Auction Winner No Longer Wants Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card Case He Already Paid Millions For

A bizarre story is emerging following the multimillion-dollar auction of an unopened case of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey featuring Wayne Gretzky rookie cards. Jack Arshawsky, a real estate agent from Ontario, Canada, won the auction after bidding $3.72 million in February. However, he now says he doesn’t want the hockey cards anymore and has yet to pay the full amount to Heritage Auctions.

“I’m not so passionate about it as I’ve seen, like, other people in the sports collecting world, like how they’re so into it, and it’s like their lives kind of revolve around it,” Arshawsky tells CBC News.

1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Case
1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Case. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

Arshawsky has paid $3 million to Heritage Auctions already, but still owes another $720,000.

The case sold for millions because it’s believed it contains over two dozen Gretzky rookie cards. It’s exceedingly rare finding a pristine rookie card of “The Great One” as only two Gem Mint 10 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie cards exist. Heritage ended up brokering a sale in May 2021 for a Gem Mint PSA 10 Gretzky O-Pee-Chee rookie for $3.75 million — the most ever paid for a hockey card.

Arshawsky says he was initially interested in the auction because he owns a 1979 Gretzky rookie card. But, after allegedly talking with a Heritage executive about how disappointed the runner-up was, Arshawsky had a change of heart.

“I realize that there are others out there that are much more passionate about this. I started a journey, I guess, to find, I think, what would be a better home for these cards,” Arshawsky explains to CBC News.

Apparently, Arshawsky has tried reaching out to Gretzky and hip-hop superstar Drake to see if they would be interested in the O-Pee-Chee case, but to no avail. He even said he might give the cards to his “true soulmate” he met during childhood.

“When I finalize what the final destination for these cards will be, [I] will make arrangements for them to be transferred,” Arshawsky says to CBC News.

In a statement to CBC News, Heritage  says they do not provide indefinite storage for sold items. But, they do give buyers time to fully complete the purchase “depending on circumstances.”

1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky
1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card. (credit: eBay)

Rich Mueller, an editor at Sports Collectors Daily, calls the situation odd.

“This is the first time that a high-profile item like this, that I can remember, has sold… and the item is kind of in limbo,” Mueller tells CBC News.

The unopened O-Pee-Chee case was found in a long-forgotten pile of boxes in the consignor’s home in Saskatchewan. He had originally bought the case directly from a wholesaler.

No other unopened case of 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Hockey has ever surfaced in the 21st century. Heritage believes it won’t happen again.

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