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An American auction company says it has shattered its own record on the sale of a Wayne Gretzky rookie card.

Heritage Auctions says it has sold a 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card to an anonymous buyer for US$3.75-million.

The previous record for a hockey card was set Dec. 11, 2020 when Heritage sold the only other one of two Gretzky rookie cards to receive a perfect “gem mint” score from Professional Sports Authenticator for $1.29-million.

That marked the first hockey card to go for more than $1-million.

The online auction house has said the “gem mint” cards were the only two to achieve that score out of 5,711 PSA evaluated. By comparison, there are more than 300 rookie cards of NBA great Michael Jordan by Fleer with the same “gem mint” rating.

The known record for a sports card sale came earlier this year when a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball rookie card sold for $5.2-million through PWCC Marketplace.

Chris Ivy, Heritage Auctions’ director of sports, says the rarity of the item boosts the price.

“[It] is not surprising considering how rare and significant this card is,” Ivy said in a statement. “After all, there are only two examples. And, it’s Wayne Gretzky.”

The card features Gretzky in his Edmonton Oilers uniform during the team’s final World Hockey Association season before the franchise joined the NHL.

A Topps 1979 Gretzky rookie card using the identical picture and classified with the same “gem mint” designation also sold for $720,000 during the same Heritage auction in December. PSA has examined 6,048 Gretzky cards from that 1979 run, and again deemed only two worthy of its highest grade.

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