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They’ve got fundraising in the cards

MCC Thrift and Gift’s Betty Marshall with some of the cards up for grabs. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

A first-of-its-kind fundraiser is expected to be not only a boon for the Mennonite Central Committee but also for collectors of vintage hockey cards.

The hockey card auction hosted by the MCC Thrift and Gift store in Elmira, which will feature KSA professionally graded cards, was made possible by a donation from Lloyd Martin, a retired local businessman and MCC volunteer. When he retired and began to downsize, Martin came across his sons’ childhood collection of hockey cards from the 1960s. After asking the boys what he should do with the cards, they suggested donating them to the MCC.

“Elmira is a hockey town,” said Kim Lester, associate executive director at MCC. “So just the excitement of the history in Elmira combined with these vintage rare hockey cards – coming together and supporting a local organization that does work right here in our own community and all over the world – I think it brings together all the elements that people would really enjoy.”

Items for sale include 25 Bobby Orr cards (including two rookie cards), three Tony Esposito rookie cards, two Terry Sawchuk memorial cards, three Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe cards, rookie cards from Darryl Sittler, Glen Sather, Guy Lapointe, Bob Clarke, Don Cherry, Reg Leach, Dan Bouchard, Terry O’Reilly, and Craig Patrick.

“We do have a vintage hockey game from the 1950s,” said Betty Marshall, manager of the local MCC store, on additional selling items. “The tickets are $5, only because we can only get a certain amount of people in the room that we rented. With that ticket will be refreshments, coffee, and baked goods.”

“It’s a really unique opportunity to have access to these kind of hockey cards;  it doesn’t happen – I’ve never actually known us to do a rare card hockey auction,” added Lester. “It’s not like ‘oh we have one of these every year and we’re doing this again.’ This is a unique opportunity that’s presenting itself … in my time being here, I haven’t heard of a hockey auction.”

The hockey card aspect is unique; events coordinator Sheryl Bruggeling cited one other MCC auction that wound up being a huge success.

“We had a painting that was donated; the donor did not know what it was worth because we ended up selling it for around $45,000,” said Bruggeling.

The painting was by Maud Lewis, selling for nearly three times its original estimated price. It happened to be donated around the same time that a biopic for the artist was released.

“The other thing that worked out really well is that we had a volunteer that collects Maud Lewis paintings and was able to determine that it was real. So we figured it was a little more than the $5 that I would have put on it,” said Bruggeling with a laugh.

The proceeds raised from the event will go towards to support the peace, relief and development work that goes on at the MCC. They will also be assisted by Wellesley’s Jantzi Auctions Ltd., who volunteered their time to help out.

The MCC will also be selling hockey-related items including jerseys, books, cups and other assorted knick-knacks beginning at 9 a.m. on the day of the auction.

The auction will take place at the WMC on March 16. Doors open at 1 p.m. and viewing for the auction will start at 2 p.m. There are 175 tickets available for $5 which can be purchased by calling 519-669-8475 or in person at the MCC Thrift & Gift. If still available, tickets can be purchased at the door.

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