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The Rare 1988 Topps Brett Hull Gem Mint Rookie Card

After an incredible NHL career, Brett Hull was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. He scored 741 goals, good for 5th best all-time; he won a pair of Stanley Cups and is widely considered one of the Top 100 players to play the game. Despite breaking into the league during the 1986 Stanley Cup Playoffs, his rookie cards were in the 1988 sets. And while you may be thinking, “1988, that card will be overprinted junk!” the 1988 Topps #66 Brett Hull rookie card is particularly tough to find in Gem Mint 10 condition.

1988 Topps #66 Brett Hull – PSA 10

The 1988 set was one of Topp’s better-designed hockey releases of the era, with bright colors that punched up the design and a unique push-pin on the top. For the third year in a row, Topps released a 198-card set (196 players and two checklists), which meant 66 cards (OPC had 66 more cards) had to be double printed on the 132-card sheets Topps used. Also, the set focused on US teams, so Hull ended up being double-printed. The sets key cards (besides Hull’s rookie) are Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, and Brendan Shanahan.

Despite being double printed, during the junk wax era, of the 2968 Hull rookies in the Pop Report, only 42 Gem Mt 10 copies exist. That’s a hit rate of only 1.4%!

You can see the distribution of prices, compared to the population report, in the Prices by Grade image below.

1988 Topps #66 Brett Hull Prices by Grade

The card did see a massive boom-bust during the 2021 card craze, which you can see in the last bunch of PSA 10 sales:

  • 5/1/2021 for $719
  • 4/36/2021 for $1100
  • 3/29/2021 for $2500
  • 3/3/2021 for $2000
  • 1/27/2021 for $2627
  • 8/8/2020 for $534
  • 6/2/2020 for $499
  • 4/1/2020 for $495
  • 10/6/2019 for $380
  • 9/23/2019 for $371
  • 9/6/2019 for $450

Given that data, I think the $500-600 range is fair for a PSA 10 today.

The last PSA 9 Topps Hull rookie card sold for $177 in March 2022. But before that, in December 2021 and January 2022, they were selling for between $60 and $80. PSA 8s are a great deal, around $25.

1988 Topps #66 Brett Hull – PSA/DNA – Front
1988 Topps #66 Brett Hull – PSA/DNA – Reverse

If you want to pull your own Topps rookie card from a pack, authenticated PSA 8 wax packs sell for between $40 and $60.

1988 Topps Hockey Wax Pack

And Baseball Card Exchange authenticated wax boxes, while variable, can be found between $500 and $600 with a bit of patience.

1988 Topps Hockey Wax Box

There are a few pricey PSA 10 junk era hockey cards, and I wrote about six in July 2020. So while third-party grading has created a version of scarcity, the chase of getting that high-grade means a lot of cards get submitted that don’t “stack up” to Gem Mt 10 requirements, and a lot of 8s and 9s end up on the market that collectors can pick up for the grading fee; which is the case for the 1988 Topps #66 Bret Hull rookie.

So if you’re looking to get your hands on a more modern hockey great’s rookie card, consider the 1988 Topps #66 Bret Hull, and if you’re angling for a PSA 10, good luck and happy collecting!

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