December 2013 Premium Holiday Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/5/2014

Here is a remarkable card for any fan of the frozen pond and of truly scarce cardboard, a 1979-80 Topps #18 Wayne Gretzky blank back rookie card in what appears to be perfect condition. Exactly how this blank-backed oddball variation of the most valuable modern sports card ever produced came into being is a mystery. Was it a printer's proof, did it come off of an unfinished sheet, did a Topps employee maybe take it home as a memento, or did it somehow make its way into a pack? Perhaps we'll never know, but what we do know is that we've never seen another like it, in any condition, let alone BVG 9.5 Gem Mint from Beckett Grading Services. We also know that Beckett does not distinguish between this blank-backed version and the regular versions on its population report -- there is no separate category for the variation -- so we must assume that it is included in the regular report for the issue, which shows a "4" in the unsurpassed column for the grade of Gem Mint 9.5 from 2,301 submissions to the Dallas-based grading firm, arguably the hobby's leading authority on modern sports cards. There are no sales records for the other three top-graded examples from Beckett, but there is for the offered Gem. Graded on October 1, 2009  with serial number 0006271875 and later surfacing in the depths of the Great Recession in 2010, it sold on eBay for $10,001 to a buyer who resold it just a few months later for $12,000, a nice profit but also a nice deal for the buyer, seeing as how the one and only PSA 10 example ever graded (from 4,363 submissions) is rumored to be worth well over $100,000, while the one and only 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee PSA 10 example in existence (from 2,963 submissions) sold two years ago for $94,163. A lot has changed in the hobby since 2010 and 2011, with record prices being routinely realized for the hobby's scarcest masterpieces, and this is certainly one of them. Perfect centering combines with flawless corners and edges to frame a noticeably accurate and near flawless rendering of one of the most iconic Gretzky images ever produced. Please note that the small white mark in the upper right corner of the image is a scratch on the BGS case and is not on the card itself. In fact, not only does the card completely merit its Gem Mint assessment in every observable category, but it is so nearly perfect that it pushes the argument for Pristine 10. In short, here is a potentially unique and borderline Pristine variation of the most valuable modern sports trading card ever produced.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1
Final prices include buyers premium: $12,893
Number Bids: 20
Auction closed on Sunday, January 5, 2014.
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