Wayne Gretzky hasn’t played a professional game this century but he’s still finding ways to set new records.
A 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card sold for $465,000 (U.S.) to an anonymous buyer on Thursday, the Canadian Press reported. The purchase, made via auction at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., was a record for a hockey card.
According to authenticator PSA, the Gretzky card is one of the “most valuable modern-era trading cards in the market.” Although it appears rough around the edges, that’s the intended look of the card. The card is graded Mint 10 and is the “finest known copy.”
“Keep in mind that these OPC cards were made with varying degrees of rough cuts, unlike the smooth cuts seen on the Topps counterpart,” the PSA description reads. “This one has what is best described as a light rough-cut, most noticeable along the right edge, but that is the natural look of OPC cards.”
The same card in mint condition, featuring Gretzky in a blue Edmonton Oilers jersey, sold for almost $95,000 in 2011, according to CP.
Gretzky tied Marcel Dionne for the scoring lead in 1979-80 with 137 points, but Dionne was awarded the Art Ross Trophy because he outscored Gretzky by two goals (53-51). Gretzky earned the Hart Trophy, but was deemed ineligible for the Calder Trophy because he’d played professionally for the Oilers and Indianapolis Racers in the World Hockey Association the previous season.
In addition to his hockey card record, Gretzky holds 61 other records from his playing days. Some of his most notable marks include most goals (92), assists (163) and points (215) in a season and most goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857) in a career. He has more career assists than any other player has points.
Gretzky’s rookie card is certainly the high-water mark for hockey cards, but its well short of most valuable sports card.
The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates Honus Wagner baseball card was purchased for $2.8 million in 2008.