Canadian collectors who began their ritual of buying hockey cards in the fall and winter of 1974-75 discovered some changes in the packs that they snared from the shelves of local markets and drug stores: they’d need to buy more of them if they had any hope of completing a set. Saving their snow shoveling and errand money to buy a full box was great–but they would need a little more of it.
This week’s Vintage Pack Facts from Vintage Breaks focuses on 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee set.
- NHL expansion had increased the need for more cards and O-Pee-Chee went all in with a 396-card set, bigger than the 264-card offering from their American cousins at Topps. For the first time, an OPC set was issued all in one series and the company touted that on its marketing to sellers and collectors.
- Coaches made their O-Pee-Chee debut in this set and you’ll find “rookie cards” of Scotty Bowman, Fred Shero and Don Cherry.
- It’s an underrated player rookie class with Denis Potvin, Lanny McDonald, Steve Shutt, Rick Middleton and Bob Gainey among those seeing themselves on cards for the first time.
- Bobby Orr is the most sought after card in the set and hard to find in high-grade with an SMR value of $850 in PSA 9.
- Wax boxes now held 48 packs of eight cards instead of 36, with no inserts. Wax packs sold for 10 cents, cheaper than the 15-cent price of Topps hockey in ’74-75. Boxes produced by O-Pee-Chee were, as usual, sealed with a small piece of tape attaching the top to the front.
- Cello packs were a better deal, offering 30 cards for just 20 cents. Interestingly, they are labeled “1975” on the front along with the London, Ontario location of O-Pee-Chee. Vintage Breaks is currently offering a cello pack break of ’74-75 OPC.
- As usual, both wax and cello pack labels were printed in French and English, as were the card backs.
- Centering, as was typical of most O-Pee-Chee releases, is all over the board.
- Full boxes of ’74-75 OPC cello and racks are virtually impossible to find in the market today but a full wax box sold for over $5,700 via Heritage Auctions in 2013.
- O-Pee-Chee also produced a set of 66 cards for the WHA that season (see image gallery above).
- You can watch a pack break of ’74-75 O-Pee-Chee hockey below.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.