While a lot of hockey cards were made during the 1990-91 season, the 1991-92 season was like a movie sequel: bigger and bolder, with more of everything.
More cards? Check.
Larger sets? That too.
Extra inserts? You bet!
The amount of sets made, and cards to collect, nearly doubled, with companies releasing two or three sets each in an attempt to cash in on the boom. Hockey card revenue from the 1991-92 season, generated from the brisk sales, spiked to $15 million and was even a major cause of the 1992 NHL Players’ Strike.
That’s funny if you think about it, because hockey cards in the 1991-92 season were worth $15 million to the players and owners – money worth fighting over — and yet hockey cards from that year are practically worthless today.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t open up your collection a little bit to some of these “neo-vintage” (don’t call ’em “junk wax”) sets. Maybe you have room in your collection for one, or a few, of these — assuming you don’t have them already. So here is my ranking of every 1991-92 hockey card set.
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Perhaps the design was bad. Or maybe it had a stupid name. Or the idea behind it was just dumb. In this podcast, Tim (@therealdfg) and Sal talk about the the worst hockey card insert sets from the 1990s.
Podcast #21 is 51 minutes of hockey card nostalgia.
Here’s a list of every set we talk about, with links to card images.
1992-93 Pinnacle – Team 2000 (pictures)
1992-93 Parkhurst – Cherry Picks (pictures)
1993-94 Leaf – Painted Warriors (pictures & info)
1993-94 Pinnacle – Nifty Fifty (pictures)
1993-94 Fleer Ultra – Premier Pivots (pictures)
1993-94 Fleer Ultra – Speed Merchants (pictures)
1994-95 Be A Player (pictures) – no it isn’t an insert set. We know.
1994-95 Leaf – Crease Patrol (pictures)
1994-95 Leaf – Fire On Ice (pictures)
1994-95 OPC Premier – Special Effects (pictures)
1994-95 Parkhurst – You Crash the Game (pictures)
1994-95 Pinnacle – Boomers (pictures)
1994-95 Score – Check It (pictures)
1994-95 Stadium Club – Dynasty and Destiny (pictures)
1994-95 Topps Premier – The Go-to-Guy (pictures)
1995-96 Donruss – Igniters (pictures)
1995-96 Skybox Emotion – Ntense Power (pictures)
1995-96 Pinnacle – Roaring Twenties (pictures)
1995-96 Score – Border Battles (pictures)
1996-97 Be A Player – Biscuit In the Basket (pictures)
1996-97 Fleer NHL Picks- Jagged Edge (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf – Leather and Laces (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf – Shut Down (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf – Sweaters Away (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Limited – Bash the Boards (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Limited – Stubble (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Preferred – Masked Marauders (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Preferred – Vanity Plates (pictures)
1996-97 Topps Picks – Ice D (pictures)
1996-97 Fleer Ultra – Mr. Momentum (pictures)
1997-98 Donruss Elite – Back to the Future (pictures)
1997-98 Donruss Priority (pictures) – lots of dumb inserts in this set.
1997-98 Pacific Crown Collection – Card Supials (pictures)
1997-98 Pinnacle Inside – Stand Up Guys (pictures)
1997-98 Score – Net Worth (pictures)
1997-98 Upper Deck – Sixth Sense (pictures)
1997-98 Upper Deck – Smooth Grooves (pictures)
1998-99 Pacific Omega – Planet Ice (pictures)
1998-99 Pacific Revolution – Chalk Talk (pictures)
1999-00 PacificCrown Royale – Century 21 (pictures)
1999-00 Pacific Dynagon Ice – Checkmates (pictures)
1999-00 Pacific Revolution – Ornaments (pictures)
…but due to a recording glitch, we lost the part of the podcast where we discussed them. Stupid Skype! But you know we just loved making fun of talking about Ice Quake — which sounds like a member of the X-Men — and Livin’ Large, yo.
So, what insert sets from the 1990s did you dislike back then, or even today, because of the idea, design or name? Leave a comment and let us know. ■
Podcast intro music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.
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.
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.
You had to mail in $1.00 and wait six weeks.
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. ■
Twenty-five years ago, the hockey card market grew exponentially when three new companies — Upper Deck, Pro Set and Score — joined Topps and O-Pee-Chee, bringing the number of hockey card manufacturers to five. Not only that, but Topps issued a second set of cards, branded as Bowman, while O-Pee-Chee released a set called O-Pee-Chee Premier, giving collectors a total of seven hockey sets that season.
The year 1990 was clearly the start of the “hockey card boom.” No longer were hockey cards just the stuff of specialty shops; now every grocery, drug and convenience store carried hockey cards. Likewise, practically everyone saw hockey cards for their investment potential, hoarding cards of hot rookies as well as established players. The increased revenue even led to the NHL Player Strike of 1992. But overproduction, along with the decline of the market in 1992, led to 1990-91 sets plummeting in value.
Looking back a quarter-century later, it is easy to dismiss the entire 1990-91 season as “junk wax.” Yes, the companies printed tons of cards and flooded the market. Even 25 years later, you can find unopened boxes of 1990-91 cards for around $5 and complete sets for $10 or less. It is kind of sad that newer collectors can buy the cards from my childhood for less than what they actually cost during my childhood.
Just because those sets are “worthless” doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile to have in your collection…assuming, of course, that you don’t already have them. And maybe you don’t. Perhaps you are a newer collector, or maybe you didn’t bother with hockey cards in 1990-91. Today, you can pick up a hearty dose of nostalgia, history and rookie cards for less than what a blaster box costs.
That said, here is my ranking of every 1990-91 hockey set. Those of you over 30 can feel free to disagree.