Sunday, May 8, 2011


Most of my readers are elite hockey card collectors with thousands if not tens of thousands of hockey cards. Although, with every hobby you must start somewhere. I thought it would be appropriate to examine the basics of hockey card collecting for the sake of those wanting to dip into the world of hockey cards. I believe there are four areas that a "beginner" needs to cover before he can call himself a "seasoned" collector.

First are the legends. I'm NOT saying every collector must have an Orr rookie, but I am saying that a collector must have a healthy appreciation for the superstars of the 80's, 90's, and 00's. Of course before the 1980's is even more expectable, but I'm talking about the basics. To throw around some names would be...Lemieux, Yzerman, Jagr, Lidstrom, Selanne etc. These should be things that beginners strive for.

These are the guys you want in your beginning stack. Hasek, Pronger, Madano, Naslund etc. The great thing about these cards is they don't break the bank. These are all rookie card and all of them are worth around 50 cents. Even a Lidstrom "Young Guns" card is valued at a buck!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a starter should have a healthy appreciation for the superstars of the game. What I'm not saying is to go out there and spend your life savings on a Gordie Howe original but an 2007-08 OPC insert of the guy wouldn't hurt.

Second on the list is a team set. Most hockey fans have one specific team they route for. If you are one of those guys, why not start a team set? Doesn't have to be anything special but, collecting basic superstars is not too much of a burden. Low end rookies won't kill you either. As long as you start a small 50 card stack you're in business.

Third, start a player collection. This is something I never did whole heartedly when I started and now I regret it. Starting a player collection over a set gives you variety and a flexible price range. I highly recommend it.

My last subjects ties in well with the first. He's a legend I'm sure all readers were irate I didn't mention at first. My final basic need for collectors is Mr. Wayne Gretzky. I believe all hockey card collectors should have at least one Gretzky in the collection. Again, I'm not saying to go and spend a grand on a Wayne Gretzky card but instead grab yourself an insert from one of the many Legend inserts in OPC or UD. 

A guy like this is worth 10 bucks and I'm sure a beginner would be happy with a 1981 OPC scoring leader card. 

So that is my "Collecting Basics". Again, they are:

1. Legends that won't put you out of business
2. Team collection
3. Player collection
4. The Great One

Now I ask you, what are your collecting basics? This is just my opinion and I'm sure you have your own. Do you agree with me? Let me know and drop me a comment. 



  1. Great topic, great post.

    I'll admit though....I disagree with you.

    I will agree that an appreciation for players, sets from all eras should be embraced, I don't think that there should be 'musts' in collecting. I might not want to collect teams or sets, just players. I might not want a Gretzky in my collection. And I shouldn't feel guilty that I don't.

    My one piece of advice to those who are just stepping into collecting - YOU control your collection. Don't let your collection control you.

    There are a lot of products out there, and often that gets a lot of negative comments. I think it's a good thing as there are more options for the collector.

    If you want sets, you got it. Player PC, no problem there. Team stuff, great. Expensive high-end, yup. Affordable base, once again it's out there.

    Before jumping in, take a look around to find out what's out there. Decide what you want to pursue and then go for it. Modify your collection as need be.

    Each collection is unique - make it your own.

    Again, great post.

  2. As always bamlinden thanks for your input and I do agree with you there too

    Everyone's collection should be unique to their collecting desires, whether that be set, team, or player

    Thanks for the kind comment about the post, it's nice getting out of the routine of the goalie project :P

  3. Getting 'outside the box' can be fun.

    What your post really hammers home for me is that there is a lot of great stuff that doesn't have to break the bank.

    That's an area that a lot of starters get overwhelmed with.

    Love the Lidstrom Young Guns card.

  4. Good job at listing some jumping off points for a beginning collector. When my 7 year old (then 6) decided he wanted to give it a shot, he picked a player (Soriano) and a team (Cubs) and started from there.

    One of my biggest problems is finding a collecting identity. Set builder? Check. Player Collector? Check. Team Collector? Check. I'm like the Sybil of card collecting. Or maybe, I just need to have a giant yard sale (bonfire?) and separate the wheat from chaff. I'll never know.

    Good post, though.

  5. Maybe 'Collecting basics' should be on of the categories.

    Btw, can anyone explain me why Trevor Kidd has rookie cards from 90-91 UD and 91-92 UD? Is this common or is this just wrong information?

  6. The Kidd RC is from 90-91 UD when he played for Team Canada as a junior and the same goes for Niedermayer. Though, Kidd also has a Score RC version as well when he was featured as a Flames draft pick.

    This happened often before they card companies changed their approach to rookie cards and stopped putting players on cards prior to pro debuts.