Review: 1997-98 Pinnacle

NOTE: Sheng Peng is another new author for Puck Junk. He is a Los Angeles Kings fan and has collected hockey cards since the 1990s. Here is his review of one of his favorite sets. And you can check out Sheng’s blog here.
– Sal

 1997-98 Pinnacle #93 - Curtis JosephIn the quest to put out product quickly and cheaply, sports cards manufacturers, like drug dealers, have consistently undervalued the power of quality.

Of course, it’s because they know the junkies will keep buying.

This doesn’t mean that the addicts have lost all discernment, however. Personally, I fiend for powerful sports photography in my cards.

Granted, investing in sports photography is not a moneymaking venture for card companies.

 1997-98 Pinnacle #171 - Kevin HatcherBut occasionally, those of us who appreciate a beautifully-photographed set are given a treat. From the first years of Upper Deck to Topps’s Stadium Club, and even now, with Upper Deck’s annual flagship release, we see cards that capture the grace of Sergei Fedorov gliding and the crunch of Rob Blake hitting and the explosion of 16,000 fans screaming.

Pinnacle, which debuted so ignominiously by having different sports share the same funereal design in 1991and 1992and 1993, finally chucked the black for sun dresses in their 1994-95 flagship release, continuing this theme until their last release in 1997-98 (before the brand’s recent revival by Panini).

1997-98 Pinnacle was one of my first boxes ever because of its affordability and stunning photography. I also pulled one of my first big pulls from it. But before we get to that, let’s spotlight a few of those wonderful pictures: Continue reading “Review: 1997-98 Pinnacle”

Review: 1988-89 ProCards AHL/IHL

A major league set of the minor league teams

1988-89 ProCards AHL/IHL - Mark RecchiIn 1988, a trading card company called ProCards issued a large minor league hockey card set. It consisted of teams from the American Hockey League (AHL) and the old International Hockey League (IHL). Many players who would go onto NHL careers appeared in this set–including Ed Belfour and Mark Recchi. Continue reading “Review: 1988-89 ProCards AHL/IHL”

2011-12 Hockey Cards: Year in Review

With the 2012-13 hockey card collecting season around the corner–actual hockey season pending–now is a good time to take a look back at some of the sets released during 2011-12.

Many online sellers like DA Card World and Blowout Cards have dropped the prices on boxes of 2011-12 hockey cards. Likewise, many eBay sellers will try to sell off their 2011-12 sets for bargain prices before collectors get too focused on buying the new cards. This makes for an advantageous time to go back and pick up anything you missed out on.

Below are 9 micro reviews of the various sets from the 2011-12 season. Continue reading “2011-12 Hockey Cards: Year in Review”

Review: 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

The set that was truly a “head” of its time

1984-85 OPC #67 - Steve YzermanPerfection. There is no other word to better describe the 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set. Hands down, it is the best hockey card set from the 1980s. It might even be the best hockey set made during the “O-Pee-Chee Era” (1968-1993). The ’84-85 O-Pee-Chee set achieves perfection because of its fantastic design, excellent photography and comprehensive player selection – not to mention that it includes the rookie cards of five future Hall of Fame players. Continue reading “Review: 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee Hockey”

Review: 2002-03 Fleer Throwbacks

91-card set “punches it” old school

2002-03 Fleer Throwbacks #62 - Ken Linseman

There are hockey card sets dedicated to goaltenders. There are hockey card sets dedicated to leading scorers. And then, there’s Fleer Throwbacks.

At a glance:
– 2002-03 Fleer Throwbacks
– 91 cards
– 1 “bonus” Bob Probert card
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download Checklist

The term “throwback” implies something that hearkens back to an earlier time period or age. The 2002-03 Fleer Throwbacks hockey set features 91 former players who aptly fit that description – men who were tough enough to play in any era. Most of the players in this set were known for their rough-and-tumble style of play, while others were just gritty. No, this isn’t merely an homage to “goons” or “enforcers” – though Fleer Throwbacks has plenty of those, too.

Continue reading “Review: 2002-03 Fleer Throwbacks”

Review: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Update

200-card factory serves as a nice addendum

2009-10 OPC Update #771 - Tyler MyersReleased in April 2010, the O-Pee-Chee Update Set featured 200 cards that extended the O-Pee-Chee set issued earlier in the 2009-10 hockey season. This was a smart move by Upper Deck, who currently leases the “O-Pee-Chee” brand name from Topps.

In 2009, Upper Deck released a 200-card Update Set for its 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee set, but in 5-card packs. Three out of 5 of the cards in the pack were parallels, making this a particularly hard set to piece together. Fortunately, Upper Deck did not repeat that mistake, and instead issued the 2009-10 Update as a pre-collated factory set. Continue reading “Review: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Update”

Review: 1979-80 Topps Hockey

An iconic set from an amazing year

1979-80 Topps #175 - Gordie Howe

1979-80 was an epic year for hockey for so many reasons. It was a changing of the guard, with Wayne Gretzky playing his first NHL season, and Gordie Howe playing in his last. It was also the first season after the NHL absorbed four WHA (World Hockey Association) teams. And it was a year that a team of Americans would pull off one of the biggest miracles on ice. But that’s another story.

Like the year it represents, the 1979-80 Topps set was a landmark release, and still remains popular among collectors today. Continue reading “Review: 1979-80 Topps Hockey”

Review: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee

A great shot that just misses the mark

2009-10 OPC #230 - Patrick Sharp (front)For the fourth year in a row, Upper Deck has leased the name “O-Pee-Chee” from Topps in order to brand a set of hockey cards. Overtly emblazoning the O-Pee-Chee logo and featuring Wayne Gretzky on the box and wrapper, the set is clearly meant to appeal to old school collectors who cut their card-collecting teeth during the 1970s and 1980s. And for the most part, it will. Comprising the set are 500 base cards, 50 short-printed Marquee Rookies and 50 short-printed Legends.

Continue reading “Review: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee”