One of the busiest days of the hockey year that saw two women finally inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame ended with even more history being made.
The 1972 Summit Series jersey worn by Paul Henderson of Team Canada sold for a record $1,067,538 USD as the centerpiece of a month-long auction from Classic Auctions. With a 19.5% buyers premium, the final price was $1.275 million USD, a record for a sports uniform. The previous record for a hockey item was $191,200 USD for a Bobby Orr rookie-year game-worn jersey sold in April. There have been private sales greater than that, but the Henderson jersey shattered them all, including the $657,250 price tag of a Babe Ruth game-worn New York Yankees jersey from 1933 that sold in 2006.
Toronto-based Mitchell Goldhar, owner of private real estate development company SmartCentres and one of Canada's richest men with a net worth of over $1 billion, according to a 2008 list, made the 42nd and final bid. The auction started at $10,000 USD and quickly rose entering Tuesday evening to just over $300,000 USD, with the final few hours seeing the price jump almost half a million dollars.
When word began spreading last month that Henderson's jersey was going up for auction, the number of bidders interested in keeping the historical artifact in Canada kept growing and growing.
The Canadian government thought about getting involved through a special program to help fund the final auction price. Businessmen along with Molson and Canadian Tire got involved in the bidding process furthering the chance that the jersey would end up in a sports hall of fame or put on display on a tour of Canada.
There was a small fear that a trading-card company might place a bid in hopes of cutting the jersey up to insert into packs, but that was quickly alleviated when Classic Auctions president Marc Juteau told us that there was a screening process to weed out potential buyers who had ideas other than displaying it publicly or privately.
It's unsure what Goldhar's plans are for the jersey at this time, but as Henderson said Tuesday night before the auction ended, he wants it to be shared with the Canadian people:
"If I owned the sweater today I would have given it to the Sports Hall of Fame," Henderson said, adding that he did have assurances from one of the potential bidders that they would place the jersey in a public museum.
"I think it should be on display."
UPDATE: Henderson's wish will be granted as according to a press release sent out Wednesday morning from Goldhar, he plans to have the jersey tour Canada with stops at local museums and also the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.