Fans, coaches, writers, and historians consider Wayne Gretzky to be the greatest hockey player in NHL history. He is the career scoring leader in goals, assists, and points. Gretzky won the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) nine times, the record for most MVP awards of any professional North American sports player.
As one of the greatest athletes in sporting history, his rookie cards are out of financial reach for most collectors. A Gem Mt variant of the 1979 OPC Gretzky rookie is a $1M+ card. Even PSA 4s sell for over $2500. His more widely available and “lower” priced 1979 Topps rookie card in PSA 6 sells for around $1700.
Luckily, there are options for collectors who want an early career Wayne Gretzky item without having to travel into the 4-figure price range.
1977-79 Sportscaster #77-10 Wayne Gretzky Italy
Sportscaster made over 2000 different cards that were available through the mail over two-years. While PSA has only graded 148 of this Gretzky, a PSA 7 recently sold for $350, and PSA 9s, earlier in the year, were selling for between $600-$800.
1979 Oilers Postcards Wayne Gretzky
These postcards are team issued in a set of 23. 102 PSA graded Gretzky’s exist in the population report, and in July 2020, a PSA 6 sold for $240.
1980 Topps Wayne Gretzky #250
An excellent example of his 2nd year OPC card is a bit too pricey still, but his 2nd Year, Topps, is substantially cheaper. There are 1278 of these Gretzky’s in the population, and you can purchase a PSA 8 for between $400 and $500.
1981 Oilers Red Rooster
Another early-era Wayne Gretzky is the 1981 Oilers Red Roosters. The long hair ones sell for more than the short-hair ones. A long-hard PSA 8 sold for $600 in August 2020, and a short-hair PSA 7 sold for just $14 in July 2020.
1981 OPC #106 Wayne Gretzky
Finally, prices for 3rd year Gretzky cards become more accessible. PSA 8s are selling for over $300 now, and a nice PSA 7 is closer to $135.
It’s easy to get discouraged about collecting when you look at 6-figure sales of key cards in the hobby when you don’t have that kind of money. But with a little research, you can find alternatives to almost any player’s sports cards. While I presented many >$100 Gretzky cards, you can get the same items for far less in lower-grades that still have wonderful eye-appeal.
If you have a favorite Gretzky card, let me know about it down in the comments. And don’t forget to follow PostWarCards on Twitter.