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Mario Lemieux

Summary & Career Highlights

Rookie Year: 1984-1985 

Iconic Rookie Card: 1985-86 O-Pee-Chee #9

Highest Public Sale: 1985-86 O-Pee-Chee #9 PSA 10 for $80,100 on 1/26/2021 

Similar Career Players: Phil Esposito, Jaromir Jagr, Alex Ovechkin, Gordie Howe, Teemu Selanne, Steven Stamkos, Nels Stewart, Sidney Crosby

Players with Similar Cards to Check Out: Ray Bourque, Steve Yzerman, Patrick Roy, Pavel Bure, Jaromir Jagr


Career Highlights

  • 2x Stanley Cup Winner

  • 3x Hart Trophy Winner

  • 4x Ted Lindsay Award Winner

  • 9x All Star

  • 6x Art Ross Winner

  • Calder Trophy Winner

  • 8th All Time Point Leader

  • 10th All Time Goal Leader

Iconic Cards

Icon Key

Prospective Card Cost:

💰 - Under $250

💰💰 - Under $1,000

💰💰💰 -  Under $5,000

💰💰💰💰-  Under $15,000

💰💰💰💰💰- Over $15,000


Rarity

💎 - Common & High Serial Number

💎💎- Serial Numbered or Pop Under 200

💎💎💎 - Serial Numbered or Pop Under 100

💎💎💎💎 - Serial Number or Pop Under 50

💎💎💎💎💎 - Does this card even exist? Serial Number or Pop under 10

1983 Canadian National

Juniors
1998 Metal Universe PMG Front
1998 Metal Universe PMG Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰-💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎


About the Card: The 1983 Canadian National Juniors set showcased the country's top juniors as a way of promoting the 1983 World Junior Championship. The oversized card set (3.5" x 5") boasts an impressive checklist for a product of a U18 team, but is most well known for being home to Mario Lemieux and fellow hall of famer Steve Yzerman's first appearance in a sports card. The full length player photo is surrounded by a Canadian red border and a blank back.

1985-86 O-Pee-Chee

#9
1999 Metal Universe PMG Front
1999 Metal Universe PMG Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰-💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: Lemieux's 1985-86 OPC Rookie is considered one of the few vintage investment grade hockey cards. Hockey cards were distributed in the US under the Topps brand and in Canada under the O-Pee-Chee (OPC) brand. The front of both cards are identical, but have differences on the back as OPC included French text to cater to French Canadian fans. Although neither brand is particularly scarce, OPC was a bit more condition sensitive and holds a premium over Topps today. This is considered Lemieux's signature rookie.

1985-86 O-Pee-Chee

#1 Box Bottoms Hand Cut
1997 E-X2000 Credentials Front
1997 E-X2000 Credentials Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: Believe it or not, Lemieux had 3 cards in the Topps/OPC 1985-86 hockey release. The true base rookie (#9), a rookie scoring leaders card (#262), and the most unique card in the set, the "Box Bottoms" card. A four card panel was inserted in the bottom of each OPC and Topps wax pack boxes. Collectors had a chance to get one of four different panels they could cut out by hand. Yellow borders were used on the "Box Bottom" panels compared to the white used in the base checklist.

1993-94 Leaf

Auto /2000
1998 E-X2001 Essential Credentials Now Front
1998 E-X2001 Essential Credentials Now Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: Leaf wanted to make a statement with their entry into the hockey card space for the 1993-94 season. They did so by signing Lemieux to be their spokesperson and built the inaugural set around the superstar. They introduced a 10-card insert set called the, "Mario Lemieux Collection" detailing his career accomplishments, alongside Lemieux's first pack issued autograph card. Limited  to 2000 copies, the card features a distinguished portrait of Lemieux above a bold, black autograph.

1995-96 Finest

#190 Refractor
1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials Future Front
1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials Future Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: Lemieux retired in January 1993 after announcing his cancer diagnosis and upcoming treatment. This led him to miss the entire 1994-95 season, excluding him from Finest's hockey debut. However, the "Comeback Kid" returned to hockey for the 1995-96 season, won the Hart Trophy, and was featured in Finest's second and final year. He was only featured once in the checklist at card #190 which had a base and refractor parallel. Not only was this Lemieux's first Finest card, it was also his first refractor.

1996-97 Select Certified

#10 Mirror Gold
1998 Fleer Brilliants 24-Karat Gold Front
1998 Fleer Brilliants 24-Karat Gold Front

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: The "Mirror Gold" parallel made its debut in 1995-96 Select Certified, but it was the 1996-97 version that grabbed collector's attention for its stunning aesthetics. This version showcased a significant upgrade from its initial release. The gold highlights and the gold foil script  perfectly complement the black and gold colors of the Lemieux's Penguins jersey. With pack odds of 1:300, this card's added rarity brings a challenging chase for collectors.

1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond

#RC3 Run for the Cup /100
1999 Skybox Premium Star Rubies Front
1999 Skybox Premium Star Rubies Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: 1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond introduced one of Lemieux's most iconic playing day inserts: "Run for The Cup." This card encapsulated all the intriguing elements that defined 90s trading cards: a dazzling gold foil finish, a captivating lenticular acetate photo, a distinctive die-cut design, and meticulous hand numbering on the back of the card. The "Run for the Cup" checklist featured 20 subjects and is a tempting chase for aspiring insert set collectors looking for a challenge.

1996-97 Upper Deck

#GJ6 Game Jersey

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎


About the Card: Upper Deck introduced hockey's first memorabilia card in their 1996-97 flagship release. The card featured a modest window with a one-color "napkin" swatch from a game-used jersey. While this might seem like a toss-in "hit" by today's product standards, its historical significance supports considerable prices realized today. Upper Deck replicated this design in their 1996-97 football release and later released similar cards for its baseball and basketball products in subsequent years.

1998-99 Be a Player

#L4 Playoff Legend Jersey Stick Auto /66
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Quantum_Leap_Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: The Be a Player brand, launched in 1994-95 by the NHLPA to support players during the lockout, changed many hands among manufacturers throughout the '90s. However, the 1998-99 set, might have been one of the best in the brand's production run. This set featured extensive use of game-used memorabilia, but the chase of the product was the "Playoff Legend Mario Lemieux" jersey stick autograph. Limited to 66 copies, it includes both autographed and non-autographed versions of the jersey and stick memorabilia card, featuring Lemieux in either a Penguins or an All-Star jersey.

1999-00 Topps Premier Plus

#CSC3 Club Signings Jagr/Lemieux
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Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: The Penguins' dominance in the '90s was largely due to Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. As two-thirds of "The Sky Line," they anchored one of the most prolific forward lines in NHL history. Dual-autograph cards of these megastars aren't uncommon now, but the 1999-00 Topps Premier Plus Club Signings was the first to feature their signatures together. Although not numbered, these "Club Signings" autographs have a graded population in the single digits, making them extremely rare and are cards that seldom change hands.

2001-02 Topps Chrome

#1 Black Refractor /50
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Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰-💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: Topps Chrome hockey made its debut in the 1999-00 season, but Lemieux was absent from the checklist due to his retirement from 1997-1999. Lemieux made his comeback to hockey in 2000-01 but wasn't featured in Topps Chrome until the 2001-02 release. The set prominently highlighted "Lemieux's Return" through various insert sets, but Lemieux's most coveted card is his black refractor, marking the first appearance of the black refractor in Topps Chrome hockey.

2001-02 Fleer Greats of the Game

Autographs
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Nomar_StarQuest_Gold_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost:💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎


About the Card: An iconic and ambitious set from the early 2000's, Fleer's Greats of the Game had an 87 card autograph checklist of hockey's greatest players. The card has a minimalist design and features a bold black autograph front and center. The set provides a challenging chase for autograph set collectors looking for a new project. 

2005-06 The Cup

#DNN-LJ Noble Numbers Lemieux/Jagr /10
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Nomar_Pinnacle_Certified_Mirror_Gold_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎💎


About the Card: The debut release of The Cup in 2005-06 was significant to high-end hockey card collecting, but not because of the Mario Lemieux autographs. Although Lemieux didn't have autographs in the product, his game-used memorabilia was heavily featured. Pictured here is his "Noble Numbers" card with former teammate, Jaromir Jagr. He also has Noble Numbers cards with Gretzky, Crosby, and Yzerman for collectors looking for something beyond another Jagr card.

2013-14 The Cup

#SRC-LJ Signature Renditions Combos Lemieux/Jagr /15
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor.jpg
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰-💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: The Penguins won back to back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992 lead by Lemieux and Jagr. The duo was at the peak of the sport and their popularity ascended beyond hockey. Lemieux and Jagr are posed here in front of the Stanley Cup sporting an impressive set of mullets, perfectly capturing the early 90's vibe. Signature Renditions Combos also debuted in the 2013-14 release, further adding another attribute to this card's significance. Note: A very similar version of this card (Dual autograph and same photo) was featured in 2013-14 SP Authentic's "Authentic Moments" insert set from the same year.

2019-20 UD The Cup

# DC2-LJ LEMIEUX & JAROMIR JAGR Day w/ Cup Signatures
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor.jpg
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰-💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: Three dual autos of Lemieux and Jagr made the list? YEP! This entry celebrates the "Day with the Cup Signatures" from 2019-20 The Cup. The "Day with the Cup" short-printed inserts, a hugely popular short-printed insert in Upper Deck's flagship product, saw their autographed versions debut in 2019-20 The Cup. Jagr and Lemieux feature as one of the pairings in the combo autograph checklist, alongside solo "Day with the Cup" cards showcasing legends like Gretzky, Roy, Brodeur, and Yzerman.

A Few of My Favorites

Lemieux has cards for every type of collector. Vintage, junk-wax era base, rare 90's parallels, post-playing days patch autos, and everything in between. Some of my favorites are the cards that tell a story, capture a moment in time, or are just too beautiful to pass up.

2002-03 Parkhurst

#MI-2 Magnificent Inserts Autographs /15
Nomar_1999_Skybox_Premium_Spring_Fling_Star_Rubies_Front.jpg
Nomar_1999_Skybox_Premium_Spring_Fling_Star_Rubies_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: Parkhurst might not be the first name that comes to mind for hockey cards, yet the 2002-03 release boasted an incredible jersey autograph set. Named the "Magnificent Insert Autograph," this set featured a 10-card checklist, each card showcasing Mario Lemieux with a distinct jersey autograph, all serial numbered to just 15 copies. In addition to the 150 cards circulated in packs, Parkhurst also issued a secondary "Vault" parallel that was available to collectors via redemption directly from the company. Those cards are signified by the "Vault" emblem on the front of the card. Its unclear how many Vault series parallels were distributed.

2006-07 SP Authentic

#ST4LOGH Sign of the Times Quadruple Auto Gretzky/Orr/Howe/Lemieux
F15.jpg
Tf0tYChzDHGN8sIN2HbX-back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: SP Authentic's Sign of the Times autographs have produced many memorable cards, yet few match the stature of this one: Gretzky, Orr, Howe, Lemieux. An ON-CARD autograph featuring hockey's greatest players of all time. The logistical effort to have all four players hard sign this card is immense. These legends would hard sign together a total of 9 times across Upper Deck products, but this copy was the first. It represents a pinnacle chase for high-end hockey collectors. A true grail level chase for high-end hockey collectors.

2013-14 National Treasures

#HML7 Treasured Trophies Autographs Hart /25
F15.jpg
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Why It's a Favorite: Panini's foray into hockey cards (2010-2014) was brief but memorable, delivering standout products like Dominion, Crown Royale, and Prizm. The highlight of the Panini era for me though was the debut of National Treasures in the 2013-14 season. Beyond the standard patch auto checklist, Panini delivered an abundance of different insert sets to chase. My favorite was the Treasured Trophies sets. Each Treasured Trophies set featured 10 subjects honoring major NHL awards (Art Ross, Calder, Conn Smythe, Hart, Lady Byng, Norris, Selke, Vezina), with a sleek design that showcased both the award and a player profile photo. Mario Lemieux was included in the Art Ross, Calder, and Hart sets. The base versions were numbered to 25, alongside a one-of-one gold parallel.

2020-21 SP Signature Edition Legends

#448 All Time Future Watch Auto /49
Nomar_1998_Fleer_Ultra_Platinum_Medallion_Pizzazz_Front.jpg
Nomar_1998_Fleer_Ultra_Platinum_Medallion_Pizzazz_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: Modern hockey collectors learn early on that the three key cards to add to their player collection are: 1) The Cup Rookie Patch Auto, 2) Upper Deck Series 1 or 2 Young Guns, and the 3) SP Authentic Future Watch Auto. Since legends like Lemieux debuted before these series were introduced, they don’t have such cards. However, Upper Deck introduced the "All Time Future Watch Autograph" set in the 2020-21 SP Signature Edition to honor the game's all-time greats, many of which didn't have a Future Watch Auto. Numbered to 49 copies, this card may not carry the same significance as a standard Future Watch auto for modern players, but it's still a cool tribute card nonetheless.

2020-21 The Cup

#DC2-LC Day With The Cup Signatures Combos Crosby/Lemieux
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Nomar_1998_Finest_Centurion_Refractor_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: The history of the Pittsburgh Penguins can't be told without mentioning Lemieux and Crosby. What Lemieux was to the Penguins in the 80's and 90's, Crosby was to the Penguins in the 00's and 10's. Under Lemieux's ownership and Crosby's leadership, the Penguins won 3 Stanley Cups (2009, 2016, 2017). The Cup honored both players in the Day with the Cup Dual Signatures card capturing Lemieux handing the Stanley Cup over to Crosby after their first win in 2009.

Honorable Mentions

  • 1985-86 O-Pee-Chee Sticker #97

  • 1986-87 Topps #122

  • 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee #15

  • 1992 Classic Draft Picks Autograph #NNO /2000

  • 1995-96 Pinnacle Zenith Z-Team #3

  • 1996-97 Metal Universe Ice Carvings-Super Power #10 

  • 1996-97 Pinnacle Be a Player Mario Lemieux Die Cut /66

  • 1996-97 Select Certified Mirror Gold #10

  • 1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond Gold #166

  • 1999-00 Topps Chrome Stanley Cup Hereos Refractor #SC1

  • 1999-00 Upper Deck Retro Inkredible Level 2 Auto /25

  • 2000-01 Be a Player Ultimate Magnificent Ones Lemieux/Jagr /6

  • 2001-02 Pacific Prism Gold McDonalds #15 Jersey /66

  • 2002-03 Topps Chrome Refractor #2

  • 2003-04 Bowman Chrome #66 Gold Refractor /50

  • 2008 UD Black Quad Hockey Wayne Gretzky & Mario Lemieux PATCH AUTO /3

  • 2008-09 Ultra E-X Jambalaya #JAM5

  • 2009-10 Ultra E-X Jambalaya #JAM6

  • 2012-13 Fleer Retro Flair Showcase Hot Shots #15

  • 2012-13 Fleer Retro Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Green #50 /10

  • 2012-13 Fleer Retro Thunder Noyz Boyz #8NB

  • 2017-18 UD Splendor Wayne Gretzky Mario Lemieux True North Dual /36

  • 2020-21 Upper Deck SP Signature Future Watch /49  #448

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