Seller explains why he auctioned off $135,811 Connor McDavid rookie card


Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday February 2, 2016. (Jason Franson/CP)

His name is John. He lives in San Diego. He built custom homes for more than 30 years. He’s now a retired carpenter who, by accident, has built himself a nice retirement fund thanks to Connor McDavid.

He’s never met McDavid, though, and has only watched him on YouTube.

“He’s a freak of nature,” explained John. “It’s incredible to watch him play.”

It’s also incredible to have his rookie card. John had it, but then sold it on Friday through Lelands Spring Classic Auction. The final selling price: $135,811.20 US.

“I never really knew what to expect for a selling price. I heard some media say maybe it could fetch more than $100,000” explained John. “But I really didn’t get in it to make money. I thought if it sold for $10,000 that would be great.”

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Even $10,000 would have been a huge win for the former carpenter, but he nailed it when he was lucky enough to acquire McDavid’s 2015-16 Upper Deck “The Cup” rookie card, which also has an RPA (Rookie Patch Autograph). He bought the card as part of a hockey card case break which was handled by Jaspy’s Sports Cards & Collectibles in Hermosa Beach, California.

“These breaks are televised on YouTube and actually I wasn’t even watching it live,” he said. “I watched it later and once I saw the breaker’s reaction I knew I had something special.” What John had was number 97 of 99. Just like the Edmonton Oilers won the lottery to get Connor McDavid, John from San Diego won his own version of the hockey card lottery.

“I don’t even remember what I paid, maybe $150, and I ended up with a few of the Oilers’ player’s cards,” John explained. “But the one everyone wanted was McDavid. I was very, very fortunate. The stars were aligned and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Once the card was his John made the two-hour drive from his home to Hermosa Beach and Jaspy’s Sports Cards & Collectibles.

“I wanted to see it so I went to the store, but I never touched it (the card),” John said. “I just decided to leave it with them. I just took a picture of it and decided I didn’t want to sell it myself.”

Instead he went home and did something so many National Hockey League teams and defenders can’t do: He put McDavid out of his mind. He left the selling of this priceless piece to the professionals. And if you can believe it, this isn’t the first McDavid card John has acquired. He had another one and it sold for a tidy and unspectacular sum of $300. In fact, before the recent sale it was the second-highest price sale of John’s collection. He once sold a Fernando Tatis Jr. card for $400.

Those numbers, though, would pale in comparison to the final price on the McDavid rookie card.

“The bidding was opened up 30 days prior to the eventual sale on June 19,” said John. “The first bid was $2,500 and then it jumped to $5,000. It sat there for weeks.”

Then, just like McDavid breaking down the ice in game action, the asking price took off fast. Really fast.

“From $5,000 it jumped to $50,000 then $90,000 before it eventually finished at $135,811.20.”

Not a bad return at all for a casual sports card collector.

“I would say I have a few small shoe boxes of cards in my closet” said John. “I’m retired, divorced and my son lives in San Francisco so for me it was more about doing something to pass the time. I never expected it to turn out like this.”

With money he never expected to have, John decided this week to spend some of the hockey card cash he received. He bought a cargo van. He’s going to paint it and turn it into a camper. He intends on using it to go visit his brother and for drives to the Los Angeles and San Diego mountains.

While he decided to remain anonymous, you still might be able to spot him. John will be the guy who looks like an extremely happy camper thanks to McDavid’s rookie card.


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