Expansion came to the National Hockey League in 1967–and in a big way. The league doubled in size from the longstanding “Original Six” franchises to a 12-team league that was now coast-to-coast. The move came too late to be reflected in the nickel wax packs of cards that arrived on candy counters that season. The 1967-68 Topps hockey checklist included only the six teams from the previous season.
1967-68 Topps Hockey Overview
Before computers became commonplace in American business, such changes were a logistical nightmare, one that likely was simply too much for Topps to handle. That’s not to say the set is without merit. In fact, if you like rookie cards and Hall of Famers, the ’66-67 set is loaded. Of the 132 cards, more than 30 are Hall of Famers and if you count the All-Star and Award Winner cards, more than a third picture a player who was eventually enshrined in Toronto.
The cards included a posed image of the player with some 1960s-style arena artwork as the backdrop. The backs were black with some highlights and limited stats. You’ll find text in English and French, since the cards were actually produced under the Topps license by Canada-based O-Pee-Chee. It would be the last year of the arrangement with the two offices issuing separate sets beginning in 1968-69.
The key to the 1967-68 Topps hockey set is, not surprisingly, the second card in Bobby Orr’s relatively short but sweet career. Mid-grade examples bring $150 and up; a mint 9 can run more than $2,000. Orr also has an All-Star card and another featuring him as the Calder Trophy winner as Rookie of the Year. Each of those also requires a modest investment. Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita are among the other Hall of Famers represented.
Rookies, Checklists and Errors
The top rookie cards in the set feature Jacques Lemaire, Derek Sanderson, Rogie Vachon and Glen Sather, who began his playing career in Boston but would become better known much later as the coach of the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers and later become a New York Rangers executive.
You might actually pay more for a clean, unmarked checklist than some of those big names. There are two in the set and they’re hard to find in high-grade today.
Topps goofed on three cards. They spelled Glenn Hall’s first name with one N and switched the photos on card #37 Don Awrey and #93 Skip Krake.
Building a high-grade set isn’t easy. For example, PSA has graded over 15,000 of them with only 419 10s and fewer than 2,000 rating 9.
You can see 1967-68 Topps hockey cards on eBay by clicking here.