Monday, January 26, 2009

2008 O-Pee-Chee Hobby Box

I bought a rack pack of 2008 O-Pee-Chee hockey a while back and it instantly became my favorite hockey set of 2008 (with Upper Deck's base and Masterpieces sets not far behind). After picking up another rack pack, a blaster, and about a half dozen hobby packs, I decided I was going to build the set and ponied up for a wax box. I paid $63.00 for the box, which contains 36 packs, 6 cards per pack.

This is the largest hockey set of the year to my knowledge (as O-Pee-Chee generally is). The base set consists of 500 cards. There are an extra 100 short prints (#'s 501 - 600) consisting of 60 Marquee Rookies cards and 40 Legends cards. The Marquee Rookies cards have been a staple of the O-Pee-Chee set for at least the last couple of years. The Legends however are a new, and in my opinion welcome, addition to the set. I got 8 Marquee Rookies cards in my box, seven of which I needed. My only gripe is the selection of rookie players. I seemed to get quite a few scrubs, like Jordan LaVallee (pictured above) who as far as I can tell has not suited up for a single game so far this year. I understand that card companies have to take a gamble as they don't have a crystal ball to tell them which rookies will see playing time, but they seem to have missed on some big names, like Blake Wheeler of the Boston Bruins. Upper Deck may rectify this before all is said and done though, as I have already seen advertising for a 2008 O-Pee-Chee update set (just in case I didn't have enough sets to collect!).

I really like the design of the base cards. For the past couple of years O-Pee-Chee has had sort of a bland brown and/or black bordered card with a small inset photo. This year I think they did a much better job, with a larger photo that often overlaps the border (as it does with the Backstrom card pictured here) and team colors integrated into the base set design. The O-Pee-Chee logo itself could've been smaller in my humble opinion, but other than that there is very little I would change about the base cards. I pulled 146 base cards when all was said and done, 70 of which I already had. Collation was alright, as I did not pull any doubles within the box itself, I think I just got unlucky and happened to get a box where I already had a good portion of the base cards. I still pulled 76 base cards that I needed though, and I'm already working on a trade to unload most of my doubles. This set has a relatively high value so far on the secondary market as well, so unloading extra cards on eBay won't be a problem either.

The highlight of this product for me though is the Retro parallel cards. Inserted at one per pack, these cards are actually a parallel to the base set on a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee design. Normally I absolutely detest parallel cards. As a set builder, I generally complain that they simply take up space in a pack that could've been occupied by a base card, and quite simply cause you to bust more wax in order to hand collate your set. 2008 O-Pee-Chee is different though, and in this case the parallels were one of the main things that drew me to purchase this box. These cards have been in very high demand with hockey collectors. I've seen some individual parallels sell for more than $10 a piece on eBay. Topps and Upper Deck should learn something here, if they have to include parallels in a set it would do them a lot of good to model them after a vintage design.

OK, down to the nitty gritty, here's a breakdown of exactly what I received in this box:

Base Cards: 146 (70 doubles)

Marquee Rookies: 8 (1 double)

Legends: 6 (4 doubles)

Team Checklists: 2

Season Highlights Inserts: 2

Retro: 36 (12 base, 13 Marquee Rookies, 11 Legends)

Gold Parallels (of course Upper Deck had to screw it up and include another worthless parallel): 9

Award Winners Inserts: 2

Stat Leaders Inserts: 3

Second Team All-Star Inserts: 1

Winter Classic Inserts: 1 (as expected, they fall 1:box)

Retro Rainbow Inserts (same as the Retro parallel but shiny and #'d to 100): 2

O-Pee-Chee Materials 3 Player Jersey Card: 1

Not a bad box at all. The guarantee of 36 Retro parallel cards, the great design of the base set, the inclusion of Legends cards, and the myriad of subsets made this a great box. In fact, I liked this box so much (and was still so far from completing a set) that I purchased another wax box (which I'm about half-way through ripping). And now, here are 5 cards from the box that I especially liked:

#593 - Tony Esposito - Chicago Blackhawks (Retro Parallel) - Here's a meeting of my two favorite parts of the set, a retro parallel and a Legends card. How beautiful is this card?

#490 - Manny Fernandez - Boston Bruins - I chose this card simply because I think it effectively illustrates how great the base cards look with the team color integrated into the border.

#595 - Lanny McDonald - Calgary Flames (Legends) - Here's one of the Legends short print cards. I chose Lanny because his fabulous mustache always cracked me and my brothers up when we were younger. Strangely, Lanny's is the only Legends card I've obtained so far with a black and white photo. I'm not sure why they chose black and white for a player who played so recently and has so many color photos available.

3M-PRB - Brian Rolston/Pierre-Marc Bouchard/Mark Parrish - Minnesota Wild - I think these triple jersey cards fall one per box. I didn't pull the best card possible, but I've watched quite a few Wild games this year and I think their defensive-minded playing style (behind coach Jacques Lemaire) is going to get them into the playoffs again in the weak Western Conference.

#584 - Wayne Gretzky - Edmonton Oilers (Retro Parallel) - Booyah! I'd seen this card go for as much as $15 on eBay, and it was the single card that I wanted to pull more than any other when I purchased the box. There was a huge smile on my face when I ripped open a pack and saw this card at the back.

This box was worth the $63 without a doubt, I can't wait to finish ripping my second one and then chasing down some of the cards I'm missing!


Chuck's Used Cards said...

Love the retro parallels - thanks for the posts.

jacobmrley said...

that is a sweet sweet gretzky. it is on my want list now for sure.

Slette said...

Any interest in trading your Wild 3X jersey card? Being transplanted in the State of Hockey, I quickly fell in love with the Wild, thanks especially to Boogaard beating the crap out of everybody.

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