Monday, March 7, 2011

The Junk Era

Many collectors commonly refer to the 1990's as the "junk era" of hockey cards. New card companies were popping up and collecting was popular as ever! Sets were being mass produced to meet demand, or so the companies thought. It's common to go to a card show and find early 90's boxes for under $10. Even with these bargain prices, some dealers have great trouble moving the product.

Over the years when people have referred to the 90's as the "junk era", I never thought much of it. I had plenty of 90's singles collecting dust in my closet and a large Rubbermaid box filled with cards in hard cases. These were my treasures growing up and after finding a highly sought after card, I would commonly bring it to bed with me for nights after.  If I woke in the middle of the night I wanted to be able to take quick look at my new gem. My childhood treasures spent close to ten years un-touched in my closet while I collected new products, chasing after autographed and game used cards.

About a year and a half ago I began to grow tired of countless new sets released every season with outrageous prices. Card collecting in my opinion had become a business about making money and I thought back to the happiness a few packs of cards for $1 would bring me growing up. I missed that feeling and I cracked out my old cards to look at them for the first time in almost a decade.

I thought back to the time I spent as a kid at flea markets sifting through 3,000 count boxes of commons to find my players I collecting (mainly journeyman goalies). I thought about my collecting goals I wanted to obtain and how most of them were left unfulfilled due to budget and searching radius. I was not privileged growing up to have the Internet, so I was only able to look at card shows and flea markets.

It made me sad to think about how happy collecting made me as a kid and how much it would have meant to me to finish off sets and find cards on my wish list 15 years ago. I decided right there and then to pick up where I left off in 1999 and chase after the cards I always wanted.

I have enjoyed the hobby much more now that I have gone back to my roots. 90's singles and boxes can be picked up for a small fraction of the price that current releases go for. While I have never been much of a set builder, I've found myself going after sets now and enjoying the challenge that they bring.

What really drew me to hockey cards as a kid were goalie cards. I really liked the cards especially that featured goalies with odd equipment. I really liked Ken Wregget's mask especially during the late 80's and early 90's. It featured just a regular Cooper helmet with the goalie cage on the front. He always had the straps really loose on the side so the cage didn't fit snug.

You can see in the card above, that Wregget's cage is attached loosely on the side's to his helmet. From 1994-2001 I used the exact same style mask when I played ball hockey.

I will finish off the posting by showing off a very small sample of the cards I have picked up since returning to collecting 90's hockey. I apologise for some of the "gang scans" that include non 90's hockey product!. Enjoy!


  1. I'm with you on the 90's stuff. I really got into collecting hockey around 1997, so these cards are always fun to take a look at. I love those mask cards you've got there too, some of the best were from the 97 and 98 sets.

  2. the 97 and 98 sets had nice Mask cards. They can be tough to find! I have a 96-97 Fiset Die Cut Mask and I have only ever seen a few!

  3. Great post. When I was growing up in the early 90's I collected EVERYTHING...but back then you could actually afford the packs. Not only that but the cards had great designs as well. Now you pay 3 bucks for 5 cards of mediocre players and a crap design..I feel bad for kids these day.