There has never been a better time to be a card collector.
Over the last few years, the whole card trading industry has exploded – both gaming cards and sports cards alike have seen a huge rise in value.
If you are reading this article then you are either interested in starting to collect hockey cards or you already have a collection and you want to know if they are worth anything. Both types of people will find this article helpful.
We are going to look at the factors that make a card more valuable and factors that can decrease a value of a card as well as looking at the biggest card sales in recent years.
Why Are Hockey Cards So Popular?
The main reason why hockey cards are so popular is that the roster of players in the NHL never stays the same. Every year new players join the league and old ones retire.
Plays are traded from team to team and coaches change. This means that every year there are lots of new cards available for collectors to buy and some cards are only produced for a very short amount of time.
The second factor is that the NHL is one of the most popular leagues in the world.
It attracts fans from all around the globe. We know that many people collect sports cards in America – but they are popular too in Canada and some parts of Europe.
This popularity makes collecting more competitive which in turn drives up card prices.
The third reason is that the cards themselves are of very high quality. They are made by some of the best companies in the business such as Topps, Upper Deck, Panini, and Fleer.
These companies use top-of-the-line printing.
What Makes A Hockey Card Valuable?
Now, let’s take a look at the elements of a hockey card that will improve its value.
1) When Were They Made
This is the first thing that any collector should consider when buying a card. If the card was printed before 1970 then it is not considered to be worth much.
However, if the card was produced after 1970 then it becomes much more valuable.
The reason for this is that these cards were only released after the introduction of the modern-day hockey stick.
Before that, players used to skate with a curved stick. Therefore, the stick itself is what makes the card unique.
There may be a small market for these but buyers are a lot rarer.
This will come as a surprise to no one – but cards that are in a better condition sell for more.
When collecting cards, the condition is often overlooked. Many amateur collectors just focus on the front side of the card and ignore the back side.
But, the backside of the card contains important information about the card.
For example, if the card is autographed then it will tell you how many times the player signed the card.
If a card is bent, damaged, or warped then you are going to want to avoid spending any money on it.
Autographs are another element that can increase the value of your card.
Some players may sign their cards while others may not.
In addition, some players may sign the same card multiple times. For example, Wayne Gretzky once signed his own rookie card 10 times! For some reason, this makes the cards more valuable to people.
If a player has died then their autographs will only go up in value.
4) Color Variations
Color variations are yet another way that a card can become more valuable.
When a card is reprinted, the company usually chooses to reprint the exact same card. This tends to lower the value of all the reprints slightly.
However, sometimes they choose to change something like the background color.
This can affect the overall value of the card. A rare colorway in good condition can be more valuable than the original run.
5) Number Of The Player On The Card
Not all players play at the same number for their whole career.
When a player changes numbers, it makes their old cards more unique and more valuable.
6) You Have Cards That Pair Well With It
If you have a whole team from one year, then you could see the collective value of those cards skyrocket if you sold them to the right person.
You might also want to look for a series of the same player from throughout the years.
7) Team Logo
Team logos are another factor that affects the overall value of the cards. Some teams have simple logos while others have complicated ones.
Also, some teams have different colors for each jersey while others have one solid color.
Knowing all of this can make it easier to spot an unusual or rare card.
8) Printing Date
The printing date of the card is very important as well.
Some companies now print cards in bulk but in the past they printed them individually by hand. A company that prints cards by hand will cost more money than a company that prints cards in bulk.
Older cards tend to be rarer so that can raise the value of a card. The same goes for the importance of the year that was printed – rookie cards have consistently been the most valuable across all sports.
9) Player Name
Some players are far more valuable than others.
When it comes to hockey, any Wayne Greztky card is going to sell for a lot more money than other players.
But if you have an early card of a now very successful player then keep hold of it.
10) Where You Sell The Cards
Collecting cards can be expensive depending on where you live. You can spend anywhere from $20 to $2000+ dollars.
It all depends on the type of card you’re looking for and who you buy it from. If the player is a local hero, then you are going to get more money if you sell in your city than if you did on the other side of the world.
Biggest Hockey Card Sales
Before we go, let’s take a look at some of the exact cards you should be keeping an eye out for while you are shopping around.
You will not be shocked to learn that a Wayne Gretzky card is top of this list.
So what are some of the best hockey cards that you can buy today? Well, we’ve compiled a list for you! We’ll start with the most valuable hockey cards and work our way down from there.
The Top 10 Most Valuable Hockey Cards You Should Be Looking Out For (And Their Rough Values)
1) Wayne Gretzky’s rookie card (1981 Topps) – $2,000,000
2) Mario Lemieux’s first NHL card (1991 Upper Deck) – $700,000
3) Bobby Orr’s rookie card (1962 Topps) – $500,000
4) Gordie Howe’s rookie card (1958 Topps) – $400,000
5) Joe Sakic’s rookie card (1992 Fleer) – $300,000
6) Mark Messier’s rookie card (1993 Upper Deck) – $200,000
7) Sidney Crosby’s rookie card (2006 Panini) – $100,000
8) Jaromir Jagr’s rookie card (1994 Fleer) – $80,000
9) Alex Ovechkin’s rookie card (2007-08 Upper Deck) – $70,000
10) Mike Modano’s rookie card (1990 Upper Deck) – $60,000
There are many hockey cards out there that are worth a lot of money. They are waiting for you to find them.
When you are looking for hockey cards to invest in, make sure that they are in good condition, from the right era, and keep an eye out for cards that have been signed.