'Best of the best' Wayne Gretzky rookie card sells for record $465K US
The Great One, who retired as an NHL player in 1999, shows his collectible clout
The Great One is living up to his name in another arena — the auction house.
A Wayne Gretzky rookie trading card has sold for $465,000 US, a record for modern-day hockey cards, according to Goldin Auctions.
That's the equivalent of $605,600 in Canadian money.
The card hit the auction block Thursday night at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City.
"I was not surprised," said Ken Goldin, CEO of Goldin Auctions, based in New Jersey.
"The Great One certainly has the No. 1 hockey card of all time, and with all the millions of card collectors and hockey fans out there, they wanted bragging rights."
The previous record of $94,162 was fetched by the same trading card: a 1979 O-Pee-Chee from the Brantford, Ont.-born Gretzky's early days with the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky, 55, a Hall of Famer who holds 61 NHL records, retired as a player in 1999.
Goldin said this year's bidding started on July 11 at a minimum bid of $100,000, followed by a live auction.
By the time the live auction began, the bidding price had reached $280,000. After a flurry of bids, and a bang of the gavel, it was sold.
The buyer wishes to remain anonymous.
Goldin said any Gretzky card is coveted by collectors, but this one is in mint condition.
"In this particular grade, there is only one," said Goldin.
"Of all the cards that have been sent in to be graded and authenticated, this is the only one that's been graded a perfect 10. It's the best of the best. One of a kind.
"When Gretzky was playing in his prime, there was no one close. There was no argument about who was the best. Same with this card, there is no argument," added Goldin.
"This is the best grade, the best card of the best hockey player of all time."