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Mint Wayne Gretzky rookie card may fetch $1-million dollar bid, set record

Known for all of his incredible on-ice records, the best player to every play in the National Hockey League may soon set an off-ice record.

Up for auction is a gem mint condition 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card that’s expected to fetch $1-million — and it would be the first hockey card to do so.

The card is currently up for online auction through Heritage Auctions.

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“We’re really excited to have the king of hockey cards,” Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Dallas-based director of sports told The Star. “The timing is phenomenal as far as the people that are interested in this type of thing and the current market. And Gretzky is the greatest of all time for his sport.”

“There are only a handful of cards that have passed the $1-million threshold. This will be the first hockey card to do so.”

As of 3:45 p.m., the current bid for the card is at $662,500.

The image of The Great One on the card stems from a Nov. 9, 1978 WHA game where the Oilers paid visit to the New England Whalers — a game that marked the second time that Gretzky faced off against Gordie Howe.

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Here’s some of what Heritage Auctions has to say of the card:

Having recently passed its fortieth birthday, the Wayne Gretzky rookie finds itself balanced between the venerable old and spanking new, though we’re still inclined to carve its likeness into the Mount Rushmore of the modern era. Its status as the most recognizable hockey card in the hobby is uncontested, though it could hardly be characterized as ubiquitous, particularly in the listed format produced in Gretzky’s native Canada. Jordan rookies outnumber the Gretzky by a factor of three-to-one in the full population, and the divide explodes to cavernous dimensions at the top of the grading spectrum. At the time this text is written, the PSA website indicates a population of 316 Gem Mint 10 examples of the Fleer Jordan rookie, while the offered Gretzky card is one of only two to achieve that top-tier assessment.

In a different auction Monday, a signed and game-used Gretzky jersey was sold for just under $500,000.

On Twitter: @zjlaing