Wayne Gretzky waves to the crowd after lighting the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremonies at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver on Friday Feb. 12, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Wayne Gretzky rookie card first hockey card to break $1-million milestone

The $1.29 million price tag includes a 20 per cent buyer’s premium

Wayne Gretzky’s name appears at No. 1 an astounding 60 times in the NHL’s record book.

More than two decades after retiring, The Great One set another high-water mark early Friday morning.

A mint condition 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card became hockey’s first to cost more than US$1 million when it fetched $1.29 million at auction.

Dallas-based Heritage Auctions says the trading card is just one of two featuring No. 99 from O-Pee-Chee’s 1979 run to get a perfect “gem mint” score from the Professional Sports Authenticator grading service.

That’s out of the 5,711 Gretzky cards the PSA evaluated. By comparison, there are more than 300 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie cards with the same “gem mint” rating.

In the description of the Gretzky collectible on its website, Heritage Auctions says it’s extremely rare to find one in perfect condition because of how cards were cut from the original sheets back in the 1970s.

According to the auction house, O-Pee-Chee, which was essentially the Canadian arm of U.S.-based Topps, “used wire rather than blades to segregate individual cards from their printed sheets, creating a problem that was progressively compounded as the wire dulled from use. Eventually, the cards would suffer cuts as jagged as those on Terry Sawchuk’s face.”

The $1.29 million price tag includes a 20 per cent buyer’s premium.

Gretzky retired from the NHL in 1999 with a record 894 goals, 1,963 assists and 2,857 points.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Just Posted

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

RCMP responded to a call at approximately 7:30 p.m. MST on Thursday. (File photo)
One fatality in Highway 95 vehicle collision

Two more survived the two vehicle incident

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Eva Capozzola (left) is a Golden-based climber who summited Mount Lucania with Pascale Marceau (right). To their knowledge, they are the first all-women team to reach the 5,226 metre summit in the Yukon. 
(Eva Capozzola photo)
All-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

The pair compared climbing to a spiritual journey, more than physical one

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read