Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Unique New Super Mario!

The very first hockey cards that my brothers and I ever opened packs of were 1989-90 Topps and O-Pee-Chee.  Though I still have my childhood binder of those cards, and have also picked up complete sets of each release from that year in mint condition, I'm always on the lookout for more ways to add unique 1989-90 hockey cards to my collection.

Recently, I stumbled upon one that I was completely unaware of, but was an absolute perfect fit for my collection.  Check it out...

Alright, a nice enough early-career highlights card of the great Mario Lemieux.  At first glance you're probably wondering what makes this one so special?  Well, if you look closely at Mario's right shoulder there, above the word "Highlights", you'll see a faint trace of something on the card.  It's actually been embossed with some type of press, because this is a "Fan Favorites" buyback from 2003-04 Topps!

Topps did this buyback promotion across their baseball, football and hockey brands in 2003.  Given that this card exists at the intersection of two of my hobby passions, 1989-90 hockey cards and buybacks, I can't believe I had the good fortune to stumble upon it.

Here's a better look at the embossing, I tilted the card a bit and snapped a pic with my iPhone to give you a better idea of what it looks like in hand.  Gimmicky?  Sure!  But for a hair over $10 this was a really, really cool way to add another unique element to my never-ending pursuit of '89-90 hockey cards.  Truth be told I'd grab just about any buyback from this set if the price was right, but to have my first and only be the great Mario Lemieux was just awesome.

One of the more unique, cheap pick-ups to join my collection so far this year.  Making the deal even sweeter was the fact that the eBay seller I picked this up from included a little stack of other Super Mario cards as a free throw-in when he shipped me my buyback!

I'm pretty sure this 2003-04 Topps Lemieux is from the set that these buybacks came randomly inserted in, so it's pretty cool to receive the base card as an unexpected freebie!

Loved these Members Only boxed sets from 1991.  I think Topps printed tons and tons of them, but they're fun cards nonetheless.

Even got a nice, shiny mid-'90s Donruss Elite Lemieux!

More from those Stadium Club boxed sets, with Mario's card from the Charter Member release...

...and another Members Only as well.  Great look at the Conn Smythe Trophy here.  Keep scrolling for more NHL hardware...

A nice horizontal Season Highlights from 2005-06 Parkhurst, the Crosby/Ovechkin rookie year.

From the same year, here's a Power Play base card.  Not really sure what Lemieux is doing in this photo, looks like he just released a pass and is admiring his work?

More hardware, this time courtesy of 1993-94 Stadium Club.  The Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the league MVP...

...and the Art Ross, given annually to the player who paces the league in points scored.

Again from 2005-06, this is the Upper Deck Rookie Update set.  I'm guessing this set was a ploy by Upper Deck to produce a few more Crosby and Ovechkin cards, but it's not a bad looking set all in all.

Even got Mario's base card from that 2005-06 Parkhurst set.

Here's one that looks like it could have come straight out of the '90s, but it's actually a 2006-07 SPx card believe it or not.  As a lover of shiny cards I'll happily accept this one.

Even Metal made an appearance in the stack, with this new-to-me '95-96.  Awesome stuff.  Every one of the bonus Lemieux cards I just showed were new to my collection.  Those unexpected throw-ins pushed me to over 100 cards and counting of the Penguins great as well, pretty cool!

There were a couple of others that I didn't bother showing because they're duplicates for me, like this 2005-06 SP Authentic base card.  Still appreciate them though, and have tossed them into my "halfway decent trade bait" box for now.

What a fantastic eBay auction this turned out to be.  I was happy with the one-of-a-kind addition to my '89-90 hockey collection as it was, but the seller really stepped up and knocked it out of the park with the extras.  That little surprise turned this action from a great one to an amazing one.

Thanks as always for stopping by!


Jeremy said...

I always found Lemieux never quite gets as much hobby love as he deserves considering his career in hockey. He's actually a fairly good bargain to collect for a PC.

Billy Kingsley said...

That's cool. I had no ideas those buybacks existed- why didn't they do them for the NBA? I would have loved to have chased them...and the 2003-04 set is quite possibly my favorite Topps NBA set, too.

Fuji said...

Very cool. Wasn't collecting when these stamped buybacks came out, so this is the first I've heard of them. I do enjoy the 1989-90 Topps set though. I remember busting packs in the late 90's searching for Sakic rookies.

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