Review: 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Super Photos

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #7 - Wayne Gretzky

Four times the size and almost twice the fun of regular hockey cards

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #5 - Lanny McDonaldBigger is better, or so they usually say. The O-Pee-Chee Super Photos set, released in 1981, features cards that are 5″ wide by 7″ tall – four times the size of a standard hockey card. Twenty four portrait-type photographs comprise the set. As cool as these jumbo cards are, the bland, almost blank backs, leave something to be desired.

Player selection  4 out of 5
When it comes to the players in this set, you can’t get much better than what’s offered here: Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Phil Esposito, Denis Potvin, Guy Lafluer and Lanny McDonald are just a few of the players in this set. In fact, 16 of the 24 players featured in this set are now in the Hall of Fame, making this a cool set to have as most of the cards are of amazing players.

Card design 2 out of 5
Not much to say here as far as “design” goes. These cards are pretty straight forward, as the fronts of each card feature a large player photograph. One reason that I like this set so much is because all the photos are in-game close-ups or portraits.

The only other elements on the fronts of the cards are a little yellow plaque type name plate at the top. These look kind of tacky – I would have preferred if there was no name or text on the fronts at all…especially since that information could easily have gone on the back. If you look closely at the ends of the yellow “plaques”, you can even see little “screws” that hold the “plaque” in place.

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #5 - Lanny McDonald (back)Stats & info  1 out of 5
The backs of the cards are sparse on information. While the front of each card has a nice photograph, the backs have a lot of empty space. The player’s name is reiterated, and their team and positioned is mentioned. About 1/3 of the card is filled up with a giant O-Pee-Chee logo, featuring three kids and the words “O PEE CHEE”. Is it just me, or does the kid on the left look like he “loves” that giant O a bit too much?

What I don’t get is, we have a large card that could potentially hold a lot of information, stats, whatever…and instead we get a giant O-Pee-Chee logo. Sorry if I’m not overwhelmed here.

Rating 4 out of 5If the card backs were more interesting, this set would be a 5 hands down. Nice portraits, great player selection, but lame backs. Despite that, this is very much a set worth picking up, as it features so many players who would end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

BONUS: Top 5 cards

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #7 - Wayne Gretzky7 – Wayne Gretzky – The most valuable card in the set, and yet I feel this card could be higher in value since it is from Gretz’s second year in the NHL. (view back)

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #8 - Marcel Dionne8 – Marcel Dionne – A good portrait of the leading scorer from the 1979-80 season. (view back)

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #12 - Mike Bossy12 – Mike Bossy – This is the second-most valuable card in the set. Plus, Mike Bossy was awesome during his short career. (view back)

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #14 - Phil Esposito14 – Phil Esposito – Esposito would retire halfway through the 1980-81 season, making this one of his last cards as an active player. But this photo is actually recycled from a few seasons ago, as O-Pee-Chee used this exact same photograph on Esposito’s 1978-79 card. (view back)

1980-81 OPC Super Photos #16 - Bobby Clarke16 – Bobby Clarke – With his curly locks and open-mouthed, toothless smile, this is classic Bobby Clarke right here. (view back)

24 card set
Card Size: 5″ wide x 7 tall
Click here to download a printable checklist


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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