Middle-aged hockey fans, it’s time to check the storage boxes in your parents’ attic.
The most expensive hockey card ever was sold Thursday night for $1.29 million. It was Wayne Gretzky’s 1979 rookie card by O-Pee-Chee, the Canadian division of Topps. It became the sixth card to sell for at least $1 million because it was graded as one of two in the world to be in Gem Mint 10 condition.
“Having recently passed its 40th birthday, the Wayne Gretzky rookie finds itself balanced between the venerable old and spanking new, though we’re still inclined to carve its likeness into the Mount Rushmore of the modern era,” the Heritage Auctions description read. “Its status as the most recognizable hockey card in the hobby is uncontested, though it could hardly be characterized as ubiquitous, particularly in the listed format produced in Gretzky’s native Canada.”
By comparison, there are 316 Michael Jordan rookie cards by Fleer that have been graded at the same mint level. This was one of two mint Gretzky rookie cards by O-Pee-Chee, whose wire-cutting production made rougher edges that did not allow more cards to stand the test of time.
“The Great One” gets it. While Gretzky was still starring in the NHL 30 years ago, he bought a Honus Wagner baseball card for $451,000. Card collection with millionaires must be fun. Another Gretzky rookie card, a Topps version, sold for $720,000 after going for $201,000 four years ago.
Patrick Bet-David was the owner of both cards that sold during the auction Friday, for a combined $2,010,000. On top of the record-setting 1979 OPC PSA 10 card, he also sold the 1979 Topps PSA 10 he purchased in 2016.
Gretzky might want to look into whoever bought his rookie cards. If they are that fascinated with him, his Thousand Oaks, California, mansion is for sale for $22.9 million.