Heritage Auctions Uncovers 27 Wayne Gretzky Rookie Cards?

Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card

(Reselling.news) The Wayne Gretzky rookie card is the most significant hockey card ever produced. Manufactured by O-Pee-Chee in 1979, the Wayne Gretzky rookie card in poor condition sells for almost $400 on eBay. Graded versions sell anywhere for $1,000-$10,000 depending on the condition. Presently, only two gem mint PSA 10 copies exist, with the most recent sale in 2021 for a staggering $3.75 Million. However, this valuation may shift due to the recent discovery of a cache containing 16 sealed boxes of 1979 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards. 

Whats being described as “The greatest unopened find of the 21st century,” Heritage Auctions sold the only known case (16 Boxes) of 1979 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards for $3.72 Million. 

According to Heritage Auctions, the luck winner has a mathamatical chance to find 27 Wayne Gretzky Rookie cards. 

“With forty-eight packs per box and fourteen cards per pack, that’s 10,752 cards fresh off the factory floor. When considering that there are 396 cards in the set, a perfectly random assortment would suggest that about twenty-seven physically pristine Gretzky rookies are contained within this hefty brown cardboard case.” 

Here is the full press release from this auction:

Like 1986-87 Fleer Basketball, the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey issue has been assured of hobby immortality by the rookie card of its sport’s greatest figure. The pandemic era saw debut cards from Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky dominating national headlines as the former climbed past half a million dollars and the latter skyrocketing to an eye-popping $1.29 million price tag in Heritage Auctions’ December 2020 sale. Heritage later brokered a sale for a Gem Mint 10 example of Gretzky’s OPC rookie for a world record $3.75 million.

We offer this information in the interest of providing a degree of perspective into just how profoundly rare and important the offered lot is within the post-war trading card community. While there is no precise data for wax box populations, there are over 300 Jordan rookies assessed at a PSA Gem Mint 10 level. The population of Gem Mint 10 OPC Gretzky rookies?

Two.

But it’s a virtual certainty that we find something twice as rare here, as no other unopened case of 1979-80 OPC has ever surfaced in the 21st century, and it’s all but impossible to imagine another ever will. The experts at Baseball Card Exchange have confirmed that all sixteen wax boxes contained within are original to the case. With forty-eight packs per box and fourteen cards per pack, that’s 10,752 cards fresh off the factory floor. When considering that there are 396 cards in the set, a perfectly random assortment would suggest that about twenty-seven physically pristine Gretzky rookies are contained within this hefty brown cardboard case. And while wax boxes from a sealed case carry a significant premium, we can report that Heritage has auctioned a 1979-80 OPC wax box without “from a sealed case” provenance for over a quarter-million dollars.

Remarkably, our consignor wasn’t aware he owned this outrageous Holy Grail case until very recent accounting of a long-forgotten pile of boxes in his home in Saskatchewan, where deadstock cards from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s had been gathering dust since he had bought them directly from a wholesaler. We’ll be presenting other cases and boxes from the collection in future auctions, but again we’ll assure our bidding clientele that this case represents the entirety of unopened 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey in that collection.

The case itself presents with only the slightest evidence of handling and storage wear, indicative of a long and lonely existence of unmolested seclusion. By any metric of evaluation, it’s a thrilling miracle of survival, and one of the greatest trading card lots that Heritage has ever had the privilege to offer. Authenticated and sealed by Steve Hart-Baseball Card Exchange (BBCE). Individual LOA from BBCE for each wax box as well.

Sources for this article include:

Heritage Auctions

Puck Path

Sports Collectors Daily

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