Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bobby Orr Game Worn Rookie Jersey up for auction

Every once in a while, there are truly significant sports memorabilia pieces that go up for auction. Currently Heritage Auction Galleries is offering such a piece. Up for auction is a game worn jersey from Bobby Orr's rookie season. Considering Bobby Orr's stature in his sport and the rarity of the item, this is easily one of the most significant sports auction pieces we will see all year if not for the decade.

For younger collectors who don't know, vintage jerseys are especially rare and collectible for the very ironic reason that, in the past, they were not collectible. How does this even make sense. Well, you see players nowadays may go through their equipment rather quickly, partly because there is profit to be had once they've worn or used that piece of equipment (either as memorabilia or to companies that make sports memorabilia such as card companies) as long as that piece of equipment or uniform can be replaced at a reasonable cost. In the past, the sports collecting industry was not that formal and players would use their equipment or uniform as long as they have to and after they were done, the equipment or uniform may yet be used again by some other player.

In the case of Bobby Orr rookie season jerseys, there are only two verified to be in existence (he wore three different jerseys his rookie season, but the third jersey's whereabouts are unknown). The one currently up for auction is the only one to remain intact just as it was when Orr last wore it. The other was unfortunately re-purposed and now bears a Niagara Falls Flyers patch where the Bruins patch once was.

Back in the late 1990's when sports memorabilia started getting cut up and placed in sports trading cards, there was an initial uproar from a lot of collectors who felt that pieces of sports history were being desecrated for the sake of making a profit with cards. I was personally okay with it, just as long as the truly significant pieces were left unharmed. Truly not every jersey worn by Ken Griffey Jr. is significant, therefore, why not spread the joy of getting collectors closer to the game and player they idolize. For a piece such as this Bobby Orr jersey however, I hope that card companies never get their hands on this one.

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