12 Reasons Why Hockey Cards Are So Expensive

You can’t wait to get your hands on some of your favorite hockey cards. However, it seems like every time you go to the store, hockey cards are becoming increasingly expensive and harder to get a hold of. Why are they so hard to come by, and why do they cost so much?

The main reason why hockey cards are so expensive is the pandemic factor. With the pandemic, many people were forced to stay at home and started turning to collecting hockey cards as a hobby. Other card collectors are also switching to hockey cards, driving up demand and prices.

In this blog post, we’ll be diving into the reasons why your favorite hockey card can run up such a high collector’s price tag. Let’s take a closer look at 12 factors that make these collectibles worth significantly more than other popular trading pieces.

1. Baseball Card Collectors Are Switching to Hockey Cards

Over the past few years, people who used to collect baseball cards have started collecting hockey cards instead. This has made hockey cards more popular than ever before.

This is mainly due to the high prices of baseball cards, while hockey cards are still reasonably priced compared to other sports. This has caused a surge in demand for hockey cards and led to an increase in their value.

Hockey’s popularity has been on the rise for a long time, and people who like to collect have noticed this. The newfound popularity of hockey brings in more card collectors by the day, especially those who live in areas with active hockey teams and leagues.

People now pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for just one piece of a rare collection. This has made hockey cards a very successful product.

2. Legendary Players Make Cards Pricey

Another factor that makes hockey cards so expensive is the popularity of some legendary players. Hockey players like Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux have cards that collectors want very much. This can cause prices to soar if the card is in excellent condition or features a unique design.

3. Pandemic Factor

The pandemic has been a driving force behind the increased prices of hockey cards. It seems that with each passing day, hockey cards are becoming more and more expensive.

There are many reasons for this, but one thing stays the same: people have more free time and turn to card collecting as a hobby because of it. This has caused a surge in demand for hockey cards, which then leads to an increase in the price of cards. 

4. Big Ticket Sales

As big-ticket sales of hockey cards become more common, collectors are buying more cards than ever before. Just last year, someone paid a jaw-dropping seven-figure sum ($3.75 million) for a single Wayne Gretzky card, setting the bar the highest it’s ever been.

Many collectors are wondering if it’s worth shelling out all those bucks to find that one rare card they’ve been searching for. Nonetheless, some competitive shoppers relish the chance to find a real diamond in the rough and boast to their friends at events and conventions.

Either way, this trend of large amounts of money exchanging hands isn’t disappearing anytime soon. And all of this is further driving up the prices.

5. Rarity of Some Hockey Cards

Collecting hockey cards can be a costly hobby, especially for rare or retired players. It’s not uncommon for vintage trading cards to sell for several hundred dollars or more on auction sites like eBay.

The reason behind this expensive price tag is a rarity. There are simply not enough copies of certain cards available to meet the demand of collectors. Some rookie cards and special edition sets sell for even more because there aren’t as many of them.

Hockey card companies also make some sets in small numbers, which makes them harder to find and more valuable over time. While some may find the cost prohibitive when getting into collecting hockey cards, it’s important to remember that these pieces of cardboard history will eventually appreciate with age.

6. Condition

Part of the reason why some hockey cards have become so expensive is their condition, which can vary based on age, storage, and handling.

The most valuable hockey cards are those that have been graded and verified by experts and are in perfect condition. Lower-grade copies, on the other hand, will cost much less.

Professional card-grading companies like PSA and Beckett help determine whether a card is valuable or not.

The card’s grade will be higher if it is in better condition. This includes things like centering, surface wear and damage, corner and edge wear and damage, print quality, registration, and other small flaws that an untrained eye might not notice. 

Each seller rates and grades the collectibility of a hockey card to figure out how much it’s worth. Flaws are also taken into account before a price is set. In conclusion, it’s easy to see why hockey cards can be expensive, depending on their condition.

7. Player Popularity

Hockey cards are often sought after by collectors, and one of the reasons they can be expensive is player popularity.

If a hockey card belongs to an in-demand player, it can drive the price up significantly compared to other cards. Furthermore, if that same player regularly makes good plays and gains public approval for their skill set and attitude, then the cost of that card could become extremely high.

Additionally, rare or unique printings also influence the value of hockey cards. Most of the time, these special editions will cost more than regular editions because there are fewer of them for sale.

8. Set Completeness

Professional athletes, who are on most hockey cards, have become more and more popular over time. This has caused more people to want their cards, which has led to higher prices.

A full set of cards will also have several rare copies. These rare copies usually show retired players or special athletic achievements, which makes them very popular with collectors. As such, they’re priced much higher than ordinary editions.

Also, as they get older and harder to find, some old sets of hockey cards can be worth a lot of money. These sets often have photos of NHL stars before they became famous, as well as original prints that are only available in limited quantities.

Collectors may also be willing to pay a premium for specific hockey cards that complete a set they’re working on.

9. Age

Older hockey cards are often more valuable due to their historical significance and the fact that they are more difficult to find. Older hockey cards often have a lot of history and stories attached to them, which is why hockey card collectors love to buy them.

Even hockey cards from less well-known teams or players can be surprisingly valuable if they are very old and in good condition. 

Whether you’re an avid hockey fan or a collector looking for your next item, don’t discount age when assessing value—it could be worth much more than what you first thought!

10. Steady or Rising Demand

Hockey cards have become incredibly expensive because of the high demand amongst collectors. The most sought-after cards can bring in hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on the collectibles market, and many older cards are considered extremely rare.

Many sports fans view collecting as a way to religiously connect to the players, teams, and moments that shaped their fandom. For example, Wayne Gretzky’s rookie cards are still worth a lot of money, which makes them seem out of reach to many fans.

In addition, folks just enjoy building a collection from scratch and being able to keep or trade different keepsakes from a beloved pastime year after year.

Overall, collectors may find themselves paying top dollar, either hoping to acquire these sought-after items or simply expanding their collections—a trend that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

11. Investment Potential

One of the biggest for the high price tag of hockey cards is that they can offer investors a great opportunity to make money. The potential to increase in value over time makes them attractive to collectors, who are willing to pay premium prices for unique and rare cards as they bet on their future value.

Because of this, smart people collect or invest in sports cards, even though they may not know much about the sport itself.

Also, just like any other investment, the value of some players can go up as more people want to buy their cards. This makes some hockey cards worth a lot more than others. This is why investors often choose to target players who have built a strong fan base and are likely to remain popular for the foreseeable future. 

12. Personal Sentimental Value

The moment you see a vintage hockey card collection, it takes you back to those magical days of collecting and trading cards with friends—the times when people simply collected hockey cards for their sentimental value rather than for investment.

It may appear strange, then, that such simple objects can now be so expensive and in such high demand in today’s world that people buy them as investments. The fact is that each hockey card has its own story, making everyone unique and worth more than just its trade value. 

Some collectors may be willing to pay a higher price for a hockey card because it holds personal sentimental value for them. For example, a collector may be willing to pay more for a card featuring a player from their favorite team or a card from their childhood.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of DiscoveryPit.com, a website dedicated to tips on finding and collecting precious items. Inspired by reading countless adventurer reports from the oldtimers, Alex is passionate about discovering hidden treasures and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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