Gretzky Rookie nabs more than $94,000

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

In other, less-politically charged news from May 1, this 1979-80 Wayne Gretzky O-Pee-Chee Rookie Card auction made hobby headlines yesterday.

The SCP Auctions lot fetched a lot — $94,162.80, to be exact.

Graded a PSA Gem Mint 10, this well-cared-for cardboard marvel was initially listed with a $25,000 minimum bid and nearly quadrupled upon the auction’s closure. The hefty price tag, at auction start and by the end, isn’t necessarily a shocker, considering the history of Gretzky’s collectible clout.

In 2008, this very card — but in BGS 9.5 Gem form — went for $50,000 on eBay.

While it’s no surprise that “The Great One” in Gem Mint condition (according to PSA) would warrant this kind of cash, any card that comes this close to the $100,000-mark is worth a look. At the moment we’re uncertain of the record, but below is another glance at one for the record books.


  1. Posted May 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    That is a PSA Gem Mint? Even from the scans you can see rough edges!

  2. Hscshooter
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but looking at the edges, how in the world did that card grade Gem Mint. Those edges look like they were cut with a rusty pair of scissors. They would grade, at best, 8. Just goes to show how corrupt PSA is. They give failing grades to items there were signed in person at card shows but forgeries are widely accepted in the PSA hobby world. Disgusting. Why doesn’t Beckett take a good look at that card themselves and then grade it. I would not buy any card graded by PSA.

  3. danny
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    the rough sides are normal for opc card in those days

  4. J.R.
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I think this is pretty funny. I mean, yeah, it’s a historic auction and all, but could there be another reason why this was posted…?

    Anyone remember the grilling, and rightfully so, that Beckett’s BGS got for the Stephen Strasburg that sold for a ridiculous sum? How we could all tell that there was no way that centering was graded right, and everyone on this board, and many others, were FURIOUS at Beckett?

    I just laughed when I first saw the scan. Yes, the above posts are beyond correct. Common flaw or not with this set (and yes, it is very common), those edges are just simply not PSA 10 worthy, regardless of whatever condition flaws are common, even if this card exhibits perfect areas (corners, surface, etc.) where this set is also flawed!

    I just think it may be more than a happy accident that this was posted. Either way, we can all agree that this is NOT a PSA 10. I would have loved to see how this still got a 9.5 from BGS, as it apparently was the exact card graded previously. What were the subs? Did that card really get a 9 edges subgrade, or was it more like an 8 or 8.5 bolstered by some 10’s in other areas?

    Just interesting…

    From mod: The pricetag is why it was posted. Period.

  5. Toronto
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    In addition to the typical OPC rough edges from that era, the card is also slightly off-centre. I’ve seen many better condition Gretzky’s. This card is definitely NOT a GEM MT 10.

  6. Scott
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    How did the card get a 10? Somebody must have a friend working for PSA!!!

  7. Adam
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Yes the edges of the card are a bit rough, but knocking PSA or saying that Beckettt should grade it instead are both misguided responses. As someone already commented, rough edges were normal for O-Pee-Chee cards of that era. The 10 grade reflects the fact that it’s in the best possible condition it could be in, given the production shortcommings of that time.

    Oh and remember that Strasburg Superfractor 1/1 that was graded 9.5 by Beckett, despite an obvious centering issue? It caused the exact same reaction as this, but against Beckett instead of PSA. I would be a bit more critical of that grade, given the card was made in 2010 and not 1979. But again, it was a 1 of 1 so the grade is perhaps not as relevant anyways.

  8. Martin McArthur
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    Psa grades,is done by many Different people. They did a bad grade on this card, if the edges are bad,then you get a bad grade,no matter what year it is. They traded cards on me, and droped a hair in case. And all they said they would put in another case. I could not proof they traded cards, but the hair was still there. Every grader has a different grade for the same card. Take a card send to be graded at Psa,when you get it back, take photo of it, then take it out of the case send it back. When you get it back take another photo, THEN take it out send it to BGS, repeat what you did with psa, Then send it to others Companys doing the same. See how many differents grades you get. It will cost a little money, BUT. you will see, no co. grades the same. If a card is mint,there are nothing wrong with it. What is gem mint? Something to get your money. It should go EX-Nr mint a 8, Near mint a 9, Mint a 10. nothing higher. If it has any little flaw give it a 9. A mint or gem mint a 10.The grading co. are trying to make us look like dummy’s. I think some graders are getting a kick back. Thats just my thinking, I may be wrong. The only graded cards i buy is mint cards, no matter what the number.

  9. Brian Schumacher
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Saying that a card is a 10 based on the fact that it was a common “flaw” back in 1979 is a crazy arguement. Under this scenario, I could have most of collection from the late 60’s through the early 80’s graded gem 10 because it was a common flaw to have them off center. Would you grade a card with a bad wax stain a 10 because that was common throughout card history? A flaw is a flaw and under no circumstances should they receive 10’s.

  10. Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink


  11. Randall Roberson
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Maybe PSA has an 11 on their grading scale!

  12. 101password
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    It just reminds me that the companies are companies and need to make money.

  13. sean
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    a bgs 9.5 just went up on ebay with a 35,000 buy it now or best offer

  14. Posted May 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I understand OPC has edge issues and such thus given that there should NEVER be a 9.5 or 10 out there, ever!

    That is THE WORST Centering and edges I have EVER seen on a PSA 10! Who graded that? Hellen Keller?

    The buyer better check it out better. Is that the BGS 9.5 card?? I have seen hundreds of opened and re-sealed PSA cards out there. Did the owner get the original back as a 10 and switch it out for this item? Remember the Ebay seller that did that to PSA 10 1990 Fleer Emmitt Rc’s??

    Got a PSA 6 1956 Jackie Robinson on ebay once. It had a crease! Tossed the card to my employee and the case popped right open!! Emailed the seller and he stated “No returns on Graded Cards”

    BGS is the king… Takes like 1/2 hour and a chisel to open a holder and no resealing there!!

    WOW. I can NOt believe it is a 10 or a BGS 9.5 for that matter.

  15. Posted May 13, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Materials were made different in the past,,,,, papers,,, glues..,, ect..ect.. And they didn’t use gloss as much….so yes cards are fuzzy corners..

  16. Andrew ziolkowski
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    The card is definitely not Psa 10. Not even close

  17. Jun
    Posted July 3, 2011 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Uh… PSA does an incredible job grading cards. Especially vintage cards. Most people do not know that vintage cards are graded differently than modern cards. Why do you think there is a BGS and BVG? One is for modern cards and the other is for VINTAGE cards. Those edges might be horrible for any modern cards, but for that specific set and era… it’s actually in superb condition. This is the reason why PSA gave it a 10.

  18. Denis
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    for those who think the rough edges make it worth less, are wrong the rough edges make the card genuine and real truly authentic rookie worth the price at auction.

  19. Nick
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I have one of these…but there’s a crease down the middle and bent on the corners…does it still have some value or not?

  20. FFin
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I GUESS I HAVE AN $80,000 CARD!

  21. Tom Hill
    Posted November 3, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I have a rookie card that has never been graded and I think mine is just as good as shape

  22. koffile
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I have that same card, but the condition is not as good as in the picture of the. If someone wants to buy a card, I’m willing to sell it. E-mail queries. In Finland i see only two same.

  23. Jim Liptak
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    I have a Gretzky OPC rookie in front of me, that is alot better than the mint 10. Just was graded by a different company. that grading is rediculous for that card pictured! JIM

    if anyone wants, will give a deal for 50 percent or more off this price!

  24. Jim Liptak
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    if wanting my mint Gretzky rookie, please text to 412-780-5998 (USA) with offer. thanks

  25. Michael Masiello
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow, looking at this Gem Mint 10 I think my NM-MT 8 #06242758 looks better.

  26. Dan
    Posted March 4, 2015 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Everyone crying foul because of the edges, needs to understand that the legit cards were cut using wire. You won’t get a mint edged Gretzky rookie card. Counterfeits are really sharp nice edges. Mint is basically factory grade. And factory cut it that way. Just sayin.

  27. Andrew
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    how do you get a card a PSA rating?

  28. Robert
    Posted August 23, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure if this card deserved a PSA 10 grade, but I have little doubt it’s the best Gretzky rookie with the traditional OPC cut. As some have mentioned on here wire cutters were used on these cards. The edges on this card are about as good as you will see considering how these cards were cut. I’ve owned several of these cards and seen many more and the centering is very nice on this card. It may not be perfect centering but it’s pretty close. I’ve seen a number of eBay listings and message board comments of those claiming their Gretzky rookie is better than this one. These people make me laugh as I highly doubt there are any out there better than this one.

    Posted September 2, 2015 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    I have one of these rated at 9.5 , makes me wonder

  30. Elise Boersema
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I have a 1979 Topps Wayne Gretzky rookie card. The PSA sticker says “MIN GRADE” but no number equating to the current grading system. Hoping someone on here can offer some insight.

  31. Allan
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Mine looks nicer than that one time to grade it

  32. Mike
    Posted November 3, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The card is graded on the norm for that era. Those cards traditionally had rough cut edges therefore that was considered normal. It is based on a 10/10 for that specific card.

    And to Elise;
    The Min Grade may have been an older expo show grade or fan club grade. I would leave it in it’s case and resubmit it to either PSA or Beckett (Beckett seems to be more reputable because it’s U.S. which fair or not is well known).

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