"Card Bored" is a regular feature that chronicles our adventures in the nostalgic joys and unintentional hilarity of the hockey card industry. Have a funny hockey card story? Then send it our way firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're a sports card aficionado, chances are you've been tempted with that big money purchase for some dusty relic that was discovered in the drawer where Grandpa used to keep his magic eye medicine.
Now, dropping a few grand for a legendary hockey card is understandable if utterly impractical (and suicidal, if you're married). But plunking down $5,999 for an empty card wrapper ... well, it would be slightly more rewarding than stacking $5,999 and blowtorching it with an aerosol can and a lighter. Imagine someone in 2095 paying $5,999 galactic credits (or whatever) for that Upper Deck wrapper you just tossed in the street.
There's an eBay auction underway for a 1923-24 Paterson's Hockey Bar wrapper, with the opening bid just south of $6K. Which is understandable, we guess, when you consider an auction in 2008 for a 1923-24 William Paterson V145-1 Hockey Card Complete Set of 40 (including original shortprinted Bert Corbeau, no less) went for $116,203. Pretty sure if there was gum inside this wrapper, it could finance the purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes.
What made this set interesting was the gimmick listed on the back of the card:
"Every 'Paterson Hockey Bar' contains a handsome photograture of a famous Canadian National Hockey League star. There are forty different players in a series. For the complete set -- 40 different players (Ed. Note: Heard you the first time) -- we will send you prepaid a handsome pair of hockey skates. We will return the set of cards to you with the skates."
In its page dedicated to the complete set, Classic Auctions explained Paterson's cruel joke on olde tyme hockey fans:
The back of the bar's wrapper indicated that the holder of a complete set of 40 cards could send them to the company to obtain a pair of skates. In order to restrict the number of prizes it would be obligated to provide, Paterson made an extremely limited run of one of the 40 cards in the set, the No. 25 card of Toronto St. Patricks defenceman Bert Corbeau.