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For any die-hard hockey card collector, Wayne Gretzky hockey cards are a must-have for their personal collection.
Of course, there’s the issue of money, particularly with his iconic 1979 O-Pee-Chee rookie card.
We list some below where you can bid or buy some of the more valuable Wayne Gretzky rookie cards on eBay.
But we also offer a few other suggestions that are worth looking into as well.
1. 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card
If you have the funds, this is the Wayne Gretzky rookie card to get.
And the better the grade, the more you can expect to pay. Even lesser graded ones can cost you a pretty penny.
These O-Pee-Chee cards were distributed in Canada and printed in smaller quantities than the ones that Topps produced for U.S. collectors (see next card recommendation below).
2. 1979 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card
Looks identical to the aforementioned 1979 OPC Rookie Card, but the Topps isn’t as scarce.
Hence you can find these cards at similar grades cost far less than the OPC rookies.
However, getting a good grade is still difficult with these light blue border cards, which means there is still scarcity in finding these rookie cards in top condition.
3. 1980 O-Pee-Chee #250 Second-Year Wayne Gretzky Hockey Cards
Back in the earlier days of collecting, there wasn’t as much variety when it comes to collecting different rookie cards.
So the two previously mentioned Wayne Gretzky rookie card are pretty much it.
But if you’re priced out of that range, the second-year card is worth a look. Some well graded ones already go for a few thousand although ungraded ones are still quite affordable.
MORE ON WAYNE GRETZKY: Considered by many to be the greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky’s career spanned over two decades.
He set many records and won numerous accolades during that time starting with his first NHL team, the Edmonton Oilers in 1979.
Gretzky led the team to four Stanley Cup championships in five years, from 1984 to 1988. Along the way, he set the NHL record for most goals in a season (92) and most points in a season (215), both of which he achieved in the 1981-82 season.
Gretzky’s success continued when he was shockingly traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. In 1994, he broke Gordie Howe’s NHL record for most career points, a record that had stood for 22 years.
Gretzky finished his career with stints on the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers and retired from the NHL in 1999 with a career total of 2,857 points (894 goals and 1,963 assists.)
Many around the world will also recognize Gretzky on the international stage, playing for Team Canada in various international tournaments. He helped Canada win the Canada Cup in 1984 and 1987 and led the team to a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
|Stanley Cup Champion||1984, 1985, 1987, 1988|
|Hart Trophy (NHL MVP)||1980-1987, 1989|
|Art Ross Trophy (NHL Leading Scorer)||1981-1987, 1990, 1991, 1994|
|Lady Byng Trophy||1980, 1991, 1992|
|Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP)||1985, 1988|
|Lester B. Pearson Award (NHLPA MVP)||1982-1986, 1987-1989|
|NHL All-Star Game MVP||1983, 1989|
|Canada Cup Champion||1984, 1987|
|Olympic Gold Medalist||2002 (as Executive Director of Canadian men’s team)|
|Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee||1999|
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I always felt the thesis of O Pee Chee being scarce in general was wrong.. Now the Population reports has O Pee Chee over 8200 from 3799 in 2016 and Topps at 8000 from 5144 in 2016 . Since 2016 the PSA 9s for Topps increased by just 2 (1.6%) and for O Pee Chee by 24 (36%) So much for “it’s harder to find O Pee Chee in higher grade” Now the exact numbers of what really is out there are starting show how wrong collectors have been. They used this wrong information to base the valuations between the two which they had wrong. O Pee Chee’s lead will probably widen because the Topps card that were released in the US have always had a lower likelihood of surviving than the O Pee Chee cards because hockey was/has never been a key sport in the US, half the country doesn’t even think about it. The likelihood of Topps hockey cards being thrown away were always higher. But the data finally shows Topps are more scarce.
The other thing PSA is a US company, the O Pee Chee cards were mostly in Canada which made them a little harder to send into the US to get graded. But since the prices have risen people in Canada are more willing to send them in that could be contributing to the huge increase in the past 5 years.
Also, The Topps Hockey cards were released prior to their O-Pee-Chee counterparts. This should have been enough to end the O Pee Chee discussion a long time ago. If Topps was released first than that’s the true true rookie and first to the market, which makes it older. There should be no argument, that alone ends it, I don’t think most collectors realize this important fact, they just look them and since they look more or less identical they assume they both got printed at the same time, which is not true. While i was researching I was trying to find out which company actually designed the card, if it was Topps which everything points to that. Then O Pee Chee cards are kind of just reprints of the original Topps card with added French which again make it a secondary card.
The other thing with O Pee Chee cards, even with the high grades have the rough cuts which we all know. PSA let that slide, but really that’s a manufacturing defect, yet PSA is not giving them all qualifiers that have this defect. It’s a cool story but it’s still a defect. It’s kind of nonsense, we don’t hear stories of other print defects on cards, say the printing machine was off center therefore a lot the cards are off center therefore no biggie and no qualifiers. From the 9s, 8s, 7s O Pee Chee I have seen most need qualifiers I think that is not consistent with PSAs guidelines because they let it slide but really those O Pee Chee grades are not totally correct.
It’s clear the advantage should go to Topps now. It was always been first to market which has been over looked and it’s proven to more scarce now which is different than what people assumed before. To me the valuations should be flipped. The valuations need to be recalibrated based on this more accurate and updated information which took some time to trickle in.
From what I can gather Topps took the photos in the US to make the cards…. Not sure if Topps has ever confirmed they made the originals but I agree with all your points. People pay extra for the “first print” o pee chee if they do or don’t favor the blue lines yet Topps was the original card…