1983 History’s Greatest Olympians

In 1983, Walter Hill had a big idea. The 1984 Summer Olympics was set to take place in Los Angeles and baseball cards were experiencing a sharp rise in popularity. Hill and his company, Finder Image International, wanted to capitalize on the interest in both.

“I was pursuing an Olympic license for various products,” Hill said. “My friend at the Coca-Cola Company and I talked about trading cards, and I thought it was a good product, so we worked together to get a license from the Los Angeles Olympics Organizing Committee. Once the proposal was approved, we contracted Topps to manufacture the cards.”

With production help from Topps, Finder Image International issued a set of cards called “History’s Greatest Olympians” in 1983 and 1984. Actually, make that three sets.

One set, consisting of 99 cards, was sold in packs and as a boxed set. A variation of the set, using a different logo, was sold at 7-Eleven convenience stores. A third set, smaller in size at only 48 cards, was printed on packages of Coca-Cola products.

“History’s Greatest Olympians” reads like a who’s who of the quad-annual games from the 20th century: Cassius Clay, Jerry West, Jessie Owens, Jim Thorpe, George Foreman, Dorothy Hamill, Mike Eruzione and more. The back of each card gives a short story about that athlete’s feat of Olympic heroism. With the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in February, collectors might want to give “History’s Greatest Olympians” another look. The set has enough legends, variations and oddities to make for a challenging – but not impossible-to-complete – series to collect.

Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Box Break: 2017-18 Black Diamond Hockey

While watching the Super Bowl last night, I opened a box of 2017-18 Black Diamond Hockey. My attention wasn’t diverted for long, though, as a box of Black Diamond has only one pack. A few years back, Upper Deck changed Black Diamond from a mid-range set where you got numerous packs to a high-end set where you get one pack full of “hits.”

A box of 2017-18 Black Diamond Hockey sells for around $165 USD online. A box consists of one five-card pack of Black Diamond, and one “bonus pack” of 2017-18 Exquisite, which contains one card. So, that boils down to roughly $27.50 per card. 

Is it worth it? Let’s take a look and find out. 

Continue reading “Box Break: 2017-18 Black Diamond Hockey”

Box Break: 2017-18 Upper Deck Series 1

Ever since I started collecting hockey cards again in 2006, Upper Deck Series One and Series Two are the sets that I always look forward to. UD’s flagship hockey set, which as been around since 1990-91, has a great variety of veterans and rookies, is relatively affordable and always has excellent photography.

This year’s set is selling for about $73 USD online for a 24-pack hobby box. Each pack has eight cards. Upper Deck Series One was released in November 2017. I recently got a box, and finally got a time to post my break for your enjoyment. 

Continue reading “Box Break: 2017-18 Upper Deck Series 1”

1991-92 Pro Set Rink Rat Fan Club

Remember those little 10-cent off coupons that we got in packs of Pro Set Hockey cards during the 1991-92 season? That year, those discount cards advertised the “Rink Rat Fan Club.” Every pack of Pro Set Series One and Series Two had a special offer to “join the Rat Pack” for $3.95.

The full text reads as follows:

Join the Official NHL RINK RAT FAN CLUB
Join the Rat Pack today and be a part of terrific merchandise offers, Rink Rat club kit merchandise, and team updates. Rink Rats also have an opportunity to be a part of nationwide Rink Rat events and are eligible to win a trip to an opening night game! Sign up today!

The other side had the sign-up form. 

I will admit that back in the day, I had no desire to join the Rink Rat Fan Club. It sounded like something for a little kid, and not at all interesting to a teenage boy — even one like me who collected hockey cards. Not for a second did I consider joining it. 

Also, a few years prior I had joined the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Turtle Force Fan Club,” and still remembered how disappointing that was. It took over a year to get my TMNT fan club kit — and all it consisted of was a red bandanna and a cardboard membership card. 

So, it would not be for another 25 years or so that I would even wonder what “Rat Pack” members got for their $3.95. 

Fortunately, I was able to track down a complete Rink Rat Fan Club kit, which consisted of two separate mailings: one in the fall/winter of 1991 and the other around March of 1992. Note that these items got mixed up a bit between then and now, so I did my best here to put them in the order that fans received them, based on the copyright dates on the items, which version of the Pro Set logo the items use, and the enclosed letters from “Rink Rat.” I did make some assumptions based on that information, but if you know something I don’t, please chime in. 

Looking at this now, if I knew what $3.95 would have gotten me, I would have joined that Rink Rat Fan Club in a heartbeat. Surprisingly, club members got some pretty nice collectible items for four bucks. 

Continue reading “1991-92 Pro Set Rink Rat Fan Club”

Ten Offbeat Eric Lindros Hockey Cards

Eric Lindros will have his number 88 retired by the Philadelphia Flyers tonight in a pregame ceremony. He made the double-eight famous during his eight seasons with the Flyers. Lindros had a lot of hockey cards made during his career — many even before he even skated in an NHL game. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of his more offbeat cards. So, here are 10 Eric Lindros hockey cards that are strange, odd or just downright ridiculous. 

Continue reading “Ten Offbeat Eric Lindros Hockey Cards”

1973-74 L.A. Kings Autograph Sheet

Click to supersize.

Over 40 years ago, the Los Angeles King mailed a little love to their fans. The team sent out this page of facsimile autographs during the 1973-74 season. The standard letter-sized page was neatly typed out, autographed by 21 players in marker, photocopied, folded into thirds and mailed in a business-size envelope. At the top, it reads” BEST WISHES FROM THE LOS ANGELES KINGS.” 

The signatures on the page are as follows:   Continue reading “1973-74 L.A. Kings Autograph Sheet”

Career in Cards: Johnny Bower

Hockey lost another legend on Tuesday when Johnny Bower passed away at age 93. Bower was one of the greatest goalies during the NHL’s Original Six Era. He was also one of the greatest minor league netminders, too. Bower spent 12 years in the NHL and another 12 in the AHL, and didn’t retire until he was 45. Thus, he had accomplished careers in the best and second-best hockey leagues. 

Here we take a look back at the career of the “China Wall,” illustrated with his hockey cards. from the 1950s and 1960s.  Continue reading “Career in Cards: Johnny Bower”

Deja Vu Tuesday: Tony Esposito

Welcome to another sporadic installment of “Deja Vu Tuesday,” where we take a look at a hockey card and say “Hey, haven’t I seen that picture somewhere else?” Today, we will examine two hockey cards picturing Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposito. 

Continue reading “Deja Vu Tuesday: Tony Esposito”

1994-95 Action Packed Badge of Honour Promo Hockey Pins

Action Packed was a trading card company that pinned its hopes on four new sets of hockey collectibles scheduled to launch during the 1994-95 season. Unfortunately for the company, none of its odd memorabilia items saw the light of day, mainly due to the 1994 NHL Lockout. One of these ill-fated Action Packed items was a set of hockey lapel pins called Badge of Honour. 

Continue reading “1994-95 Action Packed Badge of Honour Promo Hockey Pins”