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Wayne Gretzky

Summary & Career Highlights

Rookie Year: 1979-180

Iconic Rookie Card: 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee

Highest Public Sale: 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee PSA 10 for $3.75M on December 11, 2020

Similar Career Players: Alex Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, Phil Esposito, Gordie Howe, Teemu Selanne

Players with Similar Cards to Check Out: Mario Lemieux


Career Highlights

  • 4x Stanley Cup Winner 

  • 9x Hart Trophy Winner (Most of any player)

  • 10x Ross Trophy Winner

  • All Time Goals Leader (984)

  • All Time Assists Leader (1,963)

  • All Time Points Leader (2,857)

  • Most goals in one season (92 in 1981-82)

  • Most 200 or more point seasons: 4 (Only player to reach 200 points in a single season)

  • 51 Game Point Streak (1983-84)

  • Fastest to 100 points (34 games in 1983-84)

Iconic Cards

There's a little bit of something for every type of collector when it comes to Wayne Gretzky cards. For vintage set collectors, Gretzky's Basic PSA Set Registry is the one of the most collected hockey player set registries . For modern/ultra-modern autograph collectors The Cup and SP Authentic provides excellent and unique options for collectors to pursue. For modern/ultra modern collectors that prefer the chase of rare parallels, Gretzky's cards were some of the first to feature serial numbering and the refractor technology that has become the staple of ultra-modern releases. Find your lane and explore!


To help you navigate through the notable cards, we've developed a simple yet informative Icon Key. This key is designed to quickly communicate both the estimated cost and rarity of each card in our collection at a glance.


Icon Key

Estimated Cost:

💰 - Under $250

💰💰 - Under $1,000

💰💰💰 -  Under $5,000

💰💰💰💰 -  Under $15,000

💰💰💰💰💰 - Over $15,000


Rarity

💎 - Common, High Serial Number

💎💎 - Serial Numbered or Less Than 200 in Population

💎💎💎 - Serial Numbered or Less Than 100 in Population

💎💎💎💎 - Serial Number or Less Than 50 in Population

💎💎💎💎💎 - Extremely Rare: Serial Numbered or Less Than 10 in Population

1979-80 O-Pee-Chee

#18
1998 Metal Universe PMG Front
1998 Metal Universe PMG Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰 - 💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎 (Graded Pop above 17k; PSA, Beckett, SGC, CSG)


About the Card: Arguably the most recognizable hockey cards of the greatest player of all time. Gretzky's only "true" rookie card was released by both Topps (Distributed in the United States) and O-Pee-Chee (Distributed in Canada) in their 1979-80 set. There are slight differences in both issues, but the most noticeable is the "rough cut" of OPC that was a result of wire cutting vs. traditional blade cut. The market has traditionally preferred/valued the OPC issue over the Topps issue despite similar graded populations (Similar prices on the OPC PSA 5 and the Topps PSA 7).

1980-81 O-Pee-Chee

#250
1999 Metal Universe PMG Front
1999 Metal Universe PMG Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰 

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: The second and final base card to make the Notable Cards is Gretzky's second year offering from 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee. This set featured the rookie cards of two future Hall of Famers, Mark Messier and Ray Bourque plus a handful of other perennial All Stars in a loaded checklist. Gretzky was featured three times, his base pictured (#250) here, an "All Star" (#87), and a "Record Breaker" (#3). Not to mention, a $60k figure sale at the height of the Pandemic boom warrants a double click.

1994-95 Upper Deck Be a Player

#108 Autograph /300
1997 E-X2000 Credentials Front
1997 E-X2000 Credentials Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎


About the Card: Upper Deck needed to recapture hockey collectors' attention after the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season and they did so with the release of Be a Player. The chase card in the set was Wayne Gretzky's first-ever pack-issued autograph. Despite lacking NHL teams or logos, this set remains significant for introducing the first pack-issued autograph. Gretzky's initial pack-issued NHL licensed autograph appeared in the 1996-97 SPx. However, collectors could previously acquire a signed copy of his 1995-96 SP from Upper Deck's catalog, hand-numbered to 500.

1994-95 Finest

#41 Refractor
1998 E-X2001 Essential Credentials Now Front
1998 E-X2001 Essential Credentials Now Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: Chromium cards were synonymous with the Finest brand in the mid 90's. 1994-95 was the first Finest hockey issue and the first pack issued refractor (1993-94 Stadium Club had a Finest Test Refractor, but that wasn't pack issued) for Gretzky. The pack issued card features a protective peel on the front. You'll find both "Peel" and "No Peel" copies circulating in the market today and is collector preference on which they prefer. As with most early refractors, watch out for potential greening if you are searching the market for a copy today. 

1996-97 UD Black Diamond

#180 Gold /50
1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials Future Front
1999 E-X Century Essential Credentials Future Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: 1996 marked the debut issue of Upper Deck's Black Diamond set and was Upper Deck's first set configured to heavily feature low serial numbered inserts and parallels. Each player in the 180 card checklist either one, two, or three black diamonds in the bottom right hand corner of the front of the card. Although not numbered, Upper Deck has stated that all gold parallels featuring the three black diamonds (Cards 150-180 in the base checklist) were limited to 50 copies. This marks one of Gretzky's first gold parallels (This and the 95-96 Select Certified Mirror Gold) and is exceedingly rare.

1996-97 SP

#SPX1S SPX Force Autograph
1998 Fleer Brilliants 24-Karat Gold Front
1998 Fleer Brilliants 24-Karat Gold Front

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: The 1996-97 SP SPX Force Autograph was one of Gretzky's earliest pack issued autographs. The lenticular die cut auto featured the Great One alongside three future hall of famers (Jagr, Brodeur, and Iginla). While there were five different versions of the SPX Force insert created, only this combination of players featured autographed copies. For the completionist collectors out there, there were four different versions of this card, each featuring the autograph of one of the players shown. Think you're up to the challenge of finding all four?

1996-97 Select Certified

#4 Mirror Gold
1999 Skybox Premium Star Rubies Front
1999 Skybox Premium Star Rubies Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the Card: The "Mirror Gold" parallel made its debut in 1995-96 Select Certified, but it's the 1996-97 version that grabs attention for its stunning aesthetics. This year's design marked an evolution from the original Select Certified release, featuring a notable enhancement: a protective film adorning the card's front. This addition sparked an enduring debate among collectors: to peel or not to peel? The card boasted pack odds of 1:300, adding an extra layer of rarity and excitement for collectors on the hunt.

1997-98 Upper Deck

#GJ8S Game Jersey Auto /99

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card: In 1997-98, Upper Deck introduced the first on-card jersey autograph in a hockey product. Hand-numbered to 99, this card may not meet today's aesthetic standards for an autograph card, but it set the precedent for all future mem auto cards. The limited game jersey autograph set highlighted two legends: Patrick Roy (/33) and Wayne Gretzky (/99). Equally significant was the jersey card, found in one of every 2,500 packs, marking the sport's first jersey cards. Upper Deck released similar jersey autos in the basketball (Jordan) and baseball (Griffey) the same year.

1997-98 Pinnacle Totally Certified

#100 Mirror Gold Platinum /30
Quantum_Leap_Front
Quantum_Leap_Back

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰-💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the CardTotally Certified took the Certified set to a whole new level, resembling a turbocharged version of the iconic product. It introduced the highly coveted "Mirror Gold Platinum" parallel, which stood out as one of Gretzky's scarcest playing days parallels (/30 ). This parallel featured a striking refractor finish with embossing around the brand logo, and these cards were distributed with a peel-off protective film right out of the packs. Pinnacle would file for bankruptcy at the end of 1998 and we'd see the end of the iconic "Mirror Gold" runs that dominated the mid to late 90's parallel chase.

1997-98 SP Authentic

#WG Sign of the Times Autograph
e8dKUpR3idi5GHCg1YYT.jpg
e8dKUpR3idi5GHCg1YYT-back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎


About the Card: Before SP Authentic had the Future Watch Autograph (Which debuted in 2003-04) there was the Sign of the Times Autograph. The highly popular and continuously running autograph set debuted along with SP Authentic in 1997-98. Surprisingly, the Sign of the Times single player veteran autos have never been numbered which makes them a bit more affordable when compared to other iconic on card autographs from the era. Upper Deck did begin releasing a "Gold" parallel to this set in the 1998-99 release that were serialized. 

1998-99 Bowman's Best

#3 Atomic Refractor /100
N4oSEBlFQE1sV1DTvi0G.jpg
N4oSEBlFQE1sV1DTvi0G-back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰-💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎


About the Card:  Bowman's Best made its debut with the baseball series in 1994, quickly followed by the introduction of the Atomic Refractor parallel in the 1996 set. In 1998, Topps expanded Bowman's Best to include hockey. However, they made the intriguing choice to discontinue its production after its issuance leaving the 1998-99 series as the lone hockey issuance. The Atomic Refractor parallel (/100) stands out with its distinctive mosaic pattern of small, angular shapes resembling cracked ice. The refractor finish creates a sparkling shine, varying with each viewing angle.

1999-00 Ultimate Victory

#UFS Legendary Fabrics Auto /10
Nomar_StarQuest_Gold_Front.jpg
Nomar_StarQuest_Gold_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎💎


About the Card: This card might be the only time you will ever have a dual game used patch on card autograph of Gretzky and Orr. Neither player is shy about signing autographs, but shortly after the release of this product, Bobby Orr asked Upper Deck to preserve the integrity of his game used jerseys and requested that they NOT be cut up and used in trading card products. The usage of black and white with pops of red and yellow throughout the card bring your attention directly to the patches and bold blue autographs. If this wasn't such a notable card, it would easily be #1 on my favorites list below.

2000-01 SP Authentic

#HOG Howe/Gretzky/Orr - Sign of the Times Triple Auto /25
Nomar_Pinnacle_Certified_Mirror_Gold_Front.jpg
Nomar_Pinnacle_Certified_Mirror_Gold_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎


About the CardSP Authentic debuted the "Sign of the Times" autograph in 1997-98 but cranked it up to another stratosphere in the 2000-01 release with the introduction of dual and triple Sign of the Times autographs. This was the first time that Howe, Orr, and Gretzky would all hard sign a card together. The trio would sign triple autos for SP Authentic again in 02-03, 08-09, and 10-11 along with a few other releases between 2007 and 2009. Gretzky, Howe, and Orr would sign 8 cards together with a total print run of just 190.

2005-06 The Cup

#HH-WG1 Hardware Heroes (/7 - Varies Depending on Variation)
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor.jpg
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎💎


About the CardThe Cup was hockey's first premier high-end product release. Released in 2005-2006 after hockey's lockout, The Cup featured rookies of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, in what would turn out to be one of the most top heavy rookie classes in decades.  Gretzky was featured in the debut release across 4 subsets: Hardware Heroes, Signature Patches (/25), Stanley Cup Titleists (/4) and Honorable Numbers (/99).  The Hardware Heroes subset featured 8 different variations, each featuring one of the various awards Gretzky won throughout the years.

2016-17 The Cup

#SI2MG Gretzky/McDavid - Dual Signature Materials /15
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor.jpg
Nomar_96_Topps_Chrome_Refractor_Back.jpg

Prospective Card Cost: 💰💰💰💰💰

Rarity: 💎💎💎💎💎


About the Card: On card dual patch auto of the GOAT and potentially the future GOAT in hockey's most high-end set. For those looking to secure dual on-card autos of Gretzky and McDavid, choices are limited. Between 2015 (McDavid's rookie year) to the 2022-23 releases, there have only been 14 cards released with dual autos of the pair and only two of those also feature patches. For those looking to add other copies from sets other than The Cup, the pair has also been featured in UD Black, Upper Deck Trilogy, Upper Deck Splendor, SP Authentic, Chronology, and Artifacts.    

A Few of My Favorites

As a premier player emerging from the 80's and intro the revolutionary card sets of the 90's, prospective Gretzky collectors have many options available to them. He's features in essentially every notable parallel, insert, and was often the selling point of many products. Even today Gretzky's cards are case hits and product chases. Here are a few of my favorites that could have easily made the list of his notable cards.

1999-00 UD Retro

#WG Inkredible Autograph
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: Gretzky only has a few autographs from his playing-days which stands in stark contrast to the abundance of autographs available from his post-playing days issues. So when you find a playing days on-card auto with a design that speaks to you, the card becomes all that more special. Take a look at the 1999-00 UD Retro's Inkredible Auto - it boasts a whimsical and playful design, using vibrant blue accents and plenty of white space, reminiscent of 1950's Main Street advertising. For those seeking something even rarer, there's a "Level 2" version of this card, hand-numbered to 25 on the bottom front right corner. 

1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond

#RC1 Run for the Cup /100
F15.jpg
Tf0tYChzDHGN8sIN2HbX-back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: 1996-97 Upper Deck Black Diamond introduced one of Gretzky'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 insert made its debut in 1996-97 and has since been prominently featured in various Upper Deck sets over the years. The "Run for the Cup" checklist featured 20 subjects and is a tempting chase for aspiring insert set collectors looking for a challenge.

1997-98 Upper Deck

#SS1 6th Sense Masters - Wizards /100
F15.jpg
Tf0tYChzDHGN8sIN2HbX-back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: An early playing days serial numbered parallel that uses the same card stock as the 1999-00 Skybox Premium Star Rubies basketball release? Count me in! 


"Sixth Sense" was a 30 card subset from 1997-98 Upper Deck series two that was released in two parallels. The "Sixth Sense Masters" was serial numbered to 2,000 while the "Sixth Sense Wizards" was the die cut version printed on a sparkly star card stock and was serial numbered to 100 copies. The photo choice leaves something to be desired, but the combination of  a relatively low serial number and unique card stock makes this a compelling choice to add to the collection.

2012 Fleer Retro Inserts

PMG's (Green, Red, Blue); Essential Credentials (Now, Future); Noyz Boyz
Nomar_1998_Fleer_Ultra_Platinum_Medallion_Pizzazz_Front.jpg
Nomar_1998_Fleer_Ultra_Platinum_Medallion_Pizzazz_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: Hockey collectors had to wait a long time for their crack at a PMG and Essential Credentials, but they got their opportunity with the 2012 Fleer Retro Hockey release. The set featured a HEALTHY dose of nostalgia for late 90's Fleer/Flair/Ultra fans and featured homages to almost every recognizable set from the era. You could find Precious Metal Gems (PMG), Ultra Stars Gold, Hot Shots, Essential Credentials, Jambalaya, Metal Universe, Golden Touch, Electrifying, Playmakers Theatre, Intimidation Nation, and Noyz Boyz. Upper Deck has since recycled these iconic designs in later releases, but the "Firsts" here for hockey are important as evidenced by the record Gretzky Green PMG sale in October 2022 for $62k.

1908 T206

Honus Wagner
Nomar_1998_Finest_Centurion_Refractor_Front.jpg
Nomar_1998_Finest_Centurion_Refractor_Back.jpg

Why It's a Favorite: I'm a baseball collector first and foremost, so I'd be remised if I didn't mention this card - the 1909 T206 Honus Wagner. While this isn't technically a card depicting Gretzky, this is a card Gretzky once owned, and an infamous copy at that. The mythical PSA 8 copy i) Was the first PSA graded card, ii) Was purchased by Gretzky in 1991 for $450k, and ii) Was revealed to have been altered by hobby icon Bill Mastro. For any sports card historian, knowing the story of the McNall/Gretzky Wagner card is a must!

Honorable Mentions

  • 1981 O-Pee-Chee Super Action

  • 1989 SI for Kids

  • 1993-94 Stadium Club Finest Test Refractor

  • 1995-96 Emotion XCel

  • 1997-98 Upper Deck

  • 1997-98 Donruss Preferred Precious Metal Gems

  • 1997-98 SPX Grand Finale /50

  • 1998-99 UD Choice Starquest Gold /100

  • Any cards from The Cup

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