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Saturday, August 12, 2017

That's New To Me

Going to large card shows gives you the opportunity to sometimes find things you have never seen before or ever knew existed. The National is the largest show in the US each year and it is the perfect place to hunt for things of this nature. While perusing a quarter box at one of the dealer tables, I happened upon these.

Pardon the glare on the photos but here we have two cards that I had never seen before. They are from the 1988 ProCards team set of the AHL Springfield Indians. What caught my attention wasn't flashy foil or autos or memorabila patches. It was that the only two random cards from this set in that box feature two current NHL coaches, Edmonton's Todd Mclellan and Minnesota's Bruce Boudreau. Coincidence?

Apparently the set, along with those of other AHL teams, was produced during the 1988-89 season and was offered for sale in the pro-shops of the respective arenas around the league. You could also send away for a set directly through the mail. The cards feature a red border on the front with a rose colored hockey stick-shaped inset. The players team, name and position are printed on the "blade" of the stick and the AHL logo appears like a hockey puck on the left. The interesting thing is they aren't numbered sequentially. In fact, they aren't even numbered at all. When packaged, they were in alphabetical order, apparently.

There were a couple other notable players included in this set too. Tom Fitzgerald, a former first round draft pick that spent most of his career with the Islanders, Panthers, and Predators, is included. He also has a Stanley Cup as director of player development back in 2009 when he was with the Penguins organization. The other NHLer...Jeff Hackett.  Jeff went on to help the Indians win another Calder the next year and he was voted Playoff MVP. He spent most of his 15 year career with the Blackhawks and the Canadiens.

For $.50, they both came home with me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Box Break - - 2016-17 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

It's been a long time since I have posted any original content on here.  I could go on and on about where I have been or why I haven't posted but I don't want to waste anyone's time (assuming there is anyone left out there).

I wanted to try and get back on the horse and what better way than with a long-winded box break write up.  The first box of any hockey card season for me is usually always O-Pee-Chee.  This year is no different.  I try to put this set together every year because it is the biggest set to build and most challenging.  For example, I have yet to complete a season going back each year to 2006-07...but I'm getting close on a few (you can help if you are so inclined).

My wife and I picked up a couple boxes on our visit to Baseball Card Exchange over the weekend and I wanted to share my take on the product and what we pulled.

What's in the box, you ask?

  • 32 Packs per box
  • 8 Cards per pack
  • 12 Boxes per case
  • 660 Base cards in the set (550 regular, 110 short-printed high numbers)
  • 18 super short-printed cards (661-678) 

Most boxes are going to have 16 high numbers (551-660) which consist the Marquee Rookies (players who made their debuts after January last year) and cards that had been inserts in past years but are now part of the main set, such as Season Highlights, Team Checklists, and League Leaders.

There is also one Retro parallel card per pack.  This years cards have the '71-72 feel to them (one of my personal favorite sets of all time), although the design is a bit more "cartoonish" looking which is very reminiscent of the UD Retro cards of the early 2000s.  There are also about eight Rainbow cards, with most boxes probably yielding one or two Black Rainbow cards #/100.  Love them or hate them, the V-Series mini cards are back for a third installment as well.  These are a throwback to the O-Pee-Chee V304 Series cards from 1933-1937.  There are two in a box.

New this year are OPC Playing Cards.  Yes, I said playing cards.  Not the One-On-One style cards Playoff manufactured back in 1995, but real live, 52 cards that you can play poker, Go-Fish, or any form of Rummy with.  The cards feature various players on each card. The 2s through Kings fall about 1:9 packs but the Aces are much tougher.  

Autographs are available but are always a tough pull for O-Pee-Chee.  There are basic signatures available at 1:192 packs, as well as Team Canada signatures at a rate of 1:384 packs.  There is also an unannounced set called Glo-Pee-Chee.  These cards...yep, you guessed it...Glow In The Dark!! Finally, there are OPC Patch cards randomly inserted, most of which can be found roughly 2 per case, maybe less.  Some, like the OPC Mascots, fall at a rate of 1:3,912 or even 1:31,296.  

Let's check out some of what we pulled. First, the base cards.  You can see that they really aren't too exciting of a design but they aren't supposed to be.  It's an entry level set without many bells and whistles. The cards have white borders and the player photo actually takes up most of the card for once.  In past years, this has been an issue with OPC designs, where the player photo almost took a back seat to the design around the card.

You can see the differences (or maybe you can't) between the general base cards (the Matt Murray), the League Leaders (Jarome Iginla), the Marquee Rookies (Trevor Carrick), and the Team Checklists (Penguins Team)

Here is a sample of the Retro inserts.  These are one per pack and mirror the base set but with different player photos.  As you can see, very reminiscent of the 71-72 Topps/OPC set...See,

 Oooo, look.  Shiny!

A few of the Rainbow parallels we pulled.  They are identical to the base cards but with the rainbow foil printing instead of the standard cardboard.  Pulled only our second Captain McDavid card ever right there.  We didn't have much luck with the Connor chase in 2015-16 products.

Here are the Black Rainbow cards we pulled.  These, again, are the same as the base or the regular Rainbow cards but are serial numbered #/100.  There were two in each box.  At least we ended up with decent players.  Usually the Black Rainbow cards we pull are 4th liners.

We pulled two V-Series C cards in each box as well.  Always happy to pull Penguins in our insert cards.  The Eichel wasn't bad either.

Now, the playing cards.  I really want to put this set together.  It shouldn't be hard since there are only 52 cards.  With four per box, it will only take 13 boxes to build it.  That is, of course, assuming there are no duplicates.

And then...BOOM!  This...

The Sidney Crosby Ace of Diamonds.  The Aces are 1:200 packs in Hobby Boxes.  I'll take it.

Then the BOOM struck again...

A Team Canada Signatures card of Cam Ward.  The Signatures, as mentioned, are a tough pull as it is.  Team Canada Signatures are even tougher at 1:384 in Hobby Boxes.  Cam Ward is actually a Level C auto and falls at a rate of about 1:1,045.

And last but certainly not least, the biggest BOOM of them all...

Harvey The Hound Mascot Patch card.  As mentioned above, Patch cards are rare.  There are 100 cards in the set with overall odds at 1:96.  There are base cards and Legends/Rookies that fall one or maybe two in a case.  The All-Star cards are even tougher at 1:1,043 or higher.  But this is a Mascot card.  Not just any mascot but the Original NHL mascot, the Calgary Flames Harvey The Hound.  Not only is Harvey a rare mascot card, he is one of the two Uber Rare Mascots.  Along with Carlton the Bear from Toronto, Harvey is a 1:31,296 odds on pull.

These are probably the best tandem of OPC product boxes we have ever opened, as you can see.  I was very happy with the collation as well as I don't think we pulled many duplicates.  If you are looking for a challenging set to build or a chance at some very hard to pull inserts, this could be a good product for you to chase.  At under $80/box, it won't break the bank either.