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'I'm not that passionate about it': Winner of the multi-million dollar Gretzky card box says he's changed his mind

'I'm not that passionate about it': Winner of the multi-million dollar Gretzky card box says he's changed his mind


The man who bought a highly sought-after multimillion-dollar box of hockey cards now says he no longer wants them.

CBC confirmed that Ontario-based real estate agent Jack Arshawsky won the auction for a case containing thousands of unopened 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee brand hockey cards, the set containing Wayne Gretzky's rookie card for $3.72 million.

However, Arshawsky says he has not yet paid the full amount for the cards, so they remain in the auction house's “vault.”

The box of unopened hockey cards was found in the attic of a family in Saskatchewan. US auction house Heritage Auctions, which organized the auction, estimated that there could be as many as 25 to 27 Gretzky rookie cards in the case.

A single beginner Gretzky card previously sold at auction for $3.75 million.

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Online bidding for the tickets lasted until the early morning, according to Arshawsky.

He said he drank four Red Bull energy drinks to keep him “focused and sharp” to stay competitive.

“I have one of Wayne Gretzky's 1979 rookie cards myself, right, and that piqued my interest when I heard the auction was coming up,” Arshawsky said.

But now he's not so sure he's the best person to own the cards, he said.

Buyer's remorse?

Arshawsky said the spark just isn't there when it comes to card collecting.

“I'm not as passionate about it as I've seen, like other people in the sports collecting world, who are so into it, and it's like their lives kind of revolve around it,” Arshawsky said.

He said he has contacted people like Canadian rapper Drake, NHL team owners and Wayne Gretzky's family to see if they might want to own the cards.

He even came up with the idea of ​​gifting the cards to his 'true soulmate', whom he met in his youth.

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The long-forgotten “Holy Grail” chest of hockey cards found in Regina is expected to fetch millions at auction.

Arshawsky said his feelings about the purchase changed after hearing an interview with a Heritage Auction executive about the second-place bidder.

The executive in the interview “explained that the second bidder was very disappointed that he didn't win the bid, and that really made me empathize with him,” Arshawsky said.

“I realize there are others who are much more passionate about this. I started a journey, I guess, to find, I guess, what a better home for these cards would be.”

720Button not yet paid

According to the auction house, there were approximately fifteen unique bidders in the final phase of the bidding campaign. It was then narrowed down to two candidates, who bumped the final prize to $3.72 million, with Arshawsky winning. He said he has paid $3 million, leaving $720,000 unpaid.

Arshawsky said he believes the safest place for the cards is “in their vault in Texas,” referring to where Heritage Auctions is located.

“When I finally determine what the final destination for these cards will be, [I]will make arrangements for its transfer.”

Heritage Auctions said in an emailed statement that it does not provide secure indefinite storage for items after an auction has taken place. Heritage also said that the time buyers have to complete a payment “varies depending on circumstances,” but that “there are no limitations” on how quickly Heritage can re-auction the same item.

Situation is 'bizarre': expert

Ryan Haynee, the owner of Queen City Sports Cards in Regina, said it sounds like Arshawsky “may have bitten off more than he can chew.”

He said the situation is a bit “bizarre” and that this is not normal for a transaction of this size.

“It's definitely unusual and I would say most of the time 100 percent is paid before anything is released.”

Ryan Haynee sits on a couch and wears a gray button-down dress
Ryan Haynee, the owner of Queen City Sports Cards, said the situation the buyer is currently in is bizarre. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

Haynee said short-term profits are unlikely, but he said if the buyer wanted to get some of the money back, he could potentially open the unopened crate, probably the only one in the world, and sell the 16 individual boxes. in order to possibly make a profit.

Hanyees said he sees a possible outcome if the auction house reimburses Arshawsky and re-auctions the case.

Rich Mueller, editor at Sports Collectors Daily and sports card expert, agreed that this is unusual.

“This is the first time that a high-profile item like this, as far as I can remember, has sold and the item is kind of in limbo,” he said.

Mueller added that auction houses don't want this type of situation for any amount of money.

“They don't want to put the item up for sale again,” he said. “That's not what they want to do and the sender wants to get paid.”

Mueller said there is usually legal language in the contracts people agree to bid that obligates them to pay for an item regardless of the price.

He said that depending on what happens, Heritage could take legal action in the future, or they could decide the legal fees aren't worth it and try to find another buyer.

Jack Arshawsky holds a Wayne Gretzky hockey card
Jack Arshawsky is the winner of the case containing thousands of unopened 1979-1980 O-Pee-Chee brand hockey cards, which were sold to him for $3.72 million. Here he's holding a 1979 Wayne Gretzky rookie card that he already owned, which he says sparked his interest in buying the business. (Submitted by Jack Arshawsky)




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