Vintage Hockey Card Boxes: Collecting Unopened

One of the more fascinating areas of collecting involves vintage hockey card boxes and packs.  While most kids opened their packs back in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, some have survived over the years in their original state.  Untouched.  Hall of Famers still resting inside packs containing bubble gum.

Unopened packs and boxes of hockey cards almost always sell at a major premium over what you'd pay for the individual cards that might emerge.  Why?  There are several reasons.

They're rare.  Ever try searching eBay for a 1960s Topps hockey box?  They are seldom offered, although you can sometimes find a few unopened packs (be sure to buy those graded by PSA or BBCE).  A 1976-77 Topps wax box recently sold at auction for $634, but that's low compared to some others.  Vending boxes from the late 1960 and early 70s have sold in the $10,000 neighborhood.

There's tremendous interest.  The 'cool' factor is definitely in play here.  Who doesn't like 30 or 40 year old unopened packs?  They're colorful and scarce and very tempting to open.  If you can resist, they look great on your shelf and are a great conversation piece.  Auction prices tell you that the vintage unopened market is strong.Topps 1971-72 hockey unopened box

You don't know what's inside.  If you do open the box, you could pull a perfect '10' graded rookie card.  1979-80 Topps or OPC hockey boxes and packs are very expensive but it's entirely possible that you'll find a high grade Wayne Gretzky rookie card in there.  Then again, it could be way off center and your investment won't match your result.  There's an element of gambling for those who do choose to open them.

Decide what you goal is for your vintage hockey card boxes and packs before  you buy.  If you're buying just for the little time machine trip they afford and you don't mind the strong possibility that the cards inside might not equal what you paid for the pack, go ahead and buy.  If, however, that would really be a disappointment, you'd better stick to vintage singles and sets.  In short, if you can afford to gamble a little and can live with the results either way, go for it.

You can also build a nice collection of vintage hockey boxes and it's not likely your investment will do anything but grow.  Vintage unopened product is drying up and if you want to sell years down the road, you aren't likely to lose money. In fact, you'll probably make a little (maybe a lot).

There are a lot of great, authenticated vintage hockey card boxes and packs on eBay.  Click here to see them.

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