10 Most Expensive Hockey Cards of All Time


Hockey has a rich history in North America, dating back to the inauguration of the National Hockey Association in 1909. After the NHA disbanded, the National Hockey League as we know it formed in 1917. Fittingly, the 10 most expensive hockey cards of all-time showcase some of hockey’s most recognized players, ranging from hockey’s roots to the modern era.


1. 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #18
Sold in May 2021 for $3,760,000 by Heritage Auctions

1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #181979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #18 back

Wayne Gretzky, otherwise known as The Great One for his generational talents and unparalleled NHL career, is the face of the most expensive hockey card of all time. Gretzky’s 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card features The Great One as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, where he won the Hart Memorial Trophy eight times in his first nine NHL seasons.

Wayne Gretzky’s 1979-90 O-Pee-Chee rookie card isn’t the most limited, with a total PSA population of 7,411. However, it remains one of the most condition-sensitive cards in the hobby, as only two cards, roughly .00026%, including this copy, obtained a PSA 10. When Gretzky retired after the 1998-99 season, he held 61 NHL records, which compelled the league to retire his iconic number 99 jersey league-wide.


2. 1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #18
Sold in December 2020 for $720,000 by Heritage Auctions

1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #181979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #18 back

Wayne Gretzky’s 1979-80 Topps rookie card differs slightly from his O-Pee-Chee counterpart yet ranks as the second most expensive hockey card in the hobby. The two cards are nearly identical, with the primary difference being the O-Pee-Chee version features a French blurb on the reverse, while the Topps rendition is in English.

Like his O-Pee-Chee rookie card, Gretzky’s 1979-80 Topps rookie card is nearly as condition-sensitive, with only two PSA 10’s out of 7,146 copies (.00027%). While the discrepancies in appearance are minor, there is a $3 million price gap between The Great One’s most sought-after rookie cards.


3. 1966 Topps Bobby Orr Rookie Card #35
Sold in February 2021 for $276,000 by Heritage Auctions

1966 Topps Bobby Orr Rookie Card #35

While Gretzky is considered the greatest overall hockey player of all time, Bobby Orr is viewed as the most dominant defense man. After finishing third for the James Norris Memorial Trophy in his 1966-67 rookie season with the Boston Bruins, Orr captured eight straight Norris Trophies, the most in NHL history.

Authenticated by Beckett Vintage Grading (BVG), which analyzes sports cards prior to 1980, Bobby Orr’s 1966 Topps rookie card is one of only two cards out of 276 (.007%) to obtain a BVG 10. If his countless knee injuries hadn’t driven him to retire after only 12 NHL seasons at the age of 30, one could only imagine what else Bobby Orr could have accomplished.


4. 2015 Upper Deck The Cup Connor McDavid Rookie Card #197
Sold in June 2020 for $135,811.20 by Lelands Auctions

2015 Upper Deck The Cup Connor McDavid Rookie Card #197

The only player featured on the list of most expensive hockey cards who’s played in the NHL in the past 15 years is Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid. After being drafted as the number one overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid burst onto the scene, winning two Hart Trophies, three Ted Lindsay awards, and three Art Ross Trophies in his first seven NHL seasons.

Appearing from 2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup, Connor McDavid’s most valuable rookie card is his rookie patch autograph (RPA) card. McDavid’s RPA card is limited to 99 copies and serial-numbered 97, symbolizing his Oilers’ uniform number. With a total PSA population of nine, McDavid’s rookie card from 2015-16 Upper Deck The Cup merited a PSA 9, with only three copies graded higher.


5. 2006-07 Upper Deck The Cup Dual NHL Shields Wayne Gretzky/Mario Lemieux #DASGL
Sold in October 2021 for $91,200 by Goldin Auctions

2006-07 Upper Deck The Cup Dual NHL Shields Wayne Gretzky/Mario Lemieux #DASGL

Featuring Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, 2006-07 Upper Deck The Cup Dual NHL Shields autograph patch card showcases two of the most prolific NHL players of all time. Gretzky scored an NHL record of 92 goals in the 1981-82 season, while Lemieux sits at third with 85 goals from his 1988-89 season.

With a record-breaking 163 assists, Wayne Gretzky holds nine out of the top ten most assists in a single season. The only other player to break the top ten is none other than Mario Lemieux, with 114 assists. Not only does this 2006-07 Upper Deck The Cup Dual Shields card represent two of the most iconic hockey players in history, but it’s also limited to one-of-one.


6. 1958 Topps Bobby Hull Rookie Card #66
Sold in February 2021 for $87,000 by Heritage Auctions

1958 Topps Bobby Hull Rookie Card #66

Bobby Hull had a remarkable 23-year hockey career across the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association. Known as “The Golden Jet” for his skating prowess and velocity of his slap shot, Bobby Hull’s slap shot was the most feared in league history, unofficially recorded at 118 mph.

According to PSA’s population report, collectors have submitted 419 of Hull’s 1958 Topps rookie cards to be graded, seven of which obtained a PSA 8, with only two cards graded higher. With 1,170 NHL points and an additional 638 points in the WHA, Bobby Hull is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time.


7. 1985 O-Pee-Chee Mario Lemieux Rookie Card #9
Sold in January 2021 for $80,100 by PWCC Marketplace

1985 O-Pee-Chee Mario Lemieux Rookie Card #9

Drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Mario Lemieux played his entire 17-year NHL career with the franchise. Across 915 career games, Lemieux recorded 1,783 points, good for 1.88 points per game, behind only Gretzky, who recorded 1.92 points per game.

Mario Lemieux’s 1985 O-Pee-Chee rookie card is the highlight of the set and one of the most iconic hockey cards ever issued. Lemieux’s 1985 O-Pee-Chee rookie card has a PSA population of 4,433, with only 48 cards, roughly 1%, meriting a PSA 10.


8. 1951 Parkhurst Maurice Richard Rookie Card #4
Sold in July 2021 for $75,000 by Heritage Auctions

1951 Parkhurst Maurice Richard Rookie Card #4

Maurice “The Rocket” Richard is one of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history, becoming the first player to reach the 500 goal milestone. In his 18-year NHL career, Maurice Richard won the Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens eight times, tied for the fifth-most in NHL history.

Richard’s 1951 Parkhurst rookie card is one of the most iconic hockey cards in the hobby, featuring a PSA population of 421. Only three of Richard’s 1951 Parkhurst rookie cards warranted a PSA 8.5, with only five copies welcoming a higher grade. As a pioneer for the sport, the NHL commemorates Richards by presenting the Maurice Richard Trophy each year to honor the league’s highest goal scorer.


9. 1911-12 C55 Imperial Tobacco Georges Vezina #38
Sold in May 2021 for $61,200 by Goldin Auctions

1911-12 C55 Imperial Tobacco Georges Vezina #38

This list of most expensive hockey cards features an assortment of players who have trophies named after them. However, the Vezina Trophy, which honors the league’s finest goal tender, was the first to be named after a player, celebrating Georges Vezina.

Vezina’s historic 1911-12 Imperial Tobacco card is his only recognized rookie card. Vezina’s 1911-12 Imperial Tobacco rookie card possesses a total PSA population of 171, with this copy warranting a PSA 7 and only one copy graded higher. Behind a 3.28 career goals against average, Vezina recorded the lowest GAA three times and guided the Montreal Canadiens to two championships, once in the National Hockey Associations and once in the National Hockey League.


10. 1980 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky #250
Sold in March 2021 for $60,400 by PWCC Marketplace

1980 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky #250

Released in his NHL sophomore campaign, Gretzky’s 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee card continues to be one of his most coveted hockey cards. While Gretzky played three seasons in the World Hockey Association before leaping to the National Hockey League, he prevailed as the Hart Trophy winner in his first NHL season.

Gretzky’s 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee card is much more limited than both his O-Pee-Chee and Topps rookie cards, highlighted by a PSA population of 2,177. With 35 PSA 10’s in existence, collectors have obtained a PSA 10 at a roughly 1% clip for The Great One’s 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee card.

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