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Mr. Hockey’s Last Red Wings Jersey Draws Princely Sum

Gordie Howe sweater goes for nearly $75,000



Gordie Howe Red Wings jersey
What is believed to be the last Red Wings jersey worn by Gordie Howe sold at auction for $74,022.

Between 1946-71, Detroit Red Wings icon Gordie Howe would play in 1687 regular-season NHL games for the team. The jersey he figures to have been wearing in his final game for the team on April 6, 1971 was sold by Classic Auctions on Tuesday for the sum of $74,022.

The red No. 9 road jersey is a durene knit garment. It’s a production of General Athletic. Through photo matching, Classic Auction was able to determine that Howe was wearing this jersey on March 31, 1971 at Toronto. That was Detroit’s second-last away game of the 1970-71 season.

This game would mark the 76th game of the season for Detroit, resulting in a 2-2 tie. Howe would also be suiting up the last two games of the season. He would play on April 3rd at home vs Chicago and on April 4th vs the Rangers in New York. The latter contest was marking his last time wearing a Detroit uniform in an NHL game.

By studying an image taken during that Toronto contest on March 31st, Classic Auctions was able to photo match the Howe jersey. The photo clearly shows the pair of orange paint transfer marks on the right side hem, the long loose white thread on the right edge of the alternate captain’s “A” and the particulars in the visible portion of the team’s crest on the front, all of which provide matches to the offered piece.

In all likelihood, the jersey in the auction offering is the same one Howe would wear both in Toronto on March 31st and on April 4th in New York. This would be making it the final jersey that Mr. Hockey would ever wear with the team for which he played 25 seasons.

How Howe’s Red Wings Jersey Came To Auction

The tale accompanying the jersey is almost as compelling as the jersey itself. The story goes that Howe would up giving the jersey to a 12-year old back in the day whose father was a neighbor of Gordie’s.

Fast forward many decades later. The then 12-year old, now an older gentleman, had moved away overseas. He would mail the jersey back to North America for his daughter at her mother’s house. Here it sat unattended for nearly a decade. Only reacently was the family unerathing the prize jersey once again. Accompanying it are photocopies of a photo that Howe wound up autographing. Mr. Hockey was even adding a dedication to the once 12-year old child alongside his signature.

As well, there are photocopies of a Christmas card that he sent along with the jersey back to North America. The card reads “Enclosed is one of my most prized possessions given to me when I was 12 by Gordie himself. Enjoy!”