December 2013 Premium Holiday Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/4/2014

In case the bidding for our BGS 9.5 Gem Mint 1979 Topps Wayne Gretzky rookie card gets out of reach, consider this attractive alternative from The Topps Company's Canadian counterpart, O-Pee-Chee. Widely considered the most valuable modern sports card in the hobby, the O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie stands out for a number of reasons. First, the card was produced in far fewer quantities than its nearly identical Topps twin. Furthermore, as a Canadian issue, it holds special appeal for fans of the Canadian-born megastar, who is regarded as the greatest hockey player in the history of the sport. He retired with 61 official NHL records, plus scores of unofficial records, and nearly 15 years later, 60 of his official records still stand. He remains the league's leading scorer, with 894 regular season goals, as well as its top assist maker, with 1,963 (more than any other player has total points). His 50 career hat tricks are also a record, as are his 92 regular season goals in 1981-82 and his 163 assists in 1985-86. In addition to his head-spinning regular season stats, he has more goals and more assists than any other player in both playoff history as well as the All-Star game. And the list goes on.

The offered 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card shows the then 18-year old with the Edmonton Oilers, with whom he debuted the previous year after playing his first three professional games with the Indianopolis Racers. In his first year, he racked up 46 goals and 64 assists in 80 games, as a 17-year old. The offered example is particularly remarkable because it is clearly a factory-issued, pack-pulled, odds-defying masterpiece, as evidenced by its characteristically rough-cut edges. A much smaller operation than Topps, the O-Pee-Chee production process utilized an outdated system of wires to cut its cards. Full sheets would be stacked in piles of 50 to 100 or more, and as the sharp wires worked their way through the sheets, all but the few top levels experienced this characteristic rough-cutting from the almost saw-like action of the wires. While some collectors who don't understand this production method might disparage the rough-cutting, those who know the history of O-Pee-Chee cards find in it not only beauty but the sure signs of authenticity (as opposed to more carefully sheet-cut examples that never made their way into wax packs). As with other cheaply produced O-Pee-Chee cards, the iconic Gretzky rookie also suffers from a range of other condition obstacles, including severe centering issues and print defects. This high-end Mint 9 from the Dallas-based Beckett Grading Services, however, proudly showcases almost perfectly equidistant and blemish-free, Smurf-blue borders around a perfectly registered image of The Great One that would easily qualify for Gem Mint if not for a pair of microscopic print dots in its top left corner. With only a single PSA 10 Gem Mint example ever graded, however, this pack-pulled beauty must be considered one of the single finest specimens in existence, but don't just take our word for it. Click the images below once to enlarge them, and then click the white icons in the lower right corners of the enlarged images to super-size them and inspect and admire every square millimeter of this authentic borderline Gem for yourself.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1
Final prices include buyers premium: $5,275
Number Bids: 20
Auction closed on Sunday, January 5, 2014.
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