When sports card collecting became huge in the 1980s and 1990s, many comic book stores tried to get in on the action. Often, it was just a few wax boxes and display cases with singles to cash in on the trend without investing too much into it. But at the end of the day, most comic book dealers knew Wolverine better than they knew Wayne Gretzky. Sometimes, you could take advantage of that.
It was late 1990 or early 1991. I was 15 and playing house league hockey at McFetridge Ice Arena in Chicago. My Aunt was taking me to one of my games, and I asked if we could stop at Variety Comics, which was near the rink. Although I ceased buying comic books a few years back, I still wanted to check the place out. My Aunt agreed.
As soon as I walked into the store, I noticed a glass display case with cards — including hockey cards! This gem was sitting front and center, priced at $1.25.
Yes, a 1990-91 Upper Deck Jaromir Jagr rookie card. This was a solid $5 card at the time, but tagged at 1/4 of the price guide value. If the comic shop had the latest issue of “Beckett Hockey” lying around, no doubt this card would have been priced much higher than $1.25.
Of course, I snapped the card up in a heartbeat, even though I probably had two or three of them already. This was a steal, after all.
A few years later, all cards from 1990-91 plummeted in value. Today, a Jaromir Jagr Upper Deck RC can be found in quarter boxes at card shows. Every time I see one, I chuckle and remember my “steal” from 1990. ■