Tuesday, April 25, 2017

1974-75 Finnish Typotor

The 1974-75 Finnish Typotor set of 120 unnumbered cards is really two subsets. A 48-card Finnish SM-Liiga set of eight teams containing six players each, and a 72-card set of eight international teams with nine players each. There are also 45 penalty/referee cards not identified by Beckett, for a total of 165 cards.



The cards are rectangular with rounded edges and were sold in sets by Typotor Oy of Helsinki, Finland.

The SM-Liiga set features Finnish greats like Matti Murto and Pekka Rautakallio. The players of the leading clubs of the Finnish championship are represented: HIFK Helsinki, Ilves Tampere, Jokerit Helsinki, Lukko Rauma, Tappara Tampere, TPS Turku, Turun Toverit and Ässät Pori.

Key cards in the international set include Ulf Nilsson, Vladislav Tretiak and Boris Mikhailov, along with other players from the World Hockey Championship held in Helsinki in April 1974. The teams represented are Finland, Sweden, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Germany (the six teams from Group A), as well as Norway (from Group B) and Switzerland (from Group C).

The cards are part of a game and came with an instruction sheet and header card.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Peculiar Case of the 1974-75 Topps Cloth Stickers

Cloth stickers seem to have been all the rage in the 1970s. Both Fleer and Topps employed textiles in various releases for basketball and football issues, and Topps gave it a one-time shot with hockey in 1974.

Topps essentially took the previous year’s hockey insert sticker set and remade it on cloth stock. The sticker cards are a quarter-inch short in both directions from the standard 2 ½" x 3 ½" dimensions.


Each card is a two-piece cloth sticker, consisting of a team logo sticker on the top and a pennant sticker with team nickname on the bottom. There are 19 different stickers in the set plus 5 variation on the combination of logo and pennant, for a total of 24.

Climate and the passage of time aren’t kind to the adhesive used by Topps. It seems to oxidize over time and bleed through the paper backing of the stickers, appearing like staining, and even a bit like black mold on the blank backs. The staining can also show through the porous cloth stock, easily detracting from appearance. The adhesive can also deteriorate and dry over time, releasing the cloth sticker from the backing. The whole concept and choice of materials results in a rather fragile issue.
 
In comparison, it seems Topps figured out a better adhesive solution for its 1977 baseball cloth stickers. These seem to stand up to the tests of time a lot better.

The cloth hockey stickers were sold as a separate series from that year’s cards. Each wax pack contained two stickers and a combo checklist/puzzle piece (plus the proverbial stick of gum). A total of 12 puzzle pieces completed the NHL shield on a bright yellow background.


These stickers are not easy to come by, and the set I’ve been able to amass is certainly no beauty. It was definitely a challenge that required some patience. If you’re a condition-sensitive collector, this might not be the set for you.

The puzzle pieces are even more uncommon. It took me almost a year to find a single puzzle piece (on eBay). So I purchased an uncut sheet of the complete puzzle and called it done.



 

I spent over a year on this set and it seemed like unopened wax packs came up more often than either the individual stickers or puzzle pieces. But I can’t imagine what havoc that stick of gum would have inflicted on a pack’s fragile contents over the last 40+ years…

Friday, July 29, 2016

Phantom Joe Malone

Joe Malone was a prolific goal-scorer and two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Quebec Bulldogs even before he potted 44 tallies in 20 games with the Montreal Canadiens in the inaugural NHL season of 1917-18. Known for his unique upright skating style and respected for his clean play, Malone totaled 343 goals in 273 regular-season contests between 1909 and 1924. "Phantom" Joe Malone was deceptively quick and the fastest players in the pros.

After two years with the Hamilton Tigers, Malone refused to attend the team's training camp in 1922, and was sent back to Montreal for two final years as a substitute with the Canadiens. The team won the Stanley Cup (and Malon's third) during his final NHL season in 1923-24.

He is featured as card #13 in the 1923-24 V14-1 William Paterson set. Mine is a PSA 2.5.

The 40 blank-back cards represent the four teams of the NHL at the time: Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto St. Patricks and Hamilton Tigers.


Although there is no indication as to who produced the cards, the accepted theory is that Canadian confectioner William Patterson, Ltd. issued it. A single card was included with the purchase of a "Paterson League Hockey Bar," whose wrapper stated:

...for the complete set — 40 different players — we will send you prepaid a handsome pair of hockey skates. We will return the set of cards to you with the skates.

The company had no strong desire to ship free hockey skates all over Canada so a single card was intentionally short printed. This fact makes card #25 of Toronto defenseman Bert Corbeau on of the rarest and expensive hockey cards. There have only been five of the William Paterson Corbeau cards submitted to PSA, and none have been graded higher than PSA 2. This isn't surprising since anyone lucky enough to pull a Corbeau and collect the other 39 cards to finish the set, would have redeemed the cards for the skates and had them returned with a cancellation hold punch.


The exceedingly rare William Paterson Corbeau card is ghost-like and a legend among hockey card collectors. But the legendary Phantom Joe Malone was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950 and is still the only player in NHL history to score seven goals in a single game.