Review: 1993-94 Donruss Ice Kings

Striking portraits of hockey immortals make this 90’s insert set memorable today

1993-94 Donruss Kings Ice Chris CheliosIn 1993, trading card manufacturer Donruss released its first set of hockey cards. Until then, the company had focused mainly on baseball cards. One of the coolest things about Donruss baseball cards was a yearly insert set called “Diamond Kings”, which featured paintings of the best players in Major League Baseball – usually one player per team. These paintings, by renowned sports artist Dick Perez, were the true highlight of the Donruss baseball card series.

Fortunately, Donruss commissioned Perez to do a series of 10 cards in their inaugural hockey set, known as “Ice Kings”. The set contained ten of the best players at that time. Of course, most of these players would be considered the best players of all time – including Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy. Featuring striking portraits, this insert set is a worthwhile addition to any hockey card collection. Continue reading “Review: 1993-94 Donruss Ice Kings”

Review: 2005-06 Upper Deck Ice

Fantastic design, great photography make for a worthwhile base set

2005-06 Upper Deck Ice #9 - Patrice BergeronThis day and age of short-printed rookie cards has led to a plethora of “base sets” that can be purchased “on the cheap”. Base sets have become a byproduct – almost an epidemic – in the hockey card collecting world.

Since collectors will buy multiple boxes in an attempt to get either all the short prints – or a lot of inserts – they usually end up with numerous base sets. Look on eBay, and you will see many people trying to sell you a “base set” with “no SPs” or “no RCs”. Many times, you can get these base sets for a bargain.

2005-06 Upper Deck Ice was a set that a lot of people went crazy over, because of ultra-limited rookie cards of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovehckin. Cards 101-268 were all short prints, many of them selling now for hundreds of dollars…or thousands, if it’s Crosby’s RC. Some RCs were limited to 2,999 copies, while others – such as Crosby – were limited to just 99 copies, making them among the hardest to find, and therefore most expensive, rookie cards in existence.

The first 100 cards, on the other hand, are not so desirable, since they were printed in much higher numbers. Cards 1-100 – known in price guides as the “base set” – is what is reviewed here. Continue reading “Review: 2005-06 Upper Deck Ice”

Review: 1986-87 Chicago Blackhawks team set

Nice portrait photographs make this set a winner

1986-87 Chicago Blackhawks - Denis SavardReleased during the 1986-87 season, this Chicago Blackhawks team-issued set was sponsored by Coca-Cola. Twenty-four close-up portraits comprise the set, making these cards ideal for both identifying players or for getting autographed. Continue reading “Review: 1986-87 Chicago Blackhawks team set”

Review: 1998-99 Panini Photocards

Bad photography makes this one forgettable set

1998-99 Panini Photocards - Patrick RoyThe 1998-99 Photocards set was an odd release for Panini. While the company usually focused on making sticker albums, this season they also made this set of “photo cards,” which were similar in size to postcards. Panini also issued a small hardcover album to store the photocards.

You would think that a larger-sized format set of cards would excel, but this one unfortunately does not. This set falters because of mediocre photography, bad cropping and color problems.  Continue reading “Review: 1998-99 Panini Photocards”

Review: 1968-1969 Post Marbles

Pre-expansion collectible is a must for serious collectors

1968-69 Post Marbles

At a glance:
– 1968-1969 Post Marbles
– 30 marbles  (3/4″diameter)
– 1 game board (30″ x 18″)
– Download Checklist

We all played with Marbles when we were kids. Recess was the best time. Heel a small hole in the hard packed school yard and delicately roll your beauties towards it. Now there were several types of games and depending on how good you were could also decide on what size “Crown Royal” bag you would be carrying. Crown Royal has a status all to its own and to marble collectors it meant a great looking tote bag. Kids love to collect things, although I suspect kids today may not know what a marble or alley is. Continue reading “Review: 1968-1969 Post Marbles”

Review: 1981-82 Topps Hockey

The set with a split personality.

1981-82 Topps #11 - Tony Esposito

At a glance:
– 1981-82 Topps Hockey
– 198 cards
— 66 nationally-distributed cards (1-66)
— 66 “East” cards (67-132)
— 66 “West” cards (67-132)
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download Checklist

Featuring a very cool design, the 1981-82 Topps Hockey set was an odd release. Topps’ gimmick from the previous season–the “scratch off puck” to reveal the player’s name–was mercifully not repeated. Instead, Topps resorted to a much different ploy–regional distribution. Continue reading “Review: 1981-82 Topps Hockey”

Review: 1988-89 Frito Lay Hockey Stickers

A “snack-sized” set.

1988-89 Frito Lay Stickers - Steve Yzerman

At a glance:
– 1988-89 Frito Lay Stickers
– 42 stickers (1 3/8″ wide x 1 3/4″ tall)
– 1 poster (30″ wide x 20″ tall)
Download Checklist

Quite the small set – both in set size and size of the stickers themselves. Each of these mini-stickers came wrapped in a clear cellophane wrapper, and were inserted in specially marked bags of Frito-Lay potato chips during the 1988-1989 season. These stickers are unnumbered, and all feature the same back-a removable backing with the NHL and NHLPA logos, as well as a copyright date of 1988. Continue reading “Review: 1988-89 Frito Lay Hockey Stickers”

Review: 2007-08 Victory Hockey

The first set of the 07-08 season leaves much to be desired

2007-08 Victory #144 - Marian Gaborik

At a glance:
– 2007-08 Victory
– 245-card set
— 200 base cards
— 45 short-printed rookie cards
– Insert Sets
— 6 card EA Sports Face-Off insert set
— 50 card Stars On Ice insert set
— 50 card Game Breakers insert set
— 42 card Victory Oversized Card set
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
– Download Checklist
– Review of 2007-08 Victory Update

Upper Deck really likes to jump the gun on hockey season, releasing this year’s Victory set near the end of August-more than a full month before hockey season begins. To many, Victory is a “why bother” set, and I can see why. The cards are relatively cheap (around a buck a pack), there are no memorabilia cards and-with all the free agent signings over the summer-a lot of cards are already “out of date”. Plus, you still have to mess with short printed rookie cards…and these RCs of guys who mainly appeared at the end of the season for a game or two. Continue reading “Review: 2007-08 Victory Hockey”