1991-92 Topps & Bowman promo sheet

sheet_frontThis is a nine-card uncut sheet of cards, given to retailers to promote the 1991-92 Topps and Bowman hockey card sets. As you can see, it features nine of the greatest hockey players from the 1990s: Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque, Ed Belfour, Mark Messier, Pat Lafontaine, Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull. If you collect cards of any of these players, this is a very cool item to have in your collection.

The front of the sheet shows what the Topps and Bowman cards were going to look like when released later that year. Many of the photos used on these prototypes differ from the actual cards that were put in packs. But the back of the sheet is generic, stating the player’s name and that the card was a “pre-production” sample

sheet_backMost of the photos used on the pre-production samples vary in some way from the actual cards that were released in packs. Here is a rundown of those differences.

Wayne Gretzky: The prototype card (top) cuts off Gretzky’s skate and stick, while the real card (bottom) crops the photo differently.

proto_gretzky
Prototype card
real_gretzky
1991-92 Bowman card #176 – Wayne Gretzky

Ray Bourque: The prototype card of Bourque (top) shows more at the left, while the real card (bottom) cuts off most of Bourque’s sleeve number and centers his head in the frame.

Prototype card
Prototype card
1991-92 Bowman card #356 - Ray Bourque
1991-92 Bowman card #356 – Ray Bourque

Mark Messier: The photo used was adjusted slightly, with Messier being closer to the top border on the prototype card (top), and a bit further away from the top border on the real card (bottom).

messier_prototype
Prototype
messier_real
1991-92 Bowman card #114 – Mark Messier

Pat Lafontaine: The prototype card (top) is “zoomed out,” while the actual card (bottom) is more “zoomed in.” Lafontaine’s head is also moved down so that he does not overlap the border.

Prototype card
Prototype card
1991-92 Topps card #80 - Pat Lafontaine
1991-92 Topps card #80 – Pat Lafontaine

Steve Yzerman: The prototype card (top) uses an entirely different photo than the Bowman card of Yzerman that was issued in wax packs. The photo on the prototype card is more dynamic, yet awkwardly framed.

Prototype card
yzerman_real
1991-92 Bowman card #42 – Steve Yzerman

Brett Hull: The photo used is adjusted slightly, with Hull’s helmet overlapping the border on the real card (bottom).

Prototype
Prototype
1991-92 Topps card #303 - Brett Hull
1991-92 Topps card #303 – Brett Hull

Sure, both the 1991-92 Topps and 1991-92 Bowman Hockey sets were forgettable, but this prototype sheet is worth remembering because of all the great players it has.

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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