THE MILLION-DOLLAR MAN
Sports Card Monthly|February 2021
HERE’S AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW WAYNE GRETZKY SMASHED THROUGH THE HOCKEY HOBBY’S GLASS CEILING.
AL MUIR

WAYNE GRETZKY HAS BEEN RETIRED FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN HE’S DONE RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOK. A GEM MINT CONDITION COPY OF THE GREAT ONE’S 1979-80 O-PEE-CHEE ROOKIE CARD SET A NEW STANDARD WHEN IT WAS SOLD FOR $1.29 MILLION IN DECEMBER BY HERITAGE AUCTIONS.

The Gretzky RC, one of just two to have received the top grade from PSA to date, is the first hockey card known to have sold for more than $1 million, a price that is, by far, the most ever paid for a hockey card. The previous record was $465,000 for the same PSA 10 OPC Gretzky RC. That mark was set four years ago when it was the only such card in existence.

Heritage raised more than a few eyebrows when it set the estimate for this auction at $1 million. It was shocking then to see the estimate turn out to be on the low side.

“The simple fact is, when collectors see the opportunity to add an unparalleled piece to their collections, you can throw estimates out the window,” said Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Director of Sports Auctions. “That’s clear from the pre-auction estimates that were shattered during this session.”

Gretzky RCs aren’t particularly rare, and many hockey fans have one in their collection. Finding one in top condition, however, is a challenge that has vexed high-end collectors for decades.

The paper stock used by O- Pee-Chee was highly susceptible to print defects. Poor centering was a widespread issue. And the vast majority of copies have simply succumbed to wear and tear from casual handling over the past 40 years.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM SPORTS CARD MONTHLYView All
RELATED STORIES

CARRIE & MIKE DEFY THE ODDS!

Marriage survives shaky lockdown

2 mins read
National Enquirer
May 03, 2021

If you're in, you win:Rules of the roundabout

Western Avenue was the freeway of my youth — a straight, uninterrupted stretch of road one mile west of my hometown’s main drag.

3 mins read
The Good Life
December 2020

Return to Toronto

International visitors will once again converge in Canada’s convention city.

4 mins read
Global Traveler
November 2020

THE 12TH DIMENSION

Position game

5 mins read
The Giant Insider
November 2, 2020

Why can't Apple make a good mouse?

The company that makes the best trackpads in the world hasn’t made a passable mouse in over 20 years.

9 mins read
Macworld
May 2020

Indian Immigrants Are Saving Canadian Hockey

How the Punjabi diaspora rescued Canada’s national sport

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
February 2020

Of course, a compass

For centuries, mariners have depended on a compass to provide direction.

4 mins read
Ocean Navigator
March/April 2020

TAKE FIVE

Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS)

1 min read
Soap Opera Digest
January 27, 2020

TRUST. YOUR. EDGE.

DAD AND DAUGHTER LACE UP AND LEARN A BIT MORE ABOUT EACH OTHER, AND THEMSELVES.

7 mins read
Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine
January 2020

Olympic Hockey Hero On Ice In Loony Bin

Scrappy hockey star Mark Pavelich bolstered the hopes and dreams of a nation as part of America’s Miracle on Ice team in 1980. But in the four decades since the young jocks defeated the Soviet Union’s powerhouse pros at the Lake Placid Olympics, Pavelich’s fairy-tale life has tumbled into tragedy marred by mental illness.

1 min read
National Enquirer
December 30, 2019