A BC hockey fan has been reunited with his copy of the 1979 Wayne Gretzky rookie card, several years after it was stolen from his home.
In 2015, Ian Moore’s prized 1979 Great One rookie card was stolen from his home on Byland Road in West Kelowna.
Years went by and it seemed like Moore would never be reunited with the card that has fetched some collectors millions of dollars. But the RCMP caught a thief that turned it all around.
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In 2019, Kelowna officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the area of Boyce Crescent in Kelowna and located a man and a woman, along with an abundance of property inside the truck, which they believed to be stolen.
“The pair was arrested for being in possession of property obtained crime and all of the items were seized and brought back to the Kelowna detachment where they were stored as exhibits,” RCMP said in a press release. “Included among these items was a 1979 Wayne Gretzky hockey card.”
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In mid-April 2022 RCMP members were disposing of the stolen property seized during the 2019 investigation when they came upon the card and brought it to the attention of local officers.
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“When I learned there was a vintage hockey card in exhibits, I immediately remembered the investigation from 2015,” Const. Rick Goodwin of the Kelowna RCMP said in a press release.
“I dug up the details of the old file and was able to track down Mr. Moore. I was surprised to learn he still had my old business card that I had given him years earlier”.
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Moore, without seeing the card, was able to identify it by providing an exact description, including unique details that only the owner would know. He was also able to produce records and documents that he has held for years.
Moore was finally reunited with his card on April 26.
“I am very impressed by the efforts made by Const. Goodwin, the work he put into this investigation and how he remembered the theft of my hockey cards after so many years,” states Ian Moore. “I am grateful for all the hard work that has been done to return my card.”
In 2020 a mint condition 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card became hockey’s first to cost more than US$1 million, when it fetched $1.29 million at auction.
The online auction house said that trading card, which features Gretzky in his Edmonton Oilers uniform during the team’s final WHA season before the franchise joined the NHL, is just one of two with No. 99 from O-Pee-Chee’s 1979 run to receive a perfect “gem mint” score from the Professional Sports Authenticator grading service.
It wasn’t disclosed how much Moore’s would fetch if it was put on the open market but memorabilia values have surged since the pandemic.
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