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Bidding for Sask. mystery hockey card box tops $2 million

A Saskatchewan family is selling a case full of unopened 1979 hockey card boxes, and bidding has topped $2 million. The boxes contain an unknown number of Wayne Gretzky rookie cards like this one. (Jason Warick/CBC - image credit)
A Saskatchewan family is selling a case full of unopened 1979 hockey card boxes, and bidding has topped $2 million. The boxes contain an unknown number of Wayne Gretzky rookie cards like this one. (Jason Warick/CBC - image credit)

The bidding on a box of unopened hockey cards recently discovered by a Regina family has topped $2 million.

Rich Mueller of the Indiana-based website Sports Collectors Daily said the family's discoveries are similar to holding a winning lottery ticket.

Last month, they unearthed a crate of 1979 O-Pee-Chee brand hockey cards. The company selling the box, Heritage Auctions, estimates there could be more than two dozen Wayne Gretzky rookie cards inside.

In mint condition, Gretzky rookie cards can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

Jason Warick/CBC
Jason Warick/CBC

The family is auctioning them off, and as of Friday afternoon bidding had reached $1,675,000 US — or $2,259,323 in Canadian currency.

With the 20 per cent "buyer's premium" added by the auctioneer, the winning bidder's total payment would be $2,010,000 US ($2,711,188 Cdn).

"It's pretty extraordinary to find something that nobody thought existed, and the uniqueness of it is the fact that it's an unopened case. You would have thought that maybe somewhere along the line that one of these cases would have come out of a long time collector or dealer's warehouse or basement," Mueller said.

WATCH | Bidding for Sask. mystery hockey card box tops $2 million:

According to Heritage officials, the Regina family has asked to remain anonymous. They said the box was discovered by a man helping his father clean the attic.

But that's not all. According to Mueller, the family is also selling more than a dozen other boxes of unopened hockey and baseball cards. They may not be from the Gretzky year, but he expects interest to be high.

He said any unopened boxes in such good condition are sure to draw bidders "like bees to honey. They'll come after it, a lot of deep pocketed collectors that love unopened stuff. They'll chase it down for sure and they know what exists because the word is out."

It's unclear when the new cards will be put on the market, but bidding for the Gretzky cards closes later this month.