1st Stanley Cup Ring on Auction Block

George Lowe A 19th century piece of sports memorabilia is attracting high rollers in Canada.

A 115 year-old ring commemorating Montreal’s powerhouse franchise is the signature item in Classic Auctions’ latest sale.

The Montreal-based auction company opened its 2009 Montreal Centennial Auction with over one thousand lots, highlighted by a simple gold band that dates to the first presentation of hockey’s ultimate title.

A Challenge Cup, donated by Baron Stanley of Preston, was first presented in 1893 to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), champions of the five-team Amateur Hockey Association of Canada which had been founded six years earlier. The club, having won the Senior Amateur Trophy for the previous five years running, was awarded Stanley’s cup by default and would go on to win it again the next season.

Th ring is believed to have been presented to George Lowe, an original member of 1893 Stanley Cup ring the Association. Inside, the ring is inscribed ‘Champions 1888-93’ recognizing the teams five straight Senior Championships and first Stanley Cup win. The simplistic ring is engraved and enameled with crossed hockey sticks and MHC (Montreal Hockey Club) and according to Classic, is identical to the only other known example, presented to player Billy Barlow, on permanent display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

A local jeweler’s stamp is also inside with a 15K marking as well as the name ‘G.S. Low’, likely a reference to the player on the victorious AAA hockey squad in 1893 listed in photographs as G.S. Lowe or George Lowe. It is unlikely that anyone other than a player would have received a championship ring and Lowe was one of the original seven players, skating on the 1888 Championship team as well as the 1893 Stanley Cup-winning squad.

The auction opened this week and the ring had received eight bids as of Wednesday night, with the high bid at $23,582. Bidding closes February 24.

Classic is a hockey memorabilia specialist and the current auction includes several top pieces including Jean Beliveau’s 1965 Conn Smythe trophy, presented 1910-11 Sweet Caporal hockey card to the MVP of the NHL playoffs for the first time that year.

A 1910-1911 Sweet Caporal postcard set of 45, all graded, is believed to be the only set of its kind ever offered. Bidding has already topped $30,000 for the vintage hockey set.

A Howie Morenz 1923 rookie year contract is also attracting attention.

Game worn jerseys up for bid include:

  • Bobby Orr 1970 All-Star Game jersey
  • 1962-63 Boom boom Geoffrion wool sweater
  • 1977-78 Gordie Howe New England Whalers jersey
  • 1977-78 Guy LeFleur Stanley Cup finals jersey