When a hockey legend's personal collection is offered at auction, hockey collectors take notice. That is exactly what is happening with the Jacques Plante Collection auction being hosted by Classic Collectibles-Que. In addition to the 53 lots pertaining to the Jacques Plante Collection, there are also 513 other lots featuring jerseys, sticks, rings, trophies and vintage equipment.
The top Plante item is a game-used goalie mask worn by Plante, who was the first player to wear a mask in the NHL. This mask was the third mask that Plante wore.
"This is the only Plante mask that has been offered for sale, along with his last one which we offered a couple months ago," said Marc Juteau, president of Classic Collectibles-Que. "We like to think that a Jacque Plante game-used mask is a great piece. It is almost like a car that was once owned by Henry Ford."
There are numerous trophies associated with Plante that are also available. The first of these trophies is a 1958-59 Vezina Trophy Plaque presented to Plante. Next in line is The Jacques Plante Foundation Vezina look-alike trophy (33-inch). The next six trophies are 13-inch Jacques Plante Vezina Trophies, which commemorates Plante's six goals-against-average titles. Each of the trophies (1955-56, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1968-69) is offered in its own lot.
There are also several 13-inch championship trophies commemorating Plante's Stanley Cup titles with the Montreal Canadiens, for collectors to go after. The six trophies, each offered individually, are for the following years: 1952-53, 1955-56, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60.
Not lost in the shuffle is Plante's 1958-59 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Championship ring. Other top rings include a gold ring presented to Plante to commemorate five consecutive Stanley Cup Championships, Plante's Hockey Hall of Fame gold ring and Plante's 1968-69 St. Louis Blues Championship gold ring.
The excitement doesn't end with the Jacques Plante Collection, as several other collections are included in the auction.
"The second part of the auction that is also great is that we are offering a couple of Hall of Famers' personal collections, like Bill Gadsby, who was a great Detroit Red Wings player," said Juteau. "We are also offering the collection of Red Storey, who is a Hall of Famer and a very famous referee.
"We also have the most amazing game-used goalie mask collection ever offered for sale. Goalie masks are extremely rare, especially the vintage ones we have from the 1970s and 1980s. Sometimes, goaltenders used only two or three in their whole careers. So compared to jerseys, they are extremely rare."
Most of the game-used goalie masks offered are from The Brian Rogers Collection. Rogers collected these masks in the 1970s and 1980s. There are 41 lots in The Brian Rogers Collection portion of the auction.
Without a doubt, the most famous mask offered is the Gerry Cheevers' autographed "Stitches" mask. Early in the auction, this mask was already up to $16,000.
Another famous mask is the "Skull" mask, which was used by Gary Bromley. During the first week of the auction, this mask had already received 16 bids, the most of any item in the auction.
There are plenty of jerseys available in the auction, but there are two of particular interest to collectors.
"Another really good piece in the auction that has already gotten a lot of bids is a Ken Dryden jersey," said Juteau. "It's the first time one has ever been offered at auction."
The Dryden jersey is game-used from the 1972-73 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Playoffs. After the first week, it was already up to $15,000.
The other jersey of note is a 1980 "Miracle On Ice" Team USA Tim Harrer Olympic game jersey. Harrer played four games with the U.S. Olympic team prior to the '80 Games, but did not get into any actual game action in Lake Placid. The jersey shows no evidence of game use, but it is still special, since game jerseys from the Miracle On Ice team are extremely rare.
A truly unbelievable lot is Al Ruelle's Boston Bruins photograph collection of approximately 50,000 pieces. Ruelle was the official photographer for the Boston Bruins from the 1960s to the 1990s. This lot contains Ruelle's complete collection of photos, negatives and slides. The photos consist mainly of Boston Bruins players, with lots of Bobby Orr images. After the first week, this lot was already up to $17,000.
The final day of bidding for this auction is March 28. For more information or to bid on a item, visit the company's website at www.classicauctions.net.