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I love hockey memorabilia. Hockey cards? I have binders. My own, some I got "for my kids" (wink), I have a great collection I inherited from my mother too. Since her brothers were Leafs or Chicago fans, I now have an almost complete set of 1970s dynasty era Canadiens cards, and some high value Bruins cards; my mom had big crushes on Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. The Orr cards are so good apparently a vendor at a card show chased me down to try and buy them, not to brag.

I have game used sticks, gloves, jerseys - some bought, most of them won in raffles and contests. Pennants from teams or events long ago or brand new hang in my TV room. Toronto Toros and Savannah Ghost Pirates share space with the 2000 NHL All-Star Game and the Blue Jays 1989 Division title.

I love a good card find in an antique or junk store. At one place I found a box of early 90s OHL cards and a team signed 95 Bruins game used stick.

I never came across anything in an attic though, but one lucky couple in Saskatchewan found a case of cards that just netted them over $5,000,000

Bidding for mystery hockey card box found by Saskatchewan family tops $2M | CBC News
The bidding on a box of rare hockey cards recently discovered by a Saskatchewan family has topped $2 million.
Case of unopened 1979 hockey cards from Sask. sells for over $5M at auction
A mystery box found in a Saskatchewan family’s attic that possibly contains over two dozen rare Gretzky cards was sold at auction on Sunday for millions.

This is possibly the world's most expensive lottery ticket, but it could also be a monkey's paw.

The Monkey’s Paw - Wikipedia

The 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee set is the one that has the holy grail of hockey cards:

The Wayne Gretzky NHL rookie card.

Probably the most famous hockey card in the world, it's been the highest valued hockey card since people started treating sports cards as commodities.

In April 2023, a gem mint 10 Gretzky rookie card sold at auction for $3.75 million dollars.

The 13 Most Valuable Wayne Gretzky Hockey Cards
Discover the 13 most valuable Wayne Gretzky hockey cards. This list will take you through Great One’s career one card at a time.

If you aren't into hockey cards, a card being graded gem mint 10 means it is as new looking as if it were freshly cut from the factory. No wear. No tiny creases in the corners. No slight discolouration. As perfect a card as can be. It's an incredibly rare thing to find for any sports card printed before the 80s collectors boom, when card companies over printed some cards and killed the market. The best example is Ken Griffey Jr's 1989 rookie card.

That card boom made everyone start protecting their cards like they were money. So good graded cards after the 80s aren't as rare. Without the Internet to hype players and sports cards no one hoarded Gretzky rookies like they would a Connor Bedard today.

So, if that box sells for around $5 million, and has three Gretzky rookies in it at gem mint 10, that should be almost $10 million in profit right?


The allure for collectors in finding a perfect card is also in its rarity. If there are only three out there, then suddenly that number doubles, it's not as rare. Value could go down quickly. Or not if they hold onto the cards long term, or don't announce how many they found.

The Gretzky rookies are one card out of thousands in this case. It's not the only valuable card they could have, but it's the only multi-million dollar card.

This set is on average around $40-80 per card when the condition is 8 or above. 80 bucks is the average for a 10 according to PSA, the most recognized memorabilia grader.

1979 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Cards - PSA Price Guide
PSA Price Guide for 1979 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Card Values - Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)

Some are a bit higher, a Hartford Whalers logo graded a 10 will net you about $325. Again, it's a risk to open them, flooding the market with what were once uncommon cards.

There is one way I would try and recoup some of the money: Unboxing videos.

YouTube is full of videos showing people opening sports cards, toys, collectibles, and so much more. This can be big business if you catch the right audience. But for this one I would go bigger.

I would call TSN or Sportsnet and try and make a special out of this. Go full Al Capone's vault. There could be anything in there. There could be nothing. In the summer with only baseball on, or during a gap in playoff rounds, why not find something new to show and jump on a popular trend*? Plus if there's nothing big in that whole box, we get to see some rich guy blow a lot of money and get nothing in return. Win/win/win.

*Having worked in Canadian broadcasting for over a decade, I know they won't do this because they're scared of anything new and fun.

All in all, if I had enough that I could spend $5,000,000 on cards I would absolutely do it. The agonizing part would be fighting temptation to open the case, the boxes, the packs.

Just one couldn't hurt? Right?

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