Jeff Walters

A Look Back at 1986-87 OPC Hockey

Hobby enthusiasts collecting hockey cards in the mid to late 80’s were living the dream. We saw heavy hitters such as Gretzky continue to rack up wins, rising talent such as Lemieux starting to build up heat, and who can forget Patrick Roy starting off what would end up being the greatest goaltending career the sport has ever seen…Of course 1986-87 OPC (and Topps) was there to capture it all.

1986 OPC Wayne Gretzky

For those not quite familiar with products from “the days of old”, OPC (pronounced O-Pee-Chee) was the Canadian version of Topps. Both of sets mirrored each other in terms of designs, with the only notable differences being their logo and the text on the back of the cards. The same applies to packs and boxes for the most part. While Topps featured English text on their products, OPC included both English and French for their Canadian audience.

The popularity of the 1986-87 OPC set is undeniable, with collectors still looking out for rare and valuable cards to complete their collections. Due to their smaller release numbers (compared to their Topps counterpart), OPC singles almost always carry a premium over the Topps brand.

As a very general rule of thumb, Topps singles are valued at roughly half of what the OPC versions, but take this statement with a grain of salt. The rule applies more to the lower-end cards, rather than the high end. As evidenced by the extreme number of DPs (double prints) in Beckett and PSA databases, it is easy to confirm that there a lot more Topps cards circulating than OPC versions.

1986-87 OPC Key Cards

 

The piece de resistance of the set comes in the form of the Patrick Roy rookie #53. As with any card in the hobby, condition plays a very important role in determining the card’s value.

1986 OPC Patrick Roy

With over 2,500 cards graded, only 86 have been given a PSA 10 grading. These cards often go for over than $1,000, with the most expensive card being sold for over $10,000 in 2021. If that is a bit out of your price range, PSA 9’s can be found in the low $1000's, while PSA 8’s can most often be bought for less than a few hundred dollars.

This 1986-87 Patrick Roy rookie is a must for every fan’s collection. It depicts the player in his early years, wearing a whit mask and brown pads. This was a few years before he donned a painted mask and state of the art equipment.

Other notable mentions to add to your collection include John Vanbiesbrouck rookies, and Wendel Clark rookies, as well as stars like Gretzky, Yzerman, and second year Mario Lemieux.

1986-87 "Blank Back" Cards

 

Another great aspect of the set was the presence of blank back cards. These are usually regarded as error cards that have a blank card back, and are exceptionally rare to come across. As such blank back cards can command a considerable premium (if you are lucky enough to get your hands on one).

There are many great and reasonably attainable vintage sets out there, and the 1986-87 Hockey set is a great jumping-off point. Be it the OPC or Topps versions, these cards are a must have for any serious collector.

 

Do you own any 1986 OPC Hockey cards? Are you planning on adding any to your collection? Let us know in the comments below!


Want to continue reading? Here are a few posts you might find interesting:

A Look Back At The 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set

1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie: The Improbably Foresight Of Upper Deck

Investing In Fleer Michael Jordan Cards? Here Is What You Need To Know



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