The Hockey Card Travesty

Last modified on October 3rd, 2010

Last week I went over to my grandmas house to finally organize some boxes that had been there since my university days. At the bottom of one such box was the majority of my hockey and baseball card collection from the late 80s and early 90s. In fact, I probably have around 5 or 6 smaller boxes of cards, many of which come close to being a complete set.

If you were around in those days, you probably remember how hockey cards went from being considered little cardboard things that came with gum to investments basically overnight. Most of us starting selling transformers and whatever else we could get our hands on in order to fuel the craziness. First there was Score, then Upper Deck, then the OPC Premiere set. In a move of sheer marketing genius, Beckett came out with a book that showed us how much all these cards were “worth”, and most of us spent our lunches back then sorting cards and dreaming of all the mountains of cash we would one day exchange for our cards.

Of course, back then none of realized that prices aren’t determined by little books, but by what other people are willing to pay for an item. That’s why a house in Florida can be worth $20,000, and that same house in Vancouver at close to one million. So while Beckett said a lot of these cards were worth money, if nobody wants to pay anything for them they are essentially worthless.

Looking through my old cards, I had put some of the more valuable ones in plastic protectors with a little piece of duct tape indicating the price from the Beckett book in 1990. I found a few Eric Lindros rookie cards, marked with $22 back then. After doing a few searches, the actual price that card is trading for is more like $5 these days.

Other than the rookie cards, everything else is trading for about 10 cents or so. Given that it’s already been 20 years since those days, and the cards haven’t appreciated at all, I’m fairly certain that they will never be worth anything substantial.

So I basically have six boxes of mostly useless cardboard, and I have no idea what to do with them. Sure, I can put them in storage for another 20 years, but I doubt they’ll be worth any more. Option two is to maybe throw them on Craigslist and hope to get $100 or so for the lot. Or option three is to simply throw them all in the garbage and kiss that era goodbye.

Option three actually appeals to me the most.