i would say 1910-1989 is the good old "vintage" years vs. "modern" 1990-2007 is the mass production years with to many different companys. everything before 1990's proset,score,upperdeck etc... is great vintage years for me-just my opinion. the 1989-90 set is already 18 years old. seems like yesterday when i bought that opc 89-90 factory set at a canadian tire store. wouldn't it be nice if beckett had two yearly price guides. one as "vintage" 1910-1989 and the other as "modern" 1990-present? so my vintage cut off year would be 1989.
I think you can reasonably divide up hockey card production into a number of vintage eras, similar to comic books. This really should become accepted standard practice among collectors in order to differentiate between degrees of vintage.
1910-1941: Pre-War (or just WWII and prior)
1951-1968: Post-War (Parkhurst and Topps)
1969-1989: Modern Vintage (O-Pee-Chee and Topps)
1990-2007: Modern (Everybody)
I think it's easy to break modern off from 1990 and on, and breaking pre-war into it's own category is obvious as well. Determing what's vintage, or how vintage something is, between 1951 and 1989 is tougher. 1989-90 OPC is obviously not as vintage as 1951-52 Parkhurst, but it's obviously not as modern as anything produced in 2006-07.
So I think you can divide up 51-89 into two categories. I decided on 1968 as the date of cutoff because 1968-69 is the first year O-Pee-Chee came back into the market with cards under the OPC name (not the Topps name), and introduced the era of only OPC and Topps cards.
I think it's reasonable to use other cutoff dates to separate these two categories. First, 1964 could be used, since 1963-64 was the last year Parkhurst was produced (well, real Parkhurst), signifying the end of an era, with only Topps/OPC showing up after that. Or you could use 1966, since the Topps USA Test came out in 1966-67. It was also the rookie year of Orr, of course. I think any of these work, but I like the 1968 cutoff year the best, because I think there is a certain period in hockey known as the "O-Pee-Chee years". If you use that term to any collector, they would know what era you're talking about.
I think that vintage is a broad term that means different things to different people, as we see by the posts so far. I personally break it up into 3 groups. Pre 1950 or pre war(since there isn't much between the end of WW2 and 1950......1950-1967(original 6 era).....1967-1989(modern). And anything else is just crap that cost most of us alot of money before we woke up. Jim.
Personally I have always looked at vintage as anything from 1910 to 1969. Kind of a broad range, but I like the idea of breaking it up into segments.
1910 to 1950--Pre War
1951 to 1969--Vintage
1970 to 1989--Not sure what to call the 3rd group.
1990 to Present--Modern
I have a hard time calling 1970's Vintage, just because it still isn't that old. I'm 41, so I'm not ancient, but 1970's isn't so old that we can call it an antique at all.
Pre war is obviously a class unto itself. Those cards are the oldest and the players are legends of the game. The fact that almost all of them are deceased adds to their mystique.
1951-1969--I can see that the date could be moved back to 1967, but I still see the 1969 set as a vintage set. Just something in my mind, not based on any certain reasoning. Basically a new era after so long without cards being produced, and the cards in the 1950's were totally different from the pre war cards in many ways.
1970-1989--The start of the 1970's and 2 companies producing almost the same set with the OPC usually being larger. The card stock was pretty consistent all through 1989 with gum still in the packs and the look of the cards still not changing all that much.
1990 to the present. Once 1990 arrived everything changed, and it hasn't stopped changing since!
It would be great if we could ever get categories like this accepted by the collecting community, but most modern collectors will call anything prior to 1990 "Vintage."
It really drives me crazy!