Treasure: Signed boards from Olympia Stadium rare
The September opening of the new Little Caesars Arena has kept the Detroit Red Wings in the headlines recently, but there are many who remember the team’s past downtown homes fondly.
Roger Andrews is among them. His family has long been “big Red Wings fans” he recently told appraiser Jerry Anderson of DuMouchelles at a Trash or Treasure appraisal day held in downtown Detroit. “We’ve been going since the 1960s and were season ticket holders. We often went to the old Olympia Stadium when we were teenagers.”
When the stadium was being razed, Andrews headed downtown looking for a souvenir, he told Anderson. “We went to the Red Wings dressing room and took this from the wall before demolition.”
Anderson gave Andrews and the other people at the recent appraisal a bit of a history lesson during the appraisal, saying that the stadium opened in 1927 and closed in 1979. Located on Grand River, it was demolished in the late 1980s.
The locker room had wood benches and racks to store equipment, Anderson remembered. “These would have come from the area at the far end where the racks were attached to walls and were designed to store hockey sticks,” he explained. “There were 28 spots for the 28 team members. At the time, the players had to buy their own sticks. It was a lot more of a fend-for-yourself time.”
That is what Andrews saved from the building before demolition. Through the years, he took the piece of wood around to sporting events and games and had it signed by more than 100 players and coaches, including Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Sergei Fedorov “and just everyone in between,” he points out. “I’ve been gathering names since the 1980s.”
Anderson said there would definitely be interest if he were to sell. “The problem is, there is nothing to compare these to, which makes it hard to give you a definite estimate.” Andrews says he has a large collection of Red Wings memorabilia and is considering selling some of it. “It’s time.” Anderson pointed out that the Red Wings are active collectors of their history, and that he may want to contact them before proceeding.
Anderson said if he were to sell, he’d place a “very conservative” estimate of $800-$1,200 per board on it but wouldn’t be surprised if it brought much, much more than that.
“It’s a very unique item and it’s hard for us to say what we would get for it because it’s one of a kind,” he added, saying that hockey items sometimes bring far beyond their initial estimate.
“We sold a Gordie Howe game-used 1950s-era jersey that had an estimate of $300-$500 about 15 years ago for $35,000,” the appraiser said. “It went through the roof. That’s the kind of action we might expect for something like this but can never predict. It’s the kind of thing where we’d have to let the bidders fight it out.”
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About this item
Item: Red Wings signed memorabilia
Owner: Roger Andrews
Appraised by: Jerry Anderson, DuMouchelles
Estimated value: $800-$1,200 each and up