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What do you consider “vintage”?

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  • What do you consider “vintage”?

    I’ve always considered cards 1989 and earlier to be vintage, but I often see cards such as the 1979 OPC Gretzky and 1986 Fleer Jordan referred to as modern cards and elsewhere I’ve seen 1970 as the cutoff. So, what do you consider vintage?
    Pre-1990 (because Upper Deck and modern card stock arrived in 1990)
    Pre-1980 (because of expanding print runs and better card protection in the 80’s)
    Pre-1970 (because of expanding print runs in the 70’s)

  • #2
    Pre 1990 because that's when Bubble Gum and the Wax Pack mainly stopped which was OLD School. To me the 1990 and forward Cello packs are not considered Vintage IMO, glad I sold most of that junk before the demand diminished. I still enjoy my Complete sets that I have up too 1989-90 when there was only Topps & O-Pee-Chee (The simpler days of collecting hockey cards) !!


    • #3
      I see good arguments for pre-1990 or pre-1980. I think 1970s has to be considered vintage because print runs weren't that high, value is there, age is there etc. Try finding a complete pack of 1970 OPC for a reasonable price, for example. Rare, expensive, tough, old...vintage.


      • #4
        I would vote PRE-war if that was a choice---so pre-1970 it is. definition: of high quality and lasting value, or showing the best and most typical characteristics of a particular type of thing, especially from the past: If that is 50's-60's then I guess I am considered vintage


        • #5
          Pre-1990 in my opinion. Although I agree that print runs went up in the 1980's (set values reflect this), I agree with Dan, this was still OLD school. Just OPC & Topps, and everybody collected & traded the same cards each season. They were still available at the corner store, without having to knock over a bank to buy a few packs! I just wish my boys could have known these simpler days of collecting hockey cards.


          • #6
            I agree with the pre-1990. O-Pee-Chee and Topps were still making the cards the same way with the same card stock. I remember back in the 90's, cards from the 1970's weren't worth much for the most part, but they have slowly crept up in value. I think that will happen with 1980's cards too, but it might take a little longer. There are still lots of unopened packs from the 80's and may of those cards were well cared for. In 1990, everything changed. Upper Deck had that rigid, shiny card stock with laser cut, smooth edges. They weren't the same kind of card at all.

            You can definitely say the 50's and 60's were different due to the much smaller sets and the end of Parkhurst, but cards from the 70's and 80's are still vintage.
            We still have 3 categories:
            Pre War--anything before 1951
            Modern Era--1990 to present

            Eventually they will need a new name for Modern Era when those cards aren't so new anymore, but I'm not sure what that will be!


            • #7
              Pre-1970 for me. Simply too much product after that.


              • #8
                Pre-1990. Why? Because the Bible of Hockey collecting, the VHC says so.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rob-star View Post
                  Pre-1990. Why? Because the Bible of Hockey collecting, the VHC says so.

                  Mic drop!!!

                  'Nuff said.


                  • #10
                    Vintage is anything older than me. I'm forever young and modern, but anything that predates me belongs in a museum.


                    • #11
                      I consider vintage to be pre 1990. Gum in packs up till then. The addition of all the new brands and the mass production that followed is the turniong point for me. Also, it is almost 30 years ago; enough to earn the word vintage.


                      • hart2004
                        hart2004 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Reasonable to me.

                    • #12
                      Considering items within the hobby go back over a century to circa-1910 (regarding strictly hockey cards), it seems ridiculous to encompass such a short modern era (pre-1990) as "vintage". The label should rightfully be applied to the period that precedes the "modern" era of cards that came about in the 1980s. Traditionally, if you asked a dealer or advanced collector for "vintage" cards... they would NEVER think to include examples from post-1970. In fact, many in the hobby who's collecting interests transcend the complete gamut of card history consider 1950s era cards "modern". This is especially true with baseball, where the genesis of collecting reaches even further back with the N167 set. Applying an appropriate dating - or "term" - sequence, should not be influenced by personal factors, including when one was born or what one considers as "vintage" due to either their age or when they started collecting. Sadly, the same term-appropriation and misuse occurs contemporarily with "antique" - a word originally designated strictly for items that were 100 years of age or older - with countless individuals today labeling items that have barely collected dust with this term.


                      • hart2004
                        hart2004 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Hmmm..."Traditionally, if you asked a dealer or advanced collector for "vintage" cards... they would NEVER think to include examples from post-1970." They wouldn't show you their Dryden or Potvin rookies? That must have been before my time. I started collecting in earnest in 1988, though I dabbled for half a dozen years prior as a kid.

                      • gomaz
                        gomaz commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Problem with this rationale is that it ignores the fact that times change, things change and the "new" collector doesn't care about what the "dinosaurs" think or thought. As years go by, everything gets older and more vintage. Had the clock stopped in the early 90's I'd agree with the above, but it didn't.

                        The comment about the span of an era is as subjective as the term vintage itself, so apologies, but I don't agree with that logic either. The "modern era" began in 1990. Previous to that, nothing substantial changed except production volumes. But if you want to argue we went from tobacco to candy to gum then we need to identify and label may more than two eras.

                        But at the end of the day, we collectively will never agree on this so, it really doesn't matter as long as you enjoy yourself and your time while hobbying.

                      • huysmans
                        huysmans commented
                        Editing a comment
                        The problem with your rationale is that any collector can come along and arbitrarily label or call items whatever he wants - which he has every right to do - and this is fine if you want a completely unorganized hobby geared towards just the individual. If you desire any uniformity within our chosen field of collecting, defined periods are especially useful. Just because the next young collector who comes along wants to label items from 2012 “vintage” in his mind, doesn’t make it so for the majority of collectors. Does the “Golden Age” of Hollywood change because more additional eras and movies have occurred? Nope. The Silver Age in comics will always be the Silver Age…. same for the Bronze and Modern Ages. The term ‘Modern period’ in literature and book collecting can refer to books as old as the 18th century. Even in numismatics, the “Modern” era for U.S. coinage begins in 1932. Literally every other area of collecting has defined time frames that do not change just because more time passes - regardless of whether or not the "clock stopped in the early 90's" ......but as you rightfully mentioned, the hobby's cognoscenti will probably never reach consensus. I also agree the enjoyment garnered from collecting should be everyone's main goal.
                        Last edited by huysmans; 03-16-2018, 12:56 PM.

                    • #13
                      On the lighter and more comical side....

                      A man walks into a card store, gazes around, and approaches the front counter....
                      STORE OWNER - Can I help you?
                      BUYER - I'm looking for vintage hockey cards, do you have any?
                      STORE OWNER - Currently, I have some 1933-34 OPC, a handful of Champ's including a really nice Day, a ton of high-grade Tall Boys and a number of 1950s Parkhurst and Topps near-complete sets.
                      BUYER - There seems to be a misunderstanding... I said I'm looking for "vintage" cards, specifically 1987-88 Topps.
                      STORE OWNER - Get out.


                      • #14
                        So if the vintage era did end in 1970 or 1980, what was the period/era called from then up until 1990, when we can all agree the hobby went through a revolutionary change that signalled the end of an era? And then from 1990 to now? Perhaps pre-modern from 1970/80 - 1990 and then modern from 1990 - current? I could get behind definitions like these.

                        Absent that, I still do not see enough of a change at 1970 or 1980 to officially call it the end of an era. Especially 1980.

                        And/or did another era begin when pack inserted autos and memorabilia became the norm?


                        • #15
                          Well, looks like this poll didn’t settle anything but did generate some great discussion!

                          I agree with Jeremy that the most seismic shift in the hobby occured in the 1990’s, when it went from being “base card” centered to “insert card” centered. That being said, there indeed have been multiple eras. Pre-War could be broken down into lithography and black and white photography or tobacco and candy (both with with some overlap) and Post-War could be broken down into gum and insert-centered.

                          Ultimately, I think 70’s and 80’s cards will be considered vintage (if not already) due to how different having one or two sets a year with essentially no inserts is compared with having 20+ insert driven sets. Is it fair, as huysmans stated, to lump 80 years of cards together with another 30 set aside? No, but I imagine that the hobby in the next 50 years will resemble the last 30 more than the previous 80 and thus some day the “vintage” and “modern” periods will be of equal length.

                          Of course, there is no right answer and it’s really most appropriate to consider hobby history in terms of a number of eras (tobacco, candy, Pre-War gum, Post-War gum, insert, memorabilia/auto) as opposed to two or three.