The 35 Best Hockey Cards from 1990-91

Hockey cards exploded in popularity during the 1990-91 season. Baseball, football and basketball cards had steadily gained momentum during the 1980s. In 1990, it was hockey’s turn. Upper Deck, Score and Pro Set joined incumbents Topps and O-Pee-Chee to release hockey card sets that season. This resulted in an arms race between the five companies, who tried to outdo each other and make cards of the best prospects and hottest rookies before their competitors did. 

As a result, a slew of great rookie cards were issued that year. The 1990-91 NHL season had arguably the best rookie class of any year for hockey card collectors. The NHL rookie of the year winners from 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994 all had rookie cards made during the 1990-91 season. And over a dozen future Hall of Fame players had rookie cards in ’90-91. 

The downside was that most hockey cards from 1990-91 were produced in such vast amounts that it is considered the start of the “Junk Wax Era” for hockey cards. 

Yet not all hockey cards issued during the 1990-91 season are worthless. In addition to some great rookie cards, there are also some hidden gems and a legendary chase card. Plus, any card on this list with a high PSA or BGS grade can fetch a premium on the secondary market. 

But graded or ungraded, these are the 35 best hockey cards from 1990-91 that every hockey card collector should own. 

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Puck Junk Podcast #92: May 27, 2021

The Return of Pro Set Hockey

This week, Sal Barry and Tim Parish talk about the upcoming Pro Set Memories Hockey card set by Leaf Trading Cards. As fans of Pro Set cards from the 1990s, the guys have quite a bit to say about these new Pro Set cards, which will consist of autographs and serial-numbered buybacks. They also talk about the upcoming Sport Card Expo “Virtual Edition” and recent hockey card releases. It’s 85 minutes of pure hockey goodness. 

Show Notes, Links, and Images:
Join the Puck Junk Facebook Group here.
Register to attend the Sport Card Expo Virtual Edition (link)
Sal’s interview with Bobby Hull from November 2020 (Puck Junk)
Topps Now Hockey Sticker Archive (Topps)
2020-21 Upper Deck NHL Rookie Box Set (Upper Deck)
The rare Taro Tsujimoto card (Puck Junk)
Information about Pro Set Memories hockey cards (Blowout Cards)
1989 Upper Deck Dale Murphy error card (Trading Card DB)
1983-84 Steve Larmer and Steve Ludzik error cards (Puck Junk)
1991-92 Parkhurst Santa Claus card (Puck Junk)
Buy a retro hockey wrapper t-shirt from the Puck Junk Online Shop

Images of the forthcoming Pro Set Memories set:


Finally, the Pro Set Memories sell sheet:

Click to see larger.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.
Follow Tim Parish on Twitter @TheRealDFG.
Podcast opening and closing music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard.

Subscribe to the Puck Junk Hockey Podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyiHeartRadioStitcherPodchaserPocketCastsCastbox , Castro,
OvercastTuneIn and SoundCloud.

Love hockey? Join the Puck Junk Facebook Group and subscribe to Puck Junk on YouTube

Support this podcast and buy a shirt from the Puck Junk Online Shop

Puck Junk Pack Break: 1990-91 Pro Set Hockey Series 1

If you are anything like me, you are probably thinking, “Man, what the world really needs right now is another chubby geek opening packs of trading cards on YouTube.” 

Thus, I am happy to report that I am going to start doing hockey card pack breaks on YouTube. Or perhaps I should say restart, as I did do a few pack breaks on YouTube back in 2011, when I was less chubby but equally as geeky. 

Truth be told, I’ve been itching to restart making pack break videos ever since the COVID-19 pandemic gave me good reason to shelter-at-home. I work from home, and spend most of my time at home. I’m around my collection a lot more, and rediscovered a two-column shoe box of unopened hockey packs from various sets and years…and I think it is time I start opening these packs! 

But before I could attempt to become the George Lucas of hockey card pack break videos — who you calling scruffy-looking? — I had to change my living situation first. I had to find a new place to live, pack my belongings, move, unpack and get settled. I’m unpacked and settled enough that I can finally start creating some videos. 

To launch the return of my pack break videos, I’m starting with a pack of my favorite  cards of all-time: 1990-91 Pro Set Hockey Series 1. You get a lot of cards in the pack — and I actually got an extra card in this one. Plus, I pulled a pretty good card…well, good for Pro Set. 

If you watch this video, please fire off a comment, either here or on YouTube. Let me know what you think, either about the video itself and how it could be better, or about the cards that I got in this pack. Oh, and please be sure to subscribe to the Puck Junk YouTube Channel. ■ 

Love hockey collectibles and/or hockey culture? Join the new Puck Junk Facebook Group and follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

1990-91 Pro Set Series 1 Sell Sheet

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the 1990-91 Pro Set Hockey card set. Even almost 30 years later, it remains one of my favorite card sets of all time. Yes, they were printed by the boatload and had a ton of errors, but the set was colorful, had a ton of different cards to collect, and the most sought-after hockey insert ever made: the Stanley Cup Hologram!

This sell sheet, which measures 6″ x 6″, was given out in Canada in the summer of 1990 to promote the forthcoming release of 1990-91 Pro Set Series 1 Hockey cards.

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A Closer Look at 10 Hockey Card Blunders

In the 100-plus years that companies have made hockey cards, countless mistakes have been made – from spelling a player’s name wrong, to getting a stat incorrect, to picturing the wrong guy. But every now and then, a card company gaffed so egregiously that you wonder if anyone was even paying attention. Here are the ten biggest hockey card blunders. Read the full article at Sports Collectors Digest.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Slapshot Radio Show – Jan. 28, 2019

Last week, I was a guest on a new radio show called Slapshot, hosted by Dave Baldin, who is an avid hockey card collector. Dave and I talked about why I started PuckJunk.com, overproduced hockey cards from the 1990s and being a Blackhawks fan during the team’s “dark days.” Plus, a fun story about Dale Tallon. 

Run time is 28 minutes — perfect for listening to on your lunch break. 

Special Thanks to Dave Baldin and 4680Q Niagara Online Radio for providing the clip. You can listen to more episodes of Slapshot here. 

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Pat Falloon & Scott Niedermayer: The Case of the Missing Pro Set Insert Cards

1991-92 Pro Set #Cc3 – Pat Falloon
1991-92 Pro Set #CC4 – Scott Niedermayer

Longtime collectors will no doubt remember the 1991-92 Pro Set cards of Pat Falloon and Scott Niedermayer that were inserted into packs of 1991-92 Pro Set Hockey Series One, only to be pulled early on in production for reasons unknown. This caused the value of these two cards to soar during the early 1990s, becoming the stuff of legend, before eventually becoming the stuff of dollar bins. But what many collectors do not realize is that these two cards sparked a change in the hockey card industry.

So what happened here? Did these cards disappear because they violated an agreement with the NHL, with the NHL Players’ Association or with Falloon and Niedermayer — or all of the above?

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Every 1992-93 Hockey Card Set Ranked

Trading card companies continued to raise the stakes during the 1992-93 season, as the hockey card market continued to boom. Fleer entered the marketplace with its premium “Ultra” set, while Score doubled down, making truly unique sets for the U.S. and Canadian markets. Coincidentally, for the first time in their 25-year partnership, Topps and O-Pee-Chee released hockey sets that were different in design from one another. Meanwhile, Upper Deck continued to thrive, while Pro Set barely limped to the finish line. A lot happened with hockey cards 25 years ago.

However, the biggest news in hockey collectibles at the time was that 19-year old rookie Eric Lindros was going to make his NHL debut. Up until that point, only Score could legally include Lindros in its sets, due to an endorsement deal he signed with Score in 1990. That deal expired once Lindros became an active NHL player. With his debut imminent, but no photo of Lindros in a Flyers uniform readily available, the card companies had to figure out how they were going to include “The Next One” in its hockey card sets.

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Here are my rankings of all 13 major hockey card sets released during the 1992-93 season. I count Score Pinnacle “U.S.” and “Canadian” (or “English” and “Bilingual,” if you prefer) as separate sets for reasons I’ll explain later. Also, this list does not include Panini stickers, because most collectors don’t consider those as “cards.” Nor does this list include small sets like McDonald’s, or oddball stuff like Season’s Action Patches.

So, will Upper Deck be number one for three years in a row?

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1991-92 Pro Set Rink Rat Fan Club

Remember those little 10-cent off coupons that we got in packs of Pro Set Hockey cards during the 1991-92 season? That year, those discount cards advertised the “Rink Rat Fan Club.” Every pack of Pro Set Series One and Series Two had a special offer to “join the Rat Pack” for $3.95.

The full text reads as follows:

Join the Official NHL RINK RAT FAN CLUB
Join the Rat Pack today and be a part of terrific merchandise offers, Rink Rat club kit merchandise, and team updates. Rink Rats also have an opportunity to be a part of nationwide Rink Rat events and are eligible to win a trip to an opening night game! Sign up today!

The other side had the sign-up form. 

I will admit that back in the day, I had no desire to join the Rink Rat Fan Club. It sounded like something for a little kid, and not at all interesting to a teenage boy — even one like me who collected hockey cards. Not for a second did I consider joining it. 

Also, a few years prior I had joined the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Turtle Force Fan Club,” and still remembered how disappointing that was. It took over a year to get my TMNT fan club kit — and all it consisted of was a red bandanna and a cardboard membership card. 

So, it would not be for another 25 years or so that I would even wonder what “Rat Pack” members got for their $3.95. 

Fortunately, I was able to track down a complete Rink Rat Fan Club kit, which consisted of two separate mailings: one in the fall/winter of 1991 and the other around March of 1992. Note that these items got mixed up a bit between then and now, so I did my best here to put them in the order that fans received them, based on the copyright dates on the items, which version of the Pro Set logo the items use, and the enclosed letters from “Rink Rat.” I did make some assumptions based on that information, but if you know something I don’t, please chime in. 

Looking at this now, if I knew what $3.95 would have gotten me, I would have joined that Rink Rat Fan Club in a heartbeat. Surprisingly, club members got some pretty nice collectible items for four bucks. 

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Every 1991-92 Hockey Card Set Ranked

While a lot of hockey cards were made during the 1990-91 season, the 1991-92 season was like a movie sequel: bigger and bolder, with more of everything.

More cards? Check.

Larger sets? That too.

Extra inserts? You bet! 

The amount of sets made, and cards to collect, nearly doubled, with companies releasing two or three sets each in an attempt to cash in on the boom. Hockey card revenue from the 1991-92 season, generated from the brisk sales, spiked to $15 million and was even a major cause of the 1992 NHL Players’ Strike.


Learn Why Best Bobby Orr Hockey Cards are a good investment


That’s funny if you think about it, because hockey cards in the 1991-92 season were worth $15 million to the players and owners – money worth fighting over — and yet hockey cards from that year are practically worthless today. 

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But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t open up your collection a little bit to some of these “neo-vintage” (don’t call ’em “junk wax”) sets. Maybe you have room in your collection for one, or a few, of these — assuming you don’t have them already. So here is my ranking of every 1991-92 hockey card set. 

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