If you collected autographs years ago, chances are it happened to you at least once. You took the time to write a letter or attend a function. All you wanted was a real autograph from a real player. What you got was a big ol’ rubber stamp.
Not every player resorted to using a stamp to sign mail or items to be given away to fans but some teams made sure the players didn’t have to—while giving the fan what it thought was the next best thing. Now, there’s evidence to show how it was done.
A set of Toronto Maple Leafs signature rubber stamps is being offered in Frozen Pond’s newly-launched online charity auction to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and the Children’s Aid Foundation.
The stamps were used by trainer Guy Kinnear and others from as early as the late-1930’s until the 1970’s to sign fan mail, stamp facsimile autographs onto sticks, and “basically make life easier for the Maple Leafs players,” according to Hersh Bornstein of Frozen Pond.
There are stamps for Tim Horton, Jacques Plante and Turk Broda. Other signature stamps include George Armstrong, Johnny Bower, King Clancy, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich, Marcel Pronovost, Bob Pulford, and Allan Stanley.
That’s not to say those players didn’t sign fan mail, but it does show the Leafs went to the trouble of having them made so players wouldn’t have to sign their names on anything and everything all the time.
Other items in the NHL Auctions event include an original #4 seat from the Montreal Forum, signed and inscribed Jean Beliveau. There is a collection of vintage hockey pucks, as well as some rare and desirable hockey cards. A number of unique display materials that were once showcased at the Hockey Hall of Fame are on the block as well as hundreds of autographed items.
The auction has staggered closing times between February 29 and March 1. A full listing can be found here.