Saturday, March 2, 2013

Closing in on Completion....Sorta

I really should have been using the proceeds from selling off my Heritage sets on finishing my 1971 set, but I ended up spending a fair amount working on the Loblaws 1974/75 Hockey stickers.

This set is composed of 324 individual player stickers (18 players for each of 18 teams) that are sold in strips of 8. They were distributed through both Loblaw's and Acme Super Saver grocery stores in Canada and the Northeast US.  You can see what the sticker strip looked like when the cashier handed one to your mom:

The Loblaws variety, shown above, came with a coupon.  Please note that the two images above are not the same scale.  The upper image is equivalent to 3 stickers (or 1 sticker and the coupon) on the lower image.

The Acme version,shown below did not come with a coupon.

As you might expect, there was also an album for the stickers.

The Acme  version of the album was identical in content, but had a different cover that was basically a slight variation of the sticker strip front seen above.

Now, the more astute observer (which is all of you, amirite?), will say "Hey wait!  324 is not divisible by 8? What gives?"  Well, I'll tell you that your math is correct and something does give.  There were 40 unique strips covering 320 of the individual stickers, leaving 4 unaccounted for.  So to speak. The albums actually came with a page of 20 stickers in the back.  And the 4 stickers not found in the strips were found at the bottom of that page of 20.  That is right, short prints!  Or as I like to call them "@#$$%&#$%!!!!"

Thankfully, the four players on the short print stickers were not huge names or they would be ungodly expensive.  As it is, recently, an intact sheet of 20 sold on EBay for $18.49 plus shipping.  So, those SP stickers would have cost me $5 each. Since I actually managed to have one already (Guy Charron -Detroit Redwings), I would have been paying over $7 for each sticker I needed. Since my Paypal account was empty, I wasn't ready to pay that much, so I didn't bid. 

But, prior to that I managed to pick up some strips of stickers at reasonable prices and have knocked my want list down from 46 players down to 18. I even got a fairly reasonable price on the strip that includes Bobby Orr.

I ended up paying $18 for the strip and another couple bucks for shipping.  It seems like a lot, but they usually sell for more (recent sales of unbroken strips has been between $24 and $41 and a recent KSA graded individual Orr sticker has sold for $45), so I think I did pretty well. Particularly considering I also needed most of the other players on that strip.  Among the other strips, I also got the stars Bobby Clarke and Stan Mikita.

So, although I now have all the big stars, finishing the set will get (relatively) expensive.  Sure the three remaining SPs I need will probably set me back $5 or more each. But, I also expect the other 15 will be expensive since I will likely need to buy a bunch of stickers I don't need to get the ones I do. Plus, since the only source I have for the stickers is EBay, the shipping costs factor in.

It has been fun to date and it will be fun to complete. But, as any set collector knows, the last few cards towards completion can be painful.  You have the end in site, but it seems to never get there. Kinda like one of those dreams where you are being chased down a corridor while the door at the end keeps moving away from you. I have no idea how long it will take to finish, but I don't expect it to happen any time in the next few months.  So, I can't avoid 1971 any more. I have to push through on that set....

Coming up: A trade pack arrives and the monthly Mini-show.

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