Modified on January 30, 2021
Wayne Gretzky signs in 1978 with the Indianapolis Racers his first contract as a professional hockey player. He is 17 years old and already uses the number 99, chosen by him one year before. For 1979-1980 he plays now as an NHL rookie with the Edmonton Oilers. Despite his young age, he is already a super-champion. He scored 137 points in that season, as Marcel Dionne also did.
On February 26, 2019, Classic Auctions sold at lot 290 for $ 220K including premium an Oilers' home jersey numbered 99, with on the right shoulder the 1904-1979 crest for the 75th year of the Edmonton city incorporation. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
This white jersey was used regularly, and perhaps even systematically in home games, by Gretzky from October to December 1979. The photo-matchings are convincing.
It displays a considerable game wear, including stitching repairs, stick marks and a larger tear in the stripe on an elbow. It is in its original configuration excepted the nameplate which had been transferred to another jersey in accordance with the practice of the team.
It is believed that no more than two home jerseys were used by a player during the season, and this one is arguably the earlier. At the beginning of that period, Gretzky scored his first assist in NHL and then his first goal.
This piece of history will be sold by Heritage in an online auction closing on February 27, lot 80136.
A road jersey which was consistent with a photo from the preparatory phase of the same season was sold for $ 480K including premium by Sotheby's and Goldin on December 7, 2020.
SOLD for $ 620K including premium