A Las Vegas collector turned $150 into a potentially nice payday–or the crown jewel of just about any hockey collection–Wednesday night.
He bought a $150 spot in a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee hockey pack break conducted by Vintage Breaks and despite some relatively long odds, it was his spot in the 14-card break that came up when a Wayne Gretzky rookie card came up.
“Thad” is from Las Vegas but would rather roll the dice on old sports cards and Tuesday night, his lucky number was 9–fitting since Gretzky was famous for his number 99 jersey.
O-Pee-Chee packs and cards were printed in far fewer numbers than their U.S. cousins and Gretzky’s OPC rookie card is much more valuable today. Part of that is because OPC cards were often poorly cut from their production sheets. This time, however, Thad caught lightning in a bottle. The card contains the usual rough-cut edges found on OPC cards but is well centered. Those edges don’t have a negative effect on how a card is graded.
“Certainly an 8. Likely an 8.5 and possibly a 9,” is what Vintage Breaks’ Leighton Sheldon told us about the potential for a high-grade as he prepared to ship the Gretzky to PSA on Thursday. A PSA 8 typically sells for around $4,000-$5,000 while a 9 could run as high as $30,000 or more. Sheldon is hoping PSA will place a pedigree on the label, much like the 1955 Bowman Mickey Mantle that was famously pulled at last year’s National Sports Collectors Convention.
The Vegas collector who scored big wasn’t actually watching the live show but learned of his good fortune shortly afterward and indicated he was hoping to appreciate the moment for a while before deciding whether to put the Gretzky rookie up for sale.
Sheldon says the rest of the pack included several other gradeable cards. It was among about a dozen his company purchased at the most recent Toronto Expo.