Online Canadiana: If you list it will they buy it?
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | 4:50 PM ET
There's money to be made flogging hunks of Canadian history online — at least if your name is Peter Pocklington. He recently auctioned off a collection of mementos he acquired while he owned the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers, as well as the city's former minor-league baseball team, the Trappers.
Pocklington made more than $290,000 as collectors paid:
- $72,151 for his 1989-90 Stanley Cup Championship Ring.
- $61,174 for his 1984-85 Stanley Cup Championship Ring.
- $59,628 for his 1983-84 Stanley Cup Championship Ring.
- $49,279 for his 1987-88 Stanley Cup Championship Ring.
- $30,597 for his 1986-87 Stanley Cup Championship Ring.
- $47,786 for the miniature Stanley Cup presented to him for the team's championship in the 1984-85 season.
Bidders at classicauctions.net — a site that specializes in selling hockey memorabilia — also forked over several thousand dollars on other items, including team photos and replica trophies.
Pocklington's items are the latest in a list of some out-of-the-ordinary Canadian offerings on online auction sites.
December 2007 brought snowstorm after snowstorm to the Montreal area, so one man took advantage of the mounting white stuff to raise a little money for charity. Michel Lévesque of Saint-Eustache, which is just north of the city, listed the two-metre high snowbank burying his front yard on eBay — and sold it for $3,550.
He started the auction as a joke but was surprised as the bids rolled in.
Lévesque's take for charity eventually surpassed $10,000 as he sold bags of snow for $25 to passersby while the snow bank was being carted off to its new owner. He donated the money to a local youth organization.
Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Sir Humphrey Gilbert (Courtesy: Canadian Coast Guard)It's not hard to find a used boat for sale online, but it's not every day that you find an old-fashioned icebreaker. The former Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Sir Humphrey Gilbert — which was in private hands and docked at Clarenville, N.L. — was listed on eBay in July 2005 at a starting bid of $1 million.
The listing described the ship as a "medium Class 100A" Arctic icebreaker in "excellent condition." The owner suggested that it could be used for research or as a floating hotel and would be perfect for touring icy Arctic destinations.
Interest among buyers was far from overwhelming. The icebreaker failed to attract any bids.
What do you do when you've given up on your local pro sports team? Try selling it off. One fan of the hapless — and now-defunct — Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League listed the team on eBay on March 16, 2006.
Bidding began at $1.44 US in what Dwight Brown called an accurate reflection of the "value and worth of this incompetently run franchise." By the next day, it had jumped to $1,850 US.
The team never did make it into the 2006 season as serious efforts to sell the club to new owners failed.
John A. Macdonald's autograph
Early bidders for a vintage card believed to be signed by Canada's first prime minister included the Conservative Party and the Dominion Institute. (Submitted by Patricia Kelly)Ottawa resident Jason Kelly decided to get in on the action when he heard through news reports in February 2008 that someone was selling a card bearing what is believed to be the signature of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.
It was offered by a Massachusetts woman who listed the signature at a starting bid price of 99 cents US. Kelly paid $7,850 US for it.
The self-described history buff said it was his duty as a Canadian to bring it back home. Among Kelly's early competition for the autograph was the Conservative Party of Canada.
Robert Davies, a publisher in Montreal, listed online a copy of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that former prime minister Pierre Trudeau had signed. The document was offered for sale in January 2007, 15 years after Trudeau signed it as a personal favour to Davies after he published Trudeau's anti-Charlottetown accord speech in a book in 1992.
The asking price was $5,000 US, which some historians called a very steep price for an autograph on a copy of a historical document.
There are only two signed originals of the 1982 proclamation, which are housed at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, according to senior archivist Jay Gilbert. Both are stained, one by rain and the other by red ink, the work of a vandal in 1983.
Book thrown by Ralph Klein
Former Alberta premier Ralph Klein (John Ulan/Canadian Press)It was getting pretty testy in the Alberta legislature on March 1, 2006. A member of the Liberal Opposition asked a page to deliver a copy of the party's handbook on healthcare to then Premier Ralph Klein.
At the time, Klein was fielding questions and responding to criticism over his controversial Third Way health reforms introduced earlier that week. Klein wanted no part of the Liberal policy book, so he threw it back to the page, exclaiming, "I don't need this crap."
He later apologized for his behaviour. After Klein announced his intention to step down as premier in fall 2006, the book was listed on eBay. The opening bid was $200. It sold for $1,400.
But there are limits
In February 2003, 38-year-old Scott Diamond of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., found himself in trouble with the law when he tried to sell big-game antlers online. The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods said there had been several complaints about moose and caribou antlers being offered for sale online for as much as $800 US.
Diamond was charged with 88 counts of trafficking in big-game parts.
For sale: Convicted killer's letters
The listing didn't last long, but someone tried to sell several letters Karla Homolka wrote while she was serving her 12-year sentence for her role in the killings of two Ontario teenagers.
The 33 cards and letters were written between 1993 and 1995. The seller — who listed the cards and letters on eBay in January 2006 — was a former friend who worked with Homolka at a veterinary clinic in St. Catharines, Ont.
The bid had reached $1,600 before eBay pulled the listing.
Buy my vote
Elections Canada pondered whether to charge a Quebec man after he listed his vote in the Jan. 23, 2006, federal election for sale on eBay. Seventeen people had pushed the price for the vote to $20 by the time Elections Canada noticed the listing.
Canadian law forbids the sale of votes. The eBay listing noted that the "Liberals buy votes through spending promises."
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