Hockey Card Gamble: A Seduction of Hits…and Misses!

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Hey, who out there likes to gamble? Maybe take a little trip to Vegas, or just a friendly card game between buddies? I don’t mind it from time to time, and now I’ve found a way to mix my love of inked cardboard and the thrill of laying it all on the line: case breaks!

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Every 1990-91 Hockey Card Set Ranked

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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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Upper Deck’s Chris Carlin Discusses the New e-Pack Hockey Cards

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Upper Deck made waves in the trading card industry last week, releasing a new digital trading card platform called e-Pack. Unlike other digital trading cards, e-Pack cards have physical counterparts. Well, the hits and inserts do anyway, while the base cards exist only in digital form. However, base cards can be upgraded for foil parallels, and these foil parallels, along with the hits, can be shipped to the collector, making e-Pack the first of its kind in the trading card world.

Chris Carlin, senior marketing and social media manager of Upper Deck, had a discussion with me about the new e-Pack platform, why collectors should be excited, while retailers shouldn’t be worried, and how e-Pack will succeed where others have not.

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Box Break: 2015-16 Black Diamond Hockey

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Upper Deck has upped their game with this year’s release of Black Diamond Hockey. Over the past decade, Black Diamond was one of those $100-per-box, impossible-to-complete sets that most collectors bought just for the hits. So, in 2015-16, Upper Deck has made Black Diamond all about the hits. Seems like an obvious idea, but it was a great idea, too.

This year, a box of Black Diamond contains only one five-card pack, plus a bonus pack of Exquisite Hockey. (Collectors can find packs of Exquisite Hockey in other sets released throughout 2015-16.) Of all the six cards, they are either an autograph, a jersey card and/or a card serial-numbered to 199 copies or less. But all those hits come with a price; a box of 2015-16 Black Diamond costs $250.

I recently busted a box of 2015-16 Black Diamond. Let’s see what treasures were found within.

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Box Break: 2015-16 Full Force Hockey

2015-16 Full Force Hockey Hobby Box

I was excited when I first saw the promotional images of Upper Deck Full Force, a new hockey card set for the 2015-16 season. From what I could tell, it seemed like a set that would have a very 1990s look and feel to it, with lots of fun inserts and/or subsets. Plus, the name “Full Force” just sounds like it would have been right at home with other 1990s sets such as “Metal Universe” and “Electric Ice.”

A hobby box of Full Force has 18 five-card packs and costs in the $65-$75 range online. Here is a breakdown of a box I recently got my hands on:

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Best of the Worst: 2015-16 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey

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Upper Deck Series One Hockey came out earlier this month, so it’s time once again to see which of these hot dogs come off looking like weenies — thanks to some intrepid hockey photographers and Upper Deck’s editors!

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Deja Vu Tuesday: Mike Gartner

2000-01_UD_Legends_GartnerWhenever a company makes a set of retired greats, the likelihood is high that a photo used on a card many years ago may find its way back on a card again. Take for instance this photograph of Mike Gartner on his 2000-01 Upper Deck Legends card. I knew I saw it on another card before. You just don’t forget a menacing, pissed-off glare like the one Gartner is giving here — even if it isn’t directed at you.

It turns out, I was right…from a certain point of view, as Obi-Wan Kenobi would say.

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Aaron Ekblad, Supersized!

ekblad_oversized_cardThis year, the NHL Draft was held in my home state of Florida, and I was lucky enough to be able to make the trip down to the BB&T Center in Sunrise to attend. On day two of the Draft, Upper Deck was sponsoring a free autograph signing with Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad. He went first overall in the 2014 draft, and at the time of the 2015 draft was only days removed from claiming the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. So the fact that he was scheduled to sign autographs — and sign them at no cost — was a pretty big deal to me.

After getting in line and waiting a few minutes, the Upper Deck staff, as well as arena staff, came over to the line and informed us that Ekblad would only be signing a card provided by Upper Deck, Continue reading “Aaron Ekblad, Supersized!”