Extremely rare hockey card packs containing Wayne Gretzky rookie cards sell for $3.7 million

Click to play video: 'Case with rare Gretzky rookie cards auctioned for $5M'
Case with rare Gretzky rookie cards auctioned for $5M
WATCH: A case of unopened hockey cards believed to contain dozens of cards from Wayne Gretzky's rookie season has been auctioned off for more than $5 million. Mike Armstrong explains – Feb 26, 2024

One Saskatchewan family is a whole lot richer this week after a case of unopened, 1979 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards was auctioned off for more than $3.7 million American, or over $5 million Canadian.

The reason the box is so valuable? It could contain more than 20 Wayne Gretzky rookie cards — one of the most prized possessions in card collecting.

Heritage Auctions said the 16 boxes contain roughly 10,000 cards.

“We had a pre-auction estimate of $2 million, and this sold for nearly twice that,” Jason Simonds, the Heritage Auctions consignment director said Monday. “It sold for close to $232,000 per box, which is incredible.”

The box was originally found when a family in Regina was cleaning out a storage room. At the time, the collector paid roughly $150 dollars for the case.

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Simonds said the family who found the box has been floored by the response to their once in a lifetime find.

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“This is something that the collecting community was just absolutely astounded even existed,” Simonds said. “It’s a unicorn in our hobby.”

Heritage Auctions said the longtime collector has asked to remain anonymous.

“To think that this was sitting out there since 1980, especially in the condition that they’re in, completely shocked me,” Brad Hartlin, director of market development for PSA Canada, a third-party authentication and grading company for trading cards and memorabilia, told Global News. “It’s the find of a lifetime and it’s incredible for a hobbyist.”

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A near-mint Gretzky rookie card can sell for $7,000 to $8,000, and a mint-condition card can fetch millions.

In fact, the last mint-condition Gretzky rookie card, sold by Heritage Auctions in 2021, fetched an eye-watering US$3.75 million (more than C$5 million.)

Tanner Piper, a card collector at Nut Man Regina, said he has never seen a box like this before.

“This is not just a Regina thing, but this is probably the most incredible find ever,” Piper said.

Heritage Auctions has said it doesn’t expect the winning bidder to open the boxes, as they are rarer than the rookie cards.

— with files from Global News’ Michelle Butterfield

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