Bobby Orr Hockey Cards: Rookie Cards Checklist and Buying Guide
Bobby Orr is a common name mentioned alongside NHL greats like Howe, Lemieux, and Gretzky. Orr was a terrific defenseman who combined his speed and scoring ability to become the only defender to lead the NHL in scoring for a season. He still holds the record for most goals and assists in a season for a defenseman. Orr joined the Boston Bruins' junior hockey affiliate as a 14-year-old. He made the jump to the NHL at 18 and signed the largest contract in NHL history, at the time, as a rookie.
Orr's career was full of accolades including eight consecutive Norris Trophies as the NHL's top defenseman, three Hart Trophies as league MVP, two Conn Smythe Trophies for being the top player in the playoffs and a Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year. Orr also earned two Art Ross Trophies for topping the league in points. Under Orr's leadership, the Bruins won two Stanley Cups. Even when they didn't win, they were always in contention for the top prize. With the exception of Orr's rookie season, the Bruins finished first or second in their division and made the playoffs every year he played for them. He spent ten seasons with the Bruins and two more injury-plagued campaigns with Chicago before retiring in 1978 near the beginning of his third year with the Blackhawks. Orr was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1979 at age 31, the youngest ever to be voted in.
Orr's Hall of Fame career has made him a highly coveted player among hockey card collectors. Orr's 1966-67 Topps card is his lone official rookie.
The simplistic design gives the viewer the impression they are watching a hockey game on a wood panel television as a large head shot of Orr in the middle, stares forward, possibly conducting an interview. The back of the card has both English and French text, in addition to a blank stat line indicative of his rookie status.
When dealing with a card this old, condition can cause great fluctuations in value. Many will show basic to moderate wear and those that are still in good condition will sell for huge premiums. Unless you are very knowledgeable about the card or have an authentic one to compare it against, be weary of purchasing a card that is not graded. This card has dealt with counterfeit and reprint issues and because the design is so plain, it can be very difficult to determine the legitimacy of the card with an untrained eye. A quick search of the web will reveal reprints for as little as few dollars per card and they look remarkably similar to the authentic cards.
In spite of all this, the card is a great addition to any collection and the one rookie of a player considered to be among the top players in NHL history.
As a side note, Topps released a US-only, test set of the 1966-67 edition that contained 66 cards with some reports indicating that print runs were as low as 100. Although not a true rookie, this rare card is nearly identical to Orr's rookie except the coloring is much lighter and the back contains writing only in English. The card also has an unintended white stripe along the front right side.