This is the Eric Lindros card that flew under most hockey card collectors’ radar. While seasoned collectors are familiar with Lindros’ rookie card from the 1990-91 Score set, or the numerous other Lindros cards from the early 1990s, this one is a hidden gem. It is the first-ever card to picture Lindros in a Philadelphia Flyers uniform and was both a giveaway and an insert, but not particularly easy to get either way.
This card was made by Score, who had an exclusive deal with Lindros to issue trading cards picturing him until he made his NHL debut. This card was first given away by the Flyers at a press conference on July 15, 1992, when they introduced their highly-touted rookie to the media. This card predates all other Lindros cards from 1992-93, which came out that fall.
According to the Beckett Online Price Guide:
A special Eric Lindros card, unnumbered and featuring his first photo in a Philadelphia Flyers uniform, was randomly inserted into packs. Reportedly more than 500 of these special Lindros “Press Conference” cards were given away to news media, members of the Flyers organization, and other guests attending the July 15 news conference which marked Lindros’ signing with the Flyers. It is claimed that the odds of finding one of these cards are no less than one in 500 packs.
Giving away the card at a press conference was a smart move by Score, who was trying to increase the buzz around their young spokesman. Plus, once Lindros played in a regular-season NHL game that fall, the other card companies could make cards of Lindros, too. Considering all the strange cards that Score made of Lindros over the past few years — such as him as a toddler or playing baseball — this was a nice, final oddball Score card of the future superstar.
The back of the card has a short biography about Lindros. Since the text is small, I’ve reprinted it here:
He’s only 19 years old, but Eric Lindros has already become one of hockey’s biggest stars. The Quebec Nordiques selected the dominating center with the first pick of the 1991 Entry Draft. Choosing not to sign with them, Eric returned to his junior club in Oshawa, Ontario and later joined the Canadian National Team. His big day finally came on June 20, 1992, when the Nordiques traded his rights to the Flyers in a deal that rocked the sport.
The card back also lists out Lindros’ accomplishments thus far:
Led Oshawa to 1990 Memorial Cup title
Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year (1991)
Ontario Hockey League Player of the Year (1991)
Led Canada to gold medal in 1990 and 1991 World Junior Championships
Helped Canada win 1991 Canada Cup titles
Led Canada to silver medal at 1992 Olympics
As for the suggested print run of this card, it was very limited for the time. Beckett mentions that “more than 500” copies of the card were given away at that press conference. Even if 1,000 of these cards were given away, that is still far less than the sheer amount of Lindros’ 1990-91 Score rookie cards that were printed. The press conference card was also found in maybe one in every 500 packs; roughly one per 14 boxes, so even then it still wasn’t an easy pull
According to the April 1993 issue of Beckett Hockey Monthly, this Lindros card was valued at between $40 and $100. Today, it can be found for $5 to $10 — or sometimes in a bargain box for 50¢ if you get lucky. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.