Tuesday, February 23, 2010

LINDEN CARD OF THE WEEK - 1997/98 Esso Olympic Hockey Heroes French Autograph

Just a quick note. The last 'Linden card of the Week' I posted on the Valu-Net Olympic phone card yielded an e-mail from someone who had some clarifications for me.

First, there were only 2 types of phone cards released, the $5 version and the 15 'units' version. For each version there are 3 variations. The difference is noticed on the back.

For the $5 version, there is one that says 'promotional', there is one with a silver scratch bar and the third is in a cello pack.

For the 15 'units' version, there is one that says 'promotional', there is one with a silver scratch bar and there is and autographed version with a silver scratch bar on the back.

Apparently the auto versions are extremely scarce - woo hoo! Currently I have 4 of the 6 cards and am hoping to keep in contact with the person who gave me this information as he has one of the 2 I need (actually he has both, but the other one is part of his personal collection).

Thanks Danny for the information. It was very much appreciated.

Now onto this week's card.

1997/98 Esso Olympic Hockey Heroes
#A-8 Autograph French Version (500 sets)

Staying with the Olympic theme. This was a great find for me. I have only seen 2 of these autographed card variations. The first I passed on because it was a high price, the second was mine since it had been almost 10 years since I saw the first. These cards never seem to surface. I'm betting that most of these auto versions are still in the cello packs just waiting to be busted open. Note: if you see someone selling bulk cello packs of these cheap - grab 'em!

There is both an English version in addition to the French. Getting the unsigned versions are extremely easy. I just don't get why these auto versions are so scarce.

It's an over-sized card that came in a mini binder. There were cards for each Olympic country and included some cards from the womens team as well.

The back has some good stats and a comment by Ron Maclean. It's a great addition to my Linden collection and I'm really happy to have landed this card.

Anyone with the english auto version - just let me know.


  1. i have the brendan shanahan autograph. any idea why gretzky isn't listed on the team canada page?

  2. No. Not sure why he isn't. I checked the checklist and there were only 16 players listed from the Canadian team. Clearly there was more than just Gretzky omitted from the set. Interesting.

  3. I have the Sakic auto card of this set (English version), how rare are these? I have not seen any other auto cards except this Linden one until now. What value would you expect this to fetch? Anyone interested?

  4. Not sure how much the Sakic would go for.

    You don't see them very often I think because the product was lightly broken. There are tons of unopened packs just sitting.

    I'm wondering how many people even know that there are autographed versions.

    I'll do some hunting to see what the going rate on the Sakic is.


  5. Hey Guys:
    Here is the low down on these Esso autographs. They were produced in very short supply - in both French and English, two versions per player. They were produced for both the men's team and the women's team. There is no Gretzky in the set simply because he was not originally named to the team (remember?), then he was added much later. They had to get these cards produced and so they took their best guess at the team list - notice that there is a Messier card in the set, however, he was not on the team - so much for their guesses! One reason that these cards are so hard to find is that much of the product ended up getting destroyed as it went unsold. I have, in my collection, 19 of these autographs from the men's team (English & French) and 2 from the women's team. As for value, who knows?! The annual Beckett only lists the Lindros autograph ($100). I would love to hear about any other autographs that collectors have from this set.
    Cheers, Danny

  6. I have the Paul Kariya autograph in english.

  7. I have the Keith Primeau from this set. Ive seen 2 in 13 years of looking. Its easily the hardest certified autograph card set ever made.

  8. I have about 6-7 cases of these cards unopened. I opened a couple packs and they all seem to be signed. Just wondering what autograph you guys are referring to?

    1. Hello,

      If on the back of the card, the card number begins with an 'A', then you have an authorized signature card. Those are hard-signed signatures by the players themselves and are extremely rare.

      You must be seeing a facsimile signature or something.