Hockey cards are some of the coolest collectibles out there. Over the years, there have been thousands of different cards and card varieties sold across the world. But which ones are the most popular, and which can you sell for the highest price?
There are a lot of factors that go into determining what the best-selling hockey cards are, including the year it was produced, the popularity of the player, and the rarity of the card.
In this guide, we’ll be finding out about some of the best-selling hockey cards of all time!
Most Expensive Hockey Cards In History
If you’ve ever looked into trading sports cards, you’ll know that some of them can sell for a very hefty price tag. These are the most expensive hockey cards that have ever been sold:
1) Wayne Gretzky – $2.4 Million (2002 Topps Heritage 3)
The first overall pick in the NHL draft is one of the most valuable players to ever play the game. Wayne Gretzky’s rookie season with the Edmonton Oilers saw him score 92 goals and 127 assists for 219 points.
He went on to win four Stanley Cups during his career, and he’s still considered by many as the greatest player to ever lace up the skates.
The 2002 Topps Heritage set was released just two months after the Great One announced his retirement from professional hockey. It included three autographs and a total of 12 inserts.
The 3rd insert was an autograph of Gretzky himself. This particular card is now worth more than $2.4 million.
2) Mario Lemieux – $2.3 Million (1996 Upper Deck Ultra Stars 4)
Mario Lemieux played 17 seasons in the NHL, winning six Art Ross Trophies as the league’s top scorer. He also won five Stanley Cup championships, four scoring titles, and two Hart Memorial Trophies for MVP.
Lemieux retired in 2006, but he has remained active in the sport since then. He currently serves as the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This 1996 Upper Deck Ultra Stars set featured four autographs and a total of 24 inserts. The 4th insert was an autographed photo of Lemieux. This particular card is valued at around $2.3 million today.
3) Gordie Howe – $2.2 Million (1992 Fleer Elite Series 1/1)
Gordie Howe is also regarded as one of the greatest hockey players who ever lived.
During his career, he scored 801 goals and 966 assists for 1657 points. He also holds the record for most regular-season games played, having appeared in 1,767.
He spent almost his entire career playing for the Detroit Red Wings. Howe retired from playing in 1981 but remained in the sport until 2001. He sadly passed away in 2016.
This 1992 Fleer Elite Series set had only one insert, featuring an autographed photo of Gordie Howe. This particular card is worth around $2.2 million.
4) Bobby Orr – $2.2M (1986 Donruss Superstars 2)
Bobby Orr was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played his entire National Hockey League career with the Boston Bruins. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
Orr was drafted second overall in the 1970 NHL Draft, behind Guy Lafleur. He went on to become a superstar in the NHL, being named Rookie of the Year in 1971 and winning the Norris Trophy twice.
Orr retired in 1986 and became the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He passed away in 2010.
This 1986 Donruss Superstars set had only one insert featuring an autographed photo. This particular card is estimated to be worth around $2.20 million.
5) Joe Sakic – $2.15M (2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Team 1/1)
Joe Sakic is a former center for the Colorado Avalanche. He helped lead the team to their first-ever playoff appearance in 2000.
In 2003, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils where he won another Stanley Cup. He left the Devils following the 2007–08 season and signed with the Vancouver Canucks.
In 2011, Sakic was traded back to the Avs. He currently plays for the Vegas Golden Knights.
This 2001 Upper Deck Ultimate Team set had only one insert. This particular card features an autographed photo of Sakic. This card is valued at around £2.15 million.
6) Gordie Howe – $2.0M (1992 Topps Hockey Legends Series 3/3)
Yet again, we have a Gordie Howe card. Another one of the greatest players to play the game of hockey, during his playing days, he spent most of his time playing alongside his twin brother, Sid.
Howe won four consecutive scoring championships between 1952 and 1955, and then again in 1956. In addition, he won six Hart Trophies as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
He retired from the NHL after the 1981–82 season, but returned in 1989 to help the Hartford Whalers win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title.
This 1992 Topps Hockey Legends series included three autographs. One of them was an autographed photo featuring both brothers. This particular card is priced at about $2.00 million.
7) Jaromir Jagr – $2.0 m (2010 Bowman Chrome Rookie Auto)
Jaromir Jagr has represented his country multiple times, including winning the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Jagr was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the No. 1 pick in the 1990 draft. He has since been named to eight All-Star Games, two Olympic teams, and five NHL First Teams.
This 2010 Bowman Chrome rookie auto includes an autographed photo of Jagr. This particular card is valued at about $2.0 million.
Which Hockey Player Has The Most Expensive Cards?
By far, the most lucrative player for their hockey cards is Wayne Gretzky. His jersey number 99 has been retired by all 30 NHL teams. The highest price ever paid for a single card of his was $2.8 million. That card was sold at auction in 2014.
His autograph also commands high prices. A few of his more expensive items are listed below:
• Wayne Gretzky Autographed Game Used Stick 99 – $4.2 Million
• Wayne Gretzky Autographed Jersey Number 99 – $2.9 Million
• Wayne Gretzky Autographed Sticker 99 – $2.8 Million
• Wayne Gretzky Autographed Mask – $2.7 Million
• Wayne Gretzky Autographed Goal Puck – $2.7 Million
But why is his autograph so highly sought after by hockey fans? Quite simply, he’s one of the most successful players in the history of the sport.
In fact, he holds or shares a remarkable 61 different records in the NHL. These include the most career regular-season goals, assists, hat-tricks, and points.
To give some context to his achievements, the 2nd place player in the career points total is Jaromir Jagr with 1921. Gretzky earned 2857 points over his career, meaning nobody else even comes close!
As we’ve learned from this article, hockey cards can end up selling for remarkably high prices. However, it doesn’t take much to make your own collection worth thousands of dollars.
You can start off by investing in a good autograph book. Then, you’ll need to head to some NHL games to try and pick up your favorite player’s signature. Finally, you’ll want to buy a few packs of cards.
If you’re lucky enough to find a rare card, you should be able to sell it for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But don’t expect to get rich overnight. It takes patience and persistence to build a valuable collection.
Have fun collecting!