Being patient (and stubborn) pays off

1974-75 OPC WHA #30 - Gerry CheeversThis past week has kept me away from updating my illustrious blog. I’m getting over a back injury I sustained a few weeks ago, have been fighting a cough/cold/sore throat AND I started a new teaching schedule for summer that puts me back on mornings again.

But enough of my whining. Yesterday, I added another one of my Holy Grails to my hockey card collection: The 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee World Hockey Association set.

Now I know this set is not that hard to find. The problem is, I don’t want to pay a lot for it. In fact, I don’t want to pay a lot for a lot of things. Wait long enough, and I always find what I want at a price I want to pay for it. I’ve managed to nab a complete 1985-86 Topps Hockey set for $50 and a complete 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee set for $180.I could list many other examples, but I don’t want to sound like Scrooge McDuck.

Maybe it’s patience, but it is also stubbornness. I could have had the 1974-75 OPC WHA set for $200 at a show last year. Somehow I got it stuck in my mind that I would find this set for under $100. Usually when I  look for a set, I get it in my fool head that I can find it for less than “low book value.”

I’ve been outbid on this particular WHA set numerous times. I always bow out when the price hits $100.

1974-75 OPC WHA #50 - Bobby HullThen late last week, I won this set in EXMT condition – missing 1 common – for $59.50, shipped. The common I needed cost me $4, shipped. So, for $63.50. I’ve had a set I’ve wanted since 1989.

This set has a lot of great cards: Bobby Hull, Frank Mahovolich, the Howe Family. But it was this card that first drew me to the set:

1974-75 OPC WHA #29 - Al HamiltonI first saw this card of Al Hamilton on the cover of a book about sports cards from the 1970s. My local library had this book, but it has since been discarded. I haven’t seen this book since I was a kid, but it was called something like Sports Cards or Collecting Sports Cards. It was written in the late 1970s–before the collecting boom– and had pictures of various sports cards on the cover, including this one.

Something about this card–really, the set–struck me as cool. It just felt, well…classy for a hockey card set. It uses a horizontal layout instead of the traditional vertical layout. It uses a portrait photo, doesn’t try to cram in 5 different logos and has a facsimile autograph.

I am psyched to have this set. I’d do a back flip if I knew how to do one (and if it wouldn’t re-injure my back). Twenty-three years, and I can finally put this one on the shelf.

Now, I have to find another set to obsess over.

Speaking of the World Hockey Association, you may remember my review of the 2010 WHA Hall of Fame set. Well, the price has been reduced from $20 to $9.95. Visit here to buy a set and help support an independent volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the history of this league.

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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

7 thoughts on “Being patient (and stubborn) pays off”

  1. Nice job Sal,

    It appears we buy with similar philosophies! That was a a pretty great deal on a pretty classic set. Your other two you mention are equally cool! Would love to see that 80-81 set sometime!

  2. great set and better price–I remember piecing this together and just needed the Jacques Plante—some customer at the card store had one and gave it to me–also, I don’t believe they all had a facsimile autograph—the Nedomansky for one—must be others

  3. Hey Sal I’m just trying to clarify that you got my email with my address for the Leafs card from the contest? Not trying to be a jerk, I just don’t know if you even got it.

    1. I got it. Sorry for the delay. I have a final few “consolation prizes” to send out. I’m planning a trip to the post office on Tuesday.

      1. No problem, I was just making sure because my email hasn’t been working properly lately and I wasn’t sure if you got it. Thanks.

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