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Tiger Woods trading card fetches $26,400 in auction


The COVID-19 global pandemic has had far reaching impact around the world.

Take the trading card industry. You remember trading cards. Many of you might have put them in the spokes in your bike when you were a kid. Others packed them away in boxes and lugged them around every time you moved, convinced one day you would cash in.

Well, all these years later, with people stuck at home during the pandemic, sports trading cards are a thing.

“People were at home, cleaning up, and they rediscovered their card collection,” Stephen Laroche, a card collectible author and historian, told the Toronto Star. “It sparked an interest. It’s exploded from there.”

So go through your collection. Maybe you were lucky enough to stash away a 1996 Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine Tiger Woods trading card. If so, take extra care. It might be worth something.

A mint version of that card was among the 3,700 sports collectibles that were up for auction this week at the Fall Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction.

It’s a four-day affair that ended on Thursday and most of the items were baseball trading cards but the Woods one was a hot item. After bidding hovered around $13,000 for a couple days, it eventually sold for $26,400.

This Tiger card wasn’t originally produced as a trading card in the traditional sense. Rather, it was one of nine items on a cardstock sheet inside a magazine, perforated so that the cards could be separated.

It’s a pricey item because of its rarity, which is kinda how this all works. Many of the magazines were thrown out with the cards still inside. Others were bent after the magazines were folded by mail carriers. Still others were damaged when people tried to tear them along the perforations.

But here we are, 24 years later with a perfect PSA-rated 10 Tiger Woods card selling for five figures.

Perhaps the marquee item in the auction, though, was a 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card. Gretzky is, besides being arguably the greatest hockey player of all time, the father-in-law of Masters champion Dustin Johnson, who, with more than $70 million in official on-course earnings, could have easily won that particular auction.

The O-Pee-Chee brand was basically the Canadian version of Topps, but they used cheaper products to make and cut their cards.

“All the 1979 O-Pee-Chee cards that have ever been graded, only two of them have ever earned 10 status, and this is one of those two,” Chris Ivy, Heritage Auction’s Dallas-based director of sports, told the Toronto Star.

It was thought that the Gretzky card could become the first hockey trading card to sell for more than $1 million. And it did, going for a mind-boggling $1,290,000. The Topps version of the same card went for a meager $720,000.

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