top of page

How Long Does It Take To Change Hobby History – Forever and a Day

Updated: Mar 2

Those were the days my friends, I thought they'd never end and here we are now, 16 years and  counting when we thought the date was changed for the 1934-35 O-Pee-Chee Series B hockey  cards to 1933-34 and still half of collectors/sellers today have not changed the rookie allocation. This is quite evident if you search the internet, card shows and ebay. 

The longtime cognitive hobby thought had the 1930s O-Pee-Chee hockey release of 180 cards  divided into five alphabetical series: A,B,C,D and E series and assumed a chronologically allocation  of five different years from 1933 to 1938, easy-peasy. Not so, early price guides and the likes, had  not printed this early error in malice but moreover due to the timeline of two of the series A and B, never thought to being released in one season 1933-34, especially when the NHL only played a 48- game schedule. 


Although this correction was first made public in 2008, when your writer penned an article for  Canadian Sports Collector magazine about the new wrapper find of the true 1933-34 O-Pee-Chee  Series B. It was proven by the presence of a hockey board game and a card album's premium  offering printed on this newly discovered wrapper. 

This adjustment shifted the previously assumed 1934-35 Series B cards into the 1933-34 season,  and a reallocation of rookie cards should be more widely recognized. (where is Victor the Rookie  Card Specialist when you needuum?) 

Today, it appears that this information has not been widely disseminated in the hobby, which has  an impact on the previously mentioned rookie cards. As a result, all of the Series B cards, which are  now considered rookies, appear to be overlooked in comparison to the other hockey card issues  produced in 1933-34.  

Let's first discuss and set up the preliminary information from a hockey hobby historians' perspective. 

Toward the end of the Depression, four Canadian gum companies entered the hockey card market  in 1933-34: Canadian Chewing Gum, Hamilton Gum, O-Pee-Chee Gum, and World Wide Gum.  These were the first commercial card sets to be packaged with gum. It is doubtful that these four  companies all had the same insight about creating hockey cards in the same year.  

However, your writer believes that it is more likely that a savvy printing firm salesperson approached and  pitched hockey cards to each gum company's competitors, informing them that they needed to get on the  bandwagon or be left behind, and the following occurred.  

In 1933-34, the Canadian Chewing Gum Company released 50 hockey cards. Each card has a  different letter of the alphabet printed on the bottom quadrant, with the goal of collecting enough  of these letters to form five NHL team names before cutting off the card and submitting it to the  company for a free "Home Hockey Game".  

The Canadian Gum set appears to have been printed and issued shortly as the 33-34 season began,  as evidenced by Johnny Sheppard's card in a Boston Bruins sweater. He played the first four games  of the 1933-34 season with Boston before being traded to the Blackhawks, where he concluded the  season. 

In 1933-34, Hamilton Chewing Gum released a sorted set of 21 NHL hockey player cards. This issue  was planned to be part of a larger series, but the numbering gaps between them indicate a last minute, muddled effort. In exchange for 10 wrappers and 5¢, customers could receive a junior  league hockey puck. While this was a low-tier premium, it was nonetheless a premium offering.  

Jumping to the 1933-34 World Wide Gum release of this big 72-card NHL player card set. They  created a double-wrapped pack with both an outer and an inner wrapper, promoting a mail-away  premium for one of six different large hockey player images in exchange for 50 exterior wraps.  

This leaves the 1933-34 O-Pee-Chee issue as the focus of this article. This release was separated into two  unique series, which were printed on the back of each card. Series-A comprises 48 cards, while Series-B  (originally documented as 1934-35) contains just 24 cards, for a combined total of 72 cards. Oddly enough,  this was the same number of cards offered by World Wide Gum.  

The Series-A O-Pee-Chee wrapper does not advertise any premium products, but the Series-B  includes a special hockey board game with the players' names and numbers printed on the reverse.  The card album provided states on the back with 72 spots, which is what they have issued.  

O-Pee-Chee quickly noticed that all other firms had a premium offering, thus the Series B was  created to fill this market gap. Series B was most likely planned for the following year, 1934-35, but  O-Pee-Chee was the largest gum manufacturer in Canada and would not be outdone. They stepped  up and launched an album and game, as well as 24 new players, in order to remain competitive. 

Although the majority of the following is based on facts, your writer has included some  supposition, but it does not go beyond the assumptions stated.  

Regardless, the neglected rookie cards of the 1933-34 Series B are still an issue for rectification that  requires further attention, and hopefully I will not have to write this again in another 16 years. 

All the information above can be found in detail on the website and app:

You can sample this 1933-34 OPC Series B set on Needuum

free for one week by clicking the link:


bottom of page