CGC-certified Sports Illustrated Featuring Wayne Gretzky Offered in Heritage Auction

Posted on 2/23/2022

The issue from October 1981 is Gretzky’s first appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

They call it the “Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx.” It is said to bring bad luck to athletes who appear on the cover of the famous sports magazine. Those who believe in it say it cost Serena Williams the Grand Slam in 2015, the LA Dodgers the World Series in 2017, and the LA Clippers the NBA Championship in 2019. Apparently, NHL great Wayne Gretzky has never heard of the jinx.

Gretzky, the undisputed king of professional hockey, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated more than a dozen times. His first appearance was on October 12, 1981, when he was starting his third season in the National Hockey League. While Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers did not win the Stanley Cup that year, Gretzky lived up to magazine’s billing of “Best Player in the NHL” by going on to win that season’s Most Valuable Player award.

An excellent example of the October 12, 1981, Sports Illustrated featuring Wayne Gretzky that was certified and graded by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®), an affiliate of Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®), is being offered as part of the Heritage Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction. The magazine was graded CGC 9.4, which is a Near Mint grade that is given to well-preserved collectibles with minor wear and small manufacturing or handling defects. Bidding on the magazine has already surpassed $16,500 and will conclude on February 26, 2022.

Click image to enlarge.

When Wayne Gretzky won the NHL’s MVP award for the 1981-1982 season, it was the third that he had won in three years. He would go on to win the award the next five years in a row, surpassing the record of six MVPs held by hockey great Gordie Howe. In total, Gretzky won nine MVP trophies in ten years, cementing his reputation as the greatest hockey player of all time.

Gretzky’s numerous appearances on Sports Illustrated did not appear to jinx any aspects of his game play. More than 20 years after retiring from the NHL, he still holds the record for regular season points, regular season goals and regular season assists. His all-time regular season point total is 2,857, which surpasses the second place total by more than 900 points. To honor his contribution to the sport, his jersey number — 99 — was retired by every team in the NHL in 2000.

Sports Illustrated was one of the first magazines for which CGC offered certification, grading, and encapsulation when it launched the service in 2009. Today the service is available for many popular magazine titles, including Newsweek, Time and TV Guide, as well as comic magazines such as Wizard, Vampirella and Marvel magazines. The encapsulation process employed by CGC ensures that magazines are secure and protected while providing optimal viewing through the crystal-clear holder.

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