An extremely rare complete set of Canada's earliest hockey cards is currently selling for almost $120,000 as part of an online auction that closes later today (March 5).
The set of 45 1910-1911 Sweet Caporal cards has achieved $119,216 so far, after attracting 28 bids. Any one of these cards is rare, let alone a complete set, meaning that bids are expected to climb as high as $200,000.
The postcard-sized cards feature a combination of portraits and full-body studio poses of some of the finest players of the sport's pre-NHL days, including stars from now-defunct teams such as the Renfrew Millionaires, Quebec Bulldogs and Montreal Wanderers.
What makes this set even more extraordinary is that all of the cards have been graded, with over half deemed worthy of EX-5 or more by SGC. One of these EX-5 graded cards is that of Georges Vezina, the legendary Montreal Canadiens netminder whose card is perhaps the rarest in the hobby. Only a few other cards in the set have scored higher than the Vezina card at EX+5.5.
There is only one other known sale of a complete set of the 1910-1911 Sweet Caporal cards, which came in 2009 and realised a total of $165,000. It was assembled by Carleton McDiarmid, a well-known expert on Montreal hockey.
More hockey memorabilia was seen at Heritage Auctions on February 24, where USA team captain Mike Eruzione consigned items from 1980's Miracle on Ice.
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