Have You Ever Collected Ironically?

Every collector has at least one card in their collection that they own more than one copy of. Maybe it’s an extra or three of their favorite player’s rookie card, or duplicates of their hometown team’s players. Personally, I have nine Mario Lemieux rookie cards and more Jeremy Roenick rookie cards than I will ever admit to owning. Heck, I even had an expensive obsession with nabbing as many Pro Set Stanley Cup Hologram cards that I could get my mitts on. All of those cards were purchased because I genuinely liked them. 

But over the years, I’ve collected multiple copies of one card — 2010-11 Artifacts #49 Rene Bourque Emerald Parallel — purely for ironic reasons. 

It all started in the 2010-11 season. I used to visit a card shop in my neighborhood on a regular basis. One day, the owner handed me a stack of cards from the 2010-11 Artifacts Hockey set.

“Some guy bought a box of Artifacts, took all the hits, and left the base cards behind,” he explained to me. “You can have all of these cards for $2.”

Well, the guy didn’t take all of the hits; he left behind this mighty fine Rene Bourque parallel, numbered 30/50 and embossed with green foil instead of gold. Either way, $2 for a bunch of cards from a set I was building was a deal. So I snapped them up; even the useless parallel. 

About a week or so later, the same thing happened. Someone bought a box of 2010-11 Artifacts, took what he wanted, and left the rest behind. Again, the dealer offered me the stack for $2, and again I purchased it. I did not realize that there was a second copy of the Rene Bourque Emerald parallel card — this one numbered 29/50 — in the stack. 

Well, eventually I ended up a third copy of the card. I don’t remember exactly how. I purchased it from the same dealer, probably under similar circumstances as the last two times. But I also remember the Bourque parallel being in a toploader this time, picking it up, looking at it, and saying “Hmmm. Poor Rene. I’ll give him a home.” Not out loud, of course. 

(And yes, it is possible to get similar or the same inserts in boxes from the same shop. I used to buy a lot of boxes from DA Card World — located in Buffalo — and would always pull Sabres inserts, parallels and autographs. I have no idea why boxes of Artifacts sold in a Chicago store kept landing this Rene Bourque card). 

When I finally sorted all the Artifacts cards I bought, I realized that I had unwittingly purchased three copies of this Rene Bourque card.

So over the next seven years, I made a conscious effort to buy every copy of this card that I could find, purely out of irony. The very existence of this card in of itself is ironic: it’s a serial-numbered copy of a useless parallel of a forgettable player. Yes, Bourque was on the 2018 “NHL-Free” Canadian Olympic Team that recently won a bronze medal; but otherwise, you probably have no idea if or where he is currently playing. (Also somewhat ironic is that I bought six boxes of 2010-11 Artifacts Hockey and did not pull one copy of this card; probably because I really wanted to.) 

I now have seven eight copies of this card. The serial numbers are:

• 02 / 50 
• 10 / 50
• 16 / 50
• 24 / 50
• 29 / 50
• 30 / 50
• 36 / 50
• 39 / 50

Just two more and I’ll have a full page!

That means I own 14% 16% of the total print run of this card. I will probably never get all 50 copies, as there are probably a few Calgary Flames and/or Rene Bourque fans (wife? mom?) who have this card and won’t give it up it. Maybe one day, I will corner the market on 2010-11 Artifacts Rene Bourque Emerald Parallel. Hey, it’s good to have collecting goals, even if they are silly. It’s supposed to be a fun hobby after all. 

So now I ask you, dear readers: have you ever collected a card, from any sport, for ironic reasons? Maybe it was a bad card of a great player, or a great card of a bad player, or just something downright ridiculous. I can’t be the only one who does this, can I? Leave a comment and give me some reassurance. 

Oh, and if you have this card, I’ll buy it off of you. Seriously. 

UPDATE: I added an 8th copy of this card to my collection on 8/15/2018. ■

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk


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

10 thoughts on “Have You Ever Collected Ironically?”

  1. Nice!!! I think I did at one point chase such pursuits but I honestly don’t even remember anymore. I have loads of early 90’s rookies of course but probably none that can match your Roenick count.

    The Hologram card is amazing, but based on recent sales figures I am curious if you are still actively adding? I saw a couple sell for $400+ on ebay for non-mint ones.

  2. Ironic? You mean like that song:

    The Beatles White Album were numbered for a while on the front cover. 1-4 went to the members of the bands, #5 went to their manager, 6-29 went to other people who were close the group and or worked on it. 30 and up went into general circulation, and while they’re all the same, the lower numbers fetch a little higher price on the resale market. Of course if you can get any of the first 29….

    I guess the only thing I have multiple copies of is Jose Canseco’s rookie card. When I was digging out any cards of value from my father’s collection, he had 5 of these which I though was funny so I kept them. And an OJ Simpson card.

  3. I’d rather collect the rainbow of a certain card with all the ridiculous parallels etc. before I’d try to get all of a serial numbered run. It would be basically impossible unless no one else liked the player or the team. You would be taking away the possibility of any other collector completing their player collection or team set. It infuriates me that some dealer hoarded all the 1966 Grant Jackson rookies for no apparent reason just to be able to grade them and jack the prices up.

    1. Well, I would never deny someone one of these Bourque cards if they needed one for their player collection, or if they were building the whole parallel set, etc. I collect to have fun, but never at the expense of someone else’s fun, if that makes sense.

  4. Nice

    Well the only thing that I can say comes close is my Steven Stamkos Spring 2012 National Expo (Toronto) cards. The set is out of 10 and I have 7 of the 10 cards. My gf was with me at the show and we did the box break. She of course pulls a Stamkos card out to the excitement of the staff. We snap a quick picture (which ended up on the Upper Deck blog) and move on. As we leave, someone else who pulled a Stammer card approaches and asks if I want to purchase his for $70. I of course jump on it.
    A few days later on home, I notice another comes up for sale which I purchase. At this point I have three, so I continue to keep tabs on ebay and purchasing another and another. Eventually I have 7 of 10. It’s ironic because I am a lifelong Pens fan and would much rather have the Mario or Crosby cards from that expo set!

    And Sal if I find the card in my collection or here in Ottawa, I’ll definitely buy it and we can works something out.

    It doesn’t have to mean a Mario rookie either, although I would never say no! 😉

  5. Haha I love this – a nice little side project. A fun and relatively cheap chase. Hope you come across for Rene Emeralds in the near future.

  6. I consider my entire Andrew Alberts collection to be ironic. I felt like being the pre-eminent collector of something, and I also wanted to do a full tour of the 2005-06 releases. This was the year back from the lockout, and I’d never done a full tour in the modern era. As a Bruins fan, I wanted to do a Bruin. And since Alberts had been in my lone box of Series 1, he won the prize.

    It turns out I wasn’t the only collector either! There was some heated bidding for rarer pieces. Some of the extremely short-printed items (under 5) I’ve never seen, but I’ve got pretty much everything else.

    Oddly enough, four years later my first godson was named Andrew Albert!

  7. I was obsessed with buying Jean Ratelle RC’s in the early days ebay and the old Yahoo auctions. First I couldn’t believe I could actually own one, the two, then why not buy one if it was only $9. I mean, how could a 61-62 Ratelle only cost $9, I was basically stealing them. I stopped buying regularly when they hit $50-70, but only after I bought 50 plus. Thankfully, Ratelle’s value is now getting the respect it deserves, maybe I played a small part.

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