space. Numerous pucks are made each season — not just counting one for each team, but all the commemorative, outdoor games, all-star game and other “one-offs.” And really old, or really unique pucks can go for hundreds of dollars. So I usually steer clear of pucks and stick to cards, which I enjoy so much more anyway. However, I recently gave in and added a few pucks to my hockey collection.

I was at my local card shop and saw a box marked “Pucks $3 Each.” Continue reading

Book Review: Got ‘Em, Got ‘Em, Need ‘Em

cover_got_emCompiling a list of the top 100 sports trading cards is a harder job than it sounds. Sure, you have the obvious choices, like the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, the 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan, the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky and — for those with really deep pockets — the T206 Honus Wagner.

But what comes next? In “Got ‘Em, Got ‘Em, Need ‘Em,” co-authors Stephen Laroche and Jon Waldman take on the unenviable task of listing the top 100 cards of all time. The duo does not focus solely on high-value cards. Instead, they select cards that have transcended the boundaries of their sport or that have made a historical impact on card collecting. It is a fascinating book that every collector should read.

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Thank You, Elmer Lach

lach_autoElmer Lach, a former Montreal Canadien and an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, died on Saturday at the age of 97. He was the oldest living former member of the Les Habitants at the time of his passing. Lach played in the NHL from 1940 to 1954, and was the center of the “Punch Line” with Maurice Richard and Toe Blake on his wings. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966, and had his jersey number, 16, retired by the Habs in 2009. Despite all these accolades, Lach remained humble and fan-friendly, and always signed autographs for anyone who wrote to him. Continue reading

Custom Cards: Kent Simpson

simpson_ygKent Simpson got lost in the shuffle. He played 20 minutes of one game for the Chicago Blackhawks on December 14, 2013 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Had he done this a season or two prior, he would have had tons of rookie cards. But his 20 minutes of fame was halfway through the so-called “Double Rookie Class” year, where card companies could include any rookie from 2012-13 or 2013-14 in their sets for 2013-14. Thus, Simpson had a few high-end RCs in two year-end Panini products, while Upper Deck ignored him entirely. So I decided to fix that and create a few custom Kent Simpson rookie cards. Continue reading

Book Review: He Shoots, He Saves

coverI had high hopes when reading “He Shoots, He Saves: The Story of Hockey’s Collectible Treasures.” It isn’t every day that a book about hockey collectibles comes along. Plus, the book is written by Jon Waldman, who co-authored the excellent sports trading card book “Got ‘Em, Got ‘Em, Need ‘Em,” and is a regular writer for “Beckett Hockey Magazine.” Even better, Waldman got this book published without making it your typical price guide that slavishly informs us what every scrap of paper, ink or fabric is supposedly “worth.” That’s great, because while price guides may give values, they don’t tell the whole story.

Unfortunately, with heavy heart I must confess that “He Shoots, He Saves” did not meet my high hopes. Although well written, too much of the book talks about the teams and players, while very little actually talks about the collectibles. Continue reading

Review: 2014-15 Chicago Wolves Hero Cards

rattieThe past several years, the Chicago Wolves have offered “Hero Cards” at their games — both as a giveaways and available for purchase at the concession stands. The oversized cards measure a little less than 8.5″ wide by 11″ tall and feature some of the most popular players on the team. Putting together a set of these is challenging, since they are usually issued one at a time. Their large size makes getting them home in good shape another problem. Continue reading