Friday, September 2, 2011

#3 - Value Vintage Sets - 81-82 Topps

I LOVE the 81-82 design. Topps and OPC versions look down-right cool. From 1980-present day I don't think there is a set design I like as much as this one. With that being said, there is some substance to what I think is the 3rd best value vintage set.

Redeeming Qualities:

Did I mention the design?
17 rookies, 5 of them in the HOF
Gretzky 3rd year card
Unique East/West distribution
Set is 30 years old
2nd year card of players like Bourque and Gartner
Neat Super Action cards
Lists for 17.5% of the price of the OPC set (now that is value)

Card design:
The front side
The cards have an "industrial" look to me with the stamped team name on the front of the card. A good sized action shot on also on the front with name, position and emblem. Gotta love the old Rockies uniforms!

The back side
They cram LOTS on the back but it all flows nicely. Top side gives the card number (east or west if applicable), then vitals, stats and a season summary in text. Then at the bottom, a little additional blurb about the player which pertains to some other point in their hockey career.

Key Card:

Due to the large production numbers, there isn't really any really expensive cards in this set, but in my opinion the key card from the set is the Wayne 3rd year card.

Wayne is so baby-faced in this photo and looks like he is ready for the face-off. I used to have that Titan hockey stick as a kid. Couldn't do what Wayne did with it though!

The rookies:
Like I mentioned, there are only 17 rookies in the Topps version compared to nearly 60 in the OPC version. In addition, Topps missed some good rookies like Coffey, Anderson, Lowe, Moog, and Hunter but many were included worth mentioning. In the Topps version you can find: Savard, Stastny, Ciccarelli, Murphy and Kurri who are all HOF'ers.

Denis Savard Rookie

Dino Ciccarelli Rookie

Some other notable cards:
Like I mentioned above, there are lots of other cool cards and significant cards in the set. Unfortunately there is only one other Gretzky card which is the team leader card.

Ray Bourque Super Action
Here is a cool action shot of little Ray against Dennis Maruk.

Mike Liut Super Action
Here is another example of the cool Super Action cards. I love this one, cool mask and Northland goalie stick!

This 198 card set lists in the Beckett for 35-70 dollars but like most things can be had for pretty cheap on eBay. I bought this set last month for 25 bucks on eBay (for the 66 national cards, the 66 East and 66 West cards). A steal if you ask me considering all the cards are NrMT, and even if you include the outrageous 16 bucks I had to pay for shipping, I still got the set for 41 bucks total. Sure you can buy lots of different things for 41 bucks, but owning this set was a must for me and at 41 bucks including shipping this SCREAMS value to me. I am not sure what a set like this might cost at your local card shop or card show but I imagine you can't go wrong with any price around 50 bucks. Thanks to the countless venting sets out there, there is no reason why you can't get one in mint shape too!


  1. One of my top 3 all-time hockey sets, I've loved this one since I first collected cards as a kid. The 81-82 Topps set was one of the first things I purchased (for around $25) when I got back into collecting in 2007. A great set! Now I just need to find an O-Pee-Chee set...

  2. i too am a fan of this classic Topps Set. i am sad to this day that Topps skipped hockey for the two seasons following this one, a read damn shame imo.

  3. We obviously have similar tastes. :) Good call on this one too. This set (the OPC one) was a real thrill when it came out because it was such a cut above the '80-81 set, also because it was the first with the Flames in their Calgary uniform. Always a favourite to flip through.

    The split run of the second 66 cards is a real oddity. I've never seen it before or since.

  4. Great set
    Going to look for it on ebay now.

  5. I got it for $35 a few months back. :)