Card of the Week: The Fake One

Wayne Gretzky Indianapolis Racers “pre-RC” from the 1990s

Wayne Gretzky Indianapolis RacersIn the early 1990s, a different kind of fake Wayne Gretzky card surfaced. Instead of counterfeiting Gretzky’s 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card, an enterprising crook decided to take things one step further, and make a card of Gretzky as a member of the Indianapolis Racers.

Now, pretty much every hardcore hockey card collector knows that the card is a fake. Gretzky never appeared in any World Hockey Association trading card sets. Nor did the Indianapolis Racers ever release a team set. But if you have not seen this red-bordered phoney, let me assure you that this card is as fake as a $3 bill…and only worth as much, as it is an unlicensed item. I got this card for $1 in 1991. Many publications at the time warned collectors of this fake.

The front of the card features a black and white photo of Gretzky that has been colorized, much like the old cards from the 1950s. Interestingly, on his left sleeve you can see a bit of his uniform number-but it is not his familiar 99. Some photos used for press materials have shown Gretzky wearing number 20, though I can’t really tell if that is part of a 2 or a 7.

Wayne Gretzky Indianapolis RacersThe back of the card details Gretzky’s contract with millionaire Nelson Scalbania (the Racers’ owner) and his subsequent trade to the Edmonton Oilers. The fine print at the bottom says © National Sports Cards. And while there is a “1” in the upper right corner-implying that this card is part of some set-no other wannabe cards have surfaced from this “set”.

I’m not sure what the counterfeiters’ intentions were. The card looks too “new” to be mistaken for something that is old and therefore valuable. Perhaps they figured they could print a million of these cards and sell them for $3 each to unwitting hockey card “investors”.

While I don’t advocate buying fake stuff, this card is just odd enough to shell out a few bucks for. I mean, how many times do you see a picture of Gretzky as a Racer? 

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

7 thoughts on “Card of the Week: The Fake One”

  1. hello I have a card of gretzky in a seneca nationals uniform at age 14 no numbers on it or anything wondering if anyone knew of this card and possibly a value thanks

  2. Wayne is wearing a #7 Racers practice jersey in the photo on the card. At this time, a #99 Racers jersey was not available. A black & white video which features this card shows Wayne lazily playing around with a puck, wearing this #7 without a name on the back. The only time Gretz is seen wearing a #20 Racers jersey is on his one & only game program with Indy in 1978.

    1. The card may not be worth a lot of money, but it is still fun to have. I bought mine a long time ago, and I am glad that I have it.

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