Eric Lindros Was Hockey’s First “Investible” Player with Collectors

Life came full circle for Eric Lindros when the Philadelphia Flyers retired 88 – his number for eight seasons in Philly – on January 18.

After more than a decade of icy feelings between him and the Flyers, he received the highest honor a team could bestow upon one of its former players. Lindros joins Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, Barry Ashbee, Bill Barber and Mark Howe as the only Flyers to have their numbers retired in the team’s 50-year history.

“This evening has given me a chance to reflect and remember special moments, special people, and of course you, the amazing fans that support the Flyers of Philadelphia,” Lindros said to the sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center, moments before his number was raised to the rafters.

Lindros was an offensively gifted physical player who was just as likely to bring fans to their feet by scoring as goal as he was by delivering a bone-crunching hit. Nicknamed “The Big E” for his 6’4”, 230 lb. frame, Lindros was the Flyers’ team captain for six seasons and was the most dominant forward in the NHL in the mid-to-late 1990s. He was also hockey’s first “investible” player; that is, the player that collectors and speculators would want cards of because of potential future value – much like Shaquille O’Neal was to basketball card collecting around the same time.

Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Review: 1993-94 Topps Team USA

After the modest, fourth-place finish of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Hockey team, and an increasing nostalgia for the 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” Topps issued cards of players from the 1994 U.S. National Team. Most of these players went on to play for Team USA at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and quite a few went on to have successful careers in the NHL afterward. 

At a glance:
– 1993-94 Topps Team USA inserts
– 23 cards
– Size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Download checklist

Team USA insert cards were found one in every 12 packs of 1993-94 Premier Series Two. If I remember correctly, Series Two came out around February of 1994, the same month the Olympics were taking place, so the timing was right. The set consists of 23 cards. Some of the more notable players in the set are Brian Rolston, Brad Marchant and Peter Laviolette. 

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Deja Vu Tuesday: Tony Esposito

Welcome to another sporadic installment of “Deja Vu Tuesday,” where we take a look at a hockey card and say “Hey, haven’t I seen that picture somewhere else?” Today, we will examine two hockey cards picturing Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposito. 

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Every 1991-92 Hockey Card Set Ranked

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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My 2017 National Haul

Truth be told, I’ve kind of outgrown the desire to recap the various cards and collectibles that I acquire at shows. Part of it seems like bragging (“Look how much money I spent!”) and part of it seems rather trivial (“Yep, I found that Ilya Bryzgalov rookie card in the quarter box!”). Plus, I’d rather write other articles, like making fun of a horrible hockey card, reviewing the best and worst hockey card sets ever made, re-imagining an old NHL draft, or interviewing a current or former player. 

However, in the last Puck Junk Podcast, I *did* say that I would show some of the items that I got at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention. So, as promised, here are the highlights of my 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention haul:

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Puck Junk Podcast #21 – Jan. 24, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish

Player not working? Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud.

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)

Note: We also talked about these four sets…

1995-96 Skybox Impact – Ice Quake (pictures)
1995-96 Pinnacle Summit – Mad Hatters (pictures)
1995-96 Fleer Ultra – Crease Crashers (pictures)
1995-96 Edge Ice – Livin’ Large (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. 

Puck Junk Podcast #18 – Oct. 18, 2016

…with Sal Barry and Tim Parish.

Player not working? Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud.

What a week for hockey collectors! In this episode, Sal and Tim (@TheRealDFG) discuss the new “Topps NHL Skate” digital trading card app, Connor McDavid’s exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck Authenticated and Jack Eichel’s arrangement with Leaf Trading Cards — and how collectors can get non-Leaf cards signed by him. Lots of awesome stuff here, so kick back, grab a beverage and hit that play button!

Total podcast time is 39 minutes 41 seconds.

Kickin’ theme music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

What do you think of the new Topps Skate digital trading card app? Or the Connor McDavid exclusive autograph deal with Upper Deck? Or with Leaf charging $75 to $125 for Jack Eichel to autograph your hockey cards? Leave a comment and let us know! ■

Review: 1984-85 Topps Hockey


After producing no hockey card sets during the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons, Topps hockey cards made a comeback in 1984-85. That year, the company released a small, 165-card set. Considering that Topps’ annual baseball set had 792 cards, while their football set had 396 cards, putting out a hockey set with only 165 cards was a very conservative approach. Between the small set size, the set’s relative overproduction and the maddening amount of single-printed cards, the 1984-85 Topps set is perhaps the most disappointing hockey set of the 1980s.

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Every 1990-91 Hockey Card Set Ranked


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.

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