Truth be told, I’ve kind of outgrown the desire to recap the various cards and collectibles that I acquire at shows. Part of it seems like bragging (“Look how much money I spent!”) and part of it seems rather trivial (“Yep, I found that Ilya Bryzgalov rookie card in the quarter box!”). Plus, I’d rather write other articles, like making fun of a horrible hockey card, reviewing the best and worst hockey card sets ever made, re-imagining an old NHL draft, or interviewing a current or former player.
However, in the last Puck Junk Podcast, I *did* say that I would show some of the items that I got at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention. So, as promised, here are the highlights of my 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention haul:
A Guy Lafleur Rookie Card
Man, oh man, I’ve wanted one of these for a long time. The card isn’t perfect, but the price was what I could afford, and this is one of the big cards in the 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee sets, which I am slowly building. Guy Lafleur was my Mom’s favorite hockey player back in the 1970s. She even kept a scrapbook about “The Flower,” which she gave me — along with a postcard autographed by Lafleur — back when I got into hockey. Two generations of my family were fans of Lafleur.
2 Unmarked ’72-73 OPC Checklists
I never break the bank on checklists, because they’re checklists. I can easily live with one that’s been marked up. But these were the two checklists I needed upgrades of for my 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee set build, and the price was right. I also picked up about two dozen other cards that I needed from this set, including cards of WHA players for $2 to $4 each. I’ve been leisurely working my way through this set since 2012, and am down to needing just 31 cards to finish this one off.
A Bunch of Cheap Complete Sets
I love complete sets. I love putting complete sets into pages. Give me some three-ring binders, a box of nine-pocket pages, several complete hockey card sets and six hours of Hockey Night in Canada, and I’m in heaven. I honestly have no desire whatsoever to build a complete 2001-02 O-Pee-Chee set, so getting a complete 330-card base set at less than a nickel per card ($15 for the set) is a no-brainer. I also picked up some other hockey, non-sport and (gasp!) even baseball card sets for cheap; most of these were between $2 and $5:
• 2012-13 In The Game Between the Pipes
• 2004-05 Pacific AHL Prospects
• 2003-04 SP Authentic Hockey (base set)
• 2000-01 Upper Deck Heroes of Hockey
• 1999-2000 Pacific Hockey
• 1998-99 Upper Deck Choice Hockey with blue StarQuest insert set
• 1995-96 Pinnacle Zenith Gifted Grinders insert set
• 1991 All-World CFL Football
• 1991 Topps Baseball
• 1991 Topps Desert Storm Series 1 & 2 with stickers
• 1990 Topps Big Baseball
• 1989 Topps Big Baseball
Finding those few tables with dirt-cheap sets when I go to The National has become a priority for me, and the enjoyment I get out of these sets will far outweigh the few bucks I spent on each one.
Two Starting Lineup Figures…
…at $2 each. Notice that the Gretzky figure still has a $15 price tag. My, how the mighty have fallen.
An Unopened Box of Pro Set MusiCards
My love for old Pro Set cards has extended beyond hockey. One dealer had a complete box of 1991 Pro Set MusiCards for $4. I will totally get $4 of enjoyment out of opening these packs and making fun of M.C. Hammer, Vanilla Ice and the other “stars” of 1991.
A Sooz Autographed Card
I stopped by the Topps booth to say hello to Susan Lulgjuraj, who was my editor at Beckett Hockey Magazine before she took a job with Topps. I gave her one of my Sal Barry Blades of Steel trading cards. She, in turn, gave me one of her “Topps Employees” cards that are found in packs of 2017 Allen & Ginther Baseball cards. I was so touched by the gesture.
More Autographed Cards
I got a few other autographed cards for $1 to $3 each, including Dale Hawerchuk ($3), Haley Wickenheiser ($3) and Scott Niedermayer ($2).
A Bunch of Single Cards
I did rummage through some quarter and dollar boxes, and found probably around 50 cards for my want list. I also met up with fellow bloggers Tim and Justin, who hooked me up with another 200+ singles that I needed.
You will notice a few things absent from this list.
First, I did not buy any packs or boxes of new hockey cards. I have decided to swear off buying new packs of cards for a year. I will still allow myself to buy cheap vintage cards, like the $4 Pro Set box above.
Also, I did not participate in any redemption programs. I would be OK with lifting my “ban” on buying new packs of cards this year for the redemption program. But instead of buying boxes of cards that I am lukewarm to — just to build a “show-only” set that is now easily found on Ebay for $10 or so, and maybe find an autographed card that I could also just buy outright if I really want it — I figured it would be better to put my money towards cards that I actually wanted, like a Guy Lafleur rookie card.
Did you go to the 2017 National? If so, what great treasures did you find? Leave a comment and let me know. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.