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Wayne Gretzky rookie card sells for record $3.75 million

May 27 (UPI) -- A 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card sold for a record $3.75 million in a private sale arranged through Heritage Auctions, it was announced Thursday.

The rare card was graded a Gem Mint 10 and shattered the previous record for a hockey card, which was set in December when the same version of the Gretzky card sold for $1.29 million. The card that sold in December had changed hands for $465,000 in 2016 and $94,000 in 2011.

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"There are just a handful of cards out there to reach such stratospheric heights, and they bear such names as Mickey Mantle, LeBron James, Mike Trout, Honus Wagner and Michael Jordan," Dan Imler, Heritage Sports' vice president of private sales and consignments, said in a statement.

"It's only fitting that the greatest hockey player of all time, and one of the most beloved and revered athletes of the 20th century, join their estimable ranks."

Those two Gretzky rookie cards currently are the only O-Pee-Chee versions graded as Gem Mint 10s in PSA's population report.

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The buyer and seller involved in the sale asked to remain anonymous, but the buyer said obtaining the card was a family dream.

"Throughout many years of collecting, this card has always been our 'white whale,'" the buyer said. "Our family is thrilled to become the new guardians of this world-class hobby treasure."

Gretzky, who is considered the greatest hockey player ever, recorded 2,857 points (894 goals, 1,963 assists) in his career. The nine-time Hart Trophy winner played 21 seasons and still holds many of the NHL's records.

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