On Wednesday I read a great post by Sal at Puck Junk on the 2003-04 Topps Hockey Lost Rookies inserts
. I wasn't collecting cards at all in 2003 so I was totally unaware of this great insert set. While all 11 cards are nice, I was particularly intrigued by the Ron Francis card, depicting him with the Whalers on the 1981-82 Topps design. Ron obviously wasn't included on the checklist for the '81-82 set, and with Topps dropping out of the hockey card game for the '82-83 and '83-84 seasons, his first Topps card didn't arrive until the '84-85 set. I knew I had to track this one down for my Hartford Whalers collection. I took to eBay and found only a couple of copies out there. I made a low-ball offer on one of them and went on with my day.
Later that same afternoon I had a couple of hours to kill and decided to make a visit to my favorite local hobby shop. It had been months since I'd stopped by, and I was looking forward to spending some time leafing through the many quarter boxes. To my shock and horror though, I found that the quarter boxes are no more! I guess they just couldn't justify the amount of time it was taking them to sleeve and organize the cards vs. the profit they were seeing from it. There are a ton of dollar boxes at least, and guess what card I located in one of the hockey boxes?
What are the odds of that? The very same day I learned of this card's existence, there it was staring me in the face. Of course I now had a dilemma, do I buy this one not knowing the fate of my low-ball eBay offer? For a buck I took the risk, I couldn't stand the thought of passing on this copy, then seeing my eBay offer rejected. So that's the story of how, just a few hours after learning of this card, I had my very own copy. What a world we live in.
Since I've focused so much on baseball lately, here are four other cards I snagged from the dollar box for all of my hockey-card-collecting readers...
I've mentioned this a few times before, but any time I see these '09-10 Champs Yellow Parallels at a decent price I bite. I really loved the design of this set, and these particular parallels are not too easy to come by at 1:20 packs. I doubt I'll ever finish the 100-card yellow set, especially since most of the checklist is comprised of superstars, but I've got at least half a dozen of them now anyway.
I couldn't pass on this awesome 1976-77 Topps card celebrating the Montreal Canadiens' Stanley Cup season in '75-76. I wish the photo were in color, but other than that this is just a great looking piece of cardboard.
This is actually the final card in the 1976-77 Topps set. As you can see, Montreal faced very little adversity in the '75-76 playoffs, sweeping all three rounds. I would have to guess that this one will be in the running when I get around to selecting card #264 for The Ultimate Hockey Card Set.
Back to something a little more modern, we have a Wayne Gretzky card from the 1994-95 Topps Premier set. Normally I would not shell out $1 for this card, but in case you can't tell by the scan this is the Special Effects parallel. These came one in every other hobby or retail pack, and it's easy to spot one as the area surrounding the player sparkles in almost any light.
This card actually has a book value in the $15-$20 range. I know that doesn't mean much, but it's not often that I run across a Gretzky card so far under book.
Finally, we have a 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Retro Tomas Fleischmann. This may seem like the least exciting of the cards in this post, but I was more excited to find this one than any of the other four. I have been at this set for over 4 years now, and if anything these seem to be getting more and more difficult to locate. Sportlots was picked down to the bare bones for this set long ago, and if you're lucky enough to find the card you're looking for on eBay you're going to pay more in shipping than you will for the card. When you only need 31 more like I do, they become that much harder to track down.
With Tomas here in hand, I'm now down to an even 30 cards to finish off the 600-card set. I think this is the best back design in the history of hockey cards, just never gets old...
On an unrelated note, I've borrowed an idea that many other bloggers have used and created a top 9 most wanted list which I'll keep over in the sidebar. If you have anything off the list for trade I will make sure you are handsomely rewarded!
Oh yeah, and one last thing, of course my eBay offer on the Francis card was accepted. If anyone wants to trade for my extra let me know!
I love that Francis card....there is one at my LCS too, but I am trying to land the whole set instead. I still haven't had luck finding if for a price I want to pay, but I always thought you would like that one!
Also, I think I might have a Champs yellow or two kicking around, I will take a look and send it your way if I do.
I would try and get one of your Ron Francis "Lost Rookies" autographed. You have two of them now, so you can try to get one of them signed.
Or, you could put one with your other Francis cards and the other one with your 1981-82 Topps set (assuming you have one).
I have a Mikko Koivu and a Jeff Carter Champs yellow, let me know if you need them and I will fire them in the mail. I also have a few other treats I have been setting aside for you too. Just let me know if you need both and they are on their way!
Dave, I actually don't have either of those! I'll dig around to see what I can send you in return, thanks!
Sal, that's actually a great idea about storing the Francis with my '81-82 Topps set, I hadn't considered that. Although, I think I'm going to send it to Dave now! :)
The Gretzky #375 is from the Canadian OPC Premier set. You can tell as it's bilingual on the back. It is worth more, as it is in less quantity, than its sister Topps Premier set. A very sweet deal for a $1. Usually can't pick the OPC special effects up for under $20.
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