Fans of collecting Maurice Richard and Montreal Canadiens memorabilia can bid on up to 27 lots of "Rocket" artifacts currently up for graps at at Classic Auctions. A sizeable amount of the collection was obtained through the Richard family, and features photo collections, career tribute rings, an autpgraphed stick, a vintage 1950's sweater, pucks, framed photographs and lithographs, and various documents from his 18 season NHL career and beyond. The bids on items have been set at prices between $100 and $2,000 dollars for starters.
The lot of Richard items, and many others, are part of the Montreal Canadiens Centennial Auction, and is just one of many held by Classic Auctions each year. In the past, collection by Jacques Plante, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, and other NHL greats have been up for grabs through the site. The site features literally thousands of interesting items, from the Montreal AAA's George Lowe's 1893 Stanley Cup ring to a Hartford Whalers game worn Gordie Howe sweater.
Whether you are just a fan of the history of the game, or an avid collector, the site is a great place to view items and memorabilia rarely seen by the public from the private collections of players, team owners, managers, and leagues.
Bidding on artifacts is quite simple, as one simply needs to register and complete a form before placing bids. Future vists require login to bid again.
I wish I were able to afford to bid on items such as these. If I ever won a lottery, I'd scoop all this stuff up and open a museum adjacent to the Bell Centre in order to have this history in one place for public viewing. It's a bit of a shame that no wealthy entrepreneur has ever sought to do such a thing.
Below are many of the photos in the vast collection as well as other Richard items featured in the auction. Enjoy a look through the details of his first professional contract, his private documents, his NHL pension plan agrement, and an awesome framed photo accounting of every goaltender he beat along the way to setting the NHL career goal scoring mark. Clicking on each photo will enlargen the shot for clearer detail.
Originally obtained directly from the Rocket's family, this collection includes some 40 prints bearing an original Richard autograph. This amazing and intimate group of photos includes shots from Richard's playing days and retirement. The shots range from those of his private life, including shots from his own wedding as well as those of brothers Henri and Claude, as well as hundreds of staged and posed photos from his very public life. A vintage Richard autograph appears on a 1940s promo picture, and the Rocket has signed the reverse of a formal wear shot of himself.
Richard, Beliveau, Geoffrion and Moore have signed an Oldtimers photo of themselves that also features Henri Richard and Tom Johnson, with all six former teammates wearing white Canadiens jerseys. Henri and Maurice have both signed in blue sharpie an Oldtimers photo of themselves. The Rocket's blue sharpie signature adorns a photo of him wearing the captains C and he has added his No. 9 to his autograph on shot from early in his career. A shaky silver sharpie autograph appears on a print of a photo of the Rocket along with Lach and Bouchard. Richard's vintage autograph adorns nine prints from his 1959 trip to the world championships in Prague and 23 vintage 8 x 10 prints from events at his T.V. store in the 1960s.
Canadiens GM Frank Selke has signed "Best Wishes" a David Bier photo of himself with Richard. Gordie Howe has signed a portrait - that comes along with its original envelope - of himself and his wife Colleen, who has added a smiley face and personalized the couple's signature, "To Lucille and Maurice, two very special people! The best always!" Photos of Richard making public appearances with minor hockey players, in golf foursomes, giving speeches, taking part in promotions and the like offer a glimpse into the heavy demands made on the hockey legend. Images of Richard fishing, skiing and playing golf are among the photos of him enjoying some leisure time, and there are plenty of shots of family life with Lucille and their children. A fascinating look behind the scenes at the life of a Canadiens icon.
The Rockets ballpoint signature appears twice on a 1992 bank deposit receipt. Having also written his company name, Maurice Richard Inc., the hockey legend has essentially provided a second autograph! This huge lot features a collection of personal items originally obtained from Richard's family, including 1950s Capri Electronics postcards (25), 1970s NHL Oldtimers postcards (50), 8 x 10 color photos of the Rocket (50) and postcards (25) from S. Albert Company, 1990s Forum closing cards (50) and Richard's Molson O'Keefe business cards (50).
A dozen spools of fishing line Richard packaged and sold includes six with yellow labels and six with red labels, all in their original packaging. There are 55 invoices and 20 checks from Maurice Richard T.V. Ltd., 20 checks from Maurice Richard Inc., 20 unsigned form letters from the Laurier Life Insurance Company and 10 price lists from Richard's fishing supplies company. A 1955 issue of Sport magazine includes a Habs feature. Three hockey tomes include the correspondence that was sent along with them to Richard. Denmarks consul general has personalized a book about his country.
Although the document is a replica, that autograph is the real deal! Maurice Richard has added his familiar signature to a two page creamy parchment contract, produced as a copy of the Standard Player's Contract he signed with the Montreal Canadiens for the 1942-43 and 1943-44 seasons. Perfect for framing! Also included is a vintage souvenir puck, dated Dec. 29, 1955 with "Souvenir 500th Goal" on one side in French and English, with an image of the Rocket on the opposite side and the words "To A Young Fan".
Richard signatures abound in these documents originally obtained from his family, including each of six 1950s income tax returns that reveal he was paid $14,999 by the Habs in 1954, $16,100 in 1958 and $16,000 in 1959. Correspondence from the NHL Pension Society includes four Clarence Campbell fountain pen signatures on Richard's statements from the early-1950s.A 1962 certificate has a facsimile Campbell signature and a certificate for life insurance coverage with the plan is also included. Richard's ballpoint signature is on his 1966 partnership agreement for Maurice Richard T.V. Ltee., as well as an addendum to his 1968 sale agreement. Richard has signed a 1988 letter of agreement with Molson as president of Maurice Richard Inc., and his ballpoint signature appears on each of eight investment certificates from the 1990s. He has also signed a film production rights agreement dated February 19, 1999. Rounding out this unique lot are a number of certificates from late in his playing career, including one declaring Richard an honorary citizen of the Empire of Texas, and a 1940 postcard addressed to Lucille from a friend.
It took Maurice Rocket Richard just 530 games to reach the 325-goal plateau, previously held by Hall-of-Famer Nels Stewart. Stewart must have been dragging his heels, taking 602 games to achieve the feat. This vintage sheet from La Patrie Newspaper pays tribute to Maurice Richard and his incredible scoring prowess, listing the dates of each and every goal from the first on November 6th, 1942 to marker number 325, scored on November 8th, 1952. Classically matted and framed under glass to a finished size of 20 by 28 inches. Originally in the Rocket's personal collection, obtained from the family of Maurice "Rocket" Richard.