The Holy Grail of Hockey Cards

1990-91 Pro Set Stanley Cup Hologram

1990-91 Pro Set Stanley Cup HologramLast week, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings in game seven, winning the Stanley Cup – the third time the Penguins have won hockey’s “Holy Grail” since joining the NHL in 1967. Not long ago, I too acquired a holy grail – one for card collectors: 1990-91 Pro Set Stanley Cup hologram.

The Pro Set Stanley Cup hologram is one of the hardest “chase cards” to find from the early 1990s. Only 5,000 copies were produced and inserted into packs of Pro Set Series One hockey cards. As a kid, I tried in vain to get one of these holograms. Back in the day, I purchased over 500 packs of Series One, but never did get this card. In fact, I’ve never even seen one until eBay came around.

The front shows the Stanley Cup, photographed from a slight birds-eye view, with a diagonal horizon line in the background. The plane the card rests upon has diagonal lines, which contrast nicely with the horizontal bands around the Cup. Viewed in good light, it is quite a striking image. Etched into the card in the bottom, it reads “THE STANLEY CUP” in all capital letters. The etched letters detract from the aesthetic and it’s kind of hard to see anyway.

The card is hand-numbered on the back, in the lower right corner – mine is number 4506 of 5000. There is also a history of the Stanley Cup, which reads:


The Stanley Cup Is North America’s oldest and most prestigious professional sports championship trophy. Originally called the Dominion Challenge Trophy, it was first presented by Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston, the sixth Governor General of Canada, and later became known as the Stanley Cup. The trophy was crafted by an English silversmith for the 19th century equivalent of $48.50. The Winged Wheelers of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association were the Cup’s first winners in 1893. At first, names were inscribed on the bowl. When there was no more room, silver bands called “collars” were added. Among the Cup’s lore is the story of the Ottawa Silver Seven team members, who kicked it into the Rideau Canal during a championship celebration in the early 1900s. The Cup was retrieved and was safe, if a little dented, since the canal had frozen over. During the next decade, a Montreal team forgot the Cup in a local photo studio. The photographer’s mother used it as a flower pot until her son discovered it. The Stanley Cup was almost stolen from Chicago Stadium in 1962 by a Canadiens’ fan who said he was “taking it back to Montreal, where it belongs.” The Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup a record 23 times, 22 times since joining the NHL.

Call me Ishmael, ‘cuz those are some long, run on sentences. But that’s OK. Given Pro Set’s propensity for spelling mistakes in their inaugural hockey set, I’m surprised they didn’t call it “The Lombardi Trophy”.

1990-91 Pro Set Stanley Cup HologramScans of this card really don’t do it any justice – you can’t see all the beautiful colors – so I shot some video of it which you can check out below.

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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

9 thoughts on “The Holy Grail of Hockey Cards”

  1. If you don't mind me asking, how much did you pay for it? I have tons of ProSet and never got one. Someone I know did and was asking $500.00 back in the day. Too rich for my blood.

  2. I have wanted one of these since it was released. I now have one (3067/5000), in bad shape, but nonetheless, I have one and it is not for sale. It is next to my Art Ross RC in the pantheon. I know it books at $120 and for this bad copy, I can get exactly that and maybe more. They do not pop up for sale very often which is probably why the book value has remained stagnant.

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