The Law of Diminishing Returns is in full effect when opening packs of stickers. The first box is always fun because you need every sticker. The second box is also fun because you will need most of the stickers. Any box after that is will most likely be mostly doubles, with a few needed stickers mixed in. And that was pretty much the case with my third box of 2022-23 Topps Hockey Stickers. While most of it was doubles of stickers I got in my prior two boxes, I still got a lot of new stickers towards my set.
Here’s my breakdown of my third and final box of 2022-23 Topps Hockey Stickers.
It isn’t necessarily hard work, but it is time-consuming work.
For my second box of 2022-23 Topps Hockey Stickers, I streamlined opening the packs. Normally, I would open a pack, look through the stickers, and sort them by 100s. This time, I would open the pack and remove the stickers, but just put it in a pile until I opened 10 packs. Then, I’d thumb through the stickers and sort them. This seemed to make opening and sorting the stickers go much faster. With a pack of cards, I want to savor the moment, look at each card — and hopefully get a hit. With stickers, there are no “hits” and you don’t get anything rare; just four paper stickers and one foil sticker.
One of the packs was put into the box sideways. This caused some of the stickers to “curl,” but fortunately they were easy to flatten out. If they were creased, I’d be annoyed.
Another pack was — gasp! — missing a sticker.
Here’s my breakdown of my second box of 2022-23 Topps Hockey Stickers.
Every year, I usually purchase three or four boxes of Topps Hockey Stickers for the difficult-but-not-impossible task of completing the annual sticker album. This year’s sticker collection has 679 stickers: 539 regular stickers and 140 shiny “foil” stickers are needed to complete the album. Stickers measure 1-7/8″ wide by 2-5/8″ tall.
A few weeks prior to my birthday, my sister asked me what I wanted. I sent her a link to an online retailer who was selling boxes of 2022-23 Topps Hockey Stickers for about $38 per box. I asked for three boxes — asking for four seemed greedy — as well as two sticker albums. And before you ask, yes, it is because I put stickers in one album but still want to have an empty, “mint” album. Weird, I know, but what do you expect from a guy who blogs about hockey cards and collectibles?
A box of 2022-23 Topps Hockey Stickers has 50 packs, with each pack containing five stickers — four regular “paper” stickers and one shiny “foil” sticker. This year, the stickers have soft paper backings instead of the hard backings of the prior three years, which made the stickers seem more like little trading cards. Also, the wrappers are not like trading card wrappers that are “crimped” shut at the top and bottom edges. This year, the wrappers are two pieces of paper glued together, just like the way Panini stickers were. No idea why Topps made these changes, but my guess is that it was to cut down on production costs.
The three boxes that I was gifted — thanks, sis! — would put me at 750 stickers. I know that many of those will be doubles, so there will be some trading involved.
And that’s another thing that makes collecting Topps Hockey Stickers so challenging: you can’t just buy the last few stickers you need from Topps. When Panini was producing an annual hockey sticker album from the late 1980s to the late 2010s, you could purchase the last few stickers that you needed directly from them. It wasn’t cost-efficient for buying a whole set, but if you needed 30 stickers or less, it was a worthwhile option. With Topps, you have to trade with other collectors, keep buying packs, or overpay on eBay, to finish your album.
No one said collecting was easy. Or cheap.
Anyway, let’s see what the breakdown was like for my first box of 2022-23 Topps Hockey Stickers.
Every NHL head coach has played hockey at some time in their life prior to stepping behind the bench. Some were NHL superstars, others grinded it out in the minors for years, while others got into coaching soon after their junior or collegiate careers came to an end. All 32 NHL coaches for the 2022-23 season has had at least one hockey card issued picturing them — either as a player or as a coach, because not all of them were “good enough” to get a card while they were playing.
Here is my annual list of rookie cards for every head coach in the NHL this season — updated to include Rick Tocchet’s replacement of Bruce Boudreau midway through the season. I’ve also included the comparative monetary value of each card — spoiler alert: most are worth very little — as well as how tough it is to track down…you know, in case you want to start a John Tortorella hockey card collection.
I was a big fan of the 2020-21 Skybox Metal Universe Hockey card set, so naturally, I was excited when I heard that Upper Deck was coming out with Skybox Metal Universe for 2021-22. And they did — about halfway through the 2022-23 season. No matter. What’s important is that the cards are out now and ready to collect. Skybox Metal Universe cards are etched metallic foil (hence “Metal”) and have space-y backgrounds (hence “Universe”).
A hobby box of 2021-22 Skybox Metal Universe costs around $150 and has 15 packs, each containing seven cards for a total of 105 cards. I recently got a box of Skybox Metal Universe. Here’s what was inside.
Once upon a time, Black Diamond was a challenging set of cards to put together, usually consisting of 100 base cards, plus numerous short-printed Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, and Quadruple Diamond cards. It also cost around $100 per box.
However, in 2015-16, Upper Deck refocused Black Diamond into a set consisting of hits, inserts, and autographs. And while it still has base cards, they are now serial-numbered. Thus, Upper Deck also raised the price of the set; in 2015-16, it was around $250 for a six-card box.
Black Diamond is not for the faint of heart. A box of 2021-22 Black Diamond Hockey cards will cost you around $370 for a six-card pack. That’s over $60 per card. I know that the pandemic has both raised the demand for and reduced the supply of trading cards, but this has gotten out of hand.
Although I’m more of a set builder than a hit chaser, I still love to open hockey cards. So, let’s see what’s inside a box of 2021-22 Black Diamond Hockey.
Upper Deck’s Artifacts hockey set is known for cards with jersey swatches and jersey patch pieces. Artifacts is not really for autograph collectors or set-builders, as you get only one autograph per box, while building a set — especially with short prints — will take a good deal of money and effort.
Instead, Artifacts is intended for those who love jersey cards. Fifteen years ago, I was not a fan of such cards, but over time I have gradually learned to appreciate some of the great-looking game-used cards in sets like Artifacts.
A hobby box of 2021-22 Artifacts costs about $100, and contains eight four-card packs. I recently got a box of 2021-22 Artifacts. Here is what I got.
Each year, hockey card collecting really doesn’t heat up until the release of Upper Deck Series One. Sure, there are other sets released before Series One launches, usually in November. But it is Series One that gets everyone excited about hockey card collecting — from the casual collectors, to the die-hard hockey peeps, to the breakers, speculators and “hobby bros..” It’s the new crop of Young Guns rookie cards that gets everyone involved.
Like it has been for over a decade, a box of Upper Deck Series One has 24 packs per box, with each pack containing eight cards. I recently got my hands on a hobby box of 2022-23 Upper Deck Series One Hockey. Let’s take a look at what I got.
I’ve collected hockey cards for over 30 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of bad cards. Really bad cards. So, in 2017, I started the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame to spotlight the worst hockey cards ever made.
Just as the Hockey Hall of Fame is enshrining new members this weekend, so too is the Puck Junk Bad Hockey Card Hall of Fame. This year, 10 pieces of cardboard get honored for being horrible — be it for bad photography, bad paintjobs, or just being awful all around.
Upper Deck’s 2021-22 American Hockey League card set was released in the late summer of 2022 and features the top 150 players in “The A.”
That’s right– only 150 players. After last year’s 200-card set, Upper Deck cut back its 2021-22 AHL set to a more manageable size. Instead of 150 base cards and 50 “Star Rookies,” this year’s set has 100 base cards and 50 Star Rookies.
You got your mix of prospects — many who have already made an appearance in the NHL — as well as bubble players and “lifers” who spent the majority of their career in the league.
A box of 2021-22 Upper Deck AHL hockey cards costs about $50. Each box has 12 packs with 10 cards each. Boxes contain at least one autographed card, plus 12 Star Rookies cards, and one parallel card.
Let’s see what I got in my box of 2021-22 Upper Deck AHL Hockey.