Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cut from the Bottom of the Box - '89-90 Topps Hockey

I've written a few times here about how the 1989-90 Topps and O-Pee-Chee hockey sets were what really kick-started my love of sports cards.  They were some of the first I ever collected as a kid, and I can still recall my Dad coming home with packs after work for my brothers and I.  I've completed the Topps and O-Pee-Chee versions of the set many times over by this point.  Until recently though, there was an element of a master set that was completely absent from my collection:

Those who were collecting back then, or who have this set, will recognize that this is not how Pierre Turgeon's card looked.  That's because this one's a hand-cut box bottom card.  Here's what Pierre's standard card looks like:

I have to say that I prefer the box bottom!  At least it features a helmet and a crowd, rather than Pierre skating around pre-game with a single fan in a white T-shirt watching him.  There were 16 different box bottom cards available for '89-90 Topps.

In order to be featured on one, you had to lead your team in scoring during the previous '88-89 season.  The box bottom cards are numbered alphabetically A-P, so Turgeon here is actual the last card on the checklist.  The backs are fairly basic, just the one year of stats (plus post-season if applicable).

I was able to land a lot of eight of these in really great condition for around $5 delivered.  Let's take a look at the other seven, comparing them against their counterpart from the base set...

On Tim Kerr's box bottom card he's featured with helmet on...

...whereas on his base card those glorious locks are flowing free.

Same with Dave Gagner, in-game action shot on the box bottom card...

...pre-game warm-up on the base card.  So far that's three for three in terms of a better photo on the box bottom.  That's not always the case though, sometimes I actually prefer the base card to the box bottom.

For example, here's Mats Naslund's box bottom.  Not bad, but nothing too exciting...

His base card is actually a much nicer photo in my opinion.

Joe Mullen's box bottom isn't very exciting...

I think I like his standard card better as well.

This Kevin Dineen was actually what drew me to the auction to begin with.  I needed it for a complete master team set, and will definitely be featuring it on my other blog in the near future...

Here's Kevin's base card for comparison.  Dineen was unfortunately just relieved of his position as head coach of the lowly Florida Panthers.

Without a doubt the highlight of the lot for me were the two absolute superstars that were included.  Brett Hull was the man around this time.  This box bottom can never compare with his base card from the set though, which I consider a junk wax classic:



Last but not least, an absolutely mint Gretzky!  Really cool to add this oddball to my humble Gretzky collection.

Not much difference in the photo from Wayne's base card from the set.

Look at those insane numbers, and this was after he'd been in the league for 10 years!  I'm really satisfied with this purchase as it puts me halfway to a set, and whoever cut these had a really steady hand.  The edges are all straight and right on point.

If anyone has any of the eight I'm missing for trade I'd definitely be interested.  How about you, do you have any box bottom cards in your collection?

2 comments:

Dave H said...

I find this post fun and saddening. Once upon a time I used to have a boatload of box bottoms from 87-90. Sadly with all the moving I did in university they were lost in one of my shuffles so I am missing a couple hundred dollars in full, never separated box bottoms. They were at the time tucked in a bunch of crappy comic books. I never had much ambition to cut them but at the time no way to display them either.

I suspect if I still had them I would have paged them or put them in those 8x10 top loaders.

I do like the post and thanks for reminding me of a love lost....

Mark Kaz said...

That Gretzky is a beaut!

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