If you were building a “best player’s ever” RC collection, it would be very easy to pick players such as Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Carey Price. Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, Jaromir Jagr, and Martin Brodeur would be great choices from the 1990’s, and Guy Lafleur, Ray Bourque, and Dino Ciccarelli would be great choices from the expansion and modern eras. With a list like that, spanning several decades of hockey history, your next question would likely be, “What version of their RC should I get?” The question is tougher to answer especially when you consider the modern era and how many different RC’s are produced each season. Buyback autographed RC’s are the easiest way to answer the question and provide are very unique, rare, and ever-growing collection at the same time.
What are They?
A buyback auto RC is not a reprint, rather it is an actual RC from a previously released set that was “bought back,” autographed by the player, and then certified by the manufacturer. They are almost always produced in very limited quantities with most having 100 or fewer copies. A large number of them are numbered to the player’s jersey number, some of them are even 1 of 1’s! Since the buyback card was not originally autographed, a certification sticker is attached to the card back containing a unique serial number that matches one on the certificate of authenticity card that comes along with it.
Upper Deck does a great job from a card selection standpoint, including the very popular Young Guns RC versions for the majority of the buyback RC’s that they produce. Keep in mind that some buyback RC’s aren’t autographed and are just plain RC’s that include a certificate confirming their buyback status. There are also some buyback cards that are not RC’s, but are still autographed.
Where Can I Find Them?
Buyback auto RC’s are usually random inserts in packs and have come in several different sets over the years. Upper Deck released a Buybacks specific set in 2015-2016 that had one buyback auto in every pack with the majority of them being RC versions. Way back in 2007-2008, after Upper Deck acquired the O-Pee-Chee license, they started to produce the O-Pee-Chee set again, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive sets each season. Upper Deck randomly inserted several different super short printed buyback auto RC’s (which are believed to be 1 of 1’s). To date, there have been buyback auto RC’s from Score, Leaf, OPC, and Upper Deck sets.
Buyback auto RC’s continue to be a part of Upper Decks sets each year. Leaf re-joined the hobby a few years ago, though without a license to produce current sets, but they celebrated the inaugural Leaf Hockey set of 1993-94 by including slabbed buyback autographs in their latest hockey issue. While their buyback selection focused almost exclusively on star players like Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull, they were savvy enough to include the only buyback auto RC of goaltender Jocelyn Thibault produced to date. For those of you that don’t know, Thibault was the heir apparent in Montreal having come there as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Patrick Roy to the Colorado Avalanche. Thibault played 158 games for the Canadiens over the course of four seasons.
With Upper Deck having access to their own RC crop spanning almost 30 years since they started back in 1990, as well as owning the O-Pee-Chee license, the possibilities are virtually endless and could include players going all the way back to 1968 season! Even with so many great players having a buyback auto RC already, there are still a large number of them who don’t have one yet. Current superstar players like Auston Matthews, Blake Wheeler, and Stephen Stamkos have yet to have one, neither does Nicklas Backstrom, Brent Burns, or Patrick Marleau. Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Paul Kariya are just a few of superstars from the 1990’s that have yet to have one either. Fans of Russian hockey players can dream about buyback auto RC’s of the KLM line, and Red Wings fans can even dream about the possibility of buyback auto RC’s for the players that made up the famous Russian 5 line. Last but certainly not least a Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky buyback auto RC would be the ultimate buyback collectible. As I mentioned, the possibilities are almost as endless and unique as collectors’ wish lists.
Confirmed Buyback RC Autographs Quick Checklist
(* – notes player has buyback RC auto in multiple sets)
Fredrik Andersen 2013-14 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Ed Belfour 1990-91 Upper Deck Star Rookie RC
Sergei Bobrovsky 2010-11 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Raymond Bourque 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee RC
Martin Brodeur 1990-91 Score RC
Pavel Bure 1990-91 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Dino Ciccarelli 1981-82 O-Pee-Chee RC
Sidney Crosby 2005-06 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Leon Draisaitl 2014-15 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Sergei Fedorov 1990-91 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Filip Forsberg 2013-14 Upper Deck Young Guns RC*
Alex Galchenyuk 2015-16 Upper Deck Artifacts Rookie RC*
Johnny Gaudrea 2014-15 Fleer Ultra RC*
Bo Hovart 2014-15 Upper Deck Young Guns RC*
Taylor Hall 2010-11 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Martin Havlat 2000-01 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Marian Hossa 1997-98 Upper Deck RC
Jaromir Jagr 1990-91 Upper Deck Number 1 Draft RC
Curtis Joseph 1990-91 Upper Deck Star Rookie RC
Patrick Kane 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Marquee Rookies RC
Olaf Kolzig 1990-91 Score NHL Prospect RC
Nikita Kucherov 2013-14 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Evgeny Kuznetsov 2014-15 Fleer Ultra RC*
Guy Lafleur 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee RC
Gabriel Landeskog 2011-12 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
John Leclair 1991-92 Upper Deck RC
Eric Lindros 1990-91 Score Future Superstar RC
Connor McDavid 2015-16 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Mike Modano 1990-91 Upper Deck RC
Markus Naslund 1992-93 Upper Deck World Junior Tournament RC
Owen Nolan 1990-91 Score First Round Draft Choice RC
Alexander Ovechkin 2005-06 Upper Deck Young Guns RC*
Joe Pavelski 2006-07 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Carey Price 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Marquee Rookies RC
Morgan Reilly 2013-14 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Mike Richter 1990-91 Upper Deck RC
John Tavares 2009-10 Upper Deck Young Guns RC
Joe Thornton 2003-04 Upper Deck Program of Excellence RC
Jocelyn Thibault 1993-94 Leaf RC
Andrei Vasilevsky 2014-15 Upper Deck Young Guns RC ■
Follow Larry Berman on Twitter @PaigesFall.