Auction doesn't ring true

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

Remember the fan from northern Alberta who paid over a quarter-million dollars for Peter Pocklington's Stanley Cup rings so he could bring them back to Alberta?

The individual confirmed to Sun Media yesterday he's had the sale of the five rings declared void due to reasonable doubt that the rings were ever in Alberta.

There are at least two sets of Pocklington rings.

The purchaser, from a community outside Edmonton, would not say that he believes it's some sort of ring sting, that Pockington was out there selling fake rings in the whole deal involving Marc Juteau of Classic Auctions of Montreal, who sold both sets, the first through Lelands of New York in 2001.

'NO CONSISTENCY'

But the Alberta man thought he'd bought the only set of Peter Pocklington Stanley Cup rings and they quite clearly are not.

"There's just no consistency. There's a reason to doubt forever," said the individual who, as was the case when he made the purchase in the first place, chose to remain anonymous.

The confusion has resulted from a previous set of Pocklington rings, four of the five of them with the word "owner" engraved on the side, having been previously sold by auction.

"The bottom line is that it wasn't disclosed that there was another set of rings. I bought the rings as the only set of Peter Pocklington rings. I respect Classic Auction for the way they've responded. The realize they made a mistake in not disclosing that there was another set of rings," he said.

It was such a good story. Now it's a sorry story which is going to look like another negative chapter in the life and times of the former Edmonton Oilers owner.

When he bought them, the man wanted the much-maligned Pocklington to know that he paid the $272,829 - $320,057 including the auction fees - out of warmth.

"Four or five times a year my dad would drive me to Edmonton to the Northlands Coliseum to watch the Oilers play.

"We'd have seats up in the nosebleeds. Peter Pocklington used to sit in the stands behind the Oilers bench with his wife.

"Sometimes there would be people sitting in the two seats beside him. But sometimes they'd be empty. I'm sure they were his seats. But I would go down, in the middle of the first period, and sit there if those seats were empty.

"He didn't have a problem with that. He was nice to us. He wasn't bothered by it. And his wife was really nice, too.

"I was a fan and I appreciate what he did and I feel kindly toward him despite his reputation ... I'm somebody from Oiler Country who bought them because I think they belong in this area and because it takes me back to my childhood, watching the Oilers have all that success in the 1980s."

BIDDER INFORMED

After reading my column on the sale in the Sun, the man's bidder, Shawn Chaulk of Fort McMurray, was informed by people in the collectors' community that there was a set of Pocklington rings which had been sold previously through Lelands, and that these ones may not be the real deal.

Juteau, in a telephone interview with Sun Media yesterday, said he's contacted people within the Oilers' organization willing to sign an affidavit declaring that this set of rings are the real deal, that the other rings were the ones Pocklington gave to his recently deceased dad Basil.

He said that Pocklington gave the "owner" rings to his dad, in addition to putting his dad's now X'd out name on the Stanley Cup, so he could flash them around.

"There's no confusion for me. The rings sold in 2001 were his father's rings."

There's also the suggestion that the authenticity of the rings can be proved to some extent in that the jewel value of this set of rings is considerably higher than the first set.

But what about the people who purchased those rings in 2001? The Leland's sale catalogue makes no mention of them being Basil Pocklington's rings.

And what happens to these allegedly real Pocklington rings now? Will they go back to auction?

"I don't have an answer for that," said Juteau.

Chaulk was quoted on a collectors' blog yesterday saying: "It would seem that everyone in the hobby thinks there is something fishy with this whole thing.

"There are some inconsistencies with this whole thing ... and everyone has some reasonable doubt about the authenticity of the rings."

The person he was bidding for "had his heart set on getting these rings for their hockey history and really wanted to keep them in Alberta," Chaulk was quoted on the blog. "Owning them would just not be the same anymore with all the controversy that has gone on."


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