PSA 10 Wayne Gretzky rookie card up for auction once again

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The Wayne Gretzky rookie card from the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set has long been considered one of the hobby’s most celebrated and iconic cards and finding a high-grade copy can be a challenge for even the most advanced collectors – even if they have deep pockets.

Gretzky rookie card PSA 10

Now, collectors have a chance to own the only PSA 10 graded version of the card as it has been put on the block by Goldin Auctions. This card is expected to establish a new record when the company’s 2016 Premium Live Auction draws to a close on August 4 at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City.

“The fact that just one card has achieved this perfect grading is remarkable. With the recent surge in interest among serious collectors for high-grade examples of rookie cards, we expect this Gretzky card to establish a new benchmark,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “The average sales for a PSA 9 Gretzky’s has increased 600% in the past five years. If this card were to see a similar increase, it might become hockey’s first $500,000 trading card.”

Gretzky back

This particular card has an interesting history as it was previously sold back in 2011 via SCP Auctions for an impressive $94,162.80. The card still has the same serial number, 50009785, but it appears to have been reholdered due to the presence of a PSA hologram on the label. Previously, the card had been housed in a holder from Beckett Grading Services and had a grade of 9.5 before selling for $50,000 on eBay. According to PSA’s registry, the company has graded 3,727 copies of the O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card to date. Only one thus has received the PSA 10 grade.

While some collectors may initially express some concern about its rough edge, it is simply something which is normal for O-Pee-Chee cards from this era. According to hobby lore, the company used wires to cut through stacks of uncut sheets, creating the infamous uneven edges.

As an interesting side note about the card, the original photo of Gretzky was taken by longtime hockey photographer Steve Babineau when the Edmonton Oilers visited the New England Whalers during the World Hockey Association’s final season of 1978-79.

Stephen Laroche can be found on Twitter @Stephen_Laroche.

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7 comments

  1. Richard 26 May, 2016 at 18:59

    Grading is supposed to be about condition, period.

    The rough edge is a flaw. If the card was designed to have that edge it would one thing, but it was rough due to poor quality/creation control.

    It may be the best one in existence, but its just not a 10.

  2. Tim 1 June, 2016 at 02:46

    This is an example of the inconsistencies with grading. Just because it was normal for O-Pee-Chee cards to have rough edges doesn’t mean it isn’t a flaw. What about any of the black bordered card sets that are notorious for chipping? The chipping on the edges is normal. Should they be 10’s if corners and surfaces are good? How about many of the 50’s and 60’s Topps cards with rough edges?

  3. Roman 2 June, 2016 at 12:08

    Had a long discussion about this w/ Sports Collector’s Daily on Facebook. Once you allow one card to be graded as a 10 w/ rough edges, you allow it for all the rest of the grades. And that’s hockey or any other sport.

    Here’s an example of a card that wasn’t a 10, but it’s edges look mighty fine to me:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/BGS-BVG-9-5-1979-80-OPC-18-WAYNE-GRETZKY-ROOKIE-CARD-GEM-MINT-OILERS-/371586745157?hash=item56844bc345:g:z30AAOSwu4BVyWzV

    Until there’s a standard, the consumer’s going to not only have questions, but get fooled.

    Lastly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with there NOT being a PSA10 in certain years of a product. Tough luck. It’s not like there’s a skill involved in finding these. People just hope to pull one out of a wax box and get it graded. In fact, go look at Connor McDavid’s cards for 2015-16, a one year old card.

  4. Seth 6 June, 2016 at 00:04

    Roman, the 9.5 has been laser cut from a sheet. All of the OPC from 79′ had at least 1 rough to lightly rough cut edge(s). Most have at least 2 opposing edges that have been at the least lightly rough cut. That said the TOPPS 79, cards are all smooth cuts if you want a smooth edged Gretzky RC get your BVG 10 Topps. I can attest to the rarity of even finding an un-tilted copy, let alone one that is close to centered. Many have major printing flaws, slightly out of register(aka colour bleed/red on right top half edge of pic), darker blue printing lines-top right & bottom right, print splatter, spotting…I believe you may have some good points about other years and issues but PSA will never grade a sheet cut OPC Gretzky RC, if they ever would(maybe in the future?) the card would have to have a “non-pack issued” designation which of course would highly decrease the value in comparison to original factory rough cuts from packs.
    Lovin’ the chase!!

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