10 of the Most Valuable Hockey Cards of All Time
10 of the Most Valuable Hockey Cards of All Time
When people think about sports cards selling for tons of money, they often picture vintage baseball cards. However, hockey cards have sold at auction for vast sums of cash, too! Today, we’re going to explore some of the biggest hockey card sales to date, as well as break down what makes one copy of a card more valuable than another. Read on and discover 10 of the most valuable hockey cards of all time.
10. O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky, 1980
In March of 2021, this card sold for $60,400, and this isn’t the last you’ll see of ol’ Wayne Gretzky! 1980 was Gretzky’s second year of his hockey career, and it was already clear that he was the real deal. This card received a Gem Mint 10 from PSA, making it one of only 35 cards like it in the entire world.
9. C55 Imperial Tobacco Georges Vezina, 1911–1912
The oldest card on our list, this 1911-1912 Vezina card sold for $61,200 in May of 2021. You may associate his name with the Vezina Trophy, an award given to the league’s best goaltender—this card represents Georges Vezina’s one and only rookie card. Even though this card was only a PSA 7, it still commanded a high price—imagine the sale for a 9 or even a 10!
8. Parkhurst Maurice Richard Rookie Card, 1951
A little over a year ago, in July of 2021, this card sold for $75,000. Way back in the annals of 1951, Maurice “the Rocket” Richard was well known for his ability to relentlessly score goal after goal. We remember him today for being the first player to score 500 goals in his career.
This 1951 card represents his rookie year, and PSA has only graded it 421 times—if you can find a Maurice Richard rookie card in better shape than this 8.5, you’re on your way to a nice payday.
7. O-Pee-Chee Mario Lemieux Rookie Card, 1985
In January of 2021, this card sold for $80,100, and not without good reason. One of a staggeringly small number of PSA 10s in existence, this card depicts the scorer behind only Gretzky for points per game.
6. Topps Bobby Hull Rookie Card, 1958
If you wanted to buy this card in February of 2021, you would have needed to shell out $87,000. This card shows “the Golden Jet,” Bobby Hull, with a slapshot of an (unofficial) 118 miles per hour!
5. Upper Deck Wayne Gretzky/Mario Lemieux, 2006–2007
Two of hockey’s biggest legends live on this card, which sold for $91,200 in October of 2021. This card has an autograph patch bearing both players’ signatures, making it a unique addition to any collection. There’s only one card like this in the world, which may give you an idea of why it was worth so much!
4. Upper Deck Connor McDavid Rookie Card, 2015
Would you look at that—a card from the past 10 years! In June of 2020, this modern card sold for $135,811.20, making this the first card on our list to cross into six figures. Only three copies of this card have reached higher than a PSA 9, making this quite close to the rarest quality.
3. Topps Bobby Orr Rookie Card, 1966
In February of 2021, this card sold for a whopping $276,000—and it depicts perhaps the best man to ever play defense in the NHL. Bobby Orr brought home eight Norris Trophies, which is an NHL record that’s still undefeated after all these years. If he hadn’t retired due to knee injuries, who knows how many more he could have won (and how much more this card may have sold for).
2. Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card, 1979–1980
Wayne Gretzky, is that you again? Sold in December 2020 for $720,000, it’s clear that there’s a love for Wayne Gretzky among hockey fans, and it’s no wonder why. He’s still the highest goal scorer of all time, and there are only two copies of this card (including this one) that earned a PSA 10.
1. O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card, 1979–1980
The sale price for this card is a bit of a jump. While the last card didn’t break a million dollars, this one sold for $3,760,000 in May of 2021! Why? Apparently, there are only two PSA 10s in existence, and this is one of them. Congratulations to Wayne Gretzky for making it onto this list not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times!
What Makes a Card Great?
We just threw a whole bunch of numbers at you, from dollar amounts to decades, but the most important figures to focus on are the grades and scarcity. A few major grading companies grade sports cards (and other similar trading cards), namely PSA, SGC, and Beckett. Anyone with a card can send it away for grading—you’ll receive it back in a fancy case that’s ideal for protection, along with a grade.
These companies determine the quality of a card by inspecting the card’s surface, corners, edges, and centering. While you can control a card’s surface, corners, and edges by putting a card directly into a protective case when you pull it out of a pack, centering comes down to the printer. If your card has even borders, it could receive a perfect centering score from the grading company.
If your vintage hockey cards are also pristinely maintained, you may just wind up with a 9.5 or even a 10 from one of the big grading companies. In addition, there’s a special fascination with rookie cards. If you can spot a rookie that will become a big star one day, you could set yourself up for a future fortune.
Now that you know 10 of the most valuable hockey cards of all time, why don’t you start your journey to finding one? If you’re lucky, we have the next card to be added to this list sitting in one of our many unopened packs of hockey cards. Take a chance and buy a few spots—you never know what you might find!