SCP Auctions is pleased to present a highly coveted game-worn Edmonton Oilers road jersey that was donned by none other than “The Great One” himself, Wayne Gretzky. The road blue knit gamer by Sandow SK dates from Gretzky’s second season (1980-81) in which he scored 55 goals and recorded 109 assists for the Edmonton Oilers and is regarded as the finest Gretzky game jersey in the hobby. Bidding, which began on Wed., Nov. 18, and concludes this Sat., Dec. 5 at SCP Auctions, is currently sitting at $32,211. It previously sold at auction in 2013 for $110,293.
“This is not only one of the earliest Gretzky gamers known, it is among the most thoroughly authenticated examples as well,” said Dan Imler, SCP Auctions vice president. “The provenance and physical attributes of this extraordinary jersey have been verified by a committee of the most revered experts in the field of hockey memorabilia. It easily ranks among the finest Gretzky game worn jersey ever offered at auction.”
When he was just 12 and playing in the prestigious International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament in Quebec City’s Le Colisee, Wayne Gretzky was already so famous that he was besieged routinely by autograph seekers in every rink he played in. At age 15, he tried to get his team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, to assign him jersey number 9 in honor of his favorite player, Gordie Howe. But 9 belonged to a veteran player, so Gretzky was given number 19 and, a few weeks later, number 99.
In 1978, at age 17, Gretzky turned pro with the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers who quickly traded him to the Edmonton Oilers, where he was allowed to keep uniform number 99. In 1979, Gretzky made his NHL debut. Over the next two decades, he lifted the sport of hockey to new and dizzying heights while establishing himself as the game’s all-time greatest player. He had an unprecedented 15 seasons with more than 100 points, and four with more than 200.
The first half of the 1980-81 season saw the Edmonton Oilers wear these solid knit Sandow SK made jerseys. The team then switched sets to a heavy mesh gamer, also made by Sandow SK, for the 2nd half of the 1980-81 season. The jersey has the Oilers crest sewn on front, “99” sewn on the back and sleeves and the “Alberta 75th Anniversary” patch sewn on shoulder. The Sandow Knit tag appears in the neck noting size “XL.” The jersey shows light but definite game use with several pucks and stick marks and very good inside pilling. This jersey traces back to a veteran collector in Edmonton, Alberta who had been collecting game worn hockey jerseys since the 1970’s. He personally obtained it directly from the Edmonton Oilers in 1981 as part of a team set of game-worn jerseys. -Terry Melia