In July 2009, Dave and Adam’s Card World purchased an item that they, nor anyone else in the hobby, had ever seen before or believed existed; a 1990-1991 OPC Premier Hockey vending case.
1990 OPC Premier hockey was the first high-end hockey product. The release had a great rookie class, great design, and limited availability, so they were hot out of the gate. Boxes went from $30-40 to over $250 pretty quickly.
However, two significant developments in the hobby were affecting the O-Pee-Chee Company at the time. First, 1990-1991 OPC hockey cards showed up at a few shows before their official release, and second, there was a big wave of counterfeiting of OPC products at the time, as their simple paper stock made an easy target for forgers who were printing runs of star cards.
The original owner of the case of 1990 OPC Premier vending boxes had been assisting OPC with their investigation, so as a thank you, Gary Koreen, the President of OPC Company Limited, sent him a vending case of approximately 10,000 Premier Cards. In his correspondence, Gary mentioned that they did not produce vending cases of this product.
And it’s true, OPC only made their premier cards available through foil packs in boxes and via a factory set. They did make vending products for the base product, though.
Also, the date of the letter, February 22, 1991, made it clear that the case could not have been a later release; it had to be 1990-1991.
The case was factory sealed, brought to the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland for the July/August 2009 show, and slapped with a $6k price tag. Reed Kasaoka mentioned, in an interview with Beckett at the show, that the collector may have missed the case’s peak value, potentially over $20k, had he sold it when the cards were selling for over $200 a box.
Dave and Adams sold the case back then, and to this day, no one has any reason to believe it’s not legit; the correspondence helped remove a lot of doubt.
What price would this unique 1990-1991 OPC Premier hockey vending case fetch at auction today? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter; happy collecting!