undervalued-hockey-cards

Top 10 Undervalued Vintage Hockey Rookie Cards To Buy Now

From Grant Fuhr, to Tony Esposito, to Jari Kurri, Here Are Ten Rookie Cards That Don't Get The Credit They Deserve

Updated Feb 01, 2024

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As the hunt for vintage hockey cards intensifies, the scarcity of high-grade rookie cards has made them increasingly coveted.

Among these, O-Pee-Chee cards—Canadian treasures—are particularly prized for their rarity and appeal over their American Topps counterparts.

Despite this growing fascination, numerous vintage hockey rookie cards remain surprisingly undervalued.

This article uncovers the top 10 underrated vintage hockey rookie cards, illuminating why now is an opportune moment for collectors to invest in these hidden gems of the ice. 

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1. 1957 Parkhurst Henri Richard RC #4

PSA Total Graded Pop: 265 
PSA 5 (EX) Value: $1500 

henri-richard-park

Henri Richard, known as the "Pocket Rocket," not only lived up to his legendary brother Maurice's name but also carved his own niche with a record 11 Stanley Cup wins.

His 1957 Parkhurst rookie card is not just a piece of memorabilia; it's a tribute to a hockey icon.

With less than 300 copies graded by PSA and recent sales showing increasing value, it's an understatement to say this card's potential is just starting to be recognized.

Investing in Richard's rookie card is like owning a piece of NHL history's most celebrated championship legacy—a wise investment for any hockey card collector.

2. 1973 O-Pee-Chee Larry Robinson RC #237

PSA Total Graded Population: 600+
PSA 8 (NM-MT) Value: $500

larry-robinson-rc

Larry Robinson, a stalwart of the Canadiens' defense, is remembered for his remarkable consistency and playoff prowess.

Robinson won six Stanley Cups throughout his career and made it to the playoffs in 20 consecutive seasons (an NHL record).

His 1973 O-Pee-Chee rookie card mirrors his career: steadily gaining value and increasingly hard to find in top condition.

With its current valuation, it's a sleeper hit among vintage cards. The card's scarcity in high grades and Robinson's status as one of the NHL's greatest players make it a savvy investmentlarry .

3. 1981 O-Pee-Chee Jari Kurri RC #107

PSA Total Graded Population: 1200+
PSA 9 (MINT) Value: $250+

jari-kurri-rc

Jari Kurri, an integral part of the Oilers' dynasty, was more than Gretzky's wingman - he was a legend in his own right.

Kurri has won five Stanley Cup Championships and is among the top 100 NHL players of all time.

His 1981 O-Pee-Chee rookie card is as dynamic as his play, showing significant appreciation potential.

With less than 150 graded PSA 9 copies, it's a card as rare as Kurri's talent, offering a chance to invest in a player whose legacy is only getting brighter with time.

Kurri's rookie card feels undervalued to me -- at less than $300 for a graded Mint copy.

4. 1978 O-Pee-Chee Mike Bossy RC #115

PSA Total Graded Population: 130
PSA 9 (MINT) Value: $1300

78-opc-bossy

Mike Bossy, an embodiment of goal-scoring prowess, redefined the wing position. Bossy holds several NHL records, including the all-time leader in average goals scored per regular season.

Like his record-breaking career, Bossy's 1978 O-Pee-Chee rookie card stands out in the vintage card market.

The value of Bossy's rookie card, particularly in higher grades, reflects Bossy's extraordinary impact on the game. Its limited availability makes it a high-potential investment for collectors.

Mint, PSA 9 graded copies are my choice for investment due to the lack of supply (<130 copies graded), but they will set you back about $1300.

5. 1965 Topps Phil Esposito Rookie #116

PSA Total Graded Population: 550+
PSA 8 (NM-MT) Value: $2500

esposito-rc

Phil Esposito, a trailblazer in offensive hockey, was the first to breach the 100-point season barrier. The Hall of Famer led the league in scoring six times during his career.

His 1965 Topps rookie card is a classic among vintage hockey card collectors. However, the card has yet to peak in the collectors market.

Mid to High-grade copies have a limited graded supply via PSA; thus, Esposito's rookie card represents tremendous value.

A PSA 8 (NM-MT) copy sells for $2500, but with less than 120 graded copies, it is well worth the investment. The PSA 6 (EX-MT) graded copy is an even more attractive investment, which sells for around $700.

6. 1969 O-Pee-Chee Tony Esposito RC #138

PSA Total Graded Population: 900+
PSA 8 (NM-MT) Value: $400

69-opc-esposito-goalie-rc

Tony Esposito, known for revolutionizing goaltending with his butterfly style, left an indelible mark on the game.

His 1969 O-Pee-Chee rookie card, much like his innovative style, remains underrated in the collectors' market.

Esposito's rookie card in a PSA 7 (NM) grade, valued at less than $200, is still wildly undervalued. Deeper-pocketed investors could consider investing in a PSA 8 (NM-MT) copy for less than $400.

Either option is an excellent investment due to the limited supply of both grades.

7. 1981 O-Pee-Chee Paul Coffey RC #111

PSA Total Graded Population: 2300+
PSA 9 (MINT) Value: $550

coffey-rc

Paul Coffey, a record-setting defenseman, redefined his position with his offensive prowess.

His 1981 O-Pee-Chee rookie card holds a similar potential for redefinition in the collectors' market.

With less than 250 graded PSA 9 copies, this card's value is due for an upswing, much like Coffey's surging rushes on the ice.

8. 1951 Parkhurst Ted Lindsay RC #56

PSA Total Graded Population: 400+
PSA 7 (NM-MT) Value: $750

parkhurst-lindsay

Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay, a key figure in the Red Wing's success, played alongside Gordie Howe and won four Stanley Cups.

Lindsay was also a key figure off the ice, a driving force in helping form the NHL Players Association.

Lindsay's rookie card is featured in the iconic 1951 Parkhurst set and is highly undervalued. A PSA 7 graded copy sells for less than $800, which is a bargain, given that only 54 PSA 7s exist.

Lindsay's rookie card could easily double in value if collectors or buyers realize how limited this card is.

9. 1982 O-Pee-Chee Grant Fuhr RC #105

PSA Total Graded Population: 2400+
PSA 10 (GEM-MINT) Value: $1000

grant-fuhr-rc

Grant Fuhr, a goaltending legend with the Oilers, won five Stanley Cups and was named one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history.

Fuhr's official rookie card is #105 in the 1982 O-Pee-Chee set. A PSA 10 is worth about $1000, and less than 100 exist.

Fuhr's rookie has excellent upside potential. I recommend the GEM-MINT copy if you can swing it.

10. 1984 O-Pee-Chee Doug Gilmour RC #185

PSA Total Graded Population: 1800+
PSA 10 (GEM-MINT) Value: $1200

gilmour-rc

Doug Gilmour's celebrated 20-season NHL career, marked by a Stanley Cup victory and Hall of Fame induction, is commemorated in his 1984 O-Pee-Chee rookie card. 

The card is scarce in GEM-MINT PSA 10 grades (less than 60 exist), and recent copies sell for nearly $1200. 

PSA 9 (MINT) examples offer great value to those looking for more attainable alternatives, selling for less than $150. Less than 400 PSA 9s exist. 

Gilmour's 1984 OPC card remains one of the few Hall of Famer rookie cards that still flies under the radar amongst collectors.

Vinnie Rullo

About the author

Vinnie Rullo is a passionate sports fan, with a hardcore loyalty to the Yankees, NY Giants and New York Knicks. An avid sports card collector, Vinnie has also worked a collectibles specialist for one of the bigger online auction houses.

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