Of all the fast-moving elements in a typical game of ice hockey, the puck is the hardest thing to follow. Pucks are routinely hidden from view by a player’s stick, slapped across the ice at impossible speeds, and then cradled by teammates through a thicket of defensemen on their way to the net. Sometimes the only way to know a goal has been made is when the scoreboard lights up.

Antique and vintage pucks, ideally in the box, are treasured prizes for collectors. In the 1930s, Spalding made pucks for the NHL. In the 1940s, C.C.M. distributed Tyler pucks, which were used by hockey’s American League. Monarch, National, and Lund were other widely used brands of that era.

A little bit of wear and tear on a game-used puck gives these compact collectibles character, sort of like the smile of a player who’s missing a few front teeth. Because they're small and relatively inexpensive, you can amass quite a collection of pucks from well-known NHL teams like the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders, beloved-but-departed regional favorites like the Minnesota North Stars, and even junior-league teams such as the Kingston Frontenacs of Ontario, Canada.

In most cases, a signed puck is more collectible than a signed hockey card, unless the card in question is a rookie card by a hall of famer like Bobby Hull, Bobbie Orr, or Gordie Howe.

Some of the most highly sought-after pucks are those from the 1972 and 1973 seasons. During those years, pucks that were used to score a goal were cataloged and authenticated by the NHL. When offered for sale, these pucks are usually signed and dated by the player who made the goal, and come with a certificate from the NHL.

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