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Cardboard Assets: 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Mark Messier Rookie Card

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The 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Mark Messier Rookie Card is the highest valued hockey card in that year's series. The Hockey Hall of Famer and six time Stanley Cup champion is the desire of collectors cardboard dreams.

Unlike other players that came to the NHL from the WHA for the 1979-80 season as part of the merger, Mark Messier did not get on a hockey card in the 1979-80 set. After playing in just 47 games with the WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers and scoring only one goal, maybe Messier wasn’t expected to make a career of it in the NHL.

Messier did play for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1979-80 season and Mark did make a career of it. A legendary career, in fact. Six Stanley Cups, two Hart Memorial Trophies as the NHL’s MVP, one Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, two Lester B. Pearson Awards as NHL MVP as voted by the Player’s Association and fifteen All-Star games. Not a bad career, at all! On top of all those accolades, Messier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

Messier’s 1980-81 O-Pee-Chee Rookie Card #289 is understandably quite sought after. Beckett Hockey values the card at a low of $50 and a high of $100. The card is considered UER or an uncorrected error card. O-Pee-Chee accidentally printed on the back of the card that Messier shoots right when he is, in fact, a left-handed shot. The error was minor and never corrected.

Perhaps adding to the value of the card is the fact that Topps didn’t produce a Messier card for their 1980-81 series. Typically, O-Pee-Chee and Topps were a mirror of each other but not in this case.

Recently on eBay, the Messier Rookie Card sold for as high as $62 with others were going in the $35 to $50 range. One card went for the low, low price of $28.50. The difference between the Beckett price reference and eBay winning bids is often quite varied.

The Messier card is the most valuable in the 1980-81 series. The rookie card of Ray Bourque also appears in this set and shares the same upper value of $100 with a lower value of $40. The Bourque card also appears in the Topps series and has a high value of $80 (Topps are printed for the U.S. market and have always been printed in higher quantities than the Canadian O-Pee-Chee, thus the value difference).

Mark currently holds a position at the head office of the NHL’s New York Rangers. The Rangers were one of three teams that Messier played with during his NHL career. The other two teams were the Vancouver Canucks and, of course, the Edmonton Oilers. Messier enjoyed two stints as a player with the New York Rangers bringing them their first Stanley Cup since 1940.

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lucia anna
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Posted on Mar 3, 2011

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Tom Samworth

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