Buying Cards in the 1990s, Memory #3: The Wisconsin Dells Antique Mall

In August of 1997, my girlfriend (at the time) and I went on a spur-of-the-moment road trip to the Wisconsin Dells. For those who have never been there, “The Dells” is a touristy area about an hour or so north of Chicago that has tons of fun attractions like water parks, mini golf courses, go kart racing, boat tours, and indoor attractions too, such as the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum. Basically, good, cheap fun that 20-somethings could afford. One time, I even found some long-needed hockey goodness for my collection.  Continue reading “Buying Cards in the 1990s, Memory #3: The Wisconsin Dells Antique Mall”

Deja Vu Tuesday: Carter Hutton

For the first four years of his professional career, it looked like Carter Hutton was doomed to the minors. During a three-year span, Hutton was called-up from the minors and appeared as a backup for a handful of games; first for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009-10, then the San Jose Sharks in 2010-11 and then the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12. But Hutton never actually played in any of those games. 

The same seemed destined to happen in 2012-13, when the Blackhawks called up Hutton a few times during the lockout-shortened season to ride the pine. Finally, in their last regular season game of 2012-13, the Blackhawks started Hutton in his first NHL game — a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. After that, he grew into a dependable backup netminder; first for the Nashville Predators, and then last season for the Blues.

During two of his years in the minors,  Hutton had two trading cards that used the exact same photo — which was weird because they were cards for different teams. 

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Every 1991-92 Hockey Card Set Ranked

While a lot of hockey cards were made during the 1990-91 season, the 1991-92 season was like a movie sequel: bigger and bolder, with more of everything.

More cards? Check.

Larger sets? That too.

Extra inserts? You bet! 

The amount of sets made, and cards to collect, nearly doubled, with companies releasing two or three sets each in an attempt to cash in on the boom. Hockey card revenue from the 1991-92 season, generated from the brisk sales, spiked to $15 million and was even a major cause of the 1992 NHL Players’ Strike. 

That’s funny if you think about it, because hockey cards in the 1991-92 season were worth $15 million to the players and owners – money worth fighting over — and yet hockey cards from that year are practically worthless today. 

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t open up your collection a little bit to some of these “neo-vintage” (don’t call ’em “junk wax”) sets. Maybe you have room in your collection for one, or a few, of these — assuming you don’t have them already. So here is my ranking of every 1991-92 hockey card set. 

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Movie Review: Kings Ransom

August 9, 1988 was arguably the single most important day in hockey history. On that day, the biggest trade in professional sports took place when the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. Here, the best player in his sport was traded at the height of his career. Gretzky’s trade changed hockey forever. “Kings Ransom,” an ESPN documentary directed by Peter Berg, recounts that fateful day and the events that led up to it. 

Unfortunately, “Kings Ransom,” released in 2009, is not the documentary that I hoped for. It tries so hard to be dramatic and doesn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said. 

Continue reading “Movie Review: Kings Ransom”

My 2017 National Haul

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:

Continue reading “My 2017 National Haul”

Puck Junk Podcast #25 – August 3, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish

In this episode of the Puck Junk Podcast, Sal & Tim discuss the 38th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention, which was held in Chicago from July 26 to July 30, 2017. We talk about autographs, redemption programs, vintage hockey cards — even baseball cards! — and more. 

Podcast #25 is 50 minutes and 15 seconds. I counted. Twice. 

Follow Sal on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim on Twitter @TheRealDFG
Podcast intro music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard. 

10 Awesome Hockey Finds at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention

From Wednesday, July 26 to Sunday, July 30, the 38th annual National Sports Collectors Convention took place in Chicago. While baseball makes up the bulk of the trading cards, game-used gear and other memorabilia at The National, there are always some hockey gems to be found. 

This year was no exception. On my four-day journey at the NSCC (I skipped the last day), I found some diamonds in the rough. Most are out of the price range of all except the most hardcore — and deep-pocketed — collectors. Regardless, all were fun to look at, and would be cool to own. 

Here are the top 10 hockey finds at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention.

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10 Must-Own Blackhawks Rookie Cards

twitter1The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the NHL’s oldest team. A wealth of great players have donned the iconic sweater during the team’s 90-year history. Anyone who collects cards and considers themselves a ‘Hawks fan should really track down rookie cards of these 10 all-time great players. Some cost $1, others $10 and some well over $100, but if you get them all they will form the foundation of an impressive Blackhawks collection. Continue reading “10 Must-Own Blackhawks Rookie Cards”

A Guide to Attending the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago

[Photo by Sal Barry]
The National Sports Collectors Convention is returning to Chicago in one week. Held annually since 1980, The National is the largest sports collectibles convention in the world, with over 600 tables and more than 300 dealers selling sports cards, autographs, apparel, and anything else sports-related that you can think of. Fortunately, The National is five days long — starting on Wednesday, July 26 and lasting until Sunday, July 30 — so you don’t have to do everything in one day. 

If you plan on going to The National, here are some tips that will help you get the most out of the experience. 

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The Hockey Fans’ Guide to the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention

If you live in the United States, then you know how frustrating it can be to find hockey collectibles at your typical sports card show. In 10 days from now, The National Sports Collectors Convention — a.k.a. “The National” will return to Chicago, and it is anything but your typical card show. It is the largest sports collectibles convention in the world, taking place July 26 to July 30, 2017 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

The National probably won’t have as much “puck junk” as the Fall Expo or Spring Expo, since those shows are in Toronto and feature a hockey-centric lineup of autograph guests. Nonetheless, if you are a hockey collector, you can still get a lot out of The National. I’ve attended this show when it was in Chicago in 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2015, and always enjoyed myself and found a lot of great hockey items, despite the seemingly endless amount of non-hockey memorabilia.

So, here is my guide for hockey fans attending this year’s National. Seek, and ye shall find. 

Continue reading “The Hockey Fans’ Guide to the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention”