I count down the Top 10 additions to my collection in 2021
Like many collectors over the past 12 months, we've witnessed the continual rise and increased exposure of this great hobby to the masses over the past little while.
On a more personal collecting note this year, I was finally able to attend my first card show since 2019, as I joined many other collectors at the 2021 Fall Expo in Toronto. That was awesome.
In the past year, I have also had the pleasure of co-hosting some more memorable episodes on the Center Ice Card Cast, a hockey card podcast that has been going strong since June of 2020.
We managed to invite some very knowledgable guests and industry experts/employees on the podcast to provide their keen insight directly to out listeners. Furthermore, we also managed to speak to some of our fellow collector friends, had some great hobby talk about your favourite topics (the biggest 'Hobby Busts' episode was a fun one), and busted some cool products along the way. My fellow co-host and I can't wait to see what the podcast looks like in 2022 and I have appreciated everyone's continuous support since its debut.
Aside from these multiple hobby adventures in 2021, it was also filled with..... cards.
Going into 2021, I wasn't sure what to expect. This was my first year knowing I wouldn't have a consistent batch of cards to pickup on Enroth's current team. Since Enroth's departure from Belarus, playing with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL in 2020, Enroth has returned home to Sweden to continue his career with Örebro HK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
While I enjoy watching him play in the SHL and his ability to keep up his excellent play, there haven't been any licensed card manufacturers for this league since 2015. From a hobby point of view, this diminishes any hopes for a yearly set of cards to chase for this collection.
So due to the lack of card production in Sweden, this year I was able to just sit back and see what came to me, instead of running around trying to play the "who has what" game once a new product released. This was a very refreshing approach to collecting, even if I had less cards come into my collection this year.
My goal was to focus on the "breadcrumb" cards of the collection instead of the big "loaf" of new stuff out there. This ultimately resulted in relying on unconventional cards to add to the collection (IP auto's, swatch duplicates, oddball cards, etc) and previously released cards still on the want list, instead of waiting for new cards to become available when looking at the yearly product release calendar.
At the end of the calendar year, I had actually acquired a lot more cards that I had thought I'd manage to grab when coming into 2021. I was able to add some rare cards, pieces I didn't know existed, and even some vintage pickups. To cap things off, I even added multiple "White Whales", too. This was a year I won't soon forget.
Without further a do, here are my top 10 additions of 2021:
10) 2013 Jhonas Enroth Game-Worn Buffalo Sabres Home Jersey
Even though this isn't a card, it's tough to pickup a game-used piece and not mention it in any sort of top 10 list. This was my 4th game-worn piece of memorabilia I've been lucky enough to add to this collection.
While I don't go after every memorabilia piece I see, I've always wanted to snag a Buffalo Sabres jersey since that was where Enroth's NHL career had began.
The jersey you're looking at was used in 2013 during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and during the first portion of the 2013-14 season as well. It was notably worn in Enroth's 3rd career NHL shutout, a 3-0 win vs Philadelphia on April 13th, 2013.
Now onto the card portion of this list...
9) 2009-10 The Cup Masterpieces Rookie Printing Plate Yellow 1/1 (Black Diamond) - Jhonas Enroth
It's not everyday that you find a printing plate for the collection, let alone one from 2010. I've always had a soft spot for printing plates. Acquiring a piece from the manufacturing/printing process is always a cool thing to add.
This Rookie Masterpieces card was released inside boxes of 2009-10 Upper Deck The Cup, and features a embedded yellow printing plate for Enroth's Black Diamond Rookie Gems rookie card, which also happens to be one of my favourite rookie cards.
Adding this Black Diamond printing plate brings me one step closer to having at least one of the four printing plates from every rookie card set that had one. I believe I'm down to needing just a single SPx and OPC Marquee Rookie plate(s) to finish that run.
8) 2021-22 Leaf Artist Proof 1/1 Sketch Card - Jhonas Enroth
This pickup was something that didn't exist at the start of the year. After getting connected with a card artist on Twitter early in October, Matt was able to create this stunning 1/1 sketch card to add my very first art card to my collection.
The card was originally a blank Leaf Artist Proof card before Matt turned it into something special. If you want to know more about these uncirculated Artist Proof Sketch cards, you can view my blog post about them Here.
7) 1951-52 Parkhurst - Chuck Rayner Rookie Card
This is one of my most recent pickups and it all stemmed from the recent 2021 Toronto Fall Expo. After seeing a few ungraded versions at the show, I decided it was finally time to pull the trigger and add a 1951 Parkhurst card to my vintage goalie collection. The 51-52 Parkies set is one of the most recognizable hockey card sets of all-time, holding many key rookie cards.
While I haven't added much to my vintage goalie collection in quite some time, it's something I'd like to try and do more of in 2022. Condition isn't that important to me since I'm just trying to capture the history of this hobby inside this collection. This one is a beauty!
6) 2020 President's Choice Solitaire HI-Lites 1/1 - Jhonas Enroth
Since we covered the most recent pickup, let's show off my first pickup of 2021.
This card was released inside boxes of 2020 President's Choice Solitaire, released by Dr. Brian Price. Besides every card in this product being a 1/1, this HI-Lites set in particular is one that stands out in more ways than just on this the card.
Back in 2019 when Dr. Price was toying with the idea for a product, he posted a thread up on Hobby Insider (HI), a hockey card collector forum, in order to gain some insight into what collectors would like to see in this new product. As an added bonus, he also let collectors decide which players would be in this set and even what the set name would be called! After replying to the thread and mentioning Jhonas Enroth, Brian was able to make it happen, showcasing an awesome piece of one of Enroth's CCM Premier gloves with the LA Kings.
Not only is this card amazing, but playing a small part in it's eventual creation is pretty darn cool. Once I saw the final checklist posted for this HI-Lites set, I just knew I had to try an find it for my collection.
5) 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Blank Back - Mike Mole
While this card doesn't feature a household name, it's a card I was really excited about adding to the collection this past year.
Back in 2010/2011, Mike was my personal and on-on-one goalie coach during my final year of minor hockey. I found out that he was called up to the New York Islanders a few years beforehand, and I thought that was the coolest things ever. He also told me that he had a few hockey cards made of himself which, again, I thought was the coolest thing ever (he eventually signed one for me). After hearing about his experiences in the NHL, along with him teaching me how to become a better goalie, the card collector in me wanted to start a collection to try and collect one of every card he had mad of him.
Coming into 2021, I only needed the 2008-09 Upper Deck Artifacts Gold Spectrum Rookie /5 and the 2008-09 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Retro Blank Back to complete this collection. Adding this blank back to the collection feels that much more special because it was the very first year Upper Deck decided to create this new and mysterious SP'd (short printed) parallel into the hobby.
Along with being notoriously rare, this O-Pee-Chee Retro set was designed after the iconic 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee set which contained Wayne Gretzky's rookie card - Arguably one of the most sought after cards in the entire sports card industry.
4) 2013-14 Panini Select Tag Autograph 1/1 - Jhonas Enroth
There are some cards that you find with ease, and other that take a long time...... this is one of those cards.
After losing out on this card in 2019 (you can even relive my pain here), I was finally able to land this Tag Autograph 1/1 card into my collection. It was housed deep inside a LA Kings collector, but since Enroth is pictured as a member of the Buffalo Sabres in this photo, he was able to let this one go.
I also had help from a few people in order to get this card, as one of my followers on Instagram spotted this card and made sure I knew about it. Once I told a hobby friend about it, he offered to make a trade on my behalf, as he had some cards that the original owner needed to get a deal done. Very generous on his part!
A lot of times in this hobby, patience is your friend. That is definitely the case with this card from 2013.
3) 2007-2008 Södertälje SK Swedish Team Issue - Jhonas Enroth
While there may be "better" or more notable types of cards on this list, this card deserved the number 3 spot in my opinion.
Since collecting Enroth's cards since 2010, I had vaguely suspected the off-chance that he'd have some pre-NHL European cards out there, but with a lot of obscure European issues, you never really know until you see it.
In November, I stumbled upon a listing for this card over in Sweden and just had to snag this one for the PC. I was lucky enough to do so and the seller was kind enough to mail it to Canada at a very fair price.
This is a team issued card released sometime in 2007/2008 when Enroth was playing for Södertälje SK in Sweden. He was also able to autograph the card on the front.
I have come to learn that oversized cards were released locally through ICA, a popular Swedish grocery store chain. Random additions like these, coupled with a unique origin story, just makes me think of what other cards are out there that I haven't seen yet?
2) 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee - Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card
While any Wayne Gretzky rookie card needs no introduction, this was easily one of my biggest pickups this year without question. Since my collection primarily features goalies, it's rare that my card interests stray outside of those lines, but when you have an opportunity to snag a Gretzky rookie card... you get a deal done.
I am very happy to report that I paid a very fair price for this and both parties involved in this deal came out winners in the end.
Since the pandemic ignited what seemed like an overnight 'boom' in the hobby, Gretzky rookies (both O-Pee-Chee & Topps) have been on the rise. I never planned to own a Gretzky rookie per-say, the O-Pee-Chee card was the version I would be looking for due to it being the Canadian version. There was also less O-Pee-Chee cards printed compared to the Topps counterpart.
Graded cards aren't typically my thing, but this card is too important of a card to take a chance on. You just never know when buying a raw card online if it's fake or not. So when I had the opportunity to get a copy that had already been slabbed by PSA, that was a bonus. Though the Gretzky I picked up is graded a PSA 1, it's in better shape than a lot of other cards featuring the same grade. This card also has the notable blue print lines on the back of the card, which is heavily rumoured to indicate it was part of the first print during the creation of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee. These lines were later fixed before printing resumed.
This card might just be The Great One in my collection! But what could possible beat a Gretzky rookie?!
....Well, you're about to find out.
1) Finding 21 White Whales: 2009-10 Fleer Ultra Rookie Ice Medallion /25 Jhonas Enroth
Have you ever heard of the phrase "never judge a book by it's cover" ? If that saying was ever applied to cards, I think this would fit the bill.
These cards are simple enough in nature (Rookie parallel /25, big deal, right?), this card has been burning a hole in my want list for years, begging to be found.
After not seeing even a single copy of this card in over 10 years of collecting Enroth's cards, I was beginning to lose hope. Even other Enroth collectors have said that this card probably wasn't even made!
But then, it happened.
The listing has been listed.
One had surfaced. Then another. Then another.
In total, 21 of the 25 total copies of this card was listed in a single eBay listing. I could not believe my eyeballs. What was I looking at? Could it really be the Ice Medallion Rookie /25? Was the search finally over? Indeed, it finally was.
Since the seller was unable to split the lot of cards, I was forced to buy 21 copies of the card instead of just 1, but I will be keeping every copy in the hopes of maybe completing the full 25/25 print run of this parallel. This would be a collecting feat that I haven't seen done before, so we'll see how that goes.
So what's the story behind these cards, anyway?
These were supposed to be packed out inside boxes of 2009-10 Upper Deck Fleer Ultra, but for whatever reason they were not put into packs and were never circulated amongst the collecting community. These cards were eventually 'back-doored' and distributed onto the secondary market indirectly through other non-public channels.
My best guess is that after Upper Deck had realized that these were not packed out, they released these "bonus" cards onto unsuspecting collectors in order for Upper Deck to fulfil their end of the bargain and get these cards out of their warehouse and into the secondary market in some way, shape or form. No wonder I could never find any pictures of this card. Over 80% of the entire print run was tied up in one persons card stash!
If you want to read an in-depth piece on this incredible find for my collection, you can read the original article here: 21 White Whales In A Single Day!
I hope you enjoyed counting down my top 10 additions of 2021!
Aaron / creasecollector
Author - Aaron
I've been collecting Hockey cards since the late 90's. Mainly the goalies since 2005. I also Co-Host a Hockey Card Podcast.
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