Memorabilia Memories with Rick Ackerman
So, how does the relatively sudden acquisition of an All Star and future Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender by the Blues impact collectors of St. Louis hockey memorabilia?
It would appear that when Martin Brodeur's plane arrived at the airport in St. Louis there were people waiting at the baggage claim for him to sign various items, mostly Blues' pucks, which immediately went on sale on eBay and local message boards, including Facebook, for over $50 (and $100 in one case). A signed mini Blues goaltender mask was offered for $160. And, believe it or not, these items were snapped up by eager collectors unable or unwilling to get the autographs themselves. There were throngs of folks at the first two practices at the Mills last week, enduring the cold temperature while waiting on the parking lot, hoping Brodeur would stop and sign items for them (which he graciously did).
Obviously, the first consideration for all collectors is budget, especially when the demand for Brodeur memorabilia in St. Louis far exceeds the supply, at least right now. For those willing to wait a couple of weeks (or possibly months), the price of an autographed puck will eventually drop to the $25-30 level, especially if Brodeur is not on the roster come playoff time. Of course, one can always purchase a Blues puck wholesale/bulk (around $3) and get it signed at the Mills or at a Blues-sponsored event in the near future.
Cost is especially important for those desiring a goaltender's stick to go with their puck. Prices on eBay range from $200 to over $1,000. The less expensive sticks are not game used, nor, in some cases, are they even signed by Brodeur; facsimile autographs printed by machine abound. And there will not be any Blues game used Brodeur sticks until the True Blues Authentic store at the TradeStocks Center offers them for sale. My best guess is that a Brodeur stick will cost at least $300 (or as much as $400), which isn't all that bad since it will at least be signed.
I am a jersey guy, so what should I do about getting a Blues Brodeur jersey? Since I am fairly proficient in collecting game worn jerseys, I could easily wait until the Blues sell/auction Brodeur's set(s) of home and road jerseys, be it in a couple of weeks (a smart move right before Christmas) or at the end of the season (which we all hope is in June rather than April or May). Now, remember, this is a three-time Stanley Cup champion who will be inducted into the HHoF on the first ballot in the first year he is eligible. Brodeur has won two Olympic gold medals (2002, 2010), the Calder Trophy in 1994, five Jennings Trophies, four Vezina Trophies, and was chosen for ten NHL All-Star games. He was also selected three times as a first-team NHL All Star, and four times as a second-team All Star.
So, what will it take to win the auction for the first Brodeur Blues game worn jersey? To keep it in perspective, someone just purchased Brian Elliott's game worn helmet from Military Appreciation Night for just under $14,000. And a Tarasenko warm-up-worn camo jersey went for around $4000, as did a Tarasenko opening-night gamer. I would gladly fork over $2,000 for that first Brodeur jersey, yet it will most likely take over $5,000 at the international auction site (NHL.com/Auctions). Serious (and I mean VERY serious) collectors will go crazy for a Brodeur game worn jersey, especially those fanatics who want a gamer from every team Brodeur played for (including the St-Hyacinthe Laser of the QMJHL, the AHLUtica Devils, various Canadian Olympic and World Cup squads, and the New Jersey Devils). Nor would I be surprised if it even fetched over $10, 000. The huge demand and extremely short supply will skyrocket the price to the same level at which you can buy a car.
The next best alternative is to purchase an authentic Blues 2014 jersey and have the nameplate, name and two-digit number (30) sewn on. Total cost is around $350, including a stiff city tax. And if you order it tomorrow, it might be ready for pick-up by the end of January or early February. And that's pretty pricey (and a long time to wait) for any non-game-worn hockey jersey, right?
Since I just spent around $2,000 for three gamers ( 2013-14 Chicago Wolves Jake Allen, Blues Ian Cole 2014 opening night and amateur Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL), I will be more than happy with a replica Brodeur Blues jersey with the numbers and nameplate heat-pressed on at a cost of around $200 (excluding tax). Of course, I will ask my beautiful, loving wife (a semi-professional seamstress who loves flattery) to go over them with stitching in order to make the replica look more like an authentic jersey. Getting it signed will require a cold, blustery, miserable afternoon out on the Mills parking lot, waiting for the players to leave practice. However, if I am especially fortunate, Brodeur will be a guest at an upcoming Saturday night Blues/KMOX event at O.B. Clark's and I can be warm and happy waiting in line for his autograph.
I'm not sure I am qualified to guess what Brodeur's game worn helmet might bring, although I would think just north or south of $10, 000 would most likely do it. Thank goodness I am not into collecting goaltenders' helmets.
They are just way too pricey, quite unlike jerseys...