Wayne Gretzky rookie trading card sells for $465,000
A Wayne Gretzky rookie card from 1979 sold for $465,000 at an auction in Atlantic City, N.J., on Thursday night.
The sale, which took place at the National Sports Collection Convention, is a record fee for a hockey trading card.
“We were very happy with the final number,” Ken Goldin, president and founder of Goldin Auctions, told SI.com. “We knew the market was very strong. We knew the Wayne Gretzky rookie card would be in very, very high demand. To get the number we did, which is five times the previous record, we're extremely pleased.”
The old mark for a hockey card was set in 2011 when this exact same copy sold for $94,162.
This particular card drew such high bids because PSA, an independent company that assesses the condition of collectibles, gave it a Gem Mint 10, the highest possible grade for trading cards. Of the 3,360 Gretzky RCs submitted to PSA for grading, this is the only one that received a 10.
“The 1979 OPC Wayne Gretzky rookie is one of the toughest and most valuable modern-era trading cards in the market,” PSA wrote in its description of the Gretzky card. “The blue borders are often chipped and show the slightest signs of wear, the centering is often found in the 60/40 range or worse and print defects are commonly found.”
Goldin sees this sale as a watershed moment for modern trading cards.
"Most of the records you see being set in today's market are for cards from the 1940s, '50s and '60s." he said. "To see a card from 1979 selling for so much money should bring a wave of new people into the market. There'll be a lot of people rummaging around their basements and digging through their attics after this."
Goldin declined to identify the buyer, but said he was “thrilled” to have won the card.
“He said it's absolutely the number one card in his collection now.”