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Current Auction Offers Chance To Buy 15 Mint Gretzky Rookie Cards

In a stunning discovery, a Canadian family found 16 pristine boxes of 1979-80 OPC hockey cards. Will there be mint Gretzky RCs in them?

In what might be called a hockey card collector’s dream come true, a Canadian family discovered a hidden treasure when they discovered 16 unopened boxes of O-Pee-Chee 1979-1980 hockey cards. What makes this treasure so important and valuable is that the 79-80 season is the same as Wayne Gretzky‘s rookie card.

In that year’s production of O-Pee-Hockey cards, a box of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee (OPC) hockey cards would typically have 36 packs, and each pack would contain approximately 10 cards. Therefore, a box would contain a total of 360 cards. That means that, because the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee (OPC) hockey card set consists of 396 cards, there might be around 15 Gretzky rookie cards. Although, who knows? It could vary.

While the report didn’t say where the 16 boxes were found, the fact is that history suggests it truly is a treasure. In 2021, a single rookie card of The Great One sold for $3.75 million.

What Makes a Gretzky Rookie So Special?

In the world of hockey memorabilia, Wayne Gretzky’s impact transcends the ice. He’s the most famous hockey player ever, and he’s arguably the best hockey player who ever lived. His rookie card is considered the most iconic hockey card ever made.

O-Pee-Chee Auction 79 Gretzky Rookies

Produced by the O-Pee-Chee card company in Canada, Gretzky’s rookie card carries a unique attraction. The O-Pee-Chee cards of that era seem to be one of the few things created in Canada that holds greater value than its American Topps counterpart. The value of a Gretzky rookie card transcends its association with “The Great One” (although that helps). However, it’s also in its rarity, especially when one can be found in Mint condition.

The article linked above reported that only two cards from Gretzky’s 1979–80 NHL rookie season had ever earned the coveted “Gem Mint” rating from PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator). At that time, almost 6000 Gretzky rookie cards (5,700) had been certified; but, only two were considered Gem Mint.

The Mythical Aura Surrounding Gretzky’s Rookie Cards

Gretzky’s rookie cards are almost mythical in their legendary status in the sports card-collecting community. O-Pee-Chee production quirks make perfectly centered cards exceptionally rare and valuable. Although the family’s find might not include a Gem Mint Gretzky rookie card, what if it did?

As a result, these unopened boxes hold a huge value within the sports card market. The cards within these boxes have remained untouched for 45 years. They should be in absolutely pristine condition. That only raises the possibility of uncovering gem-quality cards – including one (or perhaps more) Gretzky rookie cards. As noted above, collectors have paid huge prices for single-mint or near-mint cards from that era at auctions and sales.

The Public’s Desire For a Gretzky Card Will Fuel the Sale

There’s no doubt that the discovery of these 16 boxes will bring collectors (or perhaps more honestly, investors) out of the woodwork. Gretzky’s impact on the sport and the legendary status of his rookie cards make this an extraordinary moment in sports card collecting. It will also be a huge moment in the industry to be part of the opening of these packs. No doubt that alone would whet the public’s desire to witness this great moment in hockey-card history.

If a Gretzky Gem Mint card (or two, three, or even more) is (are) found, professional grading and authentication services will likely play a crucial role in assessing the condition of the cards. No doubt the family will become quite wealthy. This story should be of broad interest.

In a hobby where the lure of such unopened boxes of 1979 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards will fetch such a good price, the possibility of winning or losing in the investment will also become an interesting proposition. It should be fun to watch to see just what happens to the treasure that might (or conversely might not) be hidden in these unopened boxes.

Do they contain a treasure, or not? If there are Gretzky’s rookie cards contained in these packs, what is their condition? It should be so much fun to watch.

Related: Rangers Eye Sean Monahan Trade Amidst Chytil’s Setback


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