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Top 10 1970s Hockey Rookie Cards

Top 10 1970s Hockey Rookie Cards

1970s hockey was an era marked by hard-nosed play and abundant facial hair. For collectors, it's also a decade where plenty of all-time greats made their debut in the hobby. 1970s hockey rookie cards include many offensive giants as well as a couple of masterful goalies.

Tracking rookie cards from this era isn't tough, but it can get a little pricey. Mainstream hockey card collecting in the 1970s was limited to O-Pee-Chee and Topps. And with those two sets, the look is the same save for a couple of differences. O-Pee-Chee sets are bigger and come with bilingual text. They're also considered more desirable than their Topps counterparts.

Limiting the list to just ten cards meant some notable omissions. Among those just missing out are Billy Smith, Denis Potvin and a pair of coaches, Don Cherry and Scotty Bowman.

Here's a look at the ten most valuable 1970s hockey rookie cards. Because they're more popular, we've focused on the O-Pee-Chee versions of the cards to showcase more players. Because the cards are so similar, it'd be somewhat redundant to have a Topps card. However, those cards that have Topps versions are noted.

10 Most Valuable 1970s Hockey Rookie Cards

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10. 1976-77 O-Pee-Chee Bryan Trottier RC #115

Between playing and coaching, Bryan Trottier has seven Stanley Cups on his resume. He was a key part of the New York Islanders dynasty that kicked off the 1980s with four consecutive Cups. He won two more with the Penguins in 1991 and 1992 and as an assistant coach with the Avalanche in 2001. As a player, Trottier netted more than 500 goals and 1,400 points. The 1976-77 O-Pee-Chee Bryan Trottier is a rather drab card. The design is nice, but the photo is dark and doesn't show a ton of personality.

Topps Rookie Card? Yes.

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9. 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee Larry Robinson RC #237

One of the NHL's top defensemen ever, Larry Robinson is one of many Montreal Canadiens icons. His 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee rookie card pictures him in a studio shot that's equal parts happy and awkward. The green borders wreck havoc on those looking for top-condition specimens as any ding, nick and blemish are about as subtle as Rudolph's glowing red nose.

Topps Rookie Card? No.

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8. 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee Darryl Sittler RC #218

A Toronto icon, Darryl Sittler is the team's all-time leader in leader in both goals and points. While Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game gets a lot of press, almost as impressive was Sittler's ten-point game in 1976. The 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee Darryl Sittler rookie card is one of several impressive first-year cards in the set.

Topps Rookie Card? No.

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7. 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee Mike Bossy RC #115

What could have been? That's not something you ask very often when someone leads their team to four straight Stanley Cups like Mike Bossy did. However, injuries cut his career short leaving many to wonder how he might have stacked up against the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in the offense-heavy 1980s. The 1978-79 Mike Bossy rookie is, by far, the set's key card.

Topps Rookie Card? Yes.

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6. 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee Gilbert Perreault RC #131

Flanked by Rick Martin and Rene Robert, Gilbert Perreault played on one of the top hockey frontlines of all-time. Debuting with the Sabres during their inaugural season, Perreault played his entire career in Buffalo. Although known as the play-maker of the "French Connection," Perreault still racked up more than 500 goals. Perreault retired with 1,326 points. He is the franchise leader in several categories, including goals, assists, points and games played.

Topps Rookie Card? Yes.

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5. 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee Bob Clarke RC #195

Is Bobby Clarke smiling on the front of his rookie card because it's the thing to do in the portrait or because he knew that he and the Flyers were going to dominate the NHL for a good chunk of the 1970s? Clarke captained the take-no-prisoners Broad Street Bullies to a pair of Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975. He was also the league's MVP three times. Since retiring as a player, Clarke has continued to remain in the hockey spotlight as an often outspoken member of the Flyers' front office. His rookie is considered tops from the loaded 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee set.

Topps Rookie Card? No.

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4. 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee Marcel Dionne RC #133

Although a star with the Detroit Red Wings at the start of his career, Marcel Dionne is perhaps best known as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. Currently, only Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Brett Hull more career goals that Marcel Dionne. His rookie card is found in 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee Hockey, one of the greatest hockey card sets of all-time. And he's not even the most valuable card in the set.

Topps Rookie Card? No.

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3. 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee Guy Lafleur RC #148

A beloved member of the Montreal Canadiens, Guy Lafleur helped lead the Canadiens to five Stanley Cup championships during the 1970s. He is the franchise leader in career assists and points and trails only Maurice Richard in goals. How popular was Guy Lafleur? Popular enough to release an album of hockey instructions set to disco music.

Topps Rookie Card? No.

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2. 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee Ken Dryden RC #45

Ken Dryden's stay in the NHL wasn't a long one, but he's still regarded as one of the game's best netminders. He won five Stanley Cups with Montreal despite only seven full seasons in the NHL. Since retiring, Dryden has gone on to write books and be a politician. An icon of the sport, his 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee rookie card is the top card in one of the hobby's greatest sets.

Topps Rookie Card? Yes.

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1. 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky RC #18

Arguably the greatest hockey card of all-time, the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky is one of those cards most every hockey fan dreams of having, not matter the condition. But with its blue  borders and O-Pee-Chee's history of poor centering and cutting, high-end copies can get very pricey. Because of the iconic card's popularity and value, counterfeits do exist, so be sure to take extra caution to make sure you get a real one.

Topps Rookie Card? Yes.

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Top 10 1970s Hockey Rookie Cards 11Making purchases through affiliate links can earn the site a commission
Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Comments

Bob MacDonald
Bob MacDonald

I agree that the 1978-79 Mike Bossy rookie card would be very valuable. It looks a lot like mine from 1977-78. RIP number 22.

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