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OPC Hockey Cards

It’s been a while. Life happens and I had to concentrate on self preservation first and cards second. But I’m back. I never really left but I couldn’t concentrate on my collecting. It was weird though as collecting has always been a constant for me and calmed me. Anyway. Enough of that. On to the good stuff.

Over my career collecting I have outlasted many friends and assimilated their collections or those of their friends and family. It’s worked out well as they know the cards are going to someone who appreciates them and I do the best to find those I don’t personally collect a good home.

Getting back into I acquired a 1/3 of a friends collection. Well really it was all their collection but 1/3 of their fathers. They got a bit and their sister and brother got a third.

She wanted to try to sell so I helped her price and she tried for a little while then gave up as people would lowball her or just want to pick the jewels out. After a few weeks she decided to just give em to me so that her dads collection would be appreciated. So far it has amounts to 40+ binders of 90s , a few box sets, and a lot of random stuff in boxes.

I love random boxes. Especially when they have stuff like this.

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Vintage opc!!! My favourite. Opc baseball and hockey!

Along with the Cheevers and Mikita and Don Cherry RC (Topps though) was this well worn and loved beauty!

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This card was played with. This card was carried in a back pocket. This card has a story to tell. This card is what collecting is all about to me.

Another Bobby Orr kind of day.

T

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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?

 

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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.

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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.

 

I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with inserts and parallels. I guess it goes back to the the beginning of my collection.

OPC did not have a bunch of inserts when I started.  1979-1980 through to 1985-1986 OPC had none.  I remember you would see sporadic glossys that came from the 77-78 set, and then in 1985-86 there was the sticker inserts, but for the 7 years in between, nothing.

Now, there were some other sets like the 1980-81 Supers and Stickers starting in 1981-1982 but these were packaged and marketed separately. You didn’t have to make a decision on whether it was part of the set. You didn’t “pull” a super from your pack or a sticker. If you wanted to collect the stickers, you bought the album and the stickers and you collected them in a separate endeavour. Some kids collected one or the other, most collected both, but you rarely mixed them up or traded one for the other.

Anything that would be considered a “pull” these days was simply a base card then. Examples include the Bobby Orr “retirement” card in 1978-79 OPC,  the 4 teams Logo Cards in 1979-80 or even the Super Actions in 1981-812.  I remember getting the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial card in 1985-86 and thinking this is the same, yet different from the others, but still just a card you needed for the set.

Worthy of an insert, but just a regular base card.

Worthy of an insert, but just a regular base card.

Nothing special here, just 1 of 396.

Nothing special here, just 1 of 396.

Now in any 8 card pack you get at minimum 1 insert or parallel. So really you get 7 cards and then a “pull”. I’m a set collector so it always leads to the question. Am I going to collect this subset? Is it part of the base? Is it even possible to get them all?

Well for 2012-13 OPC one set I am going for is the “Rainbow Parallel”. Shiny card versions of the base (not to be confused with the Retro, Black, Red or Blank Versions”.   12 year old me would have gone ape shit trying to collect this set. 42 year old me looks at it as just another set among many of parallels and inserts. But they are shiny. Shiny cards for a shiny Tuesday as I get 140 cards closer to completing this parallel in one fell swoop. Getting a box of these from Robert in Winnipeg makes me happy.

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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.

 

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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.

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

The long dark tea time of the soul has passed. The move back to Canada has been complete, although if you asked me a few months ago I would have said I’d be living in Toronto again and not in a small town just over an hour away. Oh well. The money I save on mortgage costs can be used toward my collection 🙂

So lets just have a quick review of where we are.

1) The decision made to focus collection on OPC brand (through it’s multiple incarnations) has led to a major purge in non OPC cards. (By purge I mean moving from the actively collecting section past the not actively collecting but adding to and into the blerg section.

2) The New years resolutions, written before the move while still in The Dominican Republic have proved to be a bit too easy so far.

  • Get my cards out of storage (should always start with an easy one) – DONE. They look nice in their binders on the shelf again.
  • Update my checklists to get my lists up to date – Almost done- I’ve made the complete list of possible cards (see next post) but havent checked them off again
  • complete 1 pre-2000 OPC hockey set – DONE It’s a big one for me and will get a separate post
  • get a minimum of 1 card from each OPC base set pre 2000 – In progress, but with the updated list created, might be a lot harder.
  • get to 40% on The White Whale (I am at 1364 cards. So just a smidgen over 33% completed.) If you can help please check out https://supportingtheminnow.wordpress.com/the-white-whale/ – No movement as yet (but I know there are some in my unprocessed in box of cards)
  • Attend the Spring/Fall Card Expos in Toronto and the National in Chicago  – Ready to roll in a few weeks for the Spring show in Toronto

Just happy to be back in the hobby and able to collect again.

So now the question is, where to focus from now on..

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I focus on OPC hockey. I have a list of all the sets made and am trying to complete them all. One that has eluded me so far (and honestly I haven’t broken a sweat looking for it) is the 1995-96 OPC.

Here’s the thing though. If you are looking for 95-96 OPC they don’t really exist. OPC didn’t exist yet and this was before Upper Deck bought the name and before Topps put out a couple sets with that brand.

It only exists as an insert. Randomly inserted in the 95-96 Topps set.

There is only one difference between the cards and that is that it shows OPC on the front instead of Topps.

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That’s a shadow of my hand 🙂

No other difference. They didn’t change the photo or even add French to the back.

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So you can see why I’ve never really gone to great lengths to find them.

However at the beginning of the year one of my goals was to get a minimum of one card from each set. And now I do. I have this one. Vladimir Malakhov.

A friend a work found a stack of cards at home and brought them to me as he knows I collect and wanted a “value”. Telling him the Pro-Set, Score and UD cards were pretty much junk I did see this one card.

He offered to sell it to me for whatever I said it was worth. I gave him a nickel and overpaid.

 

Living in Toronto can be a blessing and a curse as a hockey fan/card collector.

Blessing: Hockey is front page news pretty much all year.

Curse: It’s the Maple Leafs.

Blessing: Being a sports card collector is easy as there are tons of shows, shops and people selling on Kijiji

Curse: Everyone thinks there crappy cards are worth $$$$.

Blessing: When there is a show there is lots of variety.

Curse: One consistent is that anything with a Blue & White Maple Leaf is going to be overpriced

So I went to a new show (for me) on the weekend and got a few deals. But best of all I managed to find a couple vintage Maple Leafs I needed without breaking the bank.

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Amazingly one of them was this Darryl Sittler Rookie Card. Overpriced at $100 I got it for $30 at the end of the show,

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According to the notes, Darryl was predicted to be a “super star” of the NHL.

Along with it I picked up this 3rd year card for $2

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You have to like the hair and smile on a player who was stuck playing on some pretty bad teams.

There are some blessings being a collector in Toronto. Finding stuff like this is one.