1980’s OPC

Included in the most generous box of cards from West Coast Rob (hope you like the new nickname) Were some 1986 O-Pee-Chee Tattoos.

I was 14 in 1986 and I sort of remember these at school. But by that age I would have been too old to actually stick them on myself. I don’t think they would h ave done much to dispel my already burgeoning nerd appeal.

They came in long sheets that are too big for my scanner, but I’m sure you can get the idea.

Wet them, stick them on your arm press, peel. Pretty simple.

This ones won’t be stuck (although if I ever got doubles I might try them just for fun!)

Happy almost Canada Day!!!


Last weekend was the Sports Card Expo in Toronto. Likely the biggest card show in Canada and definitely the biggest with a focus on Hockey around. I went with my nephew who is helping me collect cards and we picked up a few odds and ends.

The 1980-81 OPC Super Size is a set I’ve had on my want list for a while, but for some reason I just keep finding them at the same time as I find something else I want more. This time however I did pick up the most important card in the set on a bargain table.

Wayne Gretzky #7 of 24

Looking young, with his best seasons still in front of him.

The cards are plain and simple, just the name and picture on the front.


The back has name, team position and the OPC logo.


1 more card closer to the set.


Remember that game from Sesame Street when you were a kid?

And because this is sports focused we can do the other version 3 of these things.

Well when writing my blog the other day I ran into the situation with the 1979-80 OPC NHL set.  Can you figure out which one is different below?



Ok times up. Did you guess the Quebec Nordiques team in the bottom right? Well then you win!

The Oilers, Jets and Whalers got NHL Logo cards. But the 4th new NHL entry got a team photo card (just like the rest of the leagues existing teams got). Strangely they did not put it in the correct alphabetical order like the rest of the team cards.

IMG_0556[1]Look, there it is AFTER Washington.

Memory is a weird thing, because If you had asked me I would swear there was Nordiques Logo card as well. I can picture myself getting it, looking at it, holding it, trading it. But that’s not true. In reality it never existed in the familiar blue bordered 1979-1980 OPC Set. Which is strange because it exists in the 1979-80 Topps Team Sticker Inserts, as well as part of the 4 logo card from the Topps Base set of the same year.


Logo cards for the Nordiques do exist. From the beginning to the end of their existence.

And its not like OPC didnt have the logo on file. There is one in the 1972-73 OPC Team Logos along with the rest of the WHA

There is one in the 1990-91 Pro Set along with every team.

But as a stand alone1979-80 OPC Logo of New NHL Team card. Nope. Despite what I know to be true in my head, my memory says I had that card once.


1986-87 OPC. Its a modern set, and it allows me to check off a big hole in my collection. A Patrick Roy RC!

Nowadays I find it rare to see ungraded cards of the value below at a store or show. And rarer to see one in a collection that makes sense to me. See, I know its a one of the most counterfeited cards out there. I’ve seen some fakes. You know when someone only has this one card (5 times) it seems too good to be true. I’ve been wary of buying it. Its an expensive card by itself. It was also one of 7 cards I needed for the set.

Along with the Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Lemieux, Moog and Yzerman from the same set a Patrick Roy RC finishes it off. Yes all the big $ cards I was missing, because I sold them when I was 18 to help fund my first backpacking trip with my girlfriend to Europe. I kept everything else from the set, but the hole has been bugging me for 25 years.

Well now the hole is whole. I picked up a complete set for a great price in great condition. 95% of the set I relegated to the trade bin, but I did keep these cards. So behold. The missing pieces in my 1986-87 OPC Hockey Set.


IMG_0141 IMG_0138   IMG_0132 IMG_0133 IMG_0137

Sorry, forgot to scan the Messier.

Look at this Patrick Roy RC. Corners so sharp. Providence checked and very unlikely to be anything other than a great condition pack pulled card. One previous owner and now a highlight of my collection.




It’s such a great feeling to be able to scratch off a card of this size from a list.

Yesterday was a good day for me. I got confirmation that the second of two packages that I sent out (for my first trades since starting this blog) were received. I’m super excited to see what I get back.

And more importantly I completed another set. The 1980-81 OPC set. One of my favorite sets of all time and chuck full of amazing cards such as the Gretzky 2nd year, and RC’s of Messier, Propp, Liut, Goulet, Bourque, Gartner along with many others including Pete Peeters (part of the amazing Flyers 35 game unbeaten streak) and ex Peterborough Pete Tim Trimper (not seen too often in the same paragraph as the other names).

So which multi dollar card was holding me back? Well I have multiples of everything listed above, but what I was missing was this….

The Detroit Red Wings Team Leader card with Mike Foligno on it.

In an era that was about to give us a 200 point scorer and several players with 50+ goals in a season (Blaine Stoughton anyone?) . Mike Foligno had led the Wings with 36 goals.

Dale Mcourt led the team with 81 total points. (Gretzky tied that year with Marcel Dionne and lost the title on goals scored 53 to 51)

Some great names on the checklist. This is what took me a bit longer to find. An Unmarked version. I’ve had a marked version for a while but finally got off my butt and got an unmarked one.

And now the set is done.


In 1989 OPC Launched their second (and last) year of the mini cards. These came out after the regular series issue and were not as widespread. None of my friends that I can remember collected them at the time when they came out.

They are very similar to the previous year with the only way to tell them apart on the front is by looking at the edge of the picture. This set has a fuzzy edge wheras the year before had a straight edge.

The main cards in this set were of course the Gretzky and the Patrick Roy, but also the Brett Hull. Although not classified as a true RC as the regular issue from the same year by OPC gets that certification. It is still a card that came out in his first year.Image

Gretzky had just been traded to LA and is shown in his new jersey. The regular card in the full series shows him posed on the ice, this one is from the actual news conference of his trade which broke a lot of Canadians hearts.


It’s a neat little set of 46 cards including the check list.


I picked up the missing cards I needed for this set yesterday and can now cross it off my list as I continue on building my OPC sets.

Every once in a while one of my friends realizes that I am a pretty avid sports card collector and will ask me to give them an idea of what their cards are worth. Normally this is the point at which I cringe. Basically they are asking me to either confirm their fears that their collection is worthless or shattering their dreams by telling them their collection is worthless. I really don’t mind doing it (looking at their cards, not shattering their illusions) but it has been years since i have seen someone with anything remarkable from my circle of friends.

Here are the facts. If you are the typical 40 something now in 2012 then your prime card buying years were likely in the 1980’s. I was born in 1972 which means I was 8 for the end of the 79-80 OPC season and 18 at the precipice of the cardboard explosion in 1990-1991.

Some of the cards I had when I was 8-18 are worth a few dollars now, but for most of us we didn’t keep them in great condition. They were manhandled, flipped, scrambled-for-keepsied, knocked down, bounced back and covered up.

When Upper Deck, Score, Pro Set and others launched the next wave of cardboard mayhem in 1990-1991 it was crazy. The stuff I had been collecting temporarily shot to dizzying heights. Lindros rookie cards were going for $100+ and he had not even played a game yet. But the hobby changed and what was once a fun passion became a business. Pack prices soared from .25$ to 2.89$ or more. Now you can get charged up to $50 for a pack. Craziness.

As a result their was massive speculation and massive overproduction. Millions of cards were made and for many people it was a matter of taking them right from the wax pack and putting them right in sealed containers never to be touched again. Everyone had a Beckett guide and it was the only way to justify your card. Who cares if you liked the player and if he was good. if their RC was listed in Beckett at $10 then gosh darn it it was worth $10. As a result everyone chased the RC’s and the base set withered. Commons became fluff. Whole sets became fluff if you did not have the one key card (and then people had 7 or 8 of seriously. One of my friends had about 10 Joe Sakic OPC RC’s but not one other single card from the set.

So, getting back to the topic of what it’s worth. The honest answer is likely not much. here is a quick breakdown of Hockey Card values

ProSet Hockey – Nuthing
Score Hockey – Mostly Nothing
Any of the multitude of other card companies printing between 1990 and 2012 – likely not much
OPC – Post 1990- Nothing
OPC – 1980s – commons nothing, stars a few bucks, Star RC;s a few more bucks
OPC – 1979 and older -Stars a few bucks, commons a few less, RC’s definitely a few bucks
Upper Deck…Short printed Young Guns Maybe Something (depending on who they are a couple bucks to maybe $50-100) Base Cards – not much

Their are of course exceptions to every rule. Some cards from the 80’s and 90’s (and 00’s to 2012) are worth a bit of money. These tend to be cards that are so short printed that the chances you have of seeing one are pretty slim.

And condition is paramount. A slightly rough 1969 OPC common can be worth just as much as a Mint condition 2000 Upper Deck

Don’t believe me? Look on Kijiji and Ebay and see how many people are trying to sell their cards from the past 20 years. Look at how many actually have bids.

Don’t let this stop you from asking for the moon.  I am still more than happy to look at your cards and give a value. Heck there is a chance you might have something really good. But if you bought in the 90’s for a few years and stopped then don’t be mad at me when I tell you the best thing you could do is burn them. At least that way you are helping reduce the cards numbers and then if everyone else does this maybe in 100 years they might be worth something to those who held out.