With the Montreal Canadiens fresh off a memorable Stanley Cup victory, kids north of the border were chomping at the bit in order to get the first hockey card of Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Roy and that piece of cardboard hit them straight in the fact with boxes of 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee.
After a era of heavy production, the London, Ontario-based company had scaled things back the year before in terms of set size and amount of cards released. This time, however, it was all about the cards and the gum as O-Pee-Chee put out a relatively bare-bones release that still had some great players inside.
This week’s edition of Vintage Pack Facts from Vintage Breaks takes a look at a product that is heavy on Hall of Famers.
- Roy’s rookie card is by far the key to this set and some folks have tried to cut his card from the lid of the box and make claims that it is a proof. In reality, it can’t really be called that as it is just a blank-backed piece of the box itself and is a curiosity that should never break the bank. It is important to be cautious as well, since counterfeits of the regular card are out there, too.
- The fronts of these cards make heavy use of team colors and logos along with a photo. The backs were loaded up with stats and biographical info typical of O-Pee-Chee and Topps during this era.
- Approximately one in six cards in 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee will feature a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Most of them are also in the Topps set, but exclusive to O-Pee-Chee are Billy Smith and Cam Neely along with League Leaders subset cards of Jari Kurri and Wayne Gretzky. Naturally, the Great One has two – for assists and points.
- Packs sold at retail for 35 cents apiece and contained just seven cards along with a slab of that sickly-sweet pink powdered gum. The wrapper design was repeated from the previous year, only with color changes – going from yellow and blue to red and blue.
- Kids also had the chance to send in wrappers and cash for NHL-licensed items such as duffle bags or a sweet velcro wallet in addition to the classic O-Pee-Chee hockey card locker. Additionally, there was a “Just Say No To Drugs” message on some wrappers.
- There were no All-Star and Team Logo stickers inside this season, as it was only a one-year experiment by O-Pee-Chee. However, the Topps release that year did have them inside to entice American collectors.
- Boxes of 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee contained 48 packs, making for a total of 336 cards per box. Even though the set itself comprised of 264 cards, typical collation from the company made finding a complete set inside somewhat of a rarity. Cases were made up of 16 wax boxes.
- The side panels of the 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee box featured Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Patrick Flatley of the New York Islanders.
- The bottom of each wax box contained one of four different four-card panels. These cards featured the same basic design as the regular set, but the borders had a light icy blue tint to them and letters replaced card numbers on the back. The combinations were as follows: Greg Adams/Mike Bossy/Dave Christian/Mike Foligno, Michel Goulet/Wayne Gretzky/Tim Kerr/Jari Kurri, Mario Lemieux/Lanny McDonald/Bernie Nicholls/Mike Ridley, and Larry Robinson/Denis Savard/Brian Sutter/Bryan Trottier.
- No rack or cello packs were produced for this product. There were also no vending boxes or cases.
You can learn more about participating in vintage pack breaks—or just watch—by visiting VintageBreaks.com.