How Much Is A Bobby Orr Hockey Card Worth? [Expert Guide!]

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More than a few years ago, I wrote an article for a local newspaper about the escalating values of sports cards. At the time, I didn’t have a great deal of success in my estimations, so I figured I would share my findings. As it turns out, I was pretty close. In fact, nowadays I do a little better than I did then. Let’s take a look.

More Than Meets The Eye

When I wrote the article in 2014, Bobby Orr’s 1976–77 Topps card was just a few weeks away from surpassing the $1 million mark at auction. I figured that even if I got the value of the card wrong, at least a few people would read the article and realize that it was just a matter of time before Orr’s legendary status as one of the greatest hockey players ever was verified by an auction. That seemed reasonable. In the weeks following the article, however, a number of things happened that made me revalue that particular card more highly.

First Came The Phone Call

A few days after the article was published, I received a call from a man identifying himself as Mr. Orr’s personal assistant. The man had seen the article, and he wanted to speak with me about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone on me, so I told him I would have to call him back. A few hours later I got a call from him asking me to please call him as soon as possible, as he had a card he wanted to show me.

I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or insulted that Mr. Orr’s personal assistant had read my article, or if he even knew who I was. Regardless, the last thing I wanted to do was get myself into any kind of trouble by showing someone else’s prized possession. So, I told the man I would be happy to show him my card, but that I needed to get it from my house first.

The Next Card I Get Is From France

A little over a week later, I got a phone call from a woman asking me if I would be interested in an Orr card that she had just gotten from France. She explained that because of some tax issues, she was unable to bring the card back to the United States, so she was wondering if I would be interested in buying it. I was curious. What was special about this particular card? Was it autographed? Would it be valuable? I was thinking all these questions as the woman on the other end of the line was talking.

I was surprised when she answered all my questions honestly. She didn’t seem to mind that I didn’t have any interest in purchasing the card, and even suggested that we meet in person so I could see it first-hand.

To make a long story short, that Orr card ended up being worth more than I would have guessed simply from watching the highlights on TV. It was mostly signed and in perfect condition. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. My French-speaking friend confirmed that it was indeed signed by Mr. Orr, and worth what I would have guessed it would be worth.

Bobby Orr Is Still The King

The following week I got another call from the assistant. This time he had information about a third Orr card, and I told him I would have to call him back. I was starting to get a little suspicious. My first thought was that these were stolen cards, and I didn’t want to get involved in any way with stolen goods. The problem was that now I had seen Orr’s signatures on two other cards, and I couldn’t seem to let them go. That third card turned out to be quite valuable as well. It was also signed, but there was something about that signature that made me want to hang on to it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew I had seen that signature somewhere before. It was a thrill to see Mr. Orr’s signature on a card, and even more of a thrill to find out it was autographed. I decided to keep that card as well, and I ended up purchasing all three of them.

What was interesting is how much the prices had changed in the few weeks since I had written the article. The first two cards had nearly doubled in value, and this last card had increased by almost 300%! It made me wonder if the article had had some kind of effect or if it was just a matter of time before the bubble would burst and the prices would come down. Either way, I got my answer. Today, the values of all three cards are still quite high, and all can be purchased for less than $20,000. I would rank those three cards as some of the top 20 most valuable hockey cards ever sold,

Things Couldn’t Stay The Same

Despite what happened with the cards, I continued writing about sports cards. Not too long after that, Michael Jordan’s 1991–92 Fleer card came up for auction, and I figured I would be able to learn a little bit more about card values. What I discovered was that the most important factor in assessing the value of a non-autographed sports card is the condition of the item itself. If it’s in good condition, there will be no problem finding a buyer. However, if it’s in less than good condition, it’s quite possible that it won’t sell for its expected price.

Take a decent-sized dent out of the front of a card, and it’s practically worthless. The same goes for a split card or a card with tattered corners. All of those things decrease the value significantly. If a card is extremely worn out, it won’t sell for much at all. Years of handling, scraping, and chipping away at hockey cards have taken their toll. All those factors add up, and they affect the value of a card. To that end, I wouldn’t advise anyone to buy a vintage card unless they want to fix it up and sell it for a higher price than what they paid for it.

What also happened after that article was published was I began to get a lot of emails from people asking if I would take a look at their cards and give them an estimate on what they were worth. I didn’t do this for a while, but eventually I relented and started looking at the cards again. It wasn’t long before I discovered that while some of the value had indeed dropped, it had more than made up for it in terms of interest. Vintage hockey cards are among the most sought-after items in sports card history, and it’s not hard to see why.

Value And Appearance Are Everything

When it comes to vintage cards, there are so many factors that go into determining their value. Aside from the typical issues with wear and tear, there is also the question of authenticity to consider. I always make sure that I verify the authenticity of a vintage card I assess, and in most cases I end up either buying the card myself, or finding a perfect match for it. Sometimes it’s not easy, and there is no substitute for doing your homework and being sure of what you’re buying. If you’re not sure whether or not a vintage card is authentic, there are ways you can find out. Many dealers and auction houses will be able to tell you. It’s also common for the signature to be listed on the back of a vintage card. If it’s not, there’s always the chance that the owner changed their mind about signing it and later came back to sign it again. This is quite rare, but it does happen. Authenticity is an important factor, and it’s often the case that the more pristine a card appears to be, the more valuable it will be. This is because there are so many fakers out there who will try to pass off even the most valuable items as authentic. A good way to tell if a vintage card is fake is by comparing it to other known autographs or comparing it to other known photos of the same player. If it doesn’t match up, then it’s quite possible that it’s a fake. Never mind the fact that there are people out there who would love to dupe you and get away with it. So, if it looks questionable to you, then it probably is.

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