If you’re a hockey fan, chances are you’ve been a fan of collecting hockey cards and memorabilia. You might even be a collector who said you owned a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie card at one time but your Mom threw it out, or maybe you put your cards in the spokes of your tires to create that great motorized sound. The sound lasted for five minutes but the card took a beating. When I was 12 years old, I made the mistake of drawing John Lennon-style glasses in pen on a 1972 O-Pee-Chee Guy Lafleur rookie card. I guess I was a bit upset when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Philadelphia Flyers in four straight games to win the Stanley Cup in 1976. Anger issues? Sure. Stupidity? Unfortunately, yes. I took a card that today is worth close to $22,000 in mint condition and reduced it to zero value. Luckily, I purchased another Lafleur rookie card years later and was more than happy to have it in my collection.
If you took care of your cards from your youth, chances are many of your cards have gone up in value. Whether your collection goes back over 50 years, or you managed to get a Connor McDavid Rookie card 50 days ago, it’s a wise move to continue to hang onto them because they continue to rise in price, especially when it comes to the older cards.
Scott Clark of Mellonville Memorabilia mentioned recently, “If you bought an O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card out of the pack in 1980 and the card was a perfect 10, it could be worth millions of dollars according to PSA Authentication and Grading Services.” Clark stated that there are less than five perfect Gretzky rookie cards that he knows are in existence because, “some of the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee set might not have been perfectly cut, or cut with dull blades at the factory and now only a very few are considered a 10.” If you have a Gretzky rookie card in your home, or up in the attic, it might be worth your time to get it evaluated.
In 1980, A Gretzky Rookie Card Cost Less Than 2 Cents to Buy
When you think of investment value, it’s important to note that a pack of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee cards originally cost 20 cents for 14 cards and a stick of gum. That’s less than two cents a card, and if you have a Gretzky Rookie or a Ken Dryden retirement card from that set in mint condition, your original investment returns are as good or better than a savings account or even investing in Bitcoin or cryptocurrency, which has experienced its fair share of boom and bust in its short existence.
Am I recommending that you take your savings account and go spend it all on hockey cards in hopes of doubling your investment in a few short years? No. You should be wise about it. As someone who has collected cards for close to 50 years, I can tell you that the pros have far outweighed the cons as I was able to use my collection as an asset when purchasing my home because my bank recognized the value it had. At one time, I owned two Gretzky Rookies and when I was purchasing my first home in 2000, I used it to close the home sale. I bought the house “for sale by owner” and in negotiations, the homeowner and I were $500 apart with no one budging. I asked him if I threw in a Gretzky rookie card could we call it even? He agreed, and when he handed me the keys to my house after the papers were signed, I handed him the card.
What Does the Future of Hockey Card Collecting Look Like?
I posed the question about the future of hockey card collecting to Scott Clark, and he told me to keep an eye out for a Connor Bedard rookie card when it comes available. Bedard is the young phenom currently playing for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. He is slated to go first overall in the 2023 NHL Draft, and could eventually push Connor McDavid for the title of the best player in hockey someday.
Be A Kid Again – Have Some Fun With Your Collection
Collecting hockey cards is supposed to be fun. Some people take it too seriously, while others don’t take it seriously enough. There’s never been a bad time to get into the hobby. Ten years ago I purchased a Gordie Howe Rookie Reprint Card for under $10.
At a recent sports memorabilia show near Edmonton in April 2022, I was very happy to see that the same Howe card that I bought was now being sold for $150. Not bad. If you’re a collector or have some stories about your favourite hockey card or set, leave a message in the comment section. It would be great to hear your story.
D. Edward Bochon covers the Edmonton Oilers. His background is in marketing writing where he worked with the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Football Club (now known as the Elks), and the Edmonton Rush of the NLL.