1992-93 Pinnacle #265 — Ed Belfour

A second, quick, Halloween post. (A mask, get it?) I think the Moog card is the closest thing to scary but, alas, I don’t have it. I’m probably a little too Bruins-centric around here, anyway. I have to slip into my blue blazer and the rest of my costume; this year, I’m Ron MacLean.

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Batman #16 — The Penguin’s Trap

I thought that I’d post something in the spirit of Halloween, so here’s a card from Topps’s 1966 Batman set.  Apparently, Topps did a number of sets that year involving Batman, including one based on the eponymous film. (I’ve only seen a few minutes of the movies–the intro involving Robin using an anti-shark spray to save Robin–which, thankfully, appears in the set.) Comics were the reason why I eventually stopped collecting the first time around when I was younger, so it’s nice to come full circle and marry the two.

The images are bright and hand-painted; they remind me a lot of Mars Attacks! which came out around the same time. (A little bit of research just yielded that both sets were done by Norman Saunders.) It’s interesting to see they were done on canvases not much bigger than the cards. The backs, though bright and O-Pee-Chee-esque, are another story. Its prose is terrible and stiff, cornier than the TV show. In a way, though, it almost makes the card better.

Actual Hockey Sweaters

Milt is looking very Draper-esque.

Every girl I’ve ever dated used Etsy so I’ve been introduced and reintroduced to it a few times. It’s similar to ebay except it only sells vintage and handmade items and each listing is at a fixed price. I like to browse once in a while, not so much for cards (though they’re there and usually overpriced) but for other vintage hockey items.

Recently, I was looking around for old Bruins things when I found this, a listing for a vintage cardigan sweater, the exact same design from Milt Schmidt’s 1994-95 Parkhurst Tall Boys card. (I was also reminded of an older post about Milt and this very card over at Shoebox Legends.) It’s obvious that Milt likes the sweater as much as I do: he’s worn it to events in the not-so-distant-past.

The price is $1,600 which is a silly considering it’s on a site mostly for crafts and other sweaters have sold on vintage sports auction sites for around $180  (maybe if the seller threw in a same tie and pair of slacks Milt is wearing) but there’s a bunch of nice pictures, including a few closeups of the insignia, so it’s well worth the click.

One thing that always bothered me about this Parkhurst retro set is that they used the (then) contemporary logo of the Bruins with the ‘B’ and spokes outlined thinly in black. They didn’t use that until the mid-nineties and I wouldn’t mind never seeing it again–it conjures up too many bad memories of the undelivered promises of Joe Thornton, Sergei Samsonov, Andrew Raycroft, Kyle McLaren, et al.

The sweater makes an appearance on two cards that I don’t own: 1965-66 Topps and 1994-95 Parkhurst Missing Link. Note the Parkie uses the same logo again.

Frazer-Nash / Grand Touring Sports Coupe

This is only my second card from the 1961 Topps Sports Cars set. This one inverts the manufacturer/model listing from the Moretti I own but I guess it makes more sense this way. In a past post I compared the 2001-02 Topps Heritage Hockey set to Pop Art but I wish I hadn’t because these are definitely more Warhol-esque.

I don’t know much about British cars other than Jaguars are supposedly unreliable and I only know that because of an episode of Mad Men from last season. (Quick aside, Topps should totally do a Mad Men Heritage set, like how every hit show in the seventies and eighties had their own.) I’m mainly interested in this set because they’re tallboys. Topps produced a number of these back in the sixties and seventies and this is the only set that realistically fits in my budget.

  • 1961 Sports Cars
  • 1964-65 Hockey
  • 1965 Football
  • 1969-70 Basketball
  • 1970-71 Basketball

Are there other tallboy sets? I guess 1976-77 Basketball could qualify but its dimensions are different, they’re even larger.

1989-90 Kraft

I love oddball/food sets. We didn’t get most of them in the US and, unlike the baseball food issues here (ahem, Post) they’re actually licensed, so no logo-less sweaters. Kraft seems to have produced some of the best; they made sets every season from ’89-90 to ’94-’95 and then did a couple more in the early oughts. At 64 cards, the ’89-’90 set is the smallest (the following year’s set had 115 if you count the oversized pogs they included) but it might be the best looking. A simple, white border includes the player’s name, number and team logo. It gives the cards a very uncrowded look which complements the excellent, action photography very. Compare this to the 1989-90 Topps/O-Pee-Chee set which features a lot of players standing around. Not to mention its busy composition (Its design is so quintessentially nineties that words “cowabunga” and “mondo” come to mind whenever I see one.) 1989-90 was the last hockey season before the explosion of the market in 1990-91, so these two sets are the only ones offered.

Only the seven Canadian teams are represented here–Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg–so sadly no Bruins, Whalers, etc. Some players from American teams made it into the set as the Wales and Campbell Conference All-Star teams are also featured. (There was no way Kraft was going to omit Gretzky.)

The cards came on boxes of Kraft products, including ROCK-O-RAMA, whatever that is. Here’s a typical box of Kraft Dinner, featuring the Sakic rookie from above, that I borrowed from the internet:

I’m currently reading Collections of Nothing by William Davies King. He’s a professor of theatre at the University of California, Santa Barbara but I can’t imagine him having time to do anything outside collecting. King writes abouts his endless collecting of valueless objects–from business cards to credit cards to envelop linings to produce stickers to pieces of scrap metal–but his largest (and most impressive?) is his collection of food labels. He has over 18,000, all neatly pasted into binders. Davies cuts out the front label and throws away the back so he may very well have done the opposite hockey collectors had done and kept the label and throw away the cards!

The reason I bring up King and his book is because of his commentary and observations on collecting. Cards–be it hockey or baseball or non-sport or soccer–are ephemera. They weren’t originally designed to be kept over the long term and, from a manufacturing standpoint, little has been done to change that, simply meaning: they’re still flimsy little pieces of cardboard. He writes that collecting “finds order in things, virtue in preservation, knowledge in obscurity, and above all it discovers and even creates value” (7). This explains, quite nicely, why I’ve just written about 600 words on a small, 25 year-old set of hockey cards that were originally cut out of boxes of macaroni and cheese.

Later in the chapter, King elaborates on his answer to the existential question collectors face every now and then, when moving, creating space for new additions, or dealing with the sheer vastness of their own collections. He’s writing about his boyhood stamp collection but it holds true to any. “I wanted to make my collection into an orderly and rich place where I could go” (13). I’ve been thinking about this more and more as the lockout continues. I thought that the lockout might dissuade me from collecting–and it still may–but for now, hockey only exists on the cards in my binders and boxes, and the ones I might buy.

Marquee Rookies

Although not quite as snazzy as the Marquee Legends, the Marquee Rookies from this year’s O-Pee-Chee set have a great design. Unfortunately, as with most rookie subsets, it’s littered with guys currently in the AHL, backup goals who have been called up but haven’t stepped on the ice, and future fourth liners. One interesting variation to these are the inclusion of Hall of Famers featuring pictures from their rookie seasons, so you see Roy in his white mask and Lemieux in that awesome, all-yellow Penguins jersey.