CoaStars: A failed set of collectible hockey drink coasters

Mark Messier will protect your surface from spills.

Trading card company Action Packed really wanted to make hockey cards in the mid-1990s, but they couldn’t get the license to do so from the NHL. At the time, the league was limiting how many companies were making NHL trading cards, so Action Packed did the next-best thing and attempted to launch four different lines of hockey collectibles — including a set of drink coasters called CoaStars.

Get it? They’re coasters…of stars? Star hockey players. Hello?  Continue reading “CoaStars: A failed set of collectible hockey drink coasters”

1996-97 Donruss Elite Eric Lindros & Mario Lemieux uncirculated autograph

lindros_lemieuxThe shiny card you see here is from the 1996-97 Donruss Elite Hart to Hart insert set. I purchased it from a dealer recently. However, there is good reason to believe that this card may have “escaped” from the Donruss facility in 1997 and was never circulated in packs. Continue reading “1996-97 Donruss Elite Eric Lindros & Mario Lemieux uncirculated autograph”

1994-95 Action Packed Big Picture Collectible Promo Posters

packaging_frontFormer trading card company Action Packed had big plans to make hockey collectibles for the 1994-95 season. But those plans never unfolded. One odd set that was promoted in 1994 but never released was Big Picture, a series of 84 card-sized collectibles that unfolded to reveal a poster. Continue reading “1994-95 Action Packed Big Picture Collectible Promo Posters”

1991-92 Topps & Bowman promo sheet

sheet_frontThis is a nine-card uncut sheet of cards, given to retailers to promote the 1991-92 Topps and Bowman hockey card sets. As you can see, it features nine of the greatest hockey players from the 1990s: Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque, Ed Belfour, Mark Messier, Pat Lafontaine, Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull. If you collect cards of any of these players, this is a very cool item to have in your collection.

The front of the sheet shows what the Topps and Bowman cards were going to look like when released later that year. Many of the photos used on these prototypes differ from the actual cards that were put in packs. Continue reading “1991-92 Topps & Bowman promo sheet”

1989-90 O-Pee-Chee Tembec Test prototype hockey cards

tembec_headerThings are good, but they can always be better. That’s probably what someone at the O-Pee-Chee card company thought in 1990, when they were looking to improve the quality of their hockey cards. Sometime that year, OPC experimented with a new type of paper stock that was brighter and whiter than the tan-colored stock they normally used. The paper stock was purchased from Tembec, a company that specializes in paper, pulp and lumber products. This resulted in a change of paper supplier for O-Pee-Chee — as well as some of the rarest hockey cards from 1990. Continue reading “1989-90 O-Pee-Chee Tembec Test prototype hockey cards”

1995-96 Playoff One on One Hockey Challenge prototype cards

modano_protoIn 1995-96, the Playoff Corporation released a 330-card collectible card game (CCG) called One on One Hockey Challenge. The game cards featured the top NHL players at the time, and contained instructions at the top and stats at the bottom that were used for the game. Sometime before the release of the actual game, Playoff released prototype cards that differ from the actual game cards in several interesting ways.  Continue reading “1995-96 Playoff One on One Hockey Challenge prototype cards”

1994-95 Action Packed Hall of Fame Prototype Cards

Two promos hint at what could have been a memorable set

Action Packed Hockey Hall of Fame #BH1 - Bobby Hull Action Packed Hockey Hall of Fame #BH2 - Bobby Hull Gold
Action Packed is best known for the “puffy” football card sets they produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their cards were akin to a topographical map; the player’s image was embossed, raising it off of the surface of the card, giving it a 3-dimensional quality unlike any other cards.

But in the early 1990s, Action Packed tried to get into the hockey card market. Unable to secure a license to make standard-sized cards of current players, Action Packed planned on releasing a Hockey Hall of Fame set. Two promo cards of Bobby Hull were issued in 1993 to show off what the set was going to look like. But then the set never came out.

So, what happened? Continue reading “1994-95 Action Packed Hall of Fame Prototype Cards”

1990-91 Upper Deck Prototype Cards

1990-91 Upper DeckPrior to the release of their inaugural hockey set, Upper Deck issued prototype cards of Wayne Gretzky and Patrick Roy. The two cards were given out at the National Sports Card Convention in Arlington, Texas in July 1990 – roughly four months before Upper Deck Hockey would hit the shelves. The prototypes helped generate excitement and anticipation for what would be one of the most memorable hockey releases ever. However, these cards are not without their own share of controversy. Continue reading “1990-91 Upper Deck Prototype Cards”

1993-94 Classic Pro Prospects Promo Card

1993-94 Classic Pro Prospects Radek Bonk promoRadek Bonk made waves when, at age 17, he signed with the Los Vegas Thunder of the old International Hockey League. Most kids under 18 play against their peers in junior hockey, but Bonk was competing with men many years older than him. Classic Games, who specialized in making cards of prospects, took notice of this feat. They issued this card of Bonk to promote their 1994 Pro Prospects set. Continue reading “1993-94 Classic Pro Prospects Promo Card”