Tuesday, January 2, 2018

1994-95 Action Packed Pins

Regular readers know my fondness for one of the nicest collectors out there, sometimes The Hockey News/Beckett Hockey contributor and creator of PuckJunk, Sal Barry.

I can easily credit Sal for getting me back in the collectibles game, because I abandoned card collecting in the mid-1990s when cards I could see worth worthless were being sold at $50-100 a pop, roughly a year before I took a decade-long hiatus from following my hometown team, the Montréal Canadiens, although I did continue following the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche in the postseason.

In 2000 and 2001, I started seeing packs of cards at dollar stores and would buy one or two once in a while, and in 2002 I bought a decent bunch and fell upon this Nikolai Antropov autograph card, which piqued my interest and brought it back to a 6/10; when my interest in though-the-mail (TTM) autographs peaked in 2009, Sal's website, personal blog, and tips on how to obtain autographs made it go up to 11, so much so that I also went digging through my old stuff that was in my Mom's attic. (Coincidentally, she was about to throw them out).

A couple of weeks ago, Sal wrote an article for Beckett on ill-fated 1994-95 hockey sets by a company named Action Packed and went more specifically into their set of lapel pins in another article on PuckJunk, then proceeded to hold a contest on his Twitter feed to draw three "packs" at random.

And I won!

This is what they look like as photographed by my smartphone:
Clockwise from left, that's Patrick Roy in his iconic Habs mask, Mike Modano, Doug Gilmour and Sergei Fedorov, four of the best players of their era. There's a case to be made for Roy as the best goalie of all time (and I often do), and there's also one to be made for Hart Trophy winner Fedorov as the most important piece of the Detroit Red Wings' 1997, 1998 and 2002 Stanley Cup-winning teams; where Modano stands as one of the best American-born players of all time may be up for debate, but he certainly makes my current Top-5, and Gilmour was tremendous in 1988-89 and 1992-93, perhaps the best player skater not named Wayne Gretzky of those two seasons.

This was supposed to be a 50-player set of the best players in the world.. and Terry Yake:
from PuckJunk
Well, Alexandre Daigle did play a long time but ended up being a marginal player instead of the Pierre Turgeon-like superstar he was sold as being by the scouts of the era. The same can be said of Pat Falloon, and there were a couple of, uh, fighters in the lot (Dave Manson, Marty McSorley, Bob Probert) as well as serviceable players who were not necessarily stars, such as Dmitry Khristich (wrongly spelled on the checklist), Stéphane Richer, Geoff Courtnall, Rick Tocchet, All-Star by default Geoff Sanderson, Tomas Sandstrom, Steve Thomas and Kevin Stevens.

Like I told Sal, I probably would have purchased the Roy at the time if it'd been below $25, but I wouldn't have bought a pack out of fear of landing a few too many Yakes...

It's a great product, though.

Thanks again, Sal!

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