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Stick That Wayne Gretzky Used in His Last Stanley Cup Victory Heads to Auction

A hockey stick NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky used in the 1988 Stanley Cup finals is gliding onto the online auction block Tuesday at Sotheby’s, where it’s expected to fetch US$500,000. The sports artifact, consigned by an unidentified U.S. collector, was sold privately in 2005, according to Sotheby’s. Because the sale wasn’t public, the auction house could not reveal that sale price.

The stick is dated “May 26, 1988” in Gretzky’s own hand, per Sotheby’s. That’s when he led the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins, a victory that clinched the Stanley Cup championship.“Gretzky is somebody who had an immense career and played for a lot of different teams,” says Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles. This stick from the 1987-88 season “represents Gretzky at the peak of his powers.”

 

 

It marks a “defining moment in Gretzky’s illustrious career,” according to Wachter. As captain of the Oilers, he led the team to their fourth Stanley Cup win in five seasons.
Gretzky’s last Stanley Cup win was in 1988, though he reached the finals again with the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. The fact that the “stick is dated in Gretzky’s hand to the championship-clinching game,” says Wachter, adds “a certain pizazz” and “covetability.”

 

 

Sports collectibles represent a strong market, particularly when it comes to legends of the games and “the names you know”—like Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, and Gretzky, according to Wachter. Gretzky collectibles have set records in recent sales through Grey Flannel Auctions. In June the autographed jersey worn by Gretzky as a New York Rangers player on April 18, 1999 when he made his last NHL point sold for US$715,120. A year earlier, Gretzky’s game-worn jersey from the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals sold for US$1.45 million.

Gretzky’s game-used hockey stick belongs to a “private collector who is just a huge sports memorabilia fan,” says Wachter. “He decided it was time for him to part with it.”The online sale runs July 18-25. The hockey stick will be on display at Sotheby’s New York from July 20-24.

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