Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie Cards have been around ever since the company started making hockey cards in 1990-91. But what began as a simple subset has evolved into one of the most popular subsets not just in hockey, but the entire hobby.
The Rookie Cards are now a driver for Upper Deck’s flagship releases. They’re something collectors look forward to, count down the days to, debate. Young Guns are for set collectors. They’re for player and team collectors. Young Guns are for people who flip cards and those who squirrel them away. They’re for collectors with big budgets and they’re for those in remote areas who rely on retail to get their cards. Young Guns even have an audience in collectors who don’t otherwise venture into hockey cards.
It’s that wide net that helps make them so popular. And, considering they’re readily available, pretty valuable as well.
While the earliest are available in the same quantities as other cards in the set, they’re now short prints that require a little bit of an extra hunt. At the same time, they’re not so tough that they turn collectors off. For several years, Young Guns land 1:4 hobby packs. So they’re definitely harder to find than veteran base cards but your chances of landing one is still pretty good. And if you’re hitting the secondary market, it’s not too much of a challenge to locate them.
A Brief History of Upper Deck Young Guns
The first Young Guns appear in 1990-91 Upper Deck High Series. The subset’s beginnings were pretty quiet as Upper Deck’s flagship set often had several rookie-centric subsets. And in those early years, collectors often clamored for the World Junior Championships cards that captured players before their NHL debuts.
The initial Young Guns run lasted only until 1992-93. It showed back up again in 1995-96 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice Hockey. But the return was short-lived lasting only two seasons.
They returned to the flagship line in 1999-00, this time as short prints. And there has been no turning back since. It’s in this run that Young Guns have cemented themselves as some of the most popular Rookie Cards in the hobby.
Despite not having autographs, serial numbers or any sort of major rarity, many Young Guns carry significant value. We’re not talking thousands (save for maybe a couple of key parallels or extremely high grades), but they can still run a lot more than you’ll find for players from similar sets. Rookie Cards from places like The Cup may sell for many times higher, but their audience is also limited in scope. Upper Deck Young Guns are something for the masses.
Hundreds of Young Guns are out there now. A generation of players have come through the NHL since their reintroduction. That’s a large pool of players to draw from, some of which are definitely more valuable than others. With that in mind, here’s a countdown of the 50 most valuable Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie Cards.
50 Most Valuable Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie Cards
The following list is based on which Upper Deck Young Guns are the most valuable in the Beckett Hockey Card Database and Price Guide as of November 2, 2018. It covers sets through 2017-18.
20. 2001-02 Upper Deck Pavel Datsyuk RC #422
Has two version: Purple Backboard in Background, Player in Background