Wayne Gretzky Rookie Cards Checklist, Hockey Card and Memorabilia Guide
Wayne Gretzky's accomplishments and statistics, speak for themselves. He holds 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records. He is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season, a feat he accomplished four times. He also scored over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutively. In his career, Gretzky earned nine Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player, ten Art Ross Trophies for leading scorer in a season, five Lady Byng Trophies for sportsmanship and performance, five Lester B. Pearson Awards, and two Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP. He led the Edmonton Oilers during a dynasty that saw them capture four Stanley Cups in five years. Gretzky's jersey number, 99, has been retired by all teams in the NHL. Upon his retirement in 1999, the Hockey Hall of Fame and the NHL waived the customary waiting period for enshrinement and Gretzky was voted in unanimously. It goes without saying that Wayne Gretzky cards and memorabilia are among the most coveted not just in hockey circles, but the entire hobby.
Collectors have just two Wayne Gretzky rookie cards to chase. Both the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee and 1979-80 Topps cards are virtually identical.
Because he is such a celebrated athlete, Gretzky also has a couple of other pieces of early ephemera that are highly sought after. His over-sized 1977-78 Sportscasters card is part of a massive multi-sport series that covered sports from all over the world. Tough to find in good condition because they were often pinned to walls, Gretzky's 1979-80 Oilers Postcard features an in-action "Great One" with a black and white photo.
Signed and game-used Wayne Gretzky memorabilia commands a premium on the secondary market. Gretzky has been a long time exclusive athlete of the Upper Deck Company. UDA pieces are definitely the safest way to go for recent signed pieces. His game-worn jerseys (that aren't in either the Hockey Hall of Fame or his personal collection) seem to set new records at auction every time they change hands. Signed sticks, pucks, jerseys, photos and more are available through multiple retail channels.
Wayne Gretzky Rookie Cards
One of the most iconic hockey cards ever produced, Gretzky's most important rookie card is his 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey. The easily damaged blue borders and notoriously low tech cutting methods used by the company make this an extremely condition-sensitive card. Versions that are legitimately high-grade grab premiums. Over the years, this card has been counterfeited, which might make cards graded by major grading companies an option to consider for added piece of mind.
The 1979-80 Topps Hockey Gretzky rookie features the exact same design and number as its OPC cousin. The biggest difference can be found on card backs where the text is just in English on the Topps card and both English and French on the OPC version. As is usually the case when there are both Topps and O-Pee-Chee versions of a hockey card, the Topps card is valued the lesser of the two. However, when you're looking at a hockey card of this stature, Gretzky's Topps rookie is still very much in demand.
Wayne Gretzky Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find examples of what an authentic Wayne Gretzky autograph looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Wayne Gretzky has an exclusive contract with Upper Deck and Upper Deck Authentic for his signature. However, some of the other trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market that may have authenticated items signed in-person, include: PSA, JSA, Tristar, Steiner and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Cut Signature Exemplar
Wayne Gretzky Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Wayne Gretzky signature will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- The over-sized letter "W" is well pronounced
- The pen comes off the paper for the remaining letters of his first name
- The letters "a" and "y" form a hybrid
- The letter "n" is non-existant
- The letter 'e" usually shows as a closed loop
- The letter "G" is about the same height as the letter "W" and is well pronounced
- The remaining lettres display quite the flourish, particularly the "z-k-y"
- The letter 'z" crosses the letter "t", goes directly into the letter "k" and finishes the letter "y"
- His jersey number #99 is often present and usually underlined
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Wayne Gretzky Fan Shop Apparel and Souvenir Guide
Wayne Gretzky has been the face off hockey nearly since his arrival in the NHL in 1979. With multiple Stanley Cup Championships on multiple teams and single handedly re-writing the record book, Gretzky has no shortage of fans. Having played in a number of teams has endeared him to fan bases in Edmonton, Los Angeles, New York and St. Louis. With heavy involvement in Team Canada, he is literally a National hero. As such, Gretzky has no shortage of jerseys, framed piece, figures and other fan items.
Jerseys and Apparel
Manufacturers: Reebok, CCM, Nike, Mitchell & Ness
Reebok is currently the officially licensed provider for NHL jerseys. Their top of the line EDGE Authentic jersey is just like what the pros wear which includes an authentic fight strap sewn into the jersey. It's made of a water repellant,250-gram double-knit polyester spandex fabric. Each jersey features sewn twill numbers, names, patches and team logos. They also include the NHL shield sewn on the bottom of the front collar, and the Reebok name embroidered on the back of the neck.
The Reebok Premier jersey is made of a tight weave mesh fabric and features tackle twill letters, numbers, logos and patches. The Reebok logo is embroidered and the collar is a soft rib-knit. Both jerseys are available in home, road and third jersey alternate varieties, the Premier jersey is a detailed replica of the the ones the pros wear.
Additionally, Mitchell & Ness and Reebok each have a line of retro, Throwback jerseys that commemorate Gretzky's Stanley Cup winning days in Edmonton and Los Angeles. Reebok's Center Ice Collection has jerseys for many of the teams Gretzky played for. You can also find authentic vintage jerseys made during his playing days that were manufactured by CCM.
Shop for Wayne Gretzky Jerseys
Bobbleheads and Figures
When your nickname is "The Great One", you can be sure that many a company will be wanting to homage in the form of figures and bobbleheads. Several companies have produced figures and bobbleheads of Gretzky through the years, with some of the more common manufactures listed below.
Manufacturers: (Figures) - Upper Deck, McFarlane, Starting Line-up, Mattel (Bobbleheads) - Forever Collectibles, Fanatics, SGA
Photographs, Posters and Prints
Wayne Gretzky re-wrote the NHL record book and along the way, photographers were there to document every goal and championship. As such, Gretzky has a wide array of wall decor and images available to dress up any man-cave, office or child's room. You can find photos of all sizes, posters, framed and matted pieces and more, you'll be sure to find a bragging rights piece for the Gretzky fan in your life. Some of the more notable rights holders are listed below.
Rights Holders: PhotoFile, Photomint, Frameworth, Highland Mint, Upper Deck, Fanatics
Learn more about Wayne Gretzky cards and collectibles with these in-depth guides:
- How to Spot a Fake Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card
- Top 10 Wayne Gretzky Cards
- Wayne Gretzky Fathead Wall Decals Released
And for even more, check out: