BEST OF BULLDOG
Valentine Shinguard Fetches
$6.3 Million in Christie's Auction
Originally published May 22, 2007
(New York) - The shinguard once worn by Greg "The Hammer" Valentine sold for an astounding $6.3 million tonight at the famed Christie's auction house in New York.
The black shinguard, worn by Valentine in the late 1980s during his run in the World Wrestling Federation, is made from ethylenvinyl acetate and contains a hardshell faceplate with soft EVA cushioning material on the backing. A similar model retails for $19.97 at the Sports Authority.
Collectors and Valentine enthusiasts alike appeared shocked at the selling price, which is believed to be the highest ever paid for a prop worn by a professional wrestler.
"I've seen many items like this up for sale -- Bad News Brown's fingerless black gloves; Tugboat's sailor hat; Bushwhacker Luke's camouflage baseball cap with a bite taken out of it -- but none of them have sold for nearly this high," exclaimed renowned collector Sir Oliver Humperdink.
To put the sale in perspective, the black forearm protector once worn by journeyman "Iron" Mike Sharpe fetched $712,000 -- approximately one-tenth that of the shinguard's selling price -- during a 1999 Sotheby's auction. And although Cowboy Bob Orton's cast was cut off and sold in 2003, it was purchased immediately by a private bidder, who wore a mask to protect his identity.
The auction process was a sight to behold. Bidding for the item started at a mere $25,000, and it appeared that collector J. Hart of Memphis, Tennessee was in control. From the back of room, Mr. Hart called out his bids through a megaphone, repeatedly screeching "Come on, daddy! Get it! Get it! Beautiful, baby; you can do it. A-hahahahaha!"
As bidding reached the $4 million mark, a Mr. R. Garvin of Montreal, Quebec, showed up and blocked Mr. Hart's bidding with something known as the "Hammer Jammer".
The bidding war escalated, with the auctioneer attempting to separate the two collectors. Then, out of nowhere, Mr. Valentine himself emerged, grabbed his shinguard and walloped the auctioneer on the back of the head with it. Over the objections of the crowd, Mr. Hart grabbed the unconscious auctioneer's gavel and "accepted" Mr. Valentine's $6.3 million offer.
"Sold, baby!" Mr. Hart screamed through his megaphone. "A-hahahahaha!"
Mr. Garvin was considering an appeal, but according to Christie's bylaws, all auctioneer's decisions are final.