1980 OPC Mark Messier Rookie Card: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide
When it comes to hockey cards from any era, the 1980 O-Pee-Chee Mark Messier rookie card is considered to be one of the most desirable in the hobby.
This should be a no-brainer considering his legacy as one of hockey's all-time greats.
And, while "The Moose" has no shortage of hockey cards to his name as he spent an incredible quarter of a century in the NHL from 1979 to 2004, this is the one collectors are after.
That said, here is a comprehensive guide that covers the key things you should know before you buy or sell.
Let's jump right in!
Mark Messier Rookie Card Value
The first thing people usually ask is: how much is a Mark Messier rookie card worth?
The value of a Mark Messier rookie card will usually vary between $20 and $3,000 depending on its condition and whether it's professionally graded or not.
Below are some estimated prices of his 1980 O-Pee-Chee rookie in a range of conditions in excellent (PSA 5), near-mint/mint (PSA 8), mint (PSA 9) and gem mint (PSA 10) as determined by third party grading company Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA).
Keep in mind that when you are talking PSA 10, the card is basically flawless with fantastic centering and no damage to the corners, edges or surfaces.
I threw in the values of his 1979 Oilers postcard as well just for fun.
Distinction: The 1980 O-Pee-Chee is Messier's only recognized mainstream rookie card and is one of several key Hall of Fame rookie cards along with Michel Goulet, Ray Borque, Mike Gartner and Rod Langway.
Like many in the 396-card O-Pee-Chee set checklist that year, Messier is noticeably absent from the 1980 Topps set since its checklist of 264 cards was much smaller and unable to accommodate every card from the O-Pee-Chee set.
Number: This is card #289 in a set of 396 cards.
Design: Measuring in at 2-1/2" by 3-1/2", the front of the card features a nice shot of the young Messier in full Edmonton Oilers gear ready for action.
Along the bottom you'll see the Oilers team name in the lower-left and a hockey puck in the lower-right that contains his name and position in both English and French.
In the 1980 Topps set, those hockey pucks were actually printed with a black ink over them that collectors had to scratch off in order to see the name of the player.
Thankfully, it's absent on the O-Pee-Chee cards.
Reverse Side: The reverse side of the card is printed on a horizontal layout and features Messier's personal information, card number, team affiliation and position across the top.
A brief write-up that outlines his strength, agility and speed follows next translated into both English and French.
Messier's statistics from his NHL debut with the Oilers and his time in the World Hockey Association as a member of the Indianapolis Racers and Cincinnati Stingers round out the bottom portion of the card.
Had you not known that Messier wasn't in the Topps set, you could distinguish this as an O-Pee-Chee card by the placement of the mark along the bottom and the appearance of both English and French language throughout.
Condition Issues: Like any O-Pee-Chee card of that era, the paper stock was more fragile and of a lower quality than their Topps counterparts making them a bit more susceptible to wear and tear.
Poor centering is also a common issue that can prevent higher grades.
Another Early Messier Card
As I alluded to above with its inclusion in the price chart, Messier was also featured on an earlier card in the form of his 1979 Oilers postcard issue.
These postcards measure 3-1/2" by 5-1/4" and were issued by the Oilers as a 23-card team set.
Because it marked his first appearance on a hockey card, some in the hobby do consider this a rookie card, although more of an oddball.
Both Messier and Wayne Gretzky are included in the checklist making it a popular one with collectors.
Mark Messier's Legacy
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, Messier was known for his size, strength, agility and incredible determination that allowed him to play at a high level for many years.
In fact, Messier is 2nd all-time for most regular season games played with 1,756.
His list of career accomplishments is outstanding:
- 1,887 Points
- 5 NHL All-Star appearances
- 2 Pearson (Lindsay) Awards
- 2 Hart Memorial Trophies
- 6 Stanley Cups
Messier was an amazing talent and will forever be remembered for his complete playing ability and longevity.
That's why Mark Messier rookie cards remain some of the most sought after rookie cards in the hobby today.