In January, Canwest newswire reported a piece of Canadiana was to be auctioned off:
A curved piece of wood controversially billed as “the world’s oldest hockey stick” — and reputedly appraised at $4-million–is to be auctioned in Vancouver next month during the Winter Olympics.
The object known as the “Rutherford Stick” has been displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and was offered at auction two other times in the past decade but didn’t sell. Said to be at least 150 years old, it drew a top bid of $2.2-million on eBay in December 2006. But the hickory-wood relic — owned by Cobourg, Ont., resident Gordon Sharpe, who inherited the stick from a great-uncle and claims it was hand-carved by a family ancestor in the 1850s — did not exchange hands at the time, nor during a previous auction in 2001.
Now, this stick is touted as “the single most important piece of hockey memorabilia in existence. And, at the auction…
For the modest sum of $2.2 million, what’s believed to be the oldest hockey stick in existence is now the property of an anonymous Canadian buyer. And despite spending all that money on what has the potential to be a great conversation piece, they’ve agreed to put the stick, believed to have been carved between 1852 and 1856, on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Gord Sharpe, the stick’s previous owner, was relieved to learn the buyer is Canadian. It’s a family heirloom that’s been in his possession since he was nine.
There were 26 bids submitted from around the world and inquiries were fielded from places including Dubai, Australia and Germany. There were more than 20,600 visits to Ebay from people interested in learning about and perhaps bidding on the stick.
“When the bid came in, I didn’t know if it was from a Canadian,” Sharpe said. “I feel a lot better now that I know it was purchased by a Canadian.”
Sharpe’s $2.2 million will go to fanscharity.com and its World Charity Award program, both run by Sharpe with the goal of promoting the importance of charities and awareness of charities among children.
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