Best $2 purchase ever!

I was thumbing through a binder full of miscellaneous hockey cards at the local card shop, and came across this beauty:

1974-75 O-Pee-Chee The HowesThe owner of the shop told me I could have it for two bucks. I informed him that this card was worth significantly more–even though the edges are a bit rough–but he said that I’m a good customer so he didn’t want much for it.

This card is very cool. It is from the 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA set, and depicts Hall of Famer Gordie Howe along with his two sons Mark and Marty. This was Gordie’s first card in three years–his last being in the 1971-72 sets. But this card also serves as a rookie card for both Marty and Mark–the latter who would go on to play 22 seasons of pro hockey (six in the WHA followed by 16 in the NHL).

The card is not perfect. The edges have those typical OPC rough edges, and there seems to be a bit of a blemish to the right of Marty’s head. Nonetheless, for two bucks I ain’t complaining. It might be the best $2 hockey card purchase I ever made.

New acquisitions

A few weeks back, I attended the National Sports Card Convention, which was held right outside of Chicago. I was hoping to find at least one moderately-priced card from the 1963-64 Parkhurst set.

But that did not happen. Sometimes you find what you seek, and sometimes you don’t. I think that, after nearly 20 years of hockey card collecting, the key is to be open to deals that you are not necessarily looking for. So, while I did not get any cards from that landmark set, I still made an interesting purchase, acquiring three pricey cards and two oddball items.

Did I get a good deal? Take a look and judge for yourself…

Item #1 – Bobby Orr comic

This was an insert in the 1971-72 Topps set–and coincidentally, the last of the mini comic I needed to complete the 24-book set. The last two pages have a crease on the corner (a bit “dog-eared”), but there is hardly any yellowing and the colors are still bright.

Item #2 – Marcel Dionne rookie card

I absolutely love the design of the 1971-72 sets. Since I already have the entire Topps series from that year, I decided to turn my attention to the larger O-Pee-Chee issue. Dionne was a hell of a player, and is one of the pricer cards in this set. This card is not perfect–it has soft corners at the bottom and two very light creases…so light, that I did not even notice at time of purchase.

Item #3 – 1972-73 OPC Checklist #334

The ’72-73 OPC set intrigues me because it uses many different photos than those used on the ’72-73 Topps cards. Plus, there are cards of players from the World Hockey Association. This is the most expensive checklist in the set–even more so because this is the error card variation. Card #334 was printed twice–earlier incarnations list cards 335 to 341 as “More W.H.A. Hockey Stars”, while the card printed later corrected this, listing the actual names of the players.

Here’s a close-up of the back:

This checklist is unmarked, and surprisingly in good condition, with relatively sharp corners and decent centering.

Item #4 – 1980 Kelloggs’s Olympic Stick’r Cards Team USA

A neat little find, this undersized card is also a sticker. I didn’t know the likelihood of finding one of these again, so I snapped it up. I have written about this card here.

Item #5 – 1994 World Cup Soccer Wayne Gretzky

This was from an insert set in the 1994 Upper Deck World Cup Soccer set. Apparently, Gretzky was one of several “Honorary Captains”. I think the Charlton Guide lists this at $20, but I could be mistaken.

So, what did I pay for all of this hockey goodness? The dealer sold all five of these cards to me for $60 USD. I feel I got a pretty sweet deal.

But what do you think? Did I do good? Or were the old cards too low-grade for your tastes?

2008 Blackhawks Convention – Day Three

The Show
Due to a slower-than-usual CTA train, Shellie and I did not arrive at the Blackhawks Convention on Sunday until 9:45 am. The first thing we did was head for the autograph room. I was hoping to get Dustin Byfuglien’s autograph, but he did not show up at his scheduled 9:00 am time. I guess Big Buff and the boys had a hell of a time the night before, as seemed to be the popular story/guess. Continue reading “2008 Blackhawks Convention – Day Three”

Blackhawks Convention – Day One

Today was the first day of the first-ever (and hopefully annual) Chicago Blackhawks Convention. So far, I am having mixed feelings about this event. It has been a lot of fun, but overall it has been very disorganized.

Here is a recap of what I did on the first day of this event. Continue reading “Blackhawks Convention – Day One”

1963-64 Parkhurst #2 – Don Simmons

I have acquired another card from the almighty 1963-64 Parkhurst Hockey Set. This one is of Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Don Simmons.

1963-64 Parkhurst Don SimmonsThis card is in significantly better condition than the Gordie Howe card I purchased to start my set. But this card is not without flaws: it has some light creases, as well as a “dinged” upper-right corner. But for $6, I’m not complaining.

What I find interesting about this card is the “old” Canadian flag–basically a British “Union Jack” with some extra red. Aesthetically, this works well as a backdrop, as the red on this flag offsets the abundance of blue of the Maple Leafs uniform.

Two down, 97 to go…

Building the set of my dreams…

I’ve always wanted a complete set of 1963-64 Parkhurst hockey cards. Since a set is very expensive, I figured I’d try and build a set one card at a time. I decided to start at the top and work my way down…

1963-64 Parkhurst Gordie HoweGordie Howe is the most expensive single in the set. This one is not in great shape. It is yellowed and there is a crease across Howe’s face. There is a pin hole right above his head which has since been filled in with blue ballpoint pen.

And yet, I don’t care. Since I don’t have $400 for an EXMT Howe card, I figured that $40 for this one–despite its poor condition–would be well worth it. Even if I get all 99 cards in comparable condition, I would be ecstatic.

One down, 98 to go…

A ton of Young Guns

This week, I picked up a bunch of Upper Deck Young Guns rookie cards from various years.


I *finally* got a Patrick Kane Young Guns card! I hope to get another one for my collection soon. I hate paying more than $10 for a “new” card, but I had to have this one (I paid a *lot* more than $10 for it, that’s for sure).

I also purchased a large lot of Young Guns from various seasons. Below are some of my favorites…


Atlanta Thrashers prospect Ondrej Pavelec has done well in the AHL this season with the Chicago Wolves, my other hometown team.


Brett Sterling has been tearing things up for the Chicago Wolves for the past two seasons.


Dustin Byfuglien has become one of my favorite Chicago Blackhawks players. He’s normally a defenseman, but has been kicking butt as a forward.


Adam Burish led the team in penalties this past season, and is one of the unsung heroes on the Blackhawks.


This Patrick O’Sullivan rookie card brings me closer to completing my 2006-07 Upper Deck set.


Same goes with this Niklas Backstrom RC. Three more Young Guns, and I’ll have the whole 2006-07 Upper Deck hockey set.


Ryan Kesler was fourth on the Canucks in scoring, right behind team captain Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins. His career seems to be on the upswing.


Alas, poor Tuomo Ruutu. I get your rookie card after you got traded to the Carolina Hurricanes.


Technically, this Tyler Arnason Young Guns card was not his
rookie card.


I like the look of this Jordan Leopold rookie card, with the full body shot in the foreground, and the close up ghosted in the background.


Pavel Datsyuk is an awesome player. Too bad this Young Guns rookie card has a slight “ding” on the top edge. Still cool to own, though.


Kristian Huselius was second on team scoring for the Calgary Flames this past season. Why exactly did the Florida Panthers trade him?


Third overall in scoring for Carolina this year, this Erik Cole rookie card has a Beckett value of $10. Who knew?

Stick it!


Recently, I completed my 1990-91 Panini hockey sticker set.
For some reason, I never got around to getting the last two I needed, Patrick Roy and Andy Moog, until now.

I used to buy Panini stickers diligently “back in the day”. They were easy to find, as most drug, convenience and grocery stores carried them. They were also very affordable; a pack of six stickers cost about a quarter or thirty cents. Finally, the sticker sets were larger than most hockey card sets–and all teams got “equal treatment”. Meaning, if there were 16 Blackhawks stickers, then there were 16 Nordiques stickers–and 16 stickers for every other team too.

I think I learned more about hockey during my first few years of fandom by collecting stickers–a lot of players were featured, and many times other aspects of the game (rules, signals, all-stars, stadiums, uniforms) were covered.

For these reasons, the Panini sticker albums were always a treat to collect. You could even trade with (or buy from) Panini the few stickers you needed to finish your set. I’m not sure why I didn’t just pick these two up for ten cents each back then. I probably forgot all about needing these two when the 1991-92 set came out.

This week, I plan on adding several articles about hockey stickers. Check back every day this week, as I have three sticker-related articles in the queue, ready for your enjoyment. First up is an article about where my hockey memorabilia collecting all began.

Hockey card haul

This past Saturday, I went to the twice-yearly Chicago Sun-Times Sports Collectors Convention. The show is held in March and November. Back in November, I purchased the one card I needed to complete my 1970-71 Topps Hockey Set. This time around, I had similar luck. Here’s some of the cards I picked up:


This 1969-70 Topps checklist is unmarked, and completes my set.


1969-70 Henri Richard – this was an upgrade, as the one I already have has a bad wax stain on the front. Now, my set is EX/NrMt overall.


I purchased this 1953-54 Parkhurst Leonard “Red” Kelly card for $10. I thought that seemed steep at first, since the card has three major creases. But then I remembered that this card is 55 years old! Suddenly, ten bucks didn’t seem like much for it.


That said, $15 for a 1951-52 Parkhurst Gus Bodnar card seemed like a pretty sweet deal, even though it is creased across the front.


I plan on getting this 1978-79 Topps Dale Tallon card signed at the upcoming Chicago Blackhawks convention in July.


Likewise, I will send this 1976-77 Topps card to Fred Stanfield to get autographed–I have had success with him in the past

Other highlights include:

  • Several Chris Chelios cards (I try and collect all of his cards)
  • A complete set of 1996-97 Leaf Hockey for $8
  • 1990-91 OHL complete set, 1990-91 WHL complete set and 1990-91 QMJHL complete set –all three for $10
  • Mario Lemieux “Bun Candy” 3-card set for $3
  • A Penguins puck–with the oldschool “scarf” logo–for $5
  • Numerous 2006-07 O-Pee-Chee inserts for 50 cents to a buck each.
  • Signed photos of Pat Lafontaine, Jari Kurri, Brian Hayward, Rick Tocchet and Bernie Parent–all for $5 each! (links are to scans)When I went to this show, I was just so in the zone. I was on my feet for seven hours straight–I did not break for lunch, nor did I have to use the restroom. I was thorough and methodical in my perusing of the dealer tables. I think I did pretty good, too. Some of the stuff I bought was impulse buys, like 3 issues of the old “Legends” magazine for $5 total, or the autographed photos. I set out to complete my 69-70 set and pick up a few “old as dirt” 1950s cards. I accomplished both of those goals, and got some other cool stuff too.

    Now, I just gotta sit down and put everything away…