O-Pee-Chee Hockey Cards

O-Pee-Chee is an important hockey card producer in the hobby’s history. They have many of the best vintage sets. For the entirety of their production, O-Pee-Chee was focused in Canada.

Founded in 1911 by two brothers, O-Pee-Chee focused on the production of bubble gum. Both brothers had prior experience in the bubble gum industry, and the company flourished.

From 1933-1937, O-Pee-Chee produced five notable hockey sets. The company dabbled in other areas of trading cards. All production halted due to paper rationing from Canada’s involvement in World War II. O-Pee-Chee was tasked with producing dried egg powder for the entire war.

Topps and O-Pee-Chee began to work closely in the 1950s and 1960s to release a variety of cards under the Topps name. In 1966, regarding hockey, the two companies came to an agreement: Topps would confine its hockey distribution to the United States, and O-Pee-Chee would remain in Canada. Topps released their cards first in every season, while O-Pee-Chee had more cards. O-Pee-Chee cards, though released in near tandem with Topps, are often the more valuable cards today on the secondary market.

O-Pee-Chee did well for a few decades until new competitors arose in 1991. The death knell was the 1994-1995 NHL lockout which ended their production of hockey cards.

The company decided to focus on the production of candy, and they were sold to the Nestle Corporation in 1996. Topps bought the O-Pee-Chee name, and they continued to produce cards under the name until 2004. Upper Deck has owned the set name since 2007, and they have continued to release hockey sets under the O-Pee-Chee name today.

1933 O-Pee-Chee V304

The O-Pee-Chee V304 sets from 1933 to 1937 are important pre war sets because it is an all hockey set. Hockey players were mostly relegated to multi sport sets until the 1950s.

The classification of “V304…” comes from Jefferson Burdick’s American Card Catalog. The V stands for candy issues from Canada. The V designation typically refers to hockey as other Canadian candy sets were mostly multisport sets featuring players from major American leagues.

Many will consider the following releases the same set with multiple series. The cards have a continuation of numbers, so while the cards in Series A are numbered 1-48, Series B starts at number 49 and proceed to 72. The same is true for Series C, D, and E.

The cards from all of these sets are rather condition sensitive. If any card is found in Mint condition, they will sell for a thousand dollars or more.

1933 O-Pee-Chee V304A

There are 48 cards measuring 2 5/16” x 3 9/16” in this set. It is the largest set from this O-Pee-Chee era. The cards show a nice background of green, blue, orange, or red. The backs feature biographies in French and English.

The cards from this set are almost entirely rookies by technicality. Many of the players are also in the Hall of Fame. From Series A, this includes Roy Worters, Ace Stewart, Nels Stewart, Dit Clapper, Joe Primeau, Howie Morenz, Cooney Welland, Syd Howe, and several other big names

1933 O-Pee-Chee V304B

Released in the same year as the previous series, there are 24 cards of the same measurements. The series have identical design, but it includes additional rookies and Hall of Famers such as Aurel Joliat, Dave Kerr, Marvin Wentworth, Glen Brydson, Tiny Thompson, and others.

1935 O-Pee-Chee V304C

“Series C” was released two years later. The numbering continues at 73 to 96. Major rookies include Wilfred Cude, Lynn Patrick, and Art Coulter.

1936 O-Pee-Chee V304D

The set briefly expanded to 36 cards, numbering 97 to 132. The most valuable cards in the set belong to Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Syl Apps (R), Turk Broda (R), and King Clancy.

1937 O-Pee-Chee V304E

The final pre war series, Series E, had 48 cards from 133 to 180. The major cards belong to Aurel Joliat, Toe Blake (R), Carl Voss, Tom Cook, Gordie Drillon (R), Syl Apps, Charlie Conacher, Harvery Jackson, Red Horner, and Turk Broda.

1968 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

This 1968 set began the “hockey double” where Topps and O-Pee-Chee would both release sets. Topps released first while O-Pee-Chee had more cards, by their agreement. The only other major difference was that O-Pee-Chee was obligated to have French on the backs of their cards after a Canadian court case.

The first use of the O-Pee-Chee trademark on hockey cards since the 1930s is a winning set. O-Pee-Chee produced 218 cards which is larger than all five series of the V304 combined. The set has players from all twelve teams of the NHL, which had recently expanded from six to twelve teams.

The major variation is that Keith McCreary’s card was produced numbered and unnumbered. It is extremely difficult to chase down the unnumbered version.

The major cards from the set include Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, and Gordie Howe, Bernie Parent (R). A PSA Mint 9 Bobby Orr sold for $13,546 in 2013 as the most expensive sale from this set.

1969 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

This set was released in a series of 132 and 99 cards, totaling a 231 card set with standard measurements. A posed photo with the team logo, name, and a hockey stick was shown on the front. The backs had a bio, stats, and a fun fact with a cartoon illustration.

The major finds include Serge Savard (R), Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita, and Tony Esposito who had a PSA Gem Mint 10 card of himself sell for $4,063 in 2015.

The cards had a spot where a collector could put a stamp that was inserted into random packs.

1970 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

With 264 cards, the 1970 O-Pee-Chee hockey set adds players from the expansion teams of Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks. This was the first set that had the O-Pee-Chee logo.

The major Hall of Famer cards come from Bobby Orr, Gerry Cheevers, Gordie Howe, and Serge Savard. The sought after rookie cards include Brad Park, Wayne Cashman, Bobby Clarke, Darryl Sittler, and Gilbert Perreault.

1971 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

This 264 card set has an interesting design. The posed photo is surrounded with unique colors and designs while featuring the player’s name, position, and team logo. The backs of the cards have statistics, a bio, and a fact.

Ken Dryden, Marcel Dionne, and Guy Lafleur are the drawing rookie cards. The set also has retirement cards for Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe.


1975 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

Most of the cards in this set are not valuable. It represents the drop off in value of many cards as this article moves toward

the modern age. There are 396 cards in this set and only a handful, such as Ken Dryden, Clark Gilles (R), Phil Esposito, and Bobby Clarke, are worth more than a hundred dollars in high grade. For perspective, many of the rookie cards above are worth thousands, while the Hall of Fame cards are often hundreds or higher. The last set worth mentioning for O-Pee-Chee is the 1979 set with Wayne Gretzky’s rookie card.

1979 O-Pee-Chee Hockey


The 1979 O-Pee-Chee set has 396 cards which are mostly not worth a great deal. Team cards and League Leader cards

are featured on the set. Many cards have condition issues, specifically regarding chipping, centering issues, and poor cuts.

As a result of condition issues, there is one PSA Gem Mint 10 Wayne Gretzky rookie card that is known. Its value has steadily increased. It sold for $62,374 in 2005, $80,000 in 2006, $94,162 in 2011, and $465,000 in 2016. Interestingly enough, the O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie is far more valuable than its Topps counterpart which sold for $200.976 in 2016.


O-Pee-Chee is debatably the most important brand to the history of hockey cards. They produced an excellent set of five series in the 1930s, they are responsible for wonderful post war vintage cards that are viewed more favorably by collectors, and though the company has been sold, the O-Pee-Chee brand survived the junk wax era into today.