1994-95 Upper Deck Hockey promo card

Upper Deck issued a promotional card of Wayne Gretzky to show what their upcoming 1994-95 Upper Deck Series One Hockey set would look like. The promo card is nearly identical to the card of Gretzky found in packs later that fall. However, there is one small difference that is quite obvious when you know what to look for. 

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1990-91 Score NHL Hockey Player List

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Unlike most of the other hockey sets from 1990-91, Score did not bother to put checklist cards in their hockey cards sets that year. However, collectors who wanted a complete list of the available cards could mail away for a page-sized (8 1/2″ by 11″) checklist. It is actually quite attractive, printed in red and blue ink and neatly lists the cards in six columns on a single side of a page. 

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The “1990 NHL Hockey Player List,” as it is called at the top, lists all 440 cards, including the different “American-only” and “Canadian-only” variants, as well as the five special Eric Lindros cards that were available only in the boxed sets. A key that runs along the bottom of the page deciphers the different subset cards, such as Record Setters (RS), Trophy Winners (T) and ’90 Prospects (P). 

The offer was advertised on packs of 1990-91 Score trading cards. 

1990-91 Score Hockey pack (Photo credit: @LindyRuffsTie)

 You had to mail in $1.00 and wait six weeks.

The back of the wrapper advertised the checklist offer. (Photo credit: @LindyRuffsTie)

 The full text reads: 

1990 SCORE NHL HOCKEY CHECKLIST
To order your complete 440 player card checklist, send a check or money order for $1.00 (U.S.) made payable to Major League Marketing along with your name and address on a 3″x5″ card and mail to: 1990 SCORE NHL Hockey List, Major League Marketing, 25 Ford Road, Westport, CT 06680. Connecticut residents add 8% sales tax. Promotion good while supplies last. Allow six weeks for shipment. 

If I recall correctly, the checklist was mailed in business-sized envelope. My checklist is folded in thirds horizontally, and would fit perfectly in a #10 envelope. (As a kid, I folded it a few more times so that it would fit in a box with cards.)

With companies putting their complete trading card checklists online, mailing away for a paper checklist today seems almost unthinkable; even more pointless than putting checklists in the packs of cards, like some companies still insist on doing.

But just imagine a world where you would write a letter to a card company, ask them for a paper checklist, and then they would mail one to you six weeks later. We used to live in that world. 

Did you send away for one of these 1990-91 Score Checklists back in the day? Did it help you keep track of your set? Did you actually mark it up? Leave a comment below. ■

Special thanks to @LindyRuffsTie for providing the Score pack images.

2015-16 Upper Deck Chicago Blackhawks Arena Giveaway Promo Cards

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Seven exclusive Chicago Blackhawks trading cards, made by Upper Deck, were given away at a Blackhawks game during the 2015-16 season. At a glance, these closely resemble the standard 2015-16 Upper Deck hockey cards found in packs of Upper Deck Series One and Series Two. However, upon closer examination there are several notable differences. Furthermore, some cards even use entirely different photographs, making for an odd, offbeat parallel for team or player collectors.

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1991-92 Pro Set St. Louis Blues Midwest Collectors Show Promo Cards

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Pro Set cards may have made the most overproduced hockey trading cards from the hockey card boom years, but if you look around hard enough, you will find a few rarities among the clutter. One example are these four St. Louis Blues cards, which were given away at the Midwest Sports Collectors Show. The convention took place on November 15-17, 1991 in downtown St. Louis, featured over 300 tables and had Blues’ star Adam Oates and baseball legend Mickey Mantle as autograph guests. Fans could also get these four exclusive Blues cards, made by Pro Set.

Although not particularly rare, they are enough of an oddball variant that a completest might want them. Also, the promo set features a Blues’ player that probably should not have been included.

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Pittsburgh Penguins “Man In Black” Promo Cards

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Back in the 1990s, many unlicensed hockey cards were made by those looking to quickly — and illegitimately — cash in on the booming sports trading card industry. Some of the more notable fake cards that circulated include a card of Wayne Gretzky as a member of the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers, and another that featured Eric Lindros, Sergei Fedorov and Ed Belfour.

Allegedly, a men’s clothing store called “Man In Black” put out a cheap-looking, six-card set that featured popular Pittsburgh Penguins players. While the Penguins in the 1990s were great, these cards of them are awful.

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CoaStars: A failed set of collectible hockey drink coasters

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Mark Messier will protect your surface from spills.

Trading card company Action Packed really wanted to make hockey cards in the mid-1990s, but they couldn’t get the license to do so from the NHL. At the time, the league was limiting how many companies were making NHL trading cards, so Action Packed did the next-best thing and attempted to launch four different lines of hockey collectibles — including a set of drink coasters called CoaStars.

Get it? They’re coasters…of stars? Star hockey players. Hello?  Continue reading “CoaStars: A failed set of collectible hockey drink coasters”

1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell Sheet

1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell SheetThis 8.5″ x 11″ sell sheet was used to solicit the “Limited 165 picture card series” of 1985-86 Topps Hockey to retailers. Unlike the sell sheet used in 1981-82, this one uses four colors (black, blue, red and light blue) instead of just red and blue. It also gave a sneak peek at a new feature for Topps in ’85-86. Continue reading “1985-86 Topps Hockey Sell Sheet”

1996-97 Donruss Elite Eric Lindros & Mario Lemieux uncirculated autograph

lindros_lemieuxThe shiny card you see here is from the 1996-97 Donruss Elite Hart to Hart insert set. I purchased it from a dealer recently. However, there is good reason to believe that this card may have “escaped” from the Donruss facility in 1997 and was never circulated in packs. Continue reading “1996-97 Donruss Elite Eric Lindros & Mario Lemieux uncirculated autograph”

1994-95 Action Packed Big Picture Collectible Promo Posters

packaging_frontFormer trading card company Action Packed had big plans to make hockey collectibles for the 1994-95 season. But those plans never unfolded. One odd set that was promoted in 1994 but never released was Big Picture, a series of 84 card-sized collectibles that unfolded to reveal a poster. Continue reading “1994-95 Action Packed Big Picture Collectible Promo Posters”